By Dominic McHugh
The guy in the back of "I may have Danced all evening" and "Almost Like Being in Love", lyricist Alan Jay Lerner (1918-1986) is extensively considered as the most vital figures of the yankee musical degree. In penning the lyrics to a few of the main famous and loved Broadway exhibits, together with Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, My reasonable Lady, and Camelot, Lerner labored and corresponded with many of the maximum luminaries of well known leisure over a profession which spanned 4 many years, from performers like Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews to composers like André Previn, Leonard Bernstein, Charles Strouse, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and particularly Frederick Loewe.
In this wealthy selection of correspondence, such a lot of it released for the 1st time, writer Dominic McHugh sheds new mild on Lerner's operating relationships with those mythical figures. McHugh's broad statement unearths Lerner's turbulent partnerships with Loewe and Lane, his affection for Harrison, and his reverence for Burton. specific emphasis is put on Lerner's aborted tasks with composers like Richard Rodgers and Arthur Schwartz. specially necessary is the correspondence from his ultimate years, within which he labored on a film model of The Merry Widow, a BBC television sequence approximately musicals, and a musical model of My guy Godfrey, none of which got here to fruition. the gathering ends with a poignant ultimate trade among Lerner and Andrew Lloyd Webber, with whom he was once to have written The Phantom of the Opera. total, this significant and vigorous publication finds the highs and lows of the profession of 1 of America's wittiest and so much romantic lyricists.
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Extra info for Alan Jay Lerner: A Lyricist's Letters
So Miss Harber’s letter is not something I did not anticipate. However, I’m sure the thought has occurred to anyone who questioned the originality of Brigadoon that, after all, if the story were based on or suggested by another, why didn’t I mention it? Artistically it would certainly not have been personally detrimental, nor would it have prevented the play’s achieving success. Shakespeare borrowed plots indiscriminately and it didn’t seem to disturb his reputation. 86 On the same day he wrote this letter, Lerner flatly denied “reports he has split with Frederick Loewe, his tune writer.
It had also provided him with the opportunity to write for one of his idols, Fred Astaire, adding to the extraordinary list of stars for whom Lerner created musicals, and he must have been proud of the double feat of writing for both the major male Hollywood dancers of the Golden Age—Astaire and Kelly. 142 After Brigadoon, Lerner and Loewe were starting to be regarded as serious competition for Rodgers and Hammerstein, and the new show boasted a stellar list of investors including Mary Martin and Josh Logan (star and director, respectively, of South Pacific), Theresa Helburn and Lawrence Langner (directors of the Theatre Guild, who had produced Oklahoma!
24 Val Adams, “News and Notes Gathered from the Studios,” New York Times, August 16, 1953, X9. 25 Dorothy Fields (1905–74) was perhaps the most successful female librettist and lyricist of her era. She was responsible for writing the book for Annie Get Your Gun (1946) and the lyrics for Sweet Charity (1966), among many others. 26 Louis Calta, “News of the Stage,” New York Times, November 12, 1953, 37. 27 Left with nothing to do, Schwartz was glad to jump ship, even if it meant the end of the relationship with Lerner and, sadly, thereby wasting the nine well-honed songs they had written for the Wagon film.