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The Broadway genius of Kander and Ebb arrives in Ottawa (+ ticket giveaway)

By Alejandro Bustos on March 31, 2014


We are giving away a pair of tickets to the Saturday, April 5, show of All That Jazz at the National Arts Centre.  To enter, email by 3 pm Tuesday, April 1, with the subject line “All That Jazz Contest”.  We will randomly pick a winner after the 3 pm deadline.

Composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb wrote some of the most memorable songs in Broadway history.  Their brilliant body of work includes such classic musicals as Chicago, the Kiss of the Spider Woman and Cabaret.

This fantastic repertoire will be on full display on April 3-5, when conductor Jack Everly leads the National Arts Centre Orchestra in three concerts that will showcase the duo’s impressive musical partnership.  An all-star Broadway cast will also be performing, as they sing the Tony and Drama Desk award-winning songs.

“The music of John and Fred could never by mistaken for Disney fare,” says Everly, who is the principal pops conductor for the NAC Orchestra.  “They never shied away from telling adult stories with a cynical eye to them.”

Despite writing some of Broadway’s most memorable music, however, they never attained the same level of fame as the legendary musical duo Rodgers and Hammerstein.

“Nobody can really tell you that they know the names Kander and Ebb,” says Everly, who guest conducts several other symphonies, in addition to being the principal pops conductor for the Baltimore and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras.  “Rodgers and Hammerstein . . .  were making music at a time when musical composers were held in much higher esteem.”

In a phone interview with Apartment613, Everly explains that Broadway musicals evolved during the last century.  In the first half of the 20th century, composers were regularly fêted as the creative force behind theatrical shows.  By the 1960s, however, Broadway musicals had evolved, and it was the choreographer, producer and/or director who started to be seen as the heart and soul of a musical.

This change in how critics and the public appreciated Broadway performances helps explain why Kander and Ebb are not household names.  That being said, their music still lives on in the imagination of music lovers around the world.  For while you may not know the names Kander and Ebb, chances are you have heard such brilliant pieces as All That Jazz, Willkommen and Kiss of the Spider Woman.

The National Arts Centre Orchestra and a Broadway cast perform All That Jazz on April 3-5.  Tickets start at $23 and showtime is 8 pm for each show.