antiMusic Logo
Jealous Haters Since 1998!
Home | News | Reviews | Day In Rock | RockNewsWire | Singled Out | Feeds
spacer

Author Michael Levin Remembers Marvin Hamlisch

08/09/2012
.
(News and Experts) News and Experts sent over best selling author Michael Levin's tribute to composer Marvin Hamlisch, who died this week at the age of 68:

The first time I saw Marvin Hamlisch, he was playing piano at Carnegie Hall. It was May 6, 1972 and the occasion was "An Evening With Groucho." My childhood hero, Groucho Marx, was performing a show of reminiscences, comedy and song, and Hamlisch was his accompanist. The audience, jammed with knowledgeable Groucho-philes, responded favorably to his glissandos and general keyboard mastery.

Over the next couple of years, Groucho's accompanist and straight man did something even more remarkable than win a string of Emmys, Oscars and Tonys. He completely reshaped the nature of the American musical.

"A Chorus Line" opened in 1974, music by Hamlisch, lyrics by Ed Kliban, stories by the actual dancers themselves. Until "A Chorus Line," Broadway musicals told big stories about larger-than-life people: the king of Siam; Oklahoma farmers, Russian peasants; ancient Roman notables and slaves. "A Chorus Line" was the first to focus on the lives of the performers themselves, the individuals behind the makeup and costumes, the ones who lived for the stage and had suffered enough in their childhoods to need an audience to shower them with love.

One of the many haunting moments of "A Chorus Line" is when the dancers, auditioning for a Broadway musical, stand in a row with their headshots in front of their faces. We are human beings, just like you; we'll do anything to dance for you and entertain you. We'll give you our lives.

There would never have been an "Avenue Q" or "Rent" or any of the other "reality" musicals without "A Chorus Line." More importantly, we might never have recognized the humanity, or the dignity, of the non-star performer, without this show.

If you weren't alive and in New York back in 1975 when it opened, let me set the scene. No one had ever thought of sitting dancers down in a room, turning on a tape recorder (nothing digital back then, kids), and letting them tell the stories of their lives. Of pretending that an absent father was an Indian chief, dancing around the living room. Of rising from an inner-city childhood to a potential career as an elementary school teacher … and suddenly realizing that you haven't the slightest interest in teaching elementary school and that you may have gotten scholarships to college, but "there ain't no scholarship to life." Of a mother digging a father's girlfriend's earrings out of the car.

The lyrics were blunt and powerful and raw and real: "I was terrific at a dance, guys were coming in their pants…" "And I thought, sh*t, Richie…" No one had ever heard words like that on a Broadway stage before. And the music that Hamlisch and Kliban created swept audiences off their feet and created a demand for tickets so huge that the show ran seemingly forever. The show that looked like nothing else on Broadway ran longer than anything ever had on Broadway, and completely changed Broadway and its audience, right down to the present day. "A Chorus Line" made theater, the home of artifice and distortion, real.

Hamlisch then went on a winning streak like no other. He composed music for "The Sting." "The Way We Were." Shows. Movies. He won every award you could win, and he did the seemingly impossible: He made the ultimate Brooklyn Jewish name, Marvin Hamlisch, for God's sake, sexy.

And now he's gone. It doesn't make sense that someone who gave voice to so many no longer has a voice of his own.

I can still see him pounding those keys so exuberantly at Carnegie Hall, taking verbal punches from Groucho and gleefully giving as good as he got.

I'll miss you, Marvin. And thank you again for "A Chorus Line." You made those in the shadows come to life.

About Michael Levin: New York Times best-selling author Michael Levin runs www.BusinessGhost.com

News and Experts submitted this story.
Copyright News and Experts - Excerpted here with permission.

Marvin Hamlisch CDs, DVDs and MP3s

Marvin Hamlisch T-shirts and Posters

Marvin Hamlisch CDs, vinyl and rarities

Share this article


...end


advertisement
advertisement

.
News Reports
.

• Day in Rock:
AC/DC Address Possible Future With Axl Rose- Nikki Sixx Has Humorous Outlook On Feud With KISS- Red Hot Chili Peppers Release Stream Of 'The Getaway'- more

• Day In Pop: Justin Bieber Accused Of Song Theft With 'Sorry'- Bon Jovi Finish Work On New Studio Album- Meek Mill Reignites Drake Feud With New Remix- Jake Owen In Emergency Room- more

• Megadeth's Nick Menza Cause Of Death Confirmed- Van Halen's Future Pondered By David Lee Roth- Led Zeppelin Trial Forces Robert Plant To Cancel Benefit Show- more

 Subscribe To Day in Rock


advertisement

.
Rock News Stories
• AC/DC Address Possible Future With Axl Rose

• Nikki Sixx Has Humorous Outlook On Feud With KISS

• Red Hot Chili Peppers Release Stream Of 'The Getaway'

• The Ghost Inside Frontman Undergoes More Surgery

• Temple Of The Dog Settle Dispute Over Master Tapes

• Five Finger Death Punch Ink New Deal Despite Legal Battle

• The Winery Dogs Release 'Captain Love' Video

• Pop Evil Announce New Band Member

• Ozzy Osbourne Helps Unveil Tram Named In His Honor

• Previously-Unheard Jeff Healey Song Streaming For His 50th Birthday

• Nick Menza Reflected On Megadeth's Rust In Piece In Final Interview

• Asking Alexandria Question Danny Worsnop's Integrity

• Machine Head's Robb Flynn Gets Stolen Dimebag Guitar Back

• Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band Live Bullet 40th Anniversary Special

• The Obsessed Ink Deal For Comeback Album

• Young Guns Part Ways With Ben Jolliffe

• Lionheart Announce They Are Breaking Up

• Richie Sambora Taking Different Direction On New Album Says Orianthi

• Video From AC/DC With Axl Rose Hamburg Show Goes Online

• Amaranthe Working On New Album

• Ghost Community Streaming New Song 'Rise Up'

• Katatonia's Jonas Renkse Talks Latest Album The Fall Of Hearts

• Adrian Belew Excited About Work On New Pixar Short 'Piper'

• David Bowie's Son On The Loss Of His Father

• Lemmy Saved the Day For Clutch

• Jenny Hval Releasing New Album In September

• HeavyCon Moves To Bigger Venue Due To High Demand

• Opeth Announce Winter Tour Of Europe

Other Music News Stories
• Justin Bieber Accused Of Song Theft With 'Sorry'

• Bon Jovi Finish Work On New Studio Album

• Meek Mill Reignites Drake Feud With New Remix

• Jake Owen In Emergency Room Following Biking Accident

• John Belushi Documentary In The Works

• Dierks Bentley Received Advice From U2 Frontman Bono

• Paul Simon Streams EDM Inspired New Album 'Stranger to Stranger'

• Cyndi Lauper Tributes Prince With 'When You Were Mine'

• Nick Jonas Covers Zara Larsson's 'Lush Life'

• Brett Eldredge Turned Thomas Rhett Onto Snapchat

• 1 Killed, 3 Wounded In Shooting At T.I. Concert

• Brad Paisley Reveals Demi Lovato Duet 'Without a Fight'

• Justin Bieber Sparks Controversy With Argentinean Flag Tossing

• Florida Georgia Line Cover Backstreet Boys Song

• One Direction's Niall Horan Working On New Songs

• Jay Z's References 'Lemonade' and Prince On New Remix

• Beck and Flume Release New Song 'Tiny Cities'

• Lil Wayne and Birdman Call Off Settlement Talks?

• Randy Travis Stars In New Film 'The Price'

• Bruce Springsteen Offers His Coat To Underdressed Adele

• OneRepublic Talk New Song 'Everywhere I Go'

• Maren Morris Goes R&B With 'No Diggity' Cover

• Dierks Bentley Discusses The Inspiration For 'Black'

• Anne Hathaway And James Corden Face Off In Rap Battle

• Singled Out: D. FRANCISCO's I Want Ya

• Dierks Bentley Lines Up Media Appearances For Black Release

• Kanye West Sued For $2.5 Million Over Plagiarism Claim

• Drake's 'Views' Smashes Streaming Records

Reviews
• All Recent Reviews and Interviews

• MorleyView Marty Balin (Jefferson Airplane)

• Red Tide Rising - Voices

• Denner Shermann - Satan's Tomb

• The Blues: Blind Lemon Peel Blues All-Stars - Don't Tear My Clothes

• Steve Porcaro - Someday/Somehow

• Kiefer Sutherland Live

• The Allman Brothers Band - Live From A&R Studios, New York, August 26, 1971

• Howardian - A Smurf at Land's End

• Anvil is Anvil

• Album of the Week: Generation X

• Root 66: Darryl Purpose - Still the Birds

• Quick Flicks: The Dollyrots - Family Vacation: Live in Los Angeles

• 5 Star Friday: Searching for Sugar Man

• Rock Reads: Show Posters: The Art and Practice of Making Gig Posters

• Vehemence - Forward Without Motion

• Ben Craven - Last Chance to Hear

• The Rides - Pierced Arrow

• Psychedelic Shack: Black Rainbows- Deadsmoke- Duel- Holy Grove

• Roots of Creation - Livin Free

• On The Record: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Live - Volume 1

• Classics: Prince's Purple Rain

• The Blues: New Blues Revolution, Golden State - Lone Star Blues Revue, Peter Karp

• Lita Ford - Time Capsule

• The Blues: Jeff Healey - Heal My Soul

• Rock Reads: Little Gray Bastards- The Incessant Alien Presence

• Guns N' Roses Month: Chinese Democracy

• Iron Maiden Live In Chicago

• Grey Heaven Fall - Black Wisdom

• The Blues: Keb' Mo' - Keb' Mo' Live: That Hot Pink Blues Album

• Guns N' Roses Month: Use Your Illusion I and II

• Passport: Lakou Mizik - Wa Di Yo

• Keith Morris & the Crooked Numbers - The Dirty Gospel

Contact Us - Privacy - antiMusic Email - Why we are antiMusic

Copyright© 1998 - 2016 Iconoclast Entertainment Group All rights reserved.

Please click here for legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to this site. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.