Lorenz Hart (right) with Richard Rodgers in 1936
|Birth name||Lorenz Milton Hart|
|Born||May 2, 1895|
New York City, U.S.
|Died||November 22, 1943 48) (aged|
New York City, U.S.
Lorenz Milton Hart (May 2, 1895 – November 22, 1943) was the lyricist half of the Broadway songwriting team Rodgers and Hart. Some of his more famous lyrics include "Blue Moon", "The Lady Is a Tramp", "Manhattan", "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", and "My Funny Valentine".
Hart was born in Harlem, New York City, the elder of two sons, to Jewish immigrant parents, Max M. and Frieda (Isenberg) Hart, of German background. Through his mother, he was a great-grandnephew of the German poet Heinrich Heine.His father, a business promoter, sent Hart and his brother to private schools. (His brother, Teddy Hart, also went into theatre and became a musical comedy star. Teddy Hart's wife, Dorothy Hart, wrote a biography of Lorenz Hart.)
Hart received his early education from Columbia Grammar School and then attended Columbia University School of Journalism for two years.In 1919 a friend introduced him to Richard Rodgers, and the two joined forces to write songs for a series of amateur and student productions.
By 1918, Hart was working for the Shubert brothers, partners in theatre, translating German plays into English.In 1919, his and Rodgers' song "Any Old Place With You" was included in the Broadway musical comedy A Lonely Romeo. In 1920, six of their songs were used in the musical comedy Poor Little Ritz Girl , which also had music by Sigmund Romberg. They were hired to write the score for the 1925 Theatre Guild production The Garrick Gaieties , the success of which brought them acclaim.
Rodgers and Hart subsequently wrote the music and lyrics for 26 Broadway musicals during a more-than-20-year partnership that ended shortly before Hart's early death. Their "big four" were Babes in Arms, The Boys From Syracuse , Pal Joey , and On Your Toes. The Rodgers and Hart songs have been described as intimate and destined for long lives outside the theater.Many of their songs are standard repertoire for singers and jazz instrumentalists. Notable singers who have performed and recorded their songs have included Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Blossom Dearie, and Carly Simon. Hart has been called "the expressive bard of the urban generation which matured during the interwar years". But the "encomiums suggest(ing) that Larry Hart was a poet" caused his friend and fellow writer Henry Myers to state otherwise. "Larry in particular was primarily a showman. If you can manage to examine his songs technically, and for the moment elude their spell, you will see that they are all meant to be acted, that they are part of a play. Larry was a playwright."
Rodgers and Hart wrote music and lyrics for several films, including Love Me Tonight (1932), The Phantom President (1932), Hallelujah, I'm a Bum (1933), and Mississippi (1935).With their successes, during the Great Depression Hart was earning $60,000 annually, and he became a magnet for many people. He gave numerous large parties. Beginning in 1938, he traveled more often and suffered from his drinking. Nevertheless, Rodgers and Hart continued working together through mid-1942, with their final new musical being 1942's By Jupiter .
The New York Times reported on July 23, 1942: "The Theatre Guild announced yesterday that Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II will soon begin work on a musical version of Lynn Riggs's folk-play, 'Green Grow the Lilacs,' which the Guild produced for sixty-four performances at the Guild Theatre in 1931." The musical opened March 31, 1943 as Oklahoma! but Hart had exited, leaving Rodgers and his new partner Hammerstein as the composer and lyricist.
Hart, meanwhile, was much affected by his mother's death in late April 1943. Regrouping somewhat, Rodgers and Hart teamed a final time in the fall of 1943 for a revival of A Connecticut Yankee . Six new numbers, including "To Keep My Love Alive", were written for this reworked version of the play; it would prove to be Hart's last lyric. Hart had taken off the night of the opening and was gone for two days. He was found ill in a hotel room and taken to Doctors Hospital, Upper East Side, but died within a few days.
After Hart's death, Rodgers continued his collaboration with Oscar Hammerstein II. Theirs was a long and successful collaboration, one which made them one of the most successful composing teams of the 20th century.
According to Thomas Hischak, Hart "had a remarkable talent for polysyllabic and internal rhymes",and his lyrics have often been praised for their wit and technical sophistication.
According The New York Times music critic Stephen Holden, "Many of Hart's ballad lyrics conveyed a heart-stopping sadness that reflected his conviction that he was physically too unattractive to be lovable."Holden also noted that "In his lyrics, as in his life, Hart stands as a compellingly lonely figure. Although he wrote dozens of songs that are playful, funny and filled with clever wordplay, it is the rueful vulnerability beneath their surface that lends them a singular poignancy."
Hart lived with his widowed mother. He suffered from alcoholism, and would sometimes disappear for weeks at a time on alcoholic binges.
Many of his lyrics were the confessional outpourings of a hopeless romantic who loathed his own body. By all accounts, Hart, who stood just under five feet tall and wreathed himself in cigar smoke, saw himself as an undesirable freak. Homosexual in the era of the closet, he pursued a secretive and tormented erotic life of which only hints appear in his songs.
Hart suffered from depression throughout his life. His erratic behavior was often the cause of friction between him and Rodgers and led to a breakup of their partnership in 1943 before his death. Rodgers then began collaborating with Oscar Hammerstein II.
Devastated by the death of his mother seven months earlier, Hart died in New York City of pneumonia from exposure on November 22, 1943, after drinking heavily.His remains are buried in Mount Zion Cemetery in Queens County, New York. The circumstances of his life were heavily edited and romanticized for the 1948 MGM biopic Words and Music .
Carousel is the second musical by the team of Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II. The 1945 work was adapted from Ferenc Molnár's 1909 play Liliom, transplanting its Budapest setting to the Maine coastline. The story revolves around carousel barker Billy Bigelow, whose romance with millworker Julie Jordan comes at the price of both their jobs. He participates in a robbery to provide for Julie and their unborn child; after it goes tragically wrong, he is given a chance to make things right. A secondary plot line deals with millworker Carrie Pipperidge and her romance with ambitious fisherman Enoch Snow. The show includes the well-known songs "If I Loved You", "June Is Bustin' Out All Over" and "You'll Never Walk Alone". Richard Rodgers later wrote that Carousel was his favorite of all his musicals.
Jerome David Kern was an American composer of musical theatre and popular music. One of the most important American theatre composers of the early 20th century, he wrote more than 700 songs, used in over 100 stage works, including such classics as "Ol' Man River", "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man", "A Fine Romance", "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "The Song Is You", "All the Things You Are", "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Long Ago ". He collaborated with many of the leading librettists and lyricists of his era, including George Grossmith Jr., Guy Bolton, P. G. Wodehouse, Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II, Dorothy Fields, Johnny Mercer, Ira Gershwin and Yip Harburg.
Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein II was an American lyricist, librettist, theatrical producer, and director in the musical theater for almost 40 years. He won eight Tony Awards and two Academy Awards for Best Original Song. Many of his songs are standard repertoire for vocalists and jazz musicians. He co-wrote 850 songs.
Richard Charles Rodgers was an American composer, known largely for his work in musical theater. With 43 Broadway musicals and over 900 songs to his credit, Rodgers was one of the most significant American composers of the 20th century, and his compositions had a significant impact on popular music.
The King and I is the fifth musical by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II. It is based on Margaret Landon's novel, Anna and the King of Siam (1944), which is in turn derived from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s. The musical's plot relates the experiences of Anna, a British schoolteacher hired as part of the King's drive to modernize his country. The relationship between the King and Anna is marked by conflict through much of the piece, as well as by a love to which neither can admit. The musical premiered on March 29, 1951, at Broadway's St. James Theatre. It ran for nearly three years, making it the fourth longest-running Broadway musical in history at the time, and has had many tours and revivals.
Oklahoma! is the first musical written by the duo of Rodgers and Hammerstein. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs' 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. Set in farm country outside the town of Claremore, Indian Territory, in 1906, it tells the story of farm girl Laurey Williams and her courtship by two rival suitors, cowboy Curly McLain and the sinister and frightening farmhand Jud Fry. A secondary romance concerns cowboy Will Parker and his flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie.
Rodgers and Hart were an American songwriting partnership between composer Richard Rodgers (1902–1979) and the lyricist Lorenz Hart (1895–1943). They worked together on 28 stage musicals and more than 500 songs from 1919 until Hart's death in 1943.
Rodgers and Hammerstein refers to the duo of composer Richard Rodgers (1902–1979) and lyricist-dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II (1895–1960), who together were an influential, innovative and successful American musical theatre writing team. They created a string of popular Broadway musicals in the 1940s and 1950s, initiating what is considered the "golden age" of musical theatre. Five of their Broadway shows, Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music, were outstanding successes, as was the television broadcast of Cinderella (1957). Of the other four shows that the team produced on Broadway during their lifetimes, Flower Drum Song was well-received, and none was an outright flop. Most of their shows have received frequent revivals around the world, both professional and amateur. Among the many accolades their shows garnered were thirty-four Tony Awards, fifteen Academy Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes and two Grammy Awards.
Flower Drum Song was the eighth musical by the team of Rodgers and Hammerstein. It is based on the 1957 novel, The Flower Drum Song, by Chinese-American author C. Y. Lee. It premiered on Broadway in 1958 and was then performed in the West End and on tour. It was adapted for a 1961 musical film.
Garrick Gaieties is a revue with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Lorenz Hart, the first successful musical by this songwriting team.
Martin Charnin was an American lyricist, writer, and theatre director. Charnin's best-known work is as conceiver, director and lyricist of the musical Annie.
A Connecticut Yankee is a musical based on the 1889 novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by American writer Mark Twain. Like most adaptations of the Twain novel, it focuses on the lighter aspects of the story. The music was written by Richard Rodgers, the lyrics by Lorenz Hart, and the book by Herbert Fields. It was produced by Lew Fields and Lyle D. Andrews. It enjoyed an original run on Broadway in 1927 of 421 performances and a number of revivals.
Me and Juliet is a musical comedy by Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II, and their sixth stage collaboration. The work tells a story of romance backstage at a long-running musical: assistant stage manager Larry woos chorus girl Jeanie behind the back of her electrician boyfriend, Bob. Me and Juliet premiered in 1953 and was considered a modest success — it ran for much of a year on Broadway and had a limited run in Chicago, and returned a small profit to its backers.
Words and Music is a 1948 American biographical musical film loosely based on the creative partnership of the composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart. The film stars Mickey Rooney as Hart and Tom Drake as Rodgers, along with Janet Leigh, Betty Garrett, Ann Sothern and numerous musical stars. It was the second in a series of MGM biopics about Broadway composers; it was preceded by Till the Clouds Roll By and followed by Three Little Words and Deep in My Heart.
Allegro is a musical by Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II, their third collaboration for the stage. Opening on Broadway on October 10, 1947, the musical centers on the life of Joseph Taylor, Jr., who follows in the footsteps of his father as a doctor, but is tempted by fortune and fame at a big-city hospital.
Jimmy Roberts is an American composer for the musical theater as well as a pianist and entertainer. His musical scores include: I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (1996) and The Thing About Men (2003), both with book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro. He is a 1977 graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with the noted pianist, Constance Keene.
Pipe Dream is the seventh musical by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II; it premiered on Broadway on November 30, 1955. The work is based on John Steinbeck's short novel Sweet Thursday—Steinbeck wrote the novel, a sequel to Cannery Row, in the hope of having it adapted into a musical. Set in Monterey, California, the musical tells the story of the romance between Doc, a marine biologist, and Suzy, who in the novel is a prostitute; her profession is only alluded to in the stage work. Pipe Dream was not an outright flop but was a financial disaster for Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Pal Joey is a musical with a book by John O'Hara and music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. The musical is based on a character and situations O'Hara created in a series of short stories published in The New Yorker, which he later published in novel form. The title character, Joey Evans, is a manipulative small-time nightclub performer whose ambitions lead him into an affair with the wealthy, middle-aged and married Vera Simpson. It includes two songs that have become standards: "I Could Write a Book" and "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered".
"You Took Advantage of Me" is a 1928 popular song composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Lorenz Hart, for the musical Present Arms (1928), where it was introduced by Joyce Barbour and Busby Berkeley as the characters Edna Stevens and Douglas Atwell. The characters were formerly married, but still have romantic feelings for each other. On opening night, Berkeley forgot the lyrics and had to scat and hum the entire second verse. Berkeley also claimed that his nonsense lyrics for the improvised second verse left Hart "almost apoplectic", but the audience was amused and Hart later forgave him. The song was subsequently included in the 1930 film Leathernecking, an adaptation of Present Arms.
Jay Velie was an American actor and singer; he appeared in many Broadway shows during a career that spanned more than fifty years. He also appeared in a few film shorts.
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