First you dream kander and ebb

Signature Theater's long-running connection through Kander and also Ebb has actually taken another inventive revolve.

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With “First You Dream,” Signature Theater’s long-running relationship with the music of John Kander and the late Fred Ebb has actually taken another inventive turn to open up its 20th season. The agency has actually packaged an eclectic selection of numbers from 15 K&E reflects and also films into a delightful revue that almost screams “tour me” — which is exactly what its execs have in mind.


On the heels of last season’s three-show K&E festival (“Kiss of the Spider Womale,” “The Visit” and “The Happy Time”), Signature a.d. Eric Schaeffer has assembled a gifted group of artists to compile and also phase this collection. David Loud (musical supervision) and William David Brohn (orchestrations) lead the Schaeffer-directed production, through a 19-item orchestra and six great voices, the majority of of them via Broadmethod credits — Heidi Blickenstaff, James Clow, Eleasha Gamble, Norm Lewis, Julia Murney and also Matthew Scott. Composer Kander has been on hand throughout to aid.

The result is an impressively presented showcase from the duo that offered us “Chicback,” “Cabaret” and also plenty of other gifts. The energetic and sure-footed sextet leaves nothing behind.

Certainly, it’s all around the music below. Positioned in 3 tiers on a bare phase, the hefty orchestra carried out by music director Jon Kalbfleisch leads the vivid lineup. On an otherwise bare stage, twin stairsituations enable the vocalists to enter and also perform among the musicians, with sparing yet appropriate help from choreographer Fate Camp.

Every number has been reorchestrated by Brohn, frequently pairing unassociated selections, start with the opener — “Leave the World Behind” and also “First You Dream” from “Steel Pier.”

Sjust how opens up via a emotional video featuring reflections by Ebb, who died 5 years back. He reminisces around his long collaboration through Kander, their differing layouts and also individualities and also their ability to make musical magic.

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From the tuner “Flora the Red Menace” comes the amusing “Not Eexceptionally Day of the Week,” sung by Clow and also Murney in a pretend elevator. Another first-act highlight is “All I Need (Is One Good Break),” likewise from “Flora,” perdeveloped by the full agency. Two songs from “The Happy Time” and “Woguy of the Year” — “I Don’t Remember You” and also “Sometimes a Day Goes By” — are beautitotally sung by Lewis and Scott, while Blickenstaff closes act one via an effective “Ring Them Bells” from “Liza With a Z.”

Other songs are plucked from “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “The Rink,” “The Act” and also “The Visit.” From “All About Us” is the extremely entertaining “Military Man,” sung by the men with excessive precision.


The composing team’s favorites are included, largely in the second act. Tenor Scott delivers a zesty version of “Cabaret,” paired via “I Miss the Music” from “Curtains.” Blickenstaff and also Murney make the the majority of of two various other numbers from “Cabaret” — “Maybe This Time” and also “I Don’t Care Much,” respectively. From “Chicago” comes the full agency doing “Razzle Dazzle” and “Cell Block Tango.” And what would certainly a K&E tribute be without “New York, New York” (exuberantly belted by Gamble)?

“First You Dream” is a welcome showcase of the songwriting duo’s astounding versatility, too regularly covert within hardly ever produced shows. Not just will it enchant audiences, it need to be compelled viewing for today’s chop of budding composers, many type of of whom have yet to understand the art of the tuneful score so ably demonstrated right here.


First You Dream: The Music of Kander and Ebb

Signature Max Theater, Arlington, Va.; 299 seats; $65 top

Production:A Signature Theater presentation of a musical revue in two acts via music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Directed by Eric Schaeffer. Music director, Jon Kalbfleisch.Crew:Choreography, Karma Camp. Costumes, Kathleen Geldard; lighting, Mark Lanks; sound, Matt Rowe; orchestrations, William David Brohn; music supervision and vocal arrangements, David Loud. Opened, reviewed, Sept. 10, 2009. Runs through Sept. 27. Running time: 2 HOURS, 30 MIN.Cast:With: Heidi Blickenstaff, James Clow, Eleasha Gamble, Norm Lewis, Julia Murney, Matthew Scott. Music By: