Marvin Hamlisch, whose latest work for the musical theater is on display in Nashville in the Broadway-bound production of The Nutty Professor, died in Los Angeles yesterday after a brief illness, according a family spokesperson. Survived by his wife, Terre, Hamlisch was 68 years old.
One of only eleven individuals to win the Emmy Award, he Grammy Award, the Oscar and the Tony Award, Hamlisch is one of only two individuals-the other being Richard Rodgers-to win all of those honors, along with the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Winning the Pulitzer for A Chorus Line (after a lengthy career as an arranger and pianist on Broadway), he followed up that success with scores for They're Playing Our Song, The Goodbye Girl and Sweet Smell of Success.
While accolades and remembrances of Hamlisch, the composer, conductor, man and friend, continue to pour in from around the world, perhaps nowhere today is his loss felt more deeply than in the corridors and performance spaces of Nashville's Tennessee Performing Arts Center, where his latest work-The Nutty Professor-is on view for audiences prior to the show's supposed transfer to New York City. Opening on July 24, for a week of preview performances, The Nutty Professor's official opening night was just one week ago, followed by glowing reviews from audiences and critics alike.
Hamlisch, one of only eleven EGOT winners in the history of the entertainment industry, was awarded three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globe awards for his work. On Broadway, he wrote the music for A Chorus Line-which received the Pulitzer Prize-as well as They're Playing Our Song, The Goodbye Girl and Sweet Smell of Success.
An official response to Hamlisch's death from the company of The Nutty Professor (which includes director Jerry Lewis, upon whose 1963 film comedy the musical is based, librettist Rupert Holmes, choreographer JoAnn M. Hunter, executive producer Ned McLeod and producer Mac Pirkle) is not expected until Wednesday.
Tonight, in TPAC's James K. Polk Theatre, Michael Andrew, Marissa McGowan, Mark Jacoby, KLea Blackhurst, Jamie Ross and the rest of the ensemble will take to the stage to bring The Nutty Professor to life once more for a Nashville audience. Today, however, the company has been quietly reflective, taking to social media to express their shock and grief at the loss of their show's composer…
Michael Andrew (who plays Professor Julius Kelp and Buddy Love): Marvin was very proud of the songs he and Rupert Holmes wrote for The Nutty Professor. I was with Marvin and Jerry when they first met about Nutty in Las Vegas; it was a meeting I'll never forget. The two men told some stories and then shook hands; I knew Marvin was on board.
There were many other meetings and sessions over the past five years where Mavin held court and shared his brilliance. I was in awe of his sharp wit and musical genius. I am so proud to be singing these songs that Marvin and Rupert created for us. Tonight will be bittersweet as we all think about Marvin as we perform some of his most treasured masterpieces.
Stephen Kummer (conductor): Perhaps the greatest thing about this business is the rare opportunity to meet people that you've admired, get to know them and then find that they are as nice and energetic and brilliant as you had hoped. This [The Nutty Professor] has been one of those experiences.