Although for the better part of five decades, John Kander has been known as part of the writing duo Kander and Ebb, he's now working on a new set of one-act shows with a new collaborator: 32-year-old fiction writer Gregory Pierce.
He tells the New York Times that "I hadn't thought much about what projects were next after Fred died until one day, when I was working on ‘Scottsboro' at home, and thought I'd like to do something really tiny - that you could almost do in your living room - after so many years of doing big Broadway shows." He went on to discuss Pierce: "We thought about a piece that would have three stories in it, all of which could be performed by the same four actors and three instrumentalists, and Greg and I started playing the old game ‘What if?' that Fred and I used to develop plot lines. I sort of assumed I would be writing the lyrics, but it turned out that Greg is a terrific lyricist."
Composer John Kander and the late lyricist Fred Ebb were a highly successful Broadway songwriting team. Their biggest hits include CABARET, winner of a Tony Award for Best Musical, and CHICAGO, the revival of which has become Broadway's longest-running revival. Other musicals by Kander and Ebb include FLORA, THE RED MENACE; THE HAPPY TIME; ZORBA; 70, GIRLS, 70; THE ACT; WOMAN OF THE YEAR; THE RINK; KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN; STEEL PIER; and CURTAINS. In addition, the pair wrote songs for the films NEW YORK, NEW YORK (including the famous 'Theme from New York, New York') and FUNNY LADY and for Liza Minnelli. The two also created several shows that have yet to be produced on Broadway, including ALL ABOUT US, THE VISIT, and the recent THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS.
The first of Kander and Pierce's one-ACT Productions is expected to play The Vineyard in 2012. However, expect something altogether new to come from this partnership, as Kander says: "Fortunately there never came a day when I had to face meeting or interviewing people as potential collaborators after I lost Fred...Fred was a character person, and while he was very strong about story, Greg thinks about the layers and details and economy of story like the short-story writer that he is."