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10 Things You Never Knew About The Creators Of Chicago

This fabulous and quite famous musical, created in 1975, was put together by musician John Kander, lyricist (and writer) Fred Ebb, and choreographer (and writer) Bob Fosse. But I bet you didn't know these ten things about them...

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1. Kander had Tuberculosis (TB) as a child

This disease caused an isolation between himself and the other children in the neighborhood and Kander believes that because of this separation he learned to love music at a very early age. He received a piano teacher around the age of 6 and took lessons all the way until he would attend Oberlin College, receive a BA degree in Music and then go on to Columbia University for a Master’s. Although, he would never find success until he met his partner, Fred Ebb in the 60’s.

2. Fred Ebb: The poster child for Big Dreamers without a dime

Ebb was not as lucky as Kander to be able to take music lessons as a young boy, and attend fancy universities for professional music training. In fact, he would work many very difficult, odd jobs such as shining baby shoes, before he started work as a lyricist. His passion for the arts is what carried him through life, until he eventually met John. Soon after they would gain fame with their hit musical, Cabaret.

3. Fosse was not only a choreographer but a very successful Director

With a dancing style based on sensual Vaudeville imagery, many directors and producers found his material too suggestive. In order to maintain the integrity of his work he decided to take on directing roles as well. Some shows that he directed include Cabaret, Sweet Charity, and Pippin, all of which went on to win awards.

4. Michael Jackson asked Fosse to direct his music video Thriller

Unfortunately, this did not happen. Although, from Fosse's distinct and creative style, you can understand why Jackson wanted to work with him. Fosse actually never directed or choreographed a music video in his short lifetime.

5. Kander and Ebb worked very closely with Liza Minnelli

Cabaret was the show to bring this pair fame in 1966 on Broadway. Later, in 1972 the Cabaret film (which Fosse would also work on) was adapted for the talented triple threat, Liza. This film would go on to win several Oscars. In 1974 they would create the Liza with a 'Z' which they won a Grammy award for.

6. Gwen Verdon, the first actress to play Roxie, was married to Bob Fosse

Verdon was actually the one to persuade Fosse to write the murder mystery Chicago and develop it into a musical, so she may play Roxie. Fosse co-wrote the book with Fred Ebb, Kander composed the score a beautiful show was created.

7. A prominent Jewish leader urged Kander and Ebb to cut a song from Cabaret because it was an actual NAZI Propaganda song...

Kander's music in their first hit show Cabaret was meant to evoke NAZI imagery with an eerie refrain. The song "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" was criticized for being an actual NAZI propaganda song. It remained in the show, against the prominent Jewish leader's wishes. The song truly was all Kander's own compositions.

8. During Chicago rehearsals, Fosse would suffer a heart attack

Towards the height of his career, while choreographing Chicago Bob's health would suffer. During this point in his life, Fosse became fascinated with the idea of death, which is the focus of his show All That Jazz written in 1979. Fosse was ultimately killed by a heart attack in 1987. He died before even reaching the hospital.

9. Kander and Ebb truly stayed together until the end

Their partnership did not come to an end until Ebb passed away of a heart attack in his home in New York City in 19… They had been working on a new musical called Curtains which did end up being quite successful, receiving a Tony award, two drama deskk awards and seven more Tony nominations. Ebb never had the chance to see one of their last musicals go up, The Scottsboro Boys (which I highly recommend, it is a great show).

10. Altogether, I cannot count the number of awards these men have won!

Bob Fosse has won more than 25 awards for his work including...

- Academy Award for Best Director (1973 Cabaret )

- Multiple Tony Awards for Best Choreographer (1986 Big Deal, 1978 Dancin', and 1973 Pippin)

- Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical (1973 Pippin)

Kander and Ebb have won more than 35 awards including...

- Multiple Tony Awards Best Original Score (1993 Kiss of the Spider Woman)

- Grammy Hall of Fame (2008 Chicago Original Cast Soundtrack Recording)

- Academy Award for Best Picture (2002 Screen Adaptation of Chicago)

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