All tagged Larry Gelbart

Broadway Musical Time Machine: Looking Back at City of Angels

Musical theatre styles derive from many genres, including operetta, folk, and jazz. Remarkably, there are very few musicals that embrace the jazz and blues styles as the basis for their scores. Then came City of Angels, the jazziest, swingingest, bluesiest musical to ever hit Broadway, while also being an accurate pastiche of the Film Noir. City of Angels was assembled by some of Broadway's most unique talents. Music was composed by Cy Coleman who was well-known for scores such as Little MeSweet CharityOn the Twentieth Century, and Barnum. Coleman was one of the most eclectic of all composers, capable of writing in almost any musical style you could imagine. The book was by Larry Gelbart who, with Burt Shevlove, wrote the raucous libretto for the farcical musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Gelbart also served as a writer and producer for the prolific television comedy M*A*S*H. For lyrics, City of Angels would introduce audiences to the wit and wordplay of David Zippel who would go on to write the lyrics for the Disney film Hercules (with composer Alan Menken) and for the Broadway musical The Goodbye Girl (with composer Marvin Hamlisch).

The Top Ten Musical Books - Bookwriters: The Unsung Heroes

The bookwriter of a musical is probably the greatest unsung hero of Broadway. He or she gets very little recognition when a show works, but when a show fails, the book writer is often the first to be blamed. It is perhaps a thankless task, but their work is essential to designing the framework of the story for the composer and lyricist to hang their score on. Indeed, some of the book writer's best writing is often transformed into musical moments, stealing the best of their thunder. Many books of a Broadway musical are amazingly strong and today's top-ten list is an examination of some of the best. I made my choices by the criteria of originality, intelligently designed character voice, and the book needs to follow strong storytelling structure. I know I will be maligned for leaving certain titles out and I'm glad to justify why I left them off the list. Start the debate and maybe I'll agree. Or...maybe not.