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For Young Audiences,

A Master of Music

This article by Nicole Plett was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on

March 10, 1999. All rights reserved.

Marvin Hamlisch was just back from New Zealand, and

about to leave for Florida for a music meeting with John Travolta.

Yet from his home in New York, he was making calls to talk about his

upcoming benefit appearance for Young Audiences of New Jersey.

"Music, acting, and the performing arts are very important —

particularly for kids whose families can’t afford to take them to

see stuff," he says with enthusiasm. "It’s a way for them

to get a sense of what dreams are like, to get past who they are and

what they do, and to whet their appetites for playing a part and being

with other kids. It’s a wonderful activity."

"An Evening of Music and Laughter with Marvin Hamlisch," a

benefit for Young Audiences of New Jersey, is a one-man show by America’s

master of music, at the Kirby Arts Center of the Lawrenceville School,

Saturday, March 13, at 8:30 p.m. The evening begins with a silent

auction preview at 7:30 p.m., followed by the concert at 8:30 p.m.

At 10 p.m., the organization auctions off its goodies and has a champagne

birthday party.

A classical musician by training who was one of the Juilliard School’s

youngest graduates, Hamlisch is a composer, pianist, singer, storyteller,

and humorist. He says his one-man show will include his own songs,

songs by such favorites as Gershwin, Bernstein, and Sondheim, show-business

stories, and comedy. "I do a `Rent-a-Composer’ spot where the

audience proposes a title and I write a song on the spot," says

Hamlisch. He’ll take some audience requests and anticipates the all-time

audience pleasers "They’re Playing Our Song" from his show

of the same name and "What I Did for Love" from another one

of his blockbusters, "A Chorus Line."

This is his first collaboration with Young Audiences of New Jersey,

founded 25 years ago to provide artist residencies, performances,

and classroom workshops for school children throughout the state.

Today its programs reach 360,000 children annually, from pre-school

to high school. "I read about Young Audiences and I was very taken

by the whole thing," says Hamlisch. "It’s a very wonderful

idea to be able to bring performances to younger people and I wanted

to help them out."

Hamlisch holds every major music award that exists — most in multiples,

including three Oscars, four Grammys, two Emmys, a Tony, three Golden

Globes, and the Pulitzer Prize for music. Among his 40 movies scores

are the memorable "The Way We Were" (from the book and screenplay

by Arthur Laurents) and "The Mirror Has Two Faces." Hamlisch

led the international revival of the ragtime music of Scott Joplin

when he incorporated some of Joplin’s ’20s rags into his award-winning

score for the movie, "The Sting."

Hamlisch is principal pops conductor with both the Pittsburgh Symphony

and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras. Hamlisch, who began his long association

with Barbra Streisand as her rehearsal pianist, was the musical director

and arranger for that artist’s 1994 concert tour, as well as for the

Emmy-winning television special, "Barbra Streisand: The Concert."

Hamlisch and his wife, Terre, live in New York City, where he is now

working on his latest project, a musical version of "Sweet Smell

of Success."

Hamlisch is a firm believer in the power of music to bring people

together. His 30-minute symphonic suite titled, "Anatomy of Peace,"

which supports the concept of global understanding and peaceful co-existence,

premiered in 1991 and has become a sort of musical ambassador. It

has been performed at Carnegie Hall, in Paris in commemoration of

the 50th anniversary of D-Day, and at the Barbican Center in London.

Hamlisch has also written "One Song," which he describes as

"an anthem for all people," with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn

Bergman.

"Music can make a difference," he says. "There is a global

nature to music that has the potential to bring all people together.

Music is truly an international language, and I hope to contribute

by widening communication as much as I can."

Marvin Hamlisch, Young Audiences of New Jersey,

Kirby Arts Center, Lawrenceville School, 609-683-7966. Patrons $100

and up; concert tickets only, $35 adult; $15 student. Saturday,

March 13, 8:30 p.m.


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