All tagged Alan Jay Lerner
One of the most popular musicals of the twentieth century (it was certainly produced by every high school and community theatre) was the 1947 Lerner & Loewe classic Brigadoon. It established the composing team as second only to Rodgers and Hammerstein in prowess, setting the duo up to evolve toward their most celebrated project, My Fair Lady. Brigadoon tells the story of two Americans on a hunting trip in the Scottish Highlands.
Here’s a binge list that I think many of you will love. I went, year by year, and found clips of every Oscar-winning Best Song, from 1934 to the present. It’s one hell of a list, full of great songs an loads of terrific performances. Wherever I could, I tried to find clips from the actual films. Only a few eluded me, so I had to stray outside that format. I enjoyed putting it together for you. In honor of this year’s nominees, let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Writing the book for a Broadway musical is a craft that is fraught with landmines. It is the delicate art of creating the framework for musical storytelling, a house of cards on which to hang the songs and characters that will hopefully yield a fascinating depth and a compelling purpose. When a musical fails, the blame is often put squarely on the musical's book, yet if a show succeeds, the book writer is rarely given the credit they are due. Despite the challenges a book writer faces, there has been a handful of craftsmen who have successfully delivered first-rate books that continue to be as potent and perfect as the days these shows opened. Help me celebrate the unsung heroes of musical theatre, the most-enduring of Broadway musical book writers.
Lerner and Loewe are considered by many, after Rodgers and Hammerstein, to be the “duo supreme” of musical theatre composing teams. They certainly got onboard for the Rodgers and Hammerstein formula, and many of their musicals owe their success to that template. From their early scores for Brigadoon and Paint Your Wagon, to film with Gigi and The Little Prince, to their masterpiece My Fair Lady, the partnership yielded some of the most elegant, sophisticated, and memorable music in the history of musicals.