‘Come Hear The Music Play’-A Behind-The-Scenes Look at Kander and Ebb’s Musicals by Their Former Agent Richard Seff Begins Tomorrow on DCMetroTheaterArts

On March 18th composer John Kander will mark his 90th Birthday and to honor that happy occasion I’m going to unearth some of the memories I have of  the twenty years in which I represented him as his agent.

From Left to Right: John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Richard Seff at a dinner honoring Harold Prince. Photo courtesy of Richard Seff.

I’ve had a vicarious kick out of the next forty years of his illustrious career, but this piece will deal more with how, when and what happened in the beginning.

Left to Right: John Kander and Fred Ebb and their musicals. Photo courtesy of Broadwaybox.com.

That was over 60 years ago on the memorable day when I first heard him play some of his songs at an audition. In the days ahead, I’ll explore moments in the twenty years when I first heard ‘the music play.’

LINKS:
Come Hear The Music Play’-A Behind-The-Scenes Look at Kander and Ebb’s Musicals by Their Former Agent Richard Seff Begins Tomorrow on DCMetroTheaterArts by Richard Seff.

‘COME HEAR THE MUSIC PLAY:’ Memories of My Twenty Years as Agent For John Kander by Richard Seff: Part One: The House Lights Dim’ By Richard Seff.

‘COME HEAR THE MUSIC PLAY:’ Memories of My Twenty Years as Agent For John Kander by Richard Seff: Part Two: ‘The Curtain Rises’: ‘Flora, The Red Menace, ‘Cabaret, ‘Zorba,’ and ‘The Happy Time.’  

‘COME HEAR THE MUSIC PLAY:’ Part 3: Memories of My Twenty Years as Agent For John Kander by Richard Seff: Part Three: ’70 Girls 70,’ ‘Chicago,’ ‘The Rink,” ‘The World Goes Round,’ ‘The Act’, ‘Woman of the Year’, and ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’

Richard Seff’s memoirs: Supporting Player: My Life Upon the Wicked Stage.

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Richard Seff
RICHARD SEFF has been working in theatre since he made his acting debut in support of Claude Rains in the prize winning DARKNESS AT NOON, and he agreed to tour the next season in support of Edward G. Robinson, which took him across the nation and back for nine months. When it was over and he was immediately offered another national tour with THE SHRIKE with Van Heflin, he decided to explore other areas, and he spent the next 22 years representing artists in the theatre as an agent, where he worked at Liebling-Wood, MCA, eventually a partnership of his own called Hesseltine-Bookman and Seff, where he discovered and developed young talents like Chita Rivera, John Kander, Fred Ebb, Ron Field, Linda Lavin, Nancy Dussault and many others. He ultimately sold his interest to ICM. When he completed his contractual obligation to that international agency, he returned to his first love, acting and writing for the theatre. In that phase of his long and varied life, he wrote a comedy (PARIS IS OUT!) which brightened the 1970 season on Broadway for 107 performances. He became a successful supporting player in film, tv and onstage, and ultimately wrote a book about his journey, SUPPORTING PLAYER: MY LIFE UPON THE WICKED STAGE, still popular with older theatre lovers and youngsters who may not yet know exactly where they will most sensibly and profitably fit into the world of show business. The book chronicles a life of joyous work working in a favored profession in many areas, including leading roles in the regional theatres in his work in Lanford Wilson's ANGELS FALL. His last stage role was in THE COUNTESS in which he played Mr. Ruskin for 9 months off Broadway. Five seasons ago Joel Markowitz suggested he join him at DCTheatreScene. His accurate and readable reviews of the New York Scene led, when the time was right, for his joining DCMetroTheaterArts to continue bringing news of the Big Apple's productions just to keep you posted. He is delighted to be able to join DCMTA and work with Joel and hopes that you like what he has to say.