|Born||October 24, 1904|
New York City, U.S.
|Died||December 20, 1961 57) (aged|
Palm Springs, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Ferncliff Cemetery|
|Relatives||Barney Aaron (great-grandfather)|
Moss Hart (October 24, 1904 – December 20, 1961) was an American playwright, librettist, and theatre director.
Hart was born in New York City, the son of Lillian (Solomon) and Barnett Hart, a cigar maker.He had a younger brother, Bernard. He grew up in relative poverty with his English-born Jewish immigrant parents in the Bronx and in Sea Gate, Brooklyn. He was the great-grandson of the Jewish bare-knuckle pugilist Barney Aaron.
Early on he had a strong relationship with his Aunt Kate, with whom he later lost contact due to a falling out between her and his parents, and Kate's weakening mental state. She piqued his interest in the theater and took him to see performances often. Hart even went so far as to create an "alternate ending" to her life in his book Act One . He writes that she died while he was working on out-of-town tryouts for The Beloved Bandit. Later, Kate became eccentric and then disturbed, vandalizing Hart's home, writing threatening letters and setting fires backstage during rehearsals for Jubilee . But his relationship with her was formative. He learned that the theater made possible "the art of being somebody else … not a scrawny boy with bad teeth, a funny name … and a mother who was a distant drudge."
After working several years as a director of amateur theatrical groups and an entertainment director at summer resorts, he scored his first Broadway hit with Once in a Lifetime (1930), a farce about the arrival of the sound era in Hollywood. The play was written in collaboration with Broadway veteran George S. Kaufman, who regularly wrote with others, notably Marc Connelly and Edna Ferber. (Kaufman also performed in the play's original Broadway cast in the role of a frustrated playwright hired by Hollywood.) During the next decade, Kaufman and Hart teamed on a string of successes, including You Can't Take It with You (1936) and The Man Who Came to Dinner (1939). Though Kaufman had hits with others, Hart is generally conceded to be his most important collaborator.
You Can't Take It With You, the story of an eccentric family and how they live during the Depression, won the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for drama. It is Hart's most-revived play. When director Frank Capra and writer Robert Riskin adapted it for the screen in 1938, the film won the Best Picture Oscar and Capra won for Best Director.
The Man Who Came To Dinner is about the caustic Sheridan Whiteside who, after injuring himself slipping on ice, must stay in a Midwestern family's house. The character was based on Kaufman and Hart's friend, critic Alexander Woollcott. Other characters in the play are based on Noël Coward, Harpo Marx and Gertrude Lawrence.
Throughout the 1930s, Hart worked both with and without Kaufman on several musicals and revues, including Face the Music (1932); As Thousands Cheer (1933), with songs by Irving Berlin; Jubilee (musical) (1935), with songs by Cole Porter; and I'd Rather Be Right (1937), with songs by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. (Lorenz Hart and Moss Hart were not related.) After George Washington Slept Here (1940), Kaufman and Hart called it quits. Hart continued to write plays after parting with Kaufman, such as Christopher Blake (1946) and Light Up the Sky (1948), as well as the book for the musical Lady In The Dark (1941), with songs by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin. However, he became best known during this period as a director. Among the Broadway hits he staged were Junior Miss (1941), Dear Ruth (1944) and Anniversary Waltz (1954). By far his biggest hit was the musical My Fair Lady (1956), adapted from George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion , with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. The show ran over six years and won a Tony Award for Best Musical. Hart picked up the Tony for Best Director.
Hart also wrote some screenplays, including Gentleman's Agreement (1947) – for which he received an Oscar nomination – Hans Christian Andersen (1952) and A Star Is Born (1954). He wrote a memoir, Act One: An Autobiography by Moss Hart, which was released in 1959. It was adapted to film in 1963, with George Hamilton portraying Hart. The last show Hart directed was the Lerner and Loewe musical Camelot (1960). During a troubled out-of-town tryout, Hart had a heart attack. The show opened before he fully recovered, but he and Lerner reworked it after the opening. That, along with huge pre-sales and a cast performance on The Ed Sullivan Show , helped ensure the expensive production was a hit. [ citation needed ]
Hart was the tenth president of the Dramatists Guild of America, from 1947 until 1956, when Oscar Hammerstein II became his successor.
Hart married Kitty Carlisle on August 10, 1946; they had two children.
Moss Hart died of a heart attack at the age of 57 on December 20, 1961, at his winter home in Palm Springs, California.He was entombed in a crypt at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.
In 1972, 11 years after his death, Moss Hart was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame, one of 23 people to be selected into the Hall of Fame's first induction class that year.Alan Jay Lerner paid tribute to Hart in his memoir, The Street Where I Live .
The New England Theatre Conference offers the Moss Hart Memorial Award at their annual convention to theater groups in New England that put forth imaginative productions of exemplary scripts. These awards are designed to honor Moss Hart as well as the award recipients.Past winners include Wellesley Repertory Theatre, Staples Players, and Suffield Academy.
Developed as an offshoot of the very successful New Play Initiative, of Burbank's Grove Theater Center the Moss Hart and Kitty Carlisle Hart New Play Initiative (Hart NPI) expands the program to one of the few programs of its kind where a playwright will be guaranteed a production of his/her play in Los Angeles (Burbank), as well as an Off-Broadway Premiere at 59E59 Theaters in New York City. The GTC New Play Initiative is the brainchild of producers Charles Johanson and Kevin Cochran (founders of Grove Theater Center) and its expansion to a truly bi-coastal program with the focus on the author and their vision for their work. The Hart NPI is under the leadership of Moss Hart's son Christopher Hart (artistic director), Kevin Cochran (producing artistic director) and Charles Johanson (executive director). In the first Hart NPI play cycle (2017-2018) there were 1,243 submissions from 44 states and 6 countries!.The Hart NPI will select 16-21 semifinalists, which will then be narrowed down to eight finalists and the eight will be narrowed down to the winners: Four Bronze Hart NPI winners will have a reading of their play at 59E59 Theaters, two Silver Hart NPI winners will have a production of their play in Los Angeles (Burbank), CA at the GTC Burbank and the Gold Hart NPI winner will have an Off-Broadway premiere at 59E59 Theaters. Dr. Catherine Hart (Moss and Kitty's daughter, who also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Hart NPI) said that "Having a program like this in Moss & Kitty's name would have made them proud."
Alan Jay Lerner was an American lyricist and librettist. In collaboration with Frederick Loewe, and later Burton Lane, he created some of the world's most popular and enduring works of musical theatre both for the stage and on film. He won three Tony Awards and three Academy Awards, among other honors.
George Simon Kaufman was an American playwright, theatre director and producer, humorist, and drama critic. In addition to comedies and political satire, he wrote several musicals for the Marx Brothers and others. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the musical Of Thee I Sing in 1932, and won again in 1937 for the play You Can't Take It with You. He also won the Tony Award for Best Director in 1951 for the musical Guys and Dolls.
My Fair Lady is a musical based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play Pygmalion, with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. The story concerns Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from professor Henry Higgins, a phonetician, so that she may pass as a lady. The original Broadway and London shows starred Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews.
George Francis Abbott was an American theater producer and director, playwright, screenwriter, and film director and producer whose career spanned eight decades.
Merrily We Roll Along is a play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. It concerns a man who has lost the idealistic values of his youth. Its innovative structure presents the story in reverse order, with the character regressing from a mournful adult to a young man whose future is filled with promise.
Camelot is a 1960 musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe (music). It is based on the King Arthur legend as adapted from T. H. White's 1958 novel The Once and Future King.
Lerner and Loewe refers to the partnership between lyricist and librettist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe. Spanning three decades from 1942 to 1960 and again from 1970 to 1972, the pair are known for being behind the creation of critical on stage successes such as My Fair Lady, Brigadoon, and Camelot along with the musical film Gigi.
James Elliot Lapine is an American stage director, playwright, screenwriter, and librettist. He has won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical three times, for Into the Woods, Falsettos, and Passion. He has frequently collaborated with Stephen Sondheim and William Finn.
Kitty Carlisle Hart was an American actress, singer, and spokeswoman for the arts. She is best remembered as a regular panelist on the television game show To Tell the Truth. She served 20 years on the New York State Council on the Arts.
The American Theater Hall of Fame in New York City was founded in 1972. Earl Blackwell was the first head of the organization's Executive Committee. In an announcement in 1972, he said that the new Theater Hall of Fame would be located in the Uris Theatre. James M. Nederlander and Gerard Oestreicher, who leased the theater, donated the space for the Hall of Fame; Arnold Weissberger was another founder. Blackwell noted that the names of the first honorees would "be embossed in bronze-gold lettering on the theater's entrance walls flanking its grand staircase and escalator." The first group of inductees was announced in October 1972.
What's Up? is a musical notable as the first Broadway stage collaboration by Lerner and Loewe, with book by Arthur Pierson and Alan Jay Lerner, lyrics by Lerner, and music by Frederick Loewe.
Albert Francis Innaurato Jr. was an American playwright, theatre director, and writer.
The Street Where I Live is a memoir by Alan Jay Lerner, in which he describes the genesis, writing and production of three musicals he created in partnership with the composer Frederick Loewe: My Fair Lady, Gigi and Camelot. The book was published in 1978.
Lost Musicals is a British musical theatre project established in 1989 by Ian Marshall Fisher. It is dedicated to presenting lost or forgotten musicals by famous American writers, and has been responsible for the first revivals of the lesser-known works of writers such as Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Alan Jay Lerner, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Harold Arlen and Jerome Kern.
Sam Henry Harris was a Broadway producer and theater owner.
Nathan Tysen is a Grammy-nominated American songwriter whose musicals have appeared on Broadway and the West End. Musicals with composer Chris Miller include Tuck Everlasting, The Burnt Part Boys, Fugitive Songs, Revival,Dreamland, and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. He also collaborated with songwriter Daniel Messé of the band Hem on lyrics for the Broadway musical Amélie starring Philippa Soo, and the reworked Olivier-nominated original London cast production starring Audrey Brisson. Television work includes songs for Sesame Street, Elmo's World, and the Electric Company. He also wrote lyrics for the digital murder mystery A Killer Party.
Miller & Tysen are an American musical theater songwriting team consisting of composer Chris Miller and lyricist Nathan Tysen. They started collaborating in 1999 at New York University’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. Together they have written the scores to Tuck Everlasting, The Burnt Part Boys, Fugitive Songs, and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. They have written the book, music, and lyrics to Revival and Dreamland. Their television work includes songs for Sesame Street, Elmo’s World, and The Electric Company.
Act One is a 1963 American film directed and screenwritten by Dore Schary and starring George Hamilton. It is the film version of the 1959 autobiographical book Act One by playwright Moss Hart. A play based on the book premiered on Broadway in 2014.
Matthew Schechter is an American child actor working in theatre, television and film. Schechter has performed in six Broadway shows since his debut in 2009. In addition, Schechter has worked on several television programs, including Law & Order, 30 Rock, and What Would You Do?. Most recently, Schechter filmed Bad Dads, a drama-comedy short film with costar Danny Burstein and acted as Peter Best in Law & Order Special Victims Unit.
The Fabulous Invalid is a 1938 stage play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart following the oscillating fortunes of a fictitious Broadway theater, the Alexandria, in the period between 1900 and 1930. The play's title has since entered the vernacular as a synonym for the theater.
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