Although he passed away in September 2004, the generosity of legendary writer/lyricist Fred Ebb lives on through The Fred Ebb Foundation, which has given $850,000 to Broadway Cares since 2005.
BC/EFA continues to benefit because, in his will, Ebb stipulated that at the end of each year, royalties earned on his works would be distributed through his foundation, with Broadway Cares designated the only non-profit charitable organization to receive these royalties. In December of 2005, BC/EFA was very grateful to receive a first check for $300,000; a second $550,000 donation followed in 2006.
The Music Lives On
In addition to supporting BC/EFA, the foundation gives a $50,000 annual gift as The Fred Ebb Award to “recognize excellence in musical theatre songwriting by a lyricist, composer, or songwriting team that has not yet achieved significant commercial success.” The aim of the honor is to encourage and support new musical theatre works. In December 2005, John Bucchino received the first award. In 2006, the second $50,000 award was presented to the composer/lyricist team of Steven Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman who are working on a musical based on the classic English film Kind Hearts and Coronets.
With collaborator John Kander, Ebb created Chicago, Cabaret and other unforgettable musicals that continue to be produced around the world; they include Kiss of the Spider Woman, Zorba, Woman of the Year and Steel Pier.
During Ebb’s lifetime, he and Kander helped raise a significant amount of money for BC/EFA, through collections at their shows and various other fundraising events. “If he was in town, Fred always called for seats to The Gypsy of the YearCompetition and The Easter Bonnet Competition and seemed particularly happy when he was asked to join the panel of judges for the 1998 Easter Bonnet,” said Tom Viola, BC/EFA Executive Director. “One always had the sense that while Fred loved the ‘zaniness’ of BC/EFA events, he also instinctually understood how that ‘fun’ supported essential social services for people in serious crisis.”
BC/EFA remembers Fred Ebb for all his generous support during his lifetime. We marvel at the sensational and saucy genius of his body of work. And we express our deep gratitude for this extraordinary annual gift.