Kander & Ebb had a good day Aug. 20. Just hours before the Broadway revival of their Cabaret reopened after a month long layoff, it was announced that the songwriting team who also created Chicago will be among recipients of the 1998 Kennedy Center Honors, honoring lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.
The songwriting duo have experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years, due to highly successful revivals of their musicals Chicago and Cabaret. Their most recent original musical, Steel Pier, did not fare as well, closing on Broadway in 1997 after a short run.
They currently have at least two new musicals in the works -- Over & Over (an adaptation of Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth), and a musicalization of the play The Visit.
Kander and Ebb's partnership is one of the longest is American theatre history. Among their creations are Flora, the Red Menace, The Happy Time, 70, Girls, 70, and The Act. The Dec. 6 will include performances of the team's work TBA. Fans will be eager to see whether they include anything from Over & Over, Kander & Ebb's musical adaptation of The Skin of Our Teeth, which is scheduled to have its world premiere at the Signature Theatre in nearby Arlington, VA on Jan. 6.
Ebb (lyrics), 66, is a native of New York City, while Kander (music), 71, hails from Kansas City, MO. Other honorees include Andre Previn, Bill Cosby, Shirley Temple and Willy Nelson. Previn, best known as a symphony conductor, also has some performing arts credits in his background. He is the composer of Broadway's Coco, and was the conductor and/or composer for numerous movie musicals, including It's Always Fair Weather, Paint Your Wagon, Gigi, Porgy and Bess and My Fair Lady. He won Academy Awards for his work on the last three. He's also reportedly working on a opera based on A Streetcar Named Desire.
As an iconic 1930s child star, Temple tapped her way through movies including The Littlest Rebel, Little Miss Broadway and many more, both musical and non-musical.
The honorees will be saluted at the Kennedy Center on Dec. 6, with President and Mrs. Clinton in attendance. The show will be broadcast on CBS at a later date yet to be announced.