John Kander & Fred Ebb

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:2 mins read

December 2010


Composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb met in 1962 and a legendary songwriting team was born. Their first successful collaboration was on the song “My Coloring Book,” recorded by both Sandy Stewart and Barbra Streisand. But it will be the scores of the ground-breaking musicals they penned, and the stars they either made (Liza Minnelli) or re-introduced (Chita Rivera, Gwen Verdon), that place Kander & Ebb in the pantheon of musical theater. Their songs have entered the mainstream consciousness—“Cabaret” and “(Theme from) New York, New York”—and have found a home on the cabaret scene. As Nancy LaMott said, “Cabaret is not just a movie starring Liza Minnelli!” And where would both cabarets be without the musical genius that is Kander & Ebb?

Never hesitating to go to the darker side of the human experience, they have tackled Nazi Germany (Cabaret), murderesses and the sycophants that surround them (Chicago), political prisoners (Kiss of the Spider Woman) and the desperation of the Depression (Steel Pier). Their first Broadway show, Flora the Red Menace, was Liza’s Broadway debut and brought her her first Tony Award. The Happy Time, Zorba, 70 Girls 70, The Act, Woman of the Year, The Rink, Curtains—all carried the unique artistry of Kander & Ebb. In their new musical, The Scottsboro Boys, they once again deal with an insidious side of humanity, this time racism.

For putting social issues on stage while making the musical world go ‘round, we add Kander & Ebb to The Cabaret Hall of Fame.