Leslie Bricusse

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Leslie Bricusse
Born (1931-01-29) 29 January 1931 (age 88)
Pinner, Middlesex, UK
Origin London, England
Years active1952–present

Leslie Bricusse (born 29 January 1931) is an English composer, lyricist, and playwright, most prominently working in musicals and also cinema theme music.

Musical theatre Stage work that combines songs, music, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance

Musical theatre is a form of theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance. The story and emotional content of a musical – humor, pathos, love, anger – are communicated through words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole. Although musical theatre overlaps with other theatrical forms like opera and dance, it may be distinguished by the equal importance given to the music as compared with the dialogue, movement and other elements. Since the early 20th century, musical theatre stage works have generally been called, simply, musicals.

Theme music is a piece that is often written specifically for a radio program, television program, video game, or movie and is usually played during the intro, opening credits, and/or ending credits.


Early life and education

Bricusse born in Pinner, Middlesex [1] [2] was educated at University College School in London then Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge. While at Cambridge, he was Secretary of Footlights between 1952 and 1953 and Footlights President during the following year. [3]

Pinner area of west London

Pinner is an affluent town in the London Borough of Harrow in northwest London, England, 12 miles (19 km) from Charing Cross. It is within the bounds of the historic county of Middlesex, and located close to the border with the borough of Hillingdon.

Middlesex historic county of England

Middlesex is an historic county in southeast England. Its area is now almost entirely within the wider urbanised area of London. Its area is now also mostly within the ceremonial county of Greater London, with small sections in other neighbouring ceremonial counties. It was established in the Anglo-Saxon system from the territory of the Middle Saxons, and existed as an official administrative unit until 1965. The county is bounded to the south by the River Thames, and includes the rivers Colne and Lea and a ridge of hills as the other boundaries. The largely low-lying county, dominated by clay in its north and alluvium on gravel in its south, is the second smallest by area of England's historic counties, after Rutland.

University College School Camden, Greater London, NW3

University College School, generally known as UCS Hampstead, is an independent day school in Frognal, northwest London, England. The school was founded in 1830 by University College London and inherited many of that institution's progressive and secular views.


In the 1960s and 1970s, Bricusse enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Anthony Newley. They wrote the musical Stop the World – I Want to Get Off (1961) which was made into a film in 1966. Also in collaboration with Newley, Bricusse wrote The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd (1965) and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), based on the children's book by Roald Dahl, and for which they received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song Score. When he collaborated with Newley, the two men referred to themselves as the team of "Brickman and Newburg", with "Newburg" concentrating mainly on the music and "Brickman" on the lyrics. Ian Fraser often did their arrangements.

Anthony Newley British actor and musician

Anthony Newley was an English actor, singer and songwriter. Newley achieved success as a performer in such diverse fields as rock and roll and stage and screen acting. As a recording artist he enjoyed a dozen Top 40 entries on the UK Singles Chart between 1959 and 1962, including two number one hits. With songwriting partner Leslie Bricusse, Newley penned "Feeling Good", which was popularised by Nina Simone and covered by many other popular artists, as well as the title song of 1964 film Goldfinger. Bricusse and Newley received an Academy Award nomination for the film score of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971).

<i>Stop the World – I Want to Get Off</i> musical

Stop the World – I Want to Get Off is a musical with a book, music, and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.

<i>The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd</i> musical

The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd is a musical with a book, music, and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. The musical is best known for introducing the standards "A Wonderful Day Like Today", "Who Can I Turn To?", "Feeling Good", and "The Joker" the last of which was covered most successfully by Bobby Rydell. The show title is a transposition of the phrase "the smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the crowd," referring to the experience of theatre performers.

Working solely as a lyricist, he collaborated with composer Cyril Ornadel on Pickwick (1963), based on Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers , a successful vehicle for Harry Secombe. Later collaborators included Henry Mancini ( Victor/Victoria in 1982 and Tom and Jerry The Movie in 1992) and John Williams ( Hook in 1991). As composer and lyricist he scored the notorious box office film flop, Doctor Dolittle (1967), for which he received an Academy Award for Best Original Song ("Talk to the Animals"), and the less-successful Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969).

Cyril Ornadel was a British conductor, songwriter and composer, chiefly in musical theatre. He worked regularly with David Croft, the television writer, director and producer, as well as Norman Newell and Hal Shaper. He was awarded the Gold Badge of Merit by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors for services to British Music and won a total of four Ivor Novello Awards.

<i>Pickwick</i> (musical) musical

Pickwick is a musical with a book by Wolf Mankowitz, music by Cyril Ornadel, and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. Based on The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, it is set in and around London and Rochester in 1828.

Charles Dickens English writer and social critic

Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories are still widely read today.

Sammy Davis Jr. had hits with two of Bricusse's songs, "What Kind of Fool Am I?" (from Stop the World - I Want to Get Off ) and "The Candy Man" (from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory ) which became a No. 1 hit. [4] Other recording artists who have had popular success with his songs include Nina Simone ("Feeling Good"), Matt Monro and Frank Sinatra ("My Kind of Girl"), Shirley Bassey ("Goldfinger"), Harry Secombe ("If I Ruled the World"), Nancy Sinatra ("You Only Live Twice"), The Turtles ("A Guide for the Married Man"), Maureen McGovern ("Can You Read My Mind"), and Diana Krall ("When I Look in Your Eyes"). [5] Bricusse partnered with George Tipton to write the opening theme of the US television series It's a Living .

Sammy Davis Jr. American musician and entertainer

Samuel George Davis Jr. was an American singer, musician, dancer, actor, vaudevillian, comedian and activist known for his impressions of actors, musicians and other celebrities. At age three, Davis Jr. began his career in vaudeville with his father Sammy Davis Sr. and the Will Mastin Trio, which toured nationally.

The Candy Man 1972 single by Sammy Davis, Jr.

"The Candy Man" is a song that originally appeared in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. It was written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley specifically for the film. Although the original book by Roald Dahl contains lyrics adapted for other songs in the film, the lyrics to "The Candy Man" do not appear in the book. The soundtrack version of the song was sung by Aubrey Woods, who played Bill the candy store owner in the film.

Pure Imagination: The World of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, devised and directed by Bruce Kimmel, opened at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice, California, on 7 December 2013. In 2015, it went to the St James Theatre, London. [6]

Bruce Kimmel, also known as Guy Haines, is an actor, writer, director, composer, and Grammy-nominated CD producer. Kimmel lives in Los Angeles. He has one daughter.

Pacific Resident Theatre (PRT) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit theatre company located at 707 Venice Boulevard in Venice, California. It was founded as an actors cooperative in Venice's arts district in 1985 and is dedicated to producing both classic and little known plays, as well as works by new authors. The company has received over 90 awards including awards from the L.A. Drama Critics Circle, Drama-Logue, the NAACP, the LA Weekly and Garland.

Personal life

Bricusse resides in California and is married to actress Yvonne Romain. [7] They have a son, Adam. [7]



Songs [14]

Awards [15]

Nominations [15]

Related Research Articles

<i>Doctor Dolittle</i> (1967 film) 1967 American musical film directed by Richard Fleischer

Doctor Dolittle is a 1967 American DeLuxe Color musical film directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Rex Harrison, Samantha Eggar, Anthony Newley and Richard Attenborough. It was adapted by Leslie Bricusse from the novel series by Hugh Lofting. It primarily fuses three of the books The Story of Doctor Dolittle, The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, and Doctor Dolittle's Circus.

<i>Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory</i> 1971 film by Mel Stuart

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a 1971 American musical fantasy family film directed by Mel Stuart and starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. It is an adaptation of the 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Dahl was credited with writing the film's screenplay; however, David Seltzer, who went uncredited in the film, was brought in to re-work the screenplay against Dahl's wishes, making major changes to the ending and adding musical numbers. These changes and other decisions made by the director led Dahl to disown the film.

<i>Goodbye, Mr. Chips</i> (1969 film) 1969 film by Herbert Ross

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"Pure Imagination" is a song from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. It was written by British composers Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley specifically for the movie. It was sung by Gene Wilder.

"What Kind of Fool Am I?" is a popular song written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley and published in 1962. It was introduced by Anthony Newley in the musical Stop The World - I Want To Get Off. It comes at the end of Act Two to close the show. Bricusse and Newley received the 1961 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically, and the 1963 Grammy Award for Song of the Year, becoming the first Britons to do so.

<i>For the Love of It</i> (album) 2005 studio album by Bradley Joseph

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<i>Sammy Davis Jr. Now</i> 1972 studio album by Sammy Davis, Jr.

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"The Joker" is a song by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, from the 1964 musical The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd.

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Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka is a musical that combines elements of both Roald Dahl's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and of the 1971 movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory with newly created material. The musical has several versions: the original version which premiered in 2004, the Junior version, the Kids version, and the Theatre for Young Audiences version. All are owned by Music Theatre International, the company that owns the Willy Wonka license.

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<i>Herbie Mann Plays The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd</i> 1965 studio album by Herbie Mann

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<i>Doctor Dolittle</i> (musical) stage musical with book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse

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  1. "Interview – triple threat writer Leslie Bricusse".
  2. Smurthwaite, Nick (26 May 2011). "Leslie Bricusse: changing face of success | Features".
  3. "Official site". LeslieBricusse.com. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  4. "Sammy Davis, Jr". The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. Billboard. 1988. Retrieved 22 September 2014 via Superseventies.com.
  5. "Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka". kennedy-center.org. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  6. Shenton, Mark. "Mark Shenton's theatre picks: September 24". 24 September 2015. thestage.co.uk. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  7. 1 2 Woodward, Clair."Leslie Bricusse and Yvonne Romain: Golden couple’s Hollywood greats" Express, November 12, 2007
  8. "Stage productions". songwritershalloffame.org. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  9. 1 2 "Leslie Bricusse". IBDB.com. Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  10. "Film Scores". songwritershalloffame.org. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  11. "Stage listing". LeslieBricusse.com. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  12. "Wildhorn and Bricusse's 'CYRANO' Debuts at Tokyo's Nissay Theatre, Osaka Run, Tour to Follow". uk.broadwayworld.com. 18 May 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  13. Jones, Kenneth (29 July 2009). "A New 'Candy Man': Tony Nominee Babatundé Will Be Sammy in New Musical". Playbill.com. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012.
  14. "Song catalog". songwritershalloffame.org. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  15. 1 2 3 "Awards and nominations list". songwritershalloffame.org. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  16. "Leslie Bricusse: Awards and Nominations". IMDb.com. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 22 September 2014.