Friday, June 08, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLES STROUSE

Copy of Original sheet music in long hand for the song "Put On A Happy Face" from "Bye Bye Birdie"
Copy of original sheet music for "Tomorrow" from the Broadway musical "Annie"




Happy birthday to one of the most prolific Broadway composers of all times, Mr. Charles Strouse. At the right is a copy of the original manuscript for the beloved song ":Tomorrow" from "Annie" and on top a copy of the grand old song from "Bye Bye Birdie" called "Put On A Happy Face" A bit of trivia: "Put On A Happy Face" was the main theme song for a grand old variety show of the 1960's called "The Hollywood Palace". My cvousin Jimmy Crabe appaered on that show and demonstrated for the very first "short sleeve" magic. Back to Charles Strouse. This wonderful composer was a long-standing member of the Songwriters' Hall of Fame and, in January 2002, an inductee into The Theatre Hall of Fame, is one of America's most successful musical theatre composers.His first Broadway musical, BYE BYE BIRDIE (1960), was written with his long-time collaborator Lee Adams and that dear friends won him a Tony Award and the London Critics Best Foreign Musical Award. In 1970, APPLAUSE, starring Lauren Bacall, achieved the same honors and his smash hit, ANNIE (1977), written with lyricist Martin Charnin and librettist Tom Meehan (bookwriter for "The Producers" and the upcoming "Young Frankenstein"), also won Tony's for Best Score and Best Music as well as two Grammy Awards.Among his other musicals presented on Broadway and in London's West End are ALL AMERICAN (with a book by Mel Brooks), GOLDEN BOY (starring Sammy Davis Jr.), IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE, IT'S SUPERMAN (produced and directed by Hal Prince), I AND ALBERT (directed in London by John Schlesinger), and DANCE A LITTLE CLOSER, written with the amazing Alan Jay Lerner. CHARLIE & ALGERNON won a 1981 Tony nomination for Best Score, as did RAGS in 1987 and NICK AND NORA in 1992. He wrote both the music and lyrics for off-Broadway's MAYOR, and teamed again with Martin Charnin to create ANNIE WARBUCKS, the sequel to ANNIE. Strouse's film scores include BONNIE & CLYDE, THE NIGHT THEY RAIDED MINSKY'S, and ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN. The Strouse and Adams song "Those Were The Days," the theme song for TV's ALL IN THE FAMILY, is one of the most popular television themes of all time. "Born Too Late", a 1958 pop song written with Fred Tobias, was a top-10 BILLBOARD chart hit and is still heard on many oldies stations.A quadruple platinum album title song by Jay-Z, "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" from ANNIE, won the 1999 Grammy for best Rap album, charted for more than a year and won the BILLBOARD 1998 R&B Album of the Year Award as well as ASCAP's Rhythm and Soul Music Award for Hard Knock Life in Best Rap Album.
Strouse's musical talents include chamber and orchestral works and opera. NIGHTINGALE, an opera based on the Hans Christian Andersen story for which he wrote music, book and lyrics, was recorded by Sarah Brightman . CONCERTO AMERICA, composed in 2002 to commemorate 9/11 and the spirit of New York City, received its world premiere from the Boston Pops Orchestra on June 30, 2002, with pianist Jeffrey Biegel as soloist. ON THIS DAY, an anthem written for the White House Commission on Remembrance, was performed on Memorial Day, May 26, 2003, in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, Virginia for an audience which included the President and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mr Strouse is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where he has returned to give master classes in musical theatre. Happy Birthday to you, dear Mr. Strouse!