John Harold Kander is a prominent American composer celebrated for his exceptional contributions to the musical theater world. Alongside his talented lyricist Fred Ebb, Kander composed memorable scores for 15 musicals, including the iconic productions of Cabaret and Chicago.
Beyond his professional achievements, Kander’s personal life has also been filled with love and inspiration. In 2010, he married his longtime partner, dancer, and choreographer Albert Stephenson, cementing a relationship that has spanned over four decades. This article delves into the remarkable love story between John Kander and his husband, shedding light on their enduring bond and the impact it has had on Kander’s musical legacy.
All About Kander And Albert Stephenson’s Relationship
John Kander and Albert Stephenson first crossed paths in the late 1970s when Stephenson worked as a dancer in the Kander and Ebb musical, The Act. Their connection grew stronger over time, and after more than three decades together, they decided to take their relationship to the next level. In 2010, Kander and Stephenson exchanged vows in a heartfelt ceremony in Toronto, solidifying their commitment to each other.
The love shared between Kander and Stephenson is not only evident in their personal lives but also manifests itself through the melodies and lyrics that have captivated audiences for decades. Ashrawi, Kander’s grand-nephew, beautifully recounts a touching memory of his grandfather, affectionately known as Grandpa Dave, playing Cabaret on the piano whenever he visited. As Ashrawi later discovered, this act held a profound romantic significance, representing a shared connection and longing between two lovers who had to keep their relationship hidden during a time when being “out” was not widely accepted.
All About John Kander’s Personal Life
Born into a musically inclined family in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 18, 1927, Kander’s journey in the world of music composition began to flourish after studying at Oberlin College and Columbia University. Settling in New York City, he immersed himself in the creative realm, working as an arranger, accompanist, and conductor. In 1965, Kander and Ebb formed a remarkable partnership with legendary director George Abbott and theater powerhouse Harold Prince, which catapulted them into the spotlight with the production of Flora, The Red Menace. From there, a series of triumphs followed, including Cabaret, Chicago, and Kiss of the Spider Woman, solidifying Kander and Ebb’s reputation as trailblazers in the musical theater industry.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when isolation confined many within the walls of their homes, Ashrawi stumbled upon a hidden gem that unraveled a captivating chapter in Kander’s life. A record, tucked away on a shelf, caught his attention. It bore the penciled inscription “Our Boy, 1951, John Kander.” Curiosity piqued, Ashrawi sought answers from his mother, who revealed that the song recorded on the vinyl was written by Kander for Grandpa Dave. This serendipitous discovery not only brought forth an untold narrative of affection but also served as a testament to the profound influence Kander’s loved ones had on his music.
The Strength Of Love: Kander And Ebb’s Profound Partnership:
Although Kander and Ebb’s collaboration spanned over four decades, it was primarily a professional alliance. In a 2003 interview, Kander addressed the persistent speculation about their personal relationship, stating that Ebb was his partner in creativity but not in domesticity or romance. Despite the absence of a romantic connection, their bond transcended beyond the personal, resulting in the creation of unforgettable and timeless musical masterpieces.