Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey in the Kander and Ebb musical Cabaret.
If you’ve ever hummed the tunes from Cabaret or Chicago. or been stirred by the first few bars of the theme from New York, New York, you should “start spreading the news” that the man who wrote that music is coming to Cleveland.
John Kander, the composer who teamed up for years with lyricist Fred Ebb, is going to attend the next concert produced by The Musical Theater Project (TMTP). It’s called Perfectly Marvelous: The Songs of John Kander, and it will be at Playhouse Square’s Allen Theater on October 31 and November 1.
Kander, the composer of 15 Broadway scores, was a co-winner along with Ebb of the Kennedy Center Honors award for Lifetime Achievement in 1998. But even after Ebb’s death in 2004, Kander has continued to produce remarkable music, now working with his professional partner, lyricist Greg Pierce.
Bill Rudman, artistic director of TMTP, says, “I’ve always been impressed by John Kander’s music, particularly in his three masterworks: Cabaret, Chicago, and Kiss of the Spider Woman. So I’m thrilled that he’ll be joining us for these concerts, which are a tribute to the work of Kander & Ebb, work that was really groundbreaking at the time.”
The concerts will feature Broadway star and Tony Award winner and Kander associate Karen Ziemba, as well as performers Derrick Cobey, Katharine DeBoer and Matthew Wright. Two of these performers have significant connections with Kander, since Wright is an Associate Professor of Theater at nearby Oberlin College, where Kander received his Bachelor’s Degree back in 1951. And Cobey is a BW alum who also appeared in the Broadway production of Kander and Ebb’s The Scottsboro Boys.
The concert will present songs from the Kander’s past and the Kander & Ebb songbook, accompanied by anecdotes narrated by Rudman and projections of photos from Kander’s illustrious career.
As Rudman adds, “Kander’s music is theatrical in the very best sense. It makes you sit up and take notice.” That’s why there will be many people sitting up and taking notice at Playhouse Square later this month.
Perfectly Marvelous: The Songs of John Kander
Saturday, October 31 at 8 PM and Sunday, November 1 at 2 PM, Allen Theatre, Playhouse Square, 216-241-6000.