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Gillian M. Rodger

(b London, England, Feb 1834; d New York, NY, April 11, 1905). American composer, theater orchestra director, and arranger. Born in London’s East End, Braham’s musical education was gained largely through his early education at the British Union School. He initially played the harp, but switched to the violin and became a skilled performer by the time he was 18. Rather than embarking on a career as a professional musician, Braham became a brass turner, making tubing for brass instruments, and supplemented his income by performing in theatrical orchestras in the evenings. In ...

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Ellen Marie Peck

(b New York, NY, Jan 28, 1880; d New York, Jan 4, 1928). American lyricist, librettist, and actress. Born into a theatrical family, she spent her entire life in the theater. A meticulous actress, Donnelly was particularly known for her ability to interpret a role with depth and sensitivity at a rather young age, as she demonstrated with title roles in ...

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Ronald J. Zank

(b Brooklyn, NY, June 6, 1954). American performer, playwright and librettist. Fierstein grew up in New York and worked as an actor; he also pursued his interest in painting and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He was both lead actor and playwright for ...

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Sharon O’Connell Campbell

(b Statesboro, GA, March 18, 1975). American performer. Embodying the “triple-threat” performance model of singer, actor, and dancer, Sutton Foster enjoyed a rapid rise to musical theater stardom. Foster debuted on Broadway in 1993 as a chorus member and understudy for Eponine in ...

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Sharon O’Connell Campbell

(b Winnipeg, MB, June 2, 1950). Canadian actress. A character actress, she has worked in film and television and on stage in both musical and non-musical theater. She made her Broadway debut playing Monica in the musical I Love My Wife (1977...

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(b New York, NY, Dec 2, 1914; d New York, NY, Oct 24, 2002). American lyricist, librettist, and actor. He sustained a lifelong writing partnership with Betty Comden. Among their joint works were the musicals Wonderful Town (1953) and Bells Are Ringing...

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Sylvia Stoner-Hawkins

(b Cleveland, OH April 11, 1932). American actor. Son of comedian and musician Mickey Katz, Grey began his performing career in nightclubs in Cleveland in 1951. Realizing that playing the Copacobana would not help him to pursue a serious acting career, Grey quit the clubs and began to work in regional theater. He was hired to replace Anthony Newley as Littlechap in ...

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Sylvia Stoner-Hawkins

(b Boston, MA, Aug 10, 1898; d Los Angeles, CA, June 6, 1979). American actor and performer. Haley initially became an electrician in the Boston area. However, he soon left that career to pursue vaudeville and toured in the team Krafts and Haley. He began his Broadway career in the ...

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Sylvia Stoner-Hawkins

(b St. Louis, MO, June 18, 1934). American actor and singer. He began his career in New York in 1963 with Shakespeare in the Park and subsequently has performed in more than 185 plays and about 20 musicals. He first appeared on Broadway as Ianto Morgan in ...

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Sharon O’Connell Campbell

(b New York, NY, April 29, 1917; d New York, NY, July 15, 2012). American actress and singer. Her stage, film, and television acting career exceeded 50 years and embraced a wide variety of characters and genres. Holm began her Broadway musical career in ...

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Jonas Westover

(b Cincinnati, OH, May 23, 1904; d Stamford, CT, June 18, 1971). American actress, singer, composer, and lyricist. Holman completed her college education before moving to New York where she began her theatrical career in 1924. Encouraged by the critic Channing Pollock, she appeared in revues, including the ...

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Gerald Bordman

(b New York, NY, March 30, 1858; d Kansas City, MO, Sept 23, 1935). American bass and comedian. He was expected to follow his family tradition and become a lawyer, but after his father’s death he abandoned his studies and used his inheritance to form his own acting company. The company failed, partly because, being exceptionally tall, Hopper towered comically above the rest of his troupe. He then studied singing (he had a fine bass voice), and struck huge success in ...

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Gillian M. Rodger

(b Columbus, OH, March 16, 1889; d Beverly Hills, CA, Feb 26, 1956). American actress, singer, songwriter, and entertainer. Her stage career began when she was just a child and was promoted tirelessly by her mother, Jennie Cockrell Bierbower, a woman whose own theatrical aspirations had been thwarted. Janis’s first roles on the stage were with the Ohio Valentine Stock Company in ...

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Paul R. Laird

(b Chicago, IL, March 31, 1922; d Warwick, NY, March 5, 1999). American actor and singer. Kiley attended Loyola University and acting school in Chicago before serving in the US Navy from 1943 to 1946. He began his acting career in radio and eventually settled in New York. Kiley toured in the play ...

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Sharon O’Connell Campbell

(b New York, NY, May 20, 1958). American singer and actor. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, Judy Kuhn made her Broadway acting debut in The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1985). She was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her performance as Bella Cohen in the four-performance run of ...

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Sylvia Stoner-Hawkins

(b New York, NY, Aug 13, 1895; d New York, NY, Dec 4, 1967). American performer. At age 15, Lahr began his career in an act called the Seven Frolics that played the burlesque circuit. Later in 1910 he toured with the Whirly Girly Musical Comedy Success. Lahr began as a solo performer in vaudeville, then became a team (with his first wife) known as Lahr and Mercedes (...

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Hsun Lin

(b Jersey City, NJ, Feb 3, 1956). American actor and singer. He changed his name in honor of his favorite character, Nathan Detroit, from Guys and Dolls. Lane began his theatrical career with the revival of Noel Coward’s Present Laughter in 1982. His second appearance on Broadway was in the musical ...

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Paul R. Laird

(b Brooklyn, NY, May 3, 1931; d Key West, FL, May 5, 1994). American dancer, choreographer, and director. Layton joined the dancing chorus of Oklahoma! in 1947, followed by appearances as a dancer in such shows as High Button Shoes (1947), ...

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Mary Helen Still

(b Charleston, MA, Feb 24, 1858; d New York, NY, May 3, 1897). American composer and actor. Often working with the librettist J. Cheever Goodwin, he produced several scores for Broadway productions in the 1890s. He studied harmony at the Boston Conservatory, and following his graduation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology he traveled to Paris and studied art under Jean-Léon Gérôme and Jean-Jacques Henner, among others. After returning to America, he began to compose musical plays and operettas. He convinced the producer Augustin Daly to underwrite his first musical play, ...

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Jacquelyn Sholes

(b Savannah, GA, Dec 23, 1903; d Stamford, CT, June 28, 1994). American actress, dancer, singer, and writer. Washington was one of the first widely recognized African American stage and film actresses. She performed in the Broadway musical Shuffle Along (1921–6); as Paul Robeson’s costar in ...