Li'l Abner (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Original Broadway Cast of Li'l Abner
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John Kander and Fred Ebb's musical Steel Pier, with an original book by David Thompson, was set at a dance marathon held at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City in 1933. That it failed on Broadway in the spring of 1997 may be attributed both to the competition — it was swamped by Titanic — and to a peculiar plot twist: feeling that the subject matter was not dire enough, the creators decided that the leading man should be, well, dead. Typically, Kander and Ebb chose a dark story (their previous efforts include Cabaret, Chicago, and Kiss of the Spider Woman) and then wrote a lot of slick songs, few of which were integrated into the story, the intention being that the plot would add weight to the music and the music would give buoyancy to the plot. Composer Kander's primary influence came not from Broadway but from Hollywood, as he evoked the music Harry Warren wrote for Warner Bros. movie musicals like 42nd Street; Ebb's lyrics were as serviceable.