Despite the fact that the original 1984 production of The Rink showcased two big stars (and Kander and Ebb's muses), Chita Rivera and Liza Minnelli, it was not well-received and ran for less than a year, and has never been revived on Broadway. But I kinda love it. Set in a dilapidated roller rink on a fading east coast boardwalk (think a less classy Atlantic City) in the late '70s, it's full of great songs in the Kander and Ebb style (clever, funny, poignant lyrics, beautiful interesting melodies) with a compelling story about a mother and daugther reconnecting and coming to terms with their past mistakes. And it features two great roles for women (one in her prime), characters that are strong and complicated and create their own destiny.
|Amanda White and Karen Weber|
(photo courtesy of Daleko Arts)
|Ben Thietje, Karen Weber, and Armando Harlow Ronconi|
(photo courtesy of Dalako Arts)
The stage is transformed into a tiny but authentic looking shabby roller rink, with lighting cues to tell us when we're in a memory (scenic design by Jane Raine, lighting design by Adam Raine). And the best part about Daleko's small space is that no amplification is necessary; hearing the unmiked singers in that space makes the show feel more real and immediate. They're accompanied by the tiniest of bands, just a keyboard (played by Music Director Anthony J. Sofie) and percussion, that efficiently makes the "thumping oom-pah pah organ sound."
You only have three opportunities left to catch this wonderful production of the rarely produced Kander and Ebb gem The Rink. It's funny, moving, well-performed, and full of fantastic songs by one of the best musical theater songwriting teams. Daleko's just announced 6th season includes more classics, new works, and interesting choices (She Loves Me!) so start planning your road trip now.