The Rink is the tenth musical written by the composer/lyricist team John Kander and Fred Ebb, the creators of both Cabaret and Chicago. Additionally, the book for The Rink was written by noted American Playwright Terrence McNally. In the John Kander tradition, the music has a jazz feel to it, but not quite as pronounced as in Cabaret or Chicago.
Opening in 1984 on Broadway, the show starred Liza Minelli and Chita Rivera and ran for 204 performances. The performances also included a young, rollerskating Jason Alexander, of Seinfeld fame.
Anna (originally portrayed by Chita Rivera), the owner of a roller rink, near an old amusement park has decided to sell the rink to developers and to leave town. Years ago, her daughter Angel (originally portrayed by Liza Minelli) left town to find herself. Anna’s husband, Dino, had passed away, leaving Anna both alone and completely free of responsibility, allowing her to finally pursue her own ambitions.
Shortly after the rink is sold and scheduled to be torn down, Angel returns to town wanting to return to the people and places she grew up with, specifically the rink. Anna immediately rejects her daughter and explains that the rink will soon be gone along with the rest of the nearby amusement park.
Through a series of flashbacks, revelations and minimal forward-moving plot development, the two eventually deal with their pasts, reconcile and move forward with their lives.
Besides Angel and Anna, the rest of the cast (all male) are “The Wreckers”, hired to tear down the rink. The Wreckers also perform the roles of all of the characters (male and female) in the flashbacks.
Colored Lights – Angel
The Apple Doesn’t Fall – Anna and Angel
Liza Minelli – Angel
Book By – Terrence McNally
Chita Rivera won the Best Actress in a Musical Tony Award in 1984 for her role as Anna. Coincidentally, her costar, Liza Minelli, was nominated for the same award that year.
There is a rumor that The Rink will be revived in West End and then transferr to Broadway and is rumored to star Patti LuPone.