John Kander and Walter Bobbie Renew a Collaboration With The Landing

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
19 Nov 2013

John Kander
John Kander
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

The question that brought 86-year-old Tony Award-winning composer John Kander back to the stage on a new project after a 40-year collaboration with late lyricist Fred Ebb was a simple one: "What do I really feel like doing?"

The answer was The Landing, the new chamber musical comprising of three intimate tales that plays the Vineyard Theatre through Nov. 24.

"I had done a lot of big deal musicals," Kander recalled, "and I wanted to do something that was a little deal. I wanted to do something that was really, really, really tiny. So small that you could do it in your living room with four actors and four musicians."

Kander, who collaborated with Slow Girl playwright Greg Pierce on The Landing, was looking for a change in pace from the razzle dazzle legacy he and Ebb created to Tony Award-winning acclaim on Broadway. "I remember I actually stood up when I thought of the structure. I immediately contacted Greg. Besides being immensely musical in his writing, he's the best storyteller I know."

As Kander casually remarked, "We got together and we sat down and made up a story." The Landing finds Kander exploring a new, more somber and pensive musical palette for the stories that deal with love and loss. "It's funny how quickly a single voice emerges from two people," the composer said. The project also marks Kander's first musical with a new collaborator since Ebb's death in 2004.

"I was surprised," he continued. "Fred and I had over the years had a way of writing that [others] said they could recognize. I could not, but people said there was a voice there. I think Greg and I developed our voice very quickly. It seemed like the most natural thing in the world what we were doing, but my response to the stories we were telling was different musically."

In addition, The Landing provided Kander the chance to explore a fresh collaboration with director Walter Bobbie, who earned a Tony Award for staging the hit 1996 revival of Chicago.

"John and I have had the opportunity to really discover each other in a new way on this project," Bobbie stated. "When I worked with him on Chicago, he and Fred gave us the rights to do it, but they really weren't involved really in the conception, or how we were going to do it. When The Landing came along, it just seemed like a wonderful opportunity. I wanted to get back into the room with artists that I admired."

Kander, who broke ground with subject and style in Cabaret and continued to explore theatrical form with his 2010 musical The Scottsboro Boys, took on a new challenge with The Landing: creating three short musicals that would sustain an overall evening of theatre.


1 | 2 Next