Freb Ebb, the lyricist half of the Broadway composing team of Kander and Ebb, which produced such classic musicals as <i>Cabaret</i> and <i>Chicago</i>, has died. He was 71.
Details as to the exact date and cause of his death could not be learned at press time.
John Kander and Freb Ebb collaboration was one of the longest in Broadway musical history. Their first Broadway show was 1965's Flora the Red Menace. But it was their next effort, Cabaret in 1966, that established them as innovative theatre songwriters. The dark-hued show, drawn from Christopher Isherwood's "Berlin Stories," was set in and around a lurid club during pre-war Nazi Germany. Harold Prince's production became a hit which ran for 1165 performances and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. Kander and Ebb also won a Tony for their score.
The film was later made into an Oscar-winning film directed by Bob Fosee and starring Liza Minelli and original stage star Joel Grey.
Mr. Ebb's next few efforts with Kander were less successful. Neither The Happy Time or Zorba ran a year. And 1971's 70 Girls 70 lived for only a month. 1975, however, brought them their second biggest hit and the show for which they are now arguably best known, the gallows humor Jazz Age tale Chicago.
Bob Fosee directed Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera in the tuneful, vaudeville-like tale of murder, adultery and chichanery. The show was a success, running two years. But it was the 1996 Broadway revival (which is still running) and the 2002 Oscar-winning film which truly established the title as a classic.
The team has another hit the 1981 Lauren Bacall vehicle Woman of the Year, adapted from the film of the same name,