Kander and Ebb


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James Leve

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Composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb collaborated for more than forty years, longer than any such partnership in Broadway history. Together they wrote over twenty musicals. Their two most successful works, Cabaret and Chicago, had critically acclaimed Broadway revivals and were made into Oscar-winning films.


This book, the first study of Kander and Ebb, examines their artistic accomplishments as individuals and as a team. Drawing on personal papers and on numerous interviews, James Leve analyzes the unique nature of this collaboration. Leve discusses their contribution to the concept musical; he examines some of their most popular works including Cabaret, Chicago, and Kiss of the Spider Woman; and he reassesses their “flops” as well as their incomplete and abandoned projects.  Filled with fascinating information, the book is a resource for students of musical theater and lovers of Kander and Ebb’s songs and shows.

James Leve is associate professor of musicology and coordinator of music history, Northern Arizona University. He has a forthcoming textbook on musical theater. He lives in Flagstaff, AZ.

“The first important study of Kander and Ebb. A very useful book, thoughtfully presenting material not otherwise readily available.”—Raymond Knapp, UCLA

“James Leve beautifully distills and clarifies the fundamental reasons for Kander and Ebb’s popularity and long term significance. This is a wise and musically informed interpretation of the team’s remarkable creative process, rich in fascinating detail.”—Thomas L. Riis, author of Frank Loesser

‘Anyone who wants a thorough analysis and dissection of the creative partnership should read James Leve’s excellent, scholarly recent book.’

‘Leve’s work is the first full academic study of the famous collaborators, and as such serves an important purpose…. the book should prove useful for musical theatre students and fans of Kander and Ebb.’ — Jessica Hillman, Studies in Musical Theatre, 3rd March 2010

‘Leve takes an honest approach that examines the relationship and analyses its successes (and failures) with a persuasive clarity that will be of interest to anyone who wants to know more about one of the great Broadway partnerships.’ — Michael Quinn, The Stage, 8th April 2010

"[Kander and Ebb] is a welcome addition to Yale's ongoing Broadway Masters Series." —Colin Dabkowski, The Buffalo News

"Leve . . . gives a scholarly, comprehensive account of the careers of composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb. . . . Leve makes excellent use of all his sources, including private papers of and interviews with Kander and Ebb." —R. D. Johnson, Choice
ISBN: 9780300217643
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
384 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
7 b&w illus. & 45 musical exx.