“…A Chorus Line is different. I think in all modesty, I was the right guy at the right time to do it. I was a hungry, young 29-year-old. I had won my Oscars, done what I wanted to do in terms of movies, but there was this thing in me. I’m a New Yorker. I wanted to do a show.” – Marvin Hamlisch
Hamlisch composed over forty motion picture scores, including his Oscar-winning score and song for “The Way We Were,” and his adaptation of Scott Joplin’s music for “The Sting,” for which he received a third Oscar. Other original film scores and/or musical adaptation, included “Sophie’s Choice,” “Ordinary People,” “The Swimmer,” “Three Men and a Baby,” “Ice Castles,” “Take the Money and Run,” Bananas,” “Save the Tiger,” “The Informant!,” and his latest effort, “Behind the Candelabra,” a film about the life of Liberace.
On Broadway, Hamlisch wrote the music for his groundbreaking show, “A Chorus Line,” which received the Pulitzer Prize, as well as “They’re Playing Our Song,” “The Goodbye Girl” and “Sweet Smell of Success.”
“A Chorus Line” was still on Broadway when I arrived. It’s likely playing somewhere right now. My own experience with the show was making it to the final cut during a replacement call and being asked one question: Would you accept a spot in a touring company of the show? The answer was no for me, because I was hell bent to continue to work and live in New York City. It meant I wouldn’t get the chance to be in the historic musical, because at that point, everyone coming into the show had to go on the road first to have any chance of doing it on Broadway. It was the right decision for me.
I also got down to the wire for a part in Hamlisch’s They’re Playing Our Song, which people outside the theater don’t know. The show was supposedly based on his relationship with the lyricist Carole Bayer Sager. What music it was to sing, some thinking it was his best.
For most, Mr. Hamlisch will be remembered for his score for the movie “The Way We Were.”
Hamlisch also stood next to Barbra Streisand as her musical director.
“I used to kid around with Streisand and tell her to stop talking over my music.” – Marvin Hamlisch
Sometimes called Mr. Showbiz, the man was brilliant.
Taylor Marsh, a veteran political analyst and former Huffington Post contributor, once a Broadway babe, is the author of The Hillary Effect, available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon. Her new-media blog www.taylormarsh.com covers national politics, women and power.