"The greatest thing about Kander and Ebb is you sing their songs and you feel good."
- Liza Minnelli
John Kander, the composer half of the legendary songwriting team, Kander and Ebb that has produced Cabaret, Woman of the Year, The Act and the incomparable Chicago, was born in Kansas City, Missouri on March 18, 1927.
Kander began studying music as a child and in his early career worked as a conductor and accompanying pianist for many productions. From 1955 through 1958, Kander was choral director and conductor for the Warwick Musical Theatre in Rhode Island. He was also the pianist for The Amazing Adele and An Evening with Bea Lillie. He was the conductor for the 1957 New York revival of Conversation Piece and arranged the dance music for the productions of Gypsy (1959) and Irma la Douce (1960). Kander made his Broadway composing debut in a 1962 collaboration with James Goldman. The production, A Family Affair, was short lived but included hit songs such as Anything For You, Theres a Room in My House and Harmony.
In 1964, Kander was introduced to Fred Ebb, a lyricist who had experienced some minor success with novelty tunes.
The first successful Kander & Ebb collaboration was on the song "My Coloring Book," recorded by Kitty Kallen, Sandy Stewart, and Barbra Streisand. The duo's first stage musical, Golden Gate, went unrealized, but it did convince producer Harold Prince to hire them for his new Broadway show Flora, The Red Menace, a satire of Greenwich Village bohemian culture and radical politics that starred Liza Minnelli in her Tony Award-winning Broadway debut. Though not a hit, the show solidified Kander and Ebb as a team and Liza Minnelli as a star.