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Willkommen to the Big Apple!

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I suspect if you are a fan of musicals, especially in the latter part of the twentieth century, you recognized the two references in this blog post title. We have presented blogs about the musicals and musical selections available in the NLS Music collection, and I want to get the word out about a great song-writing team. And, I’m not talking about Rodgers and Hammerstein, wonderful team that they were. We have embossed some titles from The Kander and Ebb Collection, a songbook with the compositions of John Kander and Fred Ebb.

Photo of a movie poster publicizing “Cabaret” with an Oscar statue and stars Liza Minelli and Joel Grey.

Some descriptors of their work are bold (Cabaret), brassy (Chicago), and provocative (see previous two titles.)

Harold Prince, an early collaborator and noted Broadway producer, actually paired them together for a musical that didn’t make it to the stage, Golden Gate. He was experimenting to see if their teamwork would have strong results, and he certainly hit a bullseye with this pairing.

Reading through some of the quotes from the team, it’s clear that a big part of their success is attributed to collaboration; not only with each other, but with the singers and actresses they are writing for. One of their early musicals was Flora, the Red Menace, starring Liza Minelli in her Broadway debut.

Photo of publicity poster for “Flora the Red Menace” starring Liza Minnelli.

According to The Art Of The American Musical: Conversations With The Creators, by Jackson R. Bryer and Richard Allan Davison, Kander said “One of the nice things about writing for Liza is that you don’t have to write for Liza. She can do anything. You know that whatever you do write, she’s going to deliver it exactly the way you intended it. It’s really the same with Chita Rivera, the other woman in our lives.”

Chita-West Side Story
Photo of Chita Rivera and Ken Leroy in a scene from “West Side Story.”


Oh yes, there is another famous singer they wrote songs for: Barbra Streisand and Funny Lady, the sequel to Funny Girl.


We will update this blog when The Kander and Ebb Collection has been added to our collection. In the meantime, here is a tantalizing teaser of songs that have been transcribed.  A Quiet Thing, Love and Love Alone, Mein Herr, Only Love, I Don’t Care Much, The Grass is Always Greener, The Happy Time, Mister Cellophane, My Coloring Book, Sara Lee, Theme from New York, New York, Coffee in a Cardboard Cup, Colored Lights, First You Dream, Life Is, Isn’t This Better, Kiss of the Spider Woman, How Lucky Can You Get, Maybe This Time, Money Money, and Willkommen.

Life is a Cabaret, my friends! Come to the NLS Music Section and check out these titles.

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