Since the early 1960s, John Kander and Fred Ebb have been on the forefront of American musical theater. While many of their contemporary songwriting teams (i.e., Bock and Harnick, Strouse and Adams) long ago abandoned their collaborations, Kander and Ebb have continued to surprise and entertain. Despite odd choices for musical comedy settings (Weimar Germany, a murder trial, marathon dances), their work generally has one driving element: entertainment. Both as a thematic device and a subject, show business and its pleasures are the goals of most of the heroes and heroines of their musicals. It may be an escapist fantasy (as in "Kiss of the Spider Woman") or the professions of the main characters (as in "Woman of the Year"). Whatever the case, Kander composes appropriately bouncy up-tempo numbers and lilting ballads married to Ebb's witty, sometimes caustic, lyrics.