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January 27: Jerome Kern

Jerome Kern, who wrote more than 700 songs for stage and film, including “Ol’ Man River,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” and “A Fine Romance,” was born in New York on this date in 1885. In the course of a four-decade career, Kern created dozens of Broadway musicals and Hollywood […]

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December 2: Adolph Green, Singin' in the Rain

Song lyricist Adolph Green was born in the Bronx on this date in 1914. Green collaborated on words and ideas with Betty Comden for more than six productive decades, and worked as a team with numerous melody-makers to create show tunes (and librettos and screenplays) for Broadway shows and movies that included Gene Kelly’s Singin’ […]

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October 16: Torch Song Trilogy

Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song Trilogy” premiered at the Richard Allen Center in New York on this date in 1981. The four-hour, three-act comedy-drama centers on a Jewish drag queen singer, Arnold Beckoff, who is disillusioned with love. The play spans more than a decade of his life, and by the third act, Arnold has lost […]

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March 8: Dorothy Fields

Dorothy Fields, who wrote lyrics for more than 400 songs for Broadway and Hollywood, became the first woman inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on this date in 1971. The daughter of vaudeville comedian Lew Fields (of Weber & Fields fame), Fields got going at the age of 23 by teaming up with Jimmy […]

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July 14: Arthur Laurents

Playwright, librettist and film director Arthur Laurents (Levine), who created the storyline for West Side Story out of Romeo and Juliet, was born in Flatbush on this date in 1917 to left-leaning parents. His first commercially produced play, Home of the Brave (1945), was about anti-Semitism in the military. Moving to Hollywood, he wrote the […]

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March 22: Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim, described by the New York Times as “the greatest, and perhaps best-known artist working in musical theater,” was born in New York City on this date in 1930. The child of disturbed and divorced parents, he was mentored as a teenager by Oscar Hammerstein II, whose son was his school chum; Sondheim wrote […]

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November 16: The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music, by Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics), premiered on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne theater on this date in 1958. It starred Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel as the parents of the von Trapps, a real-life musical family that left Austria during the rise of Nazism. The Sound of Music […]

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February 10: Stella Adler

Stella Adler was born on this day in 1902 in New York to Jacob and Sara Adler, who were luminaries of the Yiddish stage. She was a child actor by four and a star in her own right by the 1920s, before studying Stanislavsky’s “Method” at the American Laboratory Theater (Adler was the only American […]

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