New York City Mayor Eric Adams proclaimed “John Kander Day” on March 23 and unveiled a new street sign that renames 44th Street in Manhattan as “Kander & Ebb Way.”
The unveiling ceremony, in honor of composer-lyricists John Kander and the late Fred Ebb, coincided with the first preview of the duo’s newest original musical, “New York, New York,” playing the St. James Theatre on 44th Street. The event was held just days after Kander’s 96th birthday, which was on March 18.
As “New York, New York” producer Tom Kirdahy stated at the event, “Tonight, we celebrate the birth of another Kander & Ebb musical. ‘New York, New York’ is their 15th original Broadway musical.” Additionally, the revival of their musical “Chicago” continues to run at the Ambassador Theatre.
Together, Kander & Ebb are the winners of four Tony Awards, two Emmys and two Grammys. They were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1983 and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1998.
As part of the unveiling ceremony, in tribute to the composer-lyricists, Lin-Manuel Miranda — who provides additional lyrics to “New York, New York” — recited the words to the song “First You Dream” from the Kander & Ebb musical “Steel Pier.”
In addition, students from the Manhattan School of Music performed the title song from “New York, New York” to applause from the crowd and Kander himself.
“What an enormous event this is,” Kander said. “Fred must be here someplace, God would not be so cruel. I have nothing to say except my enormous gratitude to the city of New York, this great city that I love so much.”