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Episode 12
Composers on Writing New Musicals

Council members John Kander and Stephen Flaherty join Jeanine Tesori, Rick Freyer and ‘Skip’ Kennon for a conversation about the composer’s role in the development of new musicals. With their wealth of experience, the discerning panel advises young composers on their relationships with collaborators as well as the prospects of readings and workshops.


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John Kander (born 1927)


John Kander is a composer who has produced award-winning work for theater, film, and television and is recognized for his collaboration with lyricist Fred Ebb creating Broadway hits such as Cabaret, Chicago, and Kiss of the Spider Woman. In addition to his Tony, Grammy, and Emmy awards, Kander has received other public acknowledgments for his contributions to music. He received honorary doctorate degrees from Oberlin College and Niagara University, where he is also a guest lecturer. In 1996 he received the President's Award from the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and was honored by The Dramatists Guild Fund at a gala last spring.

Works Include: A Family Affair (music) (1962); Flora the Red Menace (music) (1965); Cabaret (music) (1966); Zorba (music) (1968); 70, Girls, 70 (music) (1971); Chicago (music) (1976); The Act (music) (1978); Woman of the Year (music) (1981); Kiss of the Spider Woman (music) (1992); Steel Pier (music) (1997); Fosse (music) (1999); Curtains (music) (2006); The Scottsboro Boys (music) (2010).

Stephen Flaherty (born 1960)


Stephen Flaherty is an American composer of musical theatre and is associated with his collaboration with the lyricist/bookwriter Lynn Ahrens on Once on This Island, Seussical and Ragtime. His numerous awards as a composer include the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Los Angeles Critics Circle, Chicago's Joseph Jefferson and London's Olivier Award.

Works Include: Lucky Stiff (music) (1988);Once On This Island (music) (1990); My Favorite Year (music) (1992); Seussical (music) (2000); A Man of No Importance (music) (2002); Dessa Rose (music) (2005); The Glorious Ones (music) (2007).

Jeanine Tesori (born 1961)


Jeanine Tesori is an award-winning American composer and was cited by ASCAP as the first woman composer to have "two new musicals running concurrently on Broadway." Tesori composed the music for the New York Shakespeare Festival's Mother Courage, directed by George C. Wolfe and translated by Tony Kushner and numerous film scores including Nights in Rodanthe, Winds of Change, Show Business and Wrestling With Angels. She has also composed songs for the movie Shrek the Third and for the Disney DVD releases Mulan II, Lilo and Stitch II and The Little Mermaid III.

Works Include: Violet (music) (1997); Thoroughly Modern Millie (music) (2002); Caroline, or Change (music) (2004); Shrek: The Musical (music) (2008); Fun Home (music) (2011).