Lerner, Alan Jay

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Lerner, Alan Jay,

1918–86, American lyricist and librettist, b. New York City. After two years as a radio scriptwriter, Lerner began an association with the composer Frederick Loewe that resulted in several popular musicals, including Brigadoon (1947, film 1954), Paint Your Wagon (1951, film 1969), Camelot (1960, film 1967), and the Academy-Award-winning film Gigi (1958). Their highly successful My Fair Lady (1956, film 1964), an adaptation of Shaw's Pygmalion, has been translated into many languages. Lerner also wrote Love Life (1948) with Kurt WeillWeill, Kurt
, 1900–1950, German-American composer, b. Dessau, studied with Humperdinck and Busoni in Berlin. He first became known with the production of two short satirical surrealist operas, Der Protagonist (1926) and Der Zar lässt sich photographieren
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 and the book for the film An American in Paris (1951).


See his autobiography, On the Street Where I Live (1978, rev. ed. 1994); biography by E. Jablonski (1996); studies by G. Lees (1990) and S. Citron (1995).

Lerner, Alan Jay

(1918–86) lyricist, librettist; born in New York City. Son of a wealthy owner of a women's clothing store chain, he enjoyed the privileges of a cultured family. He began piano lessons at age five and wrote his first songs as a teenager, but his father planned for him to enter the diplomatic service. While at Harvard he contributed to the Hasty Pudding Club Shows in 1938 and 1939; during the summers of 1936 and 1937 he studied at Juilliard. An accident in a boxing match cost him sight in his left eye, and after graduation (1940) he went to New York City determined to write for the theater. He wrote radio scripts and contributed to satirical revues, and in 1942 he met composer Frederick Loewe. They began their collaboration on such hit musicals as Brigadoon (1947), My Fair Lady (1956), and Gigi (1958). Lerner also collaborated on other works, writing the libretto and lyrics for Love Life (1948), music by Kurt Weill, and the screenplay for An American in Paris (1951). He rejoined Loewe for Camelot (1960) but they had a falling-out and went their own ways. Lerner wrote the words for two other musicals, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (1965) and Coco (1969). He rejoined Loewe in 1973 to make a stage version of their film musical, Gigi, and then for their last collaboration, The Little Prince (1974). Lerner's final musicals were not successful but he had earned his place as one of the most meticulous wordsmiths in the history of American musicals.
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There is no one alive who knows this material better than Cameron Mackintosh; he has staged two revivals of My Fair Lady, the first in 1979 directed by Alan Jay Lerner himself, and the second the award-winning adaptation that's now touring the United States.
Lerner later criticized Donen in print for the movie's handling of Loewe's score; but ``the real problem with `The Little Prince,' '' Jablonski notes, ``lies not so much in the treatment of the songs, which are in general beautifully done, but rather in the story itself,'' a Saint-Exupery tale adapted by Alan Jay Lerner.
Written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, it had its Broadway debut in 1956, which was a tremendous hit.
With lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, the musical was a huge success, to the point that it was made into a film starring Gene Kelly in 1954.
Lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe, who met in The Lambs Club in New York during World War II, wrote some of the most well-loved musicals of the 20th century, from their first joint composition, 1947 show Brigadoon, later turned into a film starring Gene Kelly, to the 1974 musical film The Little Prince.
Alan Jay Lerner, responsible for Book and Lyrics, seemed to specialise in dominated women - after all, Gigi was to follow, and perhaps there is something of him in Professor Henry Higgins, who turns Eliza into a swan.
A The Oscar-nominated song was written by Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane for the 1951 movie Wedding Bells when it was sung by Jane Powell.
It was this story that inspired Hollywood composers Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe to write the musical Brigadoon but, in 1947, a movie set in Germany was a no-no, so they relocated it to the Scottish Highlands.
His big break came when the musical team of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe chose him to play Lancelot in Camelot, which also starred Richard Burton and Julie Andrews.
Instead, auditions will be held in private, says the widow of the musical's co-author, Alan Jay Lerner.
My Fair Lady," for the uninitiated, is Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's treatment of George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" in which misogynistic linguist Henry Higgins boasts that he can transform a Cockney flower girl, Eliza, into a lady fit for an embassy ball.
n In 1957 Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe premiered the stage production My Fair Lady.