Lyricist/librettist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe combined their talents to come up with such memorable shows and films as Paint Your Wagon, Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, Camelot, and Gigi, which was written for the screen before becoming a Broadway show many years later. Lerner also did the screenplays for An American in Paris and Royal Wedding (he also contributed lyrics to Burton Lane's music), in addition to his screenplays for the often mediocre film versions of the Broadway shows. Lerner's other collaborators included the aforementioned Lane [On a Clear Day You Can See Forever] and Charles Strouse, resulting in Dance a Little Closer, which, unfortunately, opened and closed on the same night. If you're expecting a dry recitation of the credits of the two gentlemen, you'll be pleasantly surprised. because this book is a dishy, intensely readable, even suspenseful look at the work and often messy private lives of these two musical giants. Loewe had only one marriage and divorce, but after his retirement spent his days with a variety of young women, while Lerner was married and divorced over and over again. Lerner became one of the patients of a Dr. Feelgood who gave him injections that negatively affected his health, work and thought processes. Such composers as Richard Rodgers had to throw up their hands waiting impatiently for Lerner to deliver material, although Lerner managed to complete one work with Leonard Bernstein, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
|Frederick "Fritz" Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner|
Verdict: A must-read for Broadway, music, and film fans. ***1/2.