This is a really great article in the New York Times about composer John Kander who wrote Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, the scores to the movies All That Jazz and New York, New York, and so much more. And clearly such a deserving subject, at age 96, still working on Broadway.
It will not shock you that my favorite line had nothing to do with the theater, but was the description by the reporter about Kander still -- "...making the bed, tight as a drum, as he was taught at Camp Nebagamon when he was 10."
For the record, I started at Nebagamon at age 11 (though my friend, Los Angeles Times journalist Patrick Goldstein, who was in my cabin, was a mere kid of 10). And, yes, we did have to make our cots each day, because every cabin was graded by the Day "Push" (a lumberjack term, since the camp was in Wisconsin's North Woods, on the grounds of the original Weyerhaeuser lumber mills) on how clean it was.
What the article doesn't note is that two other people at camp with John Kander at the time were brothers William Goldman and Jim Goldman. They all stayed lifelong friends, were roommates in New York, and even collaborated on a musical together, A Family Affair. Later, Kander went off to his legendary career, William Goldman went off to write Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President's Mean, and James Goldman went off to write the play A Lion in Winter and the musical, Follies, with Stephen Sondheim.
My one quibble with the article is when the reporter says that Kander doesn't like the song "New York, New York." I've never heard him say that. All that I've heard him say is the same thing he says in the article. That he "doesn't get it." But not getting why something is SO popular is not even remotely the same as "not liking it."
Anyway, how great that he's been getting all this attention -- finally -- at age 96. You can read the terrific article here even if you don't subscribe to the Times, because I've embedded it with a gift subscription link.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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