The autobiography, in dialogue, of the composer and lyricist of Chicago and Cabaret as well as a wise and witty memoir of forty years of American musicals.
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Composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb are the longest-running composer-lyricist team in Broadway history, having first joined forces in 1962. The creators of such groundbreaking musicals as Chicago, Cabaret, and Kiss of the Spider Woman, Kander and Ebb have helped to push American musical theater in a more daring direction, both musically and dramatically. Their impact on individual performers has been great as well, starting with the handpicked star of their first musical: an untested nineteen-year-old named Liza Minnelli (who writes of this experience in her introduction).
Colored Lights covers the major shows of Kander and Ebb's partnership, from Flora, The Red Menace (starring a then-unknown Liza) to The Visit, due to open on Broadway in 2004. The pages and musicals in between reveal what has made theirs such a long-lived musical partnership – and one so valued by the artists they have worked with. In recounting the genesis and controversies of Cabaret, reflecting on the superstar mentality of such artist as Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand, and recalling their work with Bob Fosse on Chicago (as well as their views on the blockbuster 2002 film), John Kander and Fred Ebb provide a history not only of their own lives but also of the American musical theater of the late twentieth century.