Composer John Kander collaborates with the lyricist Fred Ebb to fake one of the longest and most successful creative partnerships in Broadway's history; Their bold brassy style gives rise to a number of hugely popular and provocative musicals, including Cabaret, Chicago and Kiss of the Spider Woman. Kander was born March 18, 1927 in Kansas City, MO, and began studying music as a child; He started his professional career in 1
The next collaboration of Kander and Ebb continued in Flora's political spirit, but with much more serious harmonics; 1966's cabaret, a glorious survey of fascism in pre-war Berlin, rocketed the massive critical and commercial success, winning seven Tony Awards (including Best Musical) on the way to a round of 1,166 performances and an Oscar-winning movie adaptation. Kander and Ebb revived in 1968 with two new musicals, The Happy Time and Zorba, followed three years later with 70, Girls, 70; In 1972, they also composed a number of songs for Minnelli's Emmy winning television special Liza With a Z. After contributing to Streisand's 1975 movie Funny Girl, later that year, Kander and Ebb Chicago released, largely ignored original round but was revived to great success two decades later. In 1977, they scored the Martin Scorses film music New York, New York; The title song later became a signature hit for Frank Sinatra, as well as Big Apple's unofficial theme. Also that year, the duo launched The Act on Broadway; Both projects played with Minnelli.
After four years of absence from the scene, Kander and Ebb returned with the 1981s Woman of the Year, a vehicle for Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall who earned four Tonys; Three years later, The Rink debuted, but was generally quiet for the rest of the decade. Their 1991 induction in the New York Theater Hall of Fame coincided with the premiere of And the World Goes Round, an off-Broadway tribute revue with dozens of songs. 1993's Kiss of the Spider Woman returned Kander and Ebb to their former prominent, netting best musical honors from New York drama critics, as well as a handful of Tony prizes, including the best actresses' recognition for the star Chita Rivera. Steel Pier followed in 1997, and later that year, Kander and Ebb were announced as recipients of the 21-year-old Kennedy Center Honors. ~ Jason Ankeny