Scope and arrangement
This collection includes materials from 1927 though 2004, when Ebb died. The collection contains scripts, scores and production files pertaining to Ebb's musicals as well as photographs, awards and personal and business files. One of the highlights is the collection of extensive scrapbooks Ebb kept on each of his shows and other aspects of his life and career, containing playbills, programs, photographs, correspondence, press coverage and various souvenirs of the shows.
The collection also includes many score sheets and lyric drafts for songs that were cut from famous Kander and Ebb productions like Cabaret, Chicago and Kiss of the Spiderwoman, as well as scores and script drafts for unproduced Kander and Ebb projects, including Golden Gate and Santa Teresa, a musical about Eva Peron. Also represented are several projects Ebb was working on until his death, such as The Skin of Our Teeth, The Visit and Curtains . In addition to Ebb's many projects with John Kander, this collection also covers Ebb's early career, with other composers, such as Paul Klein and Phil Springer.
Another notable feature of this collection is the script series, which documents many of Ebb's shows through several drafts of extensive revisions. This collection mainly covers Ebb's professional life and only includes a few personal items. The scrapbooks and scripts make up the bulk of this collection.
The Fred Ebb papers are arranged in eight series:
- 1951-200449 boxes
This series consists of Ebb's scrapbooks, which contain playbills and programs for Broadway, regional and international productions of Ebb shows, photographs, correspondence, press coverage, such as newspaper clippings, reviews, interviews, ticket stubs and various souvenirs of the shows. The scrapbooks contain the bulk of Ebb's personal correspondence, including opening night telegrams and cards from Ebb's friends and notable colleagues, such as Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey, Chita Rivera and John Kander. Ebb made scrapbooks for each show as well as many scrapbooks covering his career in general, his early works, honors and the special material he wrote for various performers. Items that could not be viewed in their entirety as placed in the scrapbooks have been moved to envelopes at the front of the scrapbooks.
- 1927-200433 boxes
This series largely consists of scripts for Ebb's stage musicals, but also includes motion picture and television projects. In addition to Ebb's famous works, many unproduced shows are represented here. There are also a few scripts for projects not written by Ebb. There are also scripts for specialty acts written by Ebb for such performers as Liza Minnelli, Shirley MacLaine, Frank Sinatra and Mikhail Baryshnikov. As well as representing lesser-known works by Ebb, this series is notable for its documentation of Ebb and his collaborators' very extensive revision process.
- 1931-200214 boxes
This series largely consists of scores for Ebb's stage musicals, but also includes motion picture and television projects. There are also sheets for songs written by Ebb with various composers in the 1950s prior to his long collaboration with John Kander.
- 1960-20026 boxes
This series consists of articles, audition notes, budgets, business files, cast lists, contact sheets, contracts, correspondence, costume plots, drafts of lyrics, essays and papers, invoices, itineraries, memos, notebooks, outlines, playbills, programs, productions notes, prop lists, proposals, public relations materials, research materials, schedules song lists, sound cues, telegrams and various other production files pertaining to particular shows. The bulk of materials that would be classified as production files were arranged in Ebb's scrapbooks and are subsequently in Series I.
- 1961-19984 boxes
This series includes business files and correspondence that do not pertain to a particular Ebb show as well as personal files and correspondence.
- 1955-20031 box
This series contains certificates of various awards, award nominations and honors, that Ebb received throughout his career.
- 1962-19981 box
This series contains photographs of Ebb, various colleagues and associates and includes backstage shots and production shots from Ebb shows. The majority of the photographs in this collection are in the scrapbooks, so researchers should also consult Series I.
- 1955-20021 box
This series consists of oversized awards, one poster and one album cover.