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date: 25 February 2020

Bart [Begleiter], Lionellocked

  • John Snelson

Extract

(b London, Aug 1, 1930; d Hammersmith, April 3, 1999). English composer, lyricist and librettist of Austrian-Jewish descent. He studied at St Martin's School of Art and then became a graphic artist and scene painter. In the mid-1950s, as a member of the skiffle group the Cavemen, he wrote songs for its lead singer Tommy Steele, and also for Cliff Richard and Billy Fury. His subsequent songs for films starring Steele and Richard produced several hit numbers including Living Doll and Little White Bull. He worked on musicals for Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop at Stratford East, from where Fings Ain't Wot They Used t' Be, with lyrics inspired by cast improvisations, transferred to become his first West End success. In Oliver! (1960) he combined a Jewish modality (‘Who will buy?’, ‘You've got to pick a pocket or two’ and ‘Reviewing the Situation’), music hall (‘Consider Yourself’), overt sentiment (‘Where is love?’, ‘As long as he needs me’) and comic word play (‘That's your funeral’) to produce one of the most successful of all British musicals. The spectacular ...

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K. Gänzl: The British Musical Theatre (London, 1986)
K. Gänzl and A. Lamb: Encyclopedia of Musical Theatre