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Broadway legend John Kander to attended Musical Theater Project’s PERFECTLY MARVELOUS @ Allen Theatre

Broadway legend John Kander to attended Musical Theater Project’s PERFECTLY MARVELOUS @ Allen Theatre

Roy Berko

(Member, American Theatre Critics Association, Cleveland Critics Circle)

Liza Minnelli once said, “The greatest thing about [John] Kander and [Fred] Ebb is you sing their songs and you feel good.”  She was referring to the multi-award winning Broadway writing team who gave the world such songs as, “How Lucky Can You Get?,” “Maybe This Time,” “All That Jazz,” “Cabaret,” and “But The World Goes Round.”

These, and other compositions, came from such Broadway shows as CABARET, THE RINK, THE ACT, WOMEN OF THE YEAR, AND THE WORLD GOES ROUND, KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN, FOSSE, CURTAINS, and THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS.  The duo also contributed to such movies as FUNNY LADY and NEW YORK, NEW YORK.

Kander and Ebb met in 1964.  Though it had a short-run, their first collaboration, FLORA THE RED MENACE, created a bond between the writers and Liza Minelli.  At age 19, she not only made her first Broadway appearance in the show, but was the youngest person, to that date, to win a Tony Award.

In 1966 the duo transformed the play I AM A CAMERA into CABARET, which went on to win seven Tony Awards.   The musical, about the decadence in Germany that helped lead to the rise of Hitler, was later turned into a movie, which again reunited Liza Minelli with Kander and Ebb.  She won a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Sally Bowles.

The Broadway show and film CABARET also starred Tony and Academy Award winning Cleveland-born Joel Grey, who will appear on October 24 & 25 at the Allen Theatre in JOEL GREY UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL, as part of Cleveland Play House’s Centennial Celebration Weekend.

Shows like THE HAPPY TIME, ZORBA, 70 GIRLS 70, and CHICAGO followed, and led to Kander and Ebb being anointed Broadway royalty.

Besides their three Tony Awards, the duo were recognized for their contributions to theater and music with the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors.

Ebb died in 2004, but Kander continues to create.  Last season THE VISIT, a work that the duo started in 1998, starred Chita Rivera on Broadway.

The 88-year old Kander will be the subject of The Musical Theater Project’s PERFECTLY MARVELOUS:  THE SONGS OF JOHN KANDER, which will be performed at the Allen Theatre on October 31 @ 8 PM and November 1 @ 2 PM.

The TMTP concert will feature Tony Award winner Karen Ziemba, who attended the University of Akron, danced with the Ohio Ballet, and performed on the Great White Way in three Kander and Ebb’s shows.

Others in the TMTP multimedia concert will be Bill Rudman, The Musical Theater Project’s Artistic Director, musical director Nancy Maier, and performers Derrick Cobey, Katherine DeBoer and Matthew Wright.

For tickets to PERFECTLY MARVELOUS;  THE SONGS OF JOHN KANDER call 216-241-6000 or go online

On October 29, two days before Kander attends the PlayhouseSquare concert, he will be at Oberlin College, his alma mater, for a production of his 2011 musical, THE LANDING, which he wrote with Greg Pierce (nephew of David Hyde Pierce).  The script will be staged at the Apollo Theatre, 19 E. College Street.  Admission is free, but tickets are required.  To obtain tickets, call the Oberlin Central Ticket Service Box Office at 440-775-8169.

JOHN KANDER: HIDDEN TREASURES, 1959-2015, a 2-CD deluxe collection with a 70-page booklet, including written notes by Jesse, Green, theater critic of “New York” magazine, and dozens of production shots and behind-the scenes photos of Kander’s musicals, will be released shortly.  Produced by Ken Bloom and Bill Rudman, the 49-tracks will include recordings from Kander’s student compositions at Oberlin, songs cut from CABARET, CHICAGO, and tunes released for the first time from Kander’s archives, as well as new recordings by Anita Gillete and Karen Ziemba.  It can be pre-ordered at