Who's Who in Musicals: Sa-Sm
Savoy and Brennan headlined at the Palace, were featured in Ziegfeld's 1918 Follies, and starred in several editions of John Murray Anderson's Greenwich Village Follies (1920-23). Savoy's exaggerated mannerisms and suggestive humor were widely imitated, and his provocative, hip-swaying walk was later borrowed by Mae West -- along with "come up sometime and see me," a standard line in Savoy's stage banter. Few knew that he married Annie Krehmker in 1905. Unlike most female impersonators of his era, Savoy was outrageously effeminate offstage as well as on. While strolling along a Long Island beach in the summer of 1923, a loud clap of thunder led him to observe, "Ain't Miss God cutting up something awful?" Seconds later, a bolt of lightning struck him dead at age 47 which still rates as one of the most theatrical exits of all time.
Schonberg and Boubil had similar international success with Miss Saigon (1989), which re-set the plot of Puccini's Madama Butterfly in 1970s Vietnam. The London production became the longest running show ever to play the prestigious Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Although the team's adaptation of Martin Guerre (1996) had a decent London run, it suffered from poor reviews and never made it to Broadway. Their Pirate Queen (2007) lasted less than a month on Broadway, and Marguerite (2008) disappeared after a brief West End run. Schonberg and Boubil have also collaborated on several non-theatrical symphonic works.
Schwartz's melodies ranged from sophisticated minor key ballads to raucous barroom polkas, always well-tailored to fit a specific skit, performer or character. After he and Dietz created the stage revue Inside the USA (1948), they wrote the hit song "That's Entertainment" for MGM's screen version of The Band Wagon (1953). Schwartz worked with lyricist Dorothy Fields on the scores for two Broadway hits starring Shirley Booth A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1951) and By the Beautiful Sea (1954). Schwartz's acclaimed TV musical High Tor (1956) had lyrics by Maxwell Anderson and starred Bing Crosby and Julie Andrews. Schwartz reunited with Dietz to compose a TV version of A Bell for Adano (1956), as well as tuneful scores for the short-lived Broadway musicals The Gay Life (1961) and Jennie (1963). When the effects of Parkinson's forced Dietz to stop working in the early 1960s, Schwartz opted to retire.
Schwartz'ss Working (1978), Rags (1986) and Children of Eden (1991 - London) failed despite high quality scores. Collaborating with composer Alan Menken, Schwartz provided the exceptional lyrics for Disney's Pocahontas (1995) and Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996). His solo score for the animated Prince of Egypt (1998) made little impression, but critics applauded his live action TV musical Gepetto (2000). Schwartz provided music and lyrics for the Oz-inspired hit Wicked (2003), which overcame mixed reviews to become a massive hit.
Segal went to Hollywood for the Romberg- Oscar Hammerstein II film Viennese Nights (1930). While there, she met Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Sensing that tastes were changing, she shifted gears and returned to Broadway to star in three Rodgers and Hart musical comedy hits. She played "Peggy" in I Married an Angel (1938), and introduced "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" as wealthy matron "Vera Simpson" in the daring Pal Joey (1940).
When Segal agreed to appear as evil "Morgan LeFay" in the revival of A Connecticut Yankee, the composers gave her the showstopping "To Keep My Love Alive" which turned out to be Hart's final lyric. After starring in two forgettable failures, Segal triumphed as Vera in a revival of Pal Joey (1952). Starring opposite Harold Lang (and later his understudy, newcomer Bob Fosse), she saw this acclaimed production outrun the original. She made occasional appearances on television before quietly settling into an extended retirement.
Sherman, Richard M.
Sherman, Robert B.
The Shermans worked on the last two films personally supervised by Walt Disney the animated classic The Jungle Book (1967) with the Oscar-nominated song "Bare Necessities," and the less successful live action musical The Happiest Millionaire (1967). After providing songs for the underrated Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1968), they left the Disney studio to compose Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), returning to Disney for the animated Aristocats (1970).
Their independent post-Disney films include a charming animated version of Charlotte's Web (1972), live action versions of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer (1972) and Huckleberry Finn (1973), and the Cinderella remake The Slipper and the Rose (1976). They brought the surviving Andrew Sisters to Broadway in the nostalgic World War II musical Over There (1974). In the mid-1990s, their stage musical Busker Alley (adapted from the British film St. Martin's Lane) closed on the road, starring its director Tommy Tune. A stage adaptation of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang succeeded in London (2004) and reached Broadway a year later, and a Disney-produced stage version of Mary Poppins has enjoyed long runs and extensive tours on both sides of the Atlantic. The documentary The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story (2010) revealed that the Shermans had grown to dislike each other and were estranged for many years. Robert died in 2012 after a prolonged illness.
Short direction did much to repair composer Jerome Kern's so-so staging of Roberta (1933), turning a likely flop into a profitable Depression-era hit. Short also surprised many by turning the gargantuan The Great Waltz (1934) into a profitable success on both sides of the Atlantic -- even though the expanded New York staging was believed to be the most expensive Broadway production up to that time. He then scored an intimate success with Cole Porter's royal-themed musical comedy Jubilee (1935). Short went on to direct the groundbreaking Lady in the Dark (1941), the wartime frolic Something for the Boys (1943) and the daring Carmen Jones (1943). After staging a colorful revival of Show Boat (1946), his late hits included a return to his creative roots with the intimate revue Make Mine Manhattan (1948). Working into the early 1950s, he eventually staged more than 40 Broadway productions. A homosexual in a relentlessly closeted era, Short maintained a low profile in his private life, enjoying a longterm relationship with chorus dancer Billy Ladd.
Shubert, Jacob (J.J.)
The Shubert Brothers openly competed with A.L. Erlanger's Theatrical Syndicate, a powerful monopoly that controlled the bookings for most of the theaters in the United States. When Sam died in a 1905 train wreck, Erlanger coldly refused to abide by any agreements "with a dead man." Lee and Jacob swore vengeance, and launched a long and vicious feud that eventually destroyed the syndicate and made the Shuberts the most powerful figures in the legitimate theater. More ruthless than Erlanger, they were soon just as hated. Their unscrupulous treatment of actors unintentionally encouraged the formation of the Actor's Equity Association.
Lee appeared reserved, but was known to be ruthless in all business matters. Jacob (often called Jake or "J.J.") was a coarse, often violent man, who was known to punch out chorus girls who complained about backstage conditions. The Shubert Brothers produced over 500 plays and musicals to fill their theatres they controlled 31 Broadway theatres, plus 63 more nationwide. They promoted the talents of composer Sigmund Romberg, and performers Al Jolson, Marilyn Miller and Ed Wynn. The musical tastes of both brothers ran to the sentimental and melodic, with a strong preference for operettas and revues employing legions of chorus girls.
The Shuberts' most important musicals included Maytime (1917), Blossom Time (1921), Big Boy (1925) and Hellzapoppin (1938), as well as several post-Ziegfeld editions of the Follies in the 1930s and 40s. In time, the Shuberts were most closely identified with musty, budget-conscious revivals that toured after playing a few nights in New York, boasting they were "straight from Broadway." When the Great Depression struck and experts advised them to sell off their theaters, the Shuberts refused, saving Broadway from almost certain extinction. Lee and Jacob were always in litigation, even with each other. In fact, they did not speak to each other during the final decades of their lives, and Lee forced the hotheaded J.J into the background. In the 1960s, with both brothers dead, the Shubert family's attorneys took control of the organization.
Eventually appearing in almost 60 films, his most notable musical roles include Chip in On the Town (1949), Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls (1955), Connor in High Society (1956), and the title roles in Pal Joey (1957) and Robin and the Seven Hoods (1964). He introduced several Academy Award winning songs, including "All the Way" in The Joker is Wild (1957) and "High Hopes" (with young Eddie Hodges) in A Hole in the Head (1959). Sinatra was one of the narrators of the MGM compendium That's Entertainment (1974). One of the top pop singers of the 20th Century, he starred in numerous television specials and made SRO concert appearances into his final years.
Smith, Harry B.
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