Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Friday, June 1, 2012

Songwriter John Kander will receive Dramatists Guild Fund honor at Sunday gala

Songwriter John Kander will receive Dramatists Guild Fund honor at Sunday gala 

Group marks 50th anniversary with tribute to another long-running performer


When the Dramatists Guild Fund honors composer John Kander at a star-studded gala Sunday, there is very likely to be one person reluctant to be there. That would be John Kander.
“It scares me to death,” says the Tony Award-winning songwriter with partner Fred Ebb of “Cabaret,” “Chicago” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” “I guess I’m not the world’s most spotlight-oriented person.”
The Dramatists Guild Fund is the public charity arm of the Dramatists Guild of America, which aids and nurtures writers for the theater. The fund is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and chose Kander to honor since he is also marking his half-century of creating art.
The Sunday gala at the Mandarin Oriental New York hotel is slated to feature performances and tributes from Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Bebe Neuwirth, Stockard Channing, Joel Grey, Christie Brinkley, Rob Marshall, Susan Stroman, Debra Monk, Karen Ziemba and Joshua Henry.
Fellow writers Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz and Terrence McNally also are expected to attend, and Jon Cryer, the star of “Two and a Half Men,” will host. Tickets start at $500.
Kander, who just turned 85, didn’t stopped working after Ebb’s death in 2004 — not by a long shot. His and Ebb’s last musical, “The Scottsboro Boys,” received 12 Tony Award nominations in 2011, and Kander for the past few years has collaborated with 34-year-old lyricist Greg Pierce.
Their haunting musical “The Landing,” now being developed Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre with David Hyde Pierce, features three distinct stories performed by an ensemble of four.
“I guess that has been a rejuvenating process, because it’s the first person whom I’ve worked with on a real basis since Fred,” says Kander. “It’s a whole new experience. I’m enjoying it a lot.”
Kander says he doesn’t know any details on the Dramatists Guild gala, and wants to keep it that way.
He suspects old friends will be present.
“I’m very touched to be honored by the Dramatists Guild, which is an organization that means a great deal to me. But I kind of wish it was about somebody else,” said the songwriter who shuns the spotlight.
He says he may try to hide under the table.
“He can’t,” says Minnelli. “I’m sitting next to him.”
The Associated Press


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