Luck Be a Lady - Songs of Frank Loesser
November 12, 2010
A hundredth birthday celebration of one of America's most creative songwriters with "Goody Goody" – singers Mary Ann Lanier, Valerie Anastasio and Heather Peterson, and Robert Humphreville on piano.
Born June 29, 1910, in New York City, Frank wrote his first song at the age of six. In 1931, he teamed with William Schuman (future President of Juilliard), resulting in Frank's first published song, "In Love with a Memory of You." In 1936, Loesser and composer Irving Actman contributed five songs to “The Illustrator's Show.” It closed after five performances, but landed them a Hollywood contract. There Loesser provided lyrics for the music of such greats as Jule Styne, Hoagy Carmichael, and Burton Lane, producing hits such as "I Don't Want to Walk Without You," "Heart and Soul,” "Two Sleepy People," and the 1948 Academy Award winner, "Baby, It's Cold Outside," for which he also supplied the music.
In 1948, producers Cy Feuer and Ernest Martin convinced Loesser to create the score for “Where's Charley?,” which became his first Broadway hit, and introduced the song, "Once In Love With Amy." He followed that with one of the masterworks of musical theatre, “Guys and Dolls,” opening November 24, 1950, and winning the Tony Award for Best Musical.
Frank wrote the score and the book for his next show, which he called an "extended musical comedy,” “The Most Happy Fella.” “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” opened October 14, 1961, winning the Pulitzer Prize and seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
In the midst of his stage work, Frank returned to Hollywood and created one of his best loved scores for the film “Hans Christian Andersen,” which featured "Wonderful Copenhagen," "Anywhere I Wander," "The Inch Worm" and "Thumbelina."
Since Loesser's untimely death in 1969, “The Most Happy Fella” has been revived on Broadway and at the New York City Opera (where it has become part of the permanent repertory); “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” returned in 1995, starring Matthew Broderick, and becoming a long running hit. “Guys and Dolls” won the 1992 Tony Award for Best Revival, and returned in 2009 for its fourth run on Broadway. In 1999, Frank Loesser was honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a postage stamp bearing his likeness.