"The Complete Lyrics of Irving Berlin," the thick tome expected from Knopf in time for the 2000 holidays, will instead appear on shelves in fall 2001, a spokesman from The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, which oversees Berlin's properties, confirmed.
The new volume in Knopf's cherished oversize "Complete Lyrics" series is co-edited by Robert Kimball and Berlin's daughter, Linda Emmett. The book will contain over 1,200 Berlin lyrics, including many never previously published.
The mammoth project has taken more than five years to complete. "It was decided that the original publication date of late 2000 was unrealistic," according to R&H.
Russian-born composer-lyricist Berlin (1888-1989) wrote standalone songs, contributed songs to revues (Music Box Revue, Ziegfeld Follies) and wrote full musical comedy scores (Annie Get Your Gun, Mr. President, Miss Liberty, Louisiana Purchase). Among his songs are "White Christmas," "God Bless America," "There's No Business Like Show Business" and "Cheek to Cheek."
* "The Complete Lyrics of Frank Loesser" will be the fifth volume in the popular Knopf series of oversize books documenting the verse if American theatre lyrics, editor Kimball previously told Playbill On-Line.
Kimball, who edited the complete lyrics of Cole Porter, Ira Gershwin, Lorenz Hart and Berlin, said there is no publication date, but the book has been assigned and is in the planning stages, with the participation of Jo Sullivan Loesser, the composer lyricist's widow. Steve Nelson will co-edit with Kimball.
Loesser (1910-1969) wrote music and lyrics, and sometimes wrote lyrics for other composers. He wrote pop songs, wartime songs for soldier shows, and songs for film and stage musicals. His work includes scores for Guys and Dolls, The Most Happy Fella, Greenwillow, Where's Charley?, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and songs for the films "Hans Christian Andersen," "The Perils of Pauline," "Neptune's Daughter," and more.
— By Kenneth Jones