Monday, September 13, 2004

Broadway Dims

Fred Ebb, the lyricist of Cabaret, Chicago, and Flora, the Red Menace has died.

The team of John Kander and Fred Ebb was the last of the great composer/lyricist teams from the heyday of Broadway musicals. They were honored at the 2002 William Inge Theatre Festival for their contribution to American theatre. (I missed Inge that year – I was in the middle of directing a production of Grease.)

In 1973 the University of Miami did a production of Cabaret with Gail Edwards as Sally Bowles and Ernie Sabella as Ernst. Guest artists Mercedes McCambridge as Fraulein Schnieder and Kurt Kasnar as Herr Schultz gave the show a real professional feel. Through the design genius of the late David Trimble we turned the entire theatre into the Kit Kat Klub and the show, directed by the late Hank Diers, was good enough to be a semi-finalist in the American College Theatre Festival.

Ebb’s best-known song, however, is “New York, New York” from the film of the same name. It’s probably a fitting tribute to him that for the rest of the day that song will be running through my head.