Theatre Community Remembers Tony and Oscar Winner Marvin Hamlisch

By Playbill Staff
07 Aug 2012

Marvin Hamlisch
Marvin Hamlisch

Playbill.com reached out to members of the theatre community Aug. 7, asking them to share their memories of the late Tony and Oscar-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, whose numerous compositions included A Chorus Line, They're Playing Our Song, "The Way We Were," "The Entertainer," "Nobody Does It Better" and more. Several artists have also expressed their thoughts via Twitter.

Steven Brinberg, Barbra Streisand impressionist who sang in symphony concerts with Mr. Hamlisch
"I first met Marvin when he heard my CD and had the idea of my doing a number in the Streisand 'Timeless' tour. In the end it didn't happen because the concert, just a few weeks away, already had a young girl playing young Barbra (Lauren Frost, who we later did a show with), and it would be overkill. But he promised 'I definitely want to work with you.' Sure enough, within a few months he asked me to sing in one of his symphony concerts with Barbara Cook at the Kennedy Center. We would end up doing shows in over a dozen cities over the next decade. I was in total awe upon our meeting, but he put me quickly at ease as he did everyone. I've never met someone so accomplished who was so completely down to earth...far less famous people could learn from him. We would do these shows not just in DC but places as far flung as Fort Worth and Oklahoma City...places where one might worry about the 'unorothodox' appearance of a man dressed as a woman...but Marvin had no such qualms. I loved our chats as we would wait in the wings together....as well as onstage, where I would change the jokes leading up to my songs each night just so they would be different to him and make him laugh. The last show we did together was last year in Pasadena at an outdoor venue which didn't have proper dressing rooms. He graciously allowed me to change in his trailer. At one point he asked me to fix his collar, at which point I was fully made up as Barbra, and we both laughed at the sight of me-as-her, nails and all trying to fix his collar. You could ask him anything, and he could talk about any subject, not just show business, but politics, sports etc. In Milwaukee after a show he took us to get custard, as excited as a kid to show us this place...not blase at all like so many in the business. In Seattle he was so excited to take us to his favorite restuarant. He really enjoyed life. In spite of all his success, I think Marvin was underrated...when you look at the vast range of music, from musicals and film scores he leaves behind. It's truly sad to think of the music he still had in him that we won't get to know. Sadder still is the loss of the friendship of this wonderful human being."

Betty Buckley, Tony-winning actress, via Twitter
"So shocked & sad to learn of Marvin Hamlisch passing away at 68 after a brief illness. Such a lovely, gracious, talented man. Such a loss."

Susan Egan, Broadway actress and singer, via Twitter
"God Bless you, Marvin Hamlisch. I was so honored to work with you. You will be missed, sweet man."



Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public Theater
"The Public Theater is deeply saddened by the loss of the great Marvin Hamlisch. Marvin was a musical genius; he is a legend at The Public for his ground-breaking score for A Chorus Line, which changed The Public, and the American theater, forever. We are lucky he graced our stages. He will be missed."

Sheldon Harnick, Tony-winning co-creator of Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me
"This is a tragic loss. He was a gigantic talent as a composer, conductor, pianist and a wit. He was a dear friend to me and Margie."

Cheyenne Jackson, Broadway actor and singer, via Twitter
"Unbelievably sad about the passing of Marvin Hamlisch. We've lost one of the best."

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