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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
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
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
"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."
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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