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Gerald Bordman

(b Pittsburgh, PA, Nov 16, 1889; d New York, NY, June 2, 1961). American librettist and director. He first worked as a journalist, serving for a time as head of the drama desk at the New York Times, but resigned in order to write his own plays. His first libretto, produced in collaboration with Marc Connelly, was for Helen of Troy, New York (1923; music by B. Kalmar and H. Ruby) and established his reputation for witty and satirical writing. He then created two important shows for the Marx Brothers, The Cocoanuts (1925; I. Berlin) and, with Morrie Ryskind, Animal Crackers (1928; Kalmar and Ruby), and also collaborated with Ryskind on the libretto for the highly successful Of Thee I Sing (1931; G. Gershwin), the first musical to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for drama, and Let ’Em Eat Cake (1933; Gershwin). Kaufman contributed both libretto and lyrics for ...

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Dominic McHugh

[Levy ]

(b New York, NY, Feb 2, 1912; d New York, NY, Jan 5, 1997). American musical theater and film composer. After studying the piano as a child, Lane started to write for his school band. At age 14, he was commissioned to compose for an unproduced version of the off-Broadway revue, Greenwich Village Follies. While still in his teens, he joined the Remick Music Company as a song plugger and was encouraged by the Gershwins. He wrote songs with Howard Dietz for the revue Three’s a Crowd (1930), and one with Harold Adamson for The Third Little Show (1931). He then joined forces with Adamson to compose the score for Earl Carroll’s Vanities of 1931.

With the onset of the Great Depression, Lane moved to Hollywood and composed for films, often with Adamson. With Frank Loesser he wrote “The lady’s in love with you” (...

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Paul R. Laird

[Mitchnick, Irwin ]

(b Brooklyn, NY, Jan 30, 1928). American composer, producer, and director. After earning a BA and MA from the Yale School, where he studied with paul Hindemith , he worked as a jazz musician and from 1954 wrote music for television and commercial jingles, such as “Nobody doesn’t Like Sara Lee.” In 1957 Leigh formed the company Music Makers as a focus for these efforts. He wrote incidental music for two plays, Too Good to be True (1963) and Never Live over a Pretzel Factory (1964), and then composed with the lyricist Joe Darion the score for the Broadway hit Man of La Mancha (1965). Their Tony Award-winning score includes spirited “Spanish” gestures and songs that effectively describe characters and situations. The show itself, which won a Tony Award for Best Musical, ran 2328 performances and has remained popular. Leigh also wrote the scores for ...