Broadway to dim in honor of composer Marvin Hamlisch
By David Ariosto, CNN
NEW YORK (CNN) – Broadway’s bright glow will dim for a moment on Wednesday in memory of the late Marvin Hamlisch, a prolific American composer who died this week after a more than four-decade long career that spanned film, music, television and theater.
Manhattan’s 40 Broadway theaters are expected to turn down their lights at 8 p.m. ET for a total of 60 seconds in symbolic tribute to the man who composed acclaimed scores for the Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Chorus Line,” as well as “They’re Playing Our Song” and “The Goodbye Girl.”
His musical ensembles and “old-fashioned” style made him a favorite with Hollywood elites, theater-goers and dignitaries, and earned him three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globe awards — one of only 11 people ever to do so, according to The Broadway League, a trade group for the industry.
On the silver screen, Hamlisch composed more than 40 scores for films like “The Way We Were” and “The Sting.”
“His legacy leaves us with a treasury of songs and stories that will always be familiar to theater-goers as they stir up meaningful and heartfelt emotions,” said Charlotte St. Martin, League Executive Director.
He died Monday at the age of 68.
“Music is truly an international language,” Hamlisch said on his official website. “And I hope to contribute by widening communication as much as I can.”
Social media was abuzz Tuesday with reflections of the legendary composer and his legacy.
“The evenings we spent with you and the Pittsburgh Pops are memories that will last forever,” Jean Elliot Boyer wrote on his official Facebook page.”Your banter with the audience and your down-to-earth style will stay with me forever.”
“The world will miss your gift,” wrote Gail Dwyer.
Lauded as a child prodigy, Hamlisch was the youngest student ever accepted into Manhattan’s prestigious Juilliard School of Music at the age of 7. Later in life, he held principal pops conductor positions at various American orchestras, including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Pasadena, San Diego and Seattle Symphonies.
His passing drew comments Tuesday from a galaxy of Hollywood stars and others who sought to pay him tribute.
“I will miss his talent, our laughter (and) friendship, but mostly I will miss Marvin,” said actress and singer Liza Minnelli. “My heart is with his wife Terre always.”
Nancy Reagan said she had been shocked to learn of his death, calling Hamlisch “a dear friend” whom she and her late husband, President Ronald Reagan, were drawn to by way of his “old fashioned” charm.
“I’ll never forget that he wrote a special song for Ronnie’s surprise 77th birthday party in 1988. My heart goes out to Terre at this difficult time,” said the former first lady.
“I’m devastated,” said singer Barbra Streisand. “He was my dear friend. He’s been in my life ever since the first day I met him in 1963, when he was my rehearsal pianist for ‘Funny Girl.’ “
“He was a true musical genius,” she said. “But above all that, he was a beautiful human being. I will truly miss him.”
Hamlisch was a musical director and arranger of Streisand’s 1994 concert tour and television special, and had recently worked on a musical adaption of the production of “The Nutty Professor,” a musical comedy directed by Jerry Lewis.
CNN’s Rachel Wells contributed to this report