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John Kander

John Kander

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Also Known As: John Harold Kander Died:
Born: March 18, 1927 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Kansas City, Missouri, USA Profession: composer, conductor, music arranger, director, pianist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

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.

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.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Kennedy Center Honors, The (1998) Honoree
3.
 Broadway '97: Launching the Tonys (1997) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Served as choral director and conductor at the Warwick Musical Theatre in Rhode Island
1956:
Was a pianist for the NY stage productions of "The Amazing Adele" and "An Evening With Beatrice Lillie"
1957:
Served as conductor on the musical, "Conversation Piece"
1959:
Arranged dance music for the Broadway musical, "Gypsy"
1962:
Composed score for the Broadway musical, "A Family Affair"; book and lyrics by William and James Goldman
1962:
Met and began collaborating with lyricist Fred Ebb
1965:
First stage musical with Ebb, "Flora, the Red Menace"; also first collaboration with Liza Minnelli
1966:
Won first Tony for scoring the musical, "Cabaret"; again collaborated with lyricist Fred Ebb
1968:
Collaborated with Ebb for the musical, "The Happy End"
1969:
Scored first motion picture, the Harold Prince directed, "Something for Everyone"
1972:
Collaborated with Ebb to write new songs for Bob Fosse's feature adaptation of "Cabaret," starring Liza Minnelli
1972:
Created special material for the Bob Fosse TV special, "Liza with a Z" (NBC)
1975:
Composed the songs (with lyrics by Ebb) for the film, "Lucky Lady," starring Minnelli
1975:
Wrote the score (with Ebb) for the hit Broadway musical "Chicago," directed by Fosse
1975:
Earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for "How Lucky Can You Get?" from "Funny Lady"; shared nomination with Ebb
1977:
Co-wrote with Ebb, the song "New York, New York" for Martin Scorsese's film musical starring Liza Minnelli and Robert De Niro
1978:
Wrote the score for "The Act," starring Minnelli and directed by Scorsese
1979:
Created the musical score for Robert Benton's Oscar-winning film, "Kramer vs. Kramer"
1981:
Won second Tony for creating the score for the stage adaptation of "Woman of the Year"
1982:
Scored Robert Benton's "Still of the Night"
1984:
Composed the score for the musical, "The Rink," starring Minnelli and Chita Rivera
1984:
With Ebb, wrote the theme music for the CBS sitcom, "Mama Malone"
1985:
Scored the groundbreaking TV-movie, "An Early Frost" (NBC); first collaboration with director John Erman
1988:
Wrote special material for the ABC special, "Liza Minnelli in Sam Found Out: A Triple Play"
1988:
Wrote special musical material for "The 60th Annual Academy Awards Presentation"
1991:
Contributed special material to "Liza Minnelli: Stepping Out at Radio City"; later aired on PBS under the title "Liza Minnelli Live! From Radio City Music Hall"
1991:
A collection his songs with Ebb was showcased in the off-Broadway musical revue, "And the World Goes 'Round"
1992:
Scored a revised version of "Kiss of the Spider Woman," starring Rivera; earned third Tony Award for Best Score (shared with Ebb)
1994:
Scored the John Erman directed TV-movie, "Breathing Lessons" (CBS)
1996:
Wrote score for TV-movie "The Boys Next Door", directed by John Erman
1996:
Scored a revised version of "Chicago" on Broadway
1997:
With Ebb, wrote the music for Broadway's "Steel Pier"
2003:
Received a Grammy nomination for his work on the feature adaptation of "Chicago"
2006:
With Ebb composed the score for the Broadway musical, "Curtains"; earned a Tony nomination for Best Original Score
2011:
Final collaboration with Ebb, composing the music for "The Scottsboro Boys"; earned a Tony nomination for Best Original Score
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Oberlin College: Oberlin , Ohio - 1951
Columbia University: New York , New York - 1954

Notes

Inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1991

On working with longtime collaborator, lyricist Fred Ebb, Kander told David Patrick Stearns of USA TODAY (April 23, 1997): "There's a third person that's created--Kander & Ebb. It's a one-word thing."

Kander and Ebb have the dubious distinction of being part of the creative team of the only two musicals to be nominated for 11 Tony Awards without a single win: the original production of "Chicago" in 1975 and "Steel Pier" in 1997.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Harold S Kander.
mother:
Bernice Kander.

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