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John Snelson

(Friedrich) [Gallas, Brian Roy]

(b Wellington, New Zealand, Feb 15, 1946). New Zealand writer on musical theatre. He studied law and classics at Canterbury University, New Zealand, subsequently joining the New Zealand Opera company as a bass singer. After moving to London he became a casting director and then a theatrical agent in musical theatre; from 1990 he devoted himself to writing and broadcasting on this subject. His pioneering two-volume study The British Musical Theatre (London, 1986), won several awards: its thorough survey of performances has ensured its place as an essential reference work. His later Encyclopedia of Musical Theatre (Oxford, 1994) is ambitious in its scope, displaying both the breadth of Gänzl’s interest and, through its selections and judgments, his characteristically personal view of the subject. His other books include Gänzl’s Book of the Musical Theatre (with Andrew Lamb; London, 1988), a companion guide in the manner of Kobbé, ...

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Mark Anthony Neal

(b Chicago, IL, Jan 8, 1967). American R&B singer, writer, producer, and arranger. Kelly was born on the South side of Chicago. Raised, with his three siblings, by a single mother, he was encouraged to pursue a musical career by his high school music teacher and mentor, Lena McLin, who was the chair of the music department at the Kenwood Academy and the niece of the legendary gospel music composer Thomas Dorsey. In high school Kelly formed the group MGM (Musically Gifted Men), which won a $100,000 grand prize on the television talent show Big Break, hosted by Natalie Cole. The group eventually signed with Jive Records, though after creative and financial tensions, three of the members were replaced and the group renamed R. Kelly and Public Announcement. After a moderately successful debut that produced the hit singles “She’s Got That Vibe” and “Honey Love,” Kelly left the group in early ...