George Balzer, Broadway Librettist and TV Writer, Is Dead at 91

Obituaries   George Balzer, Broadway Librettist and TV Writer, Is Dead at 91
George Balzer, who took a break from a longtime association with comedian Jack Benny, to write the hit Broadway musical Are You With It?, died Sept. 28 in Van Nuys, California. He was 91.

Mr Balzer was writing gags for Benny's popular radio show when, in 1945, he left with fellow Benny writer Sam Perrin to write the book for the new musical Are You With It?, which had music by Harry Revel and lyrics by Arnold B. Horwitt (Plain and Fancy). The cast included Joan Roberts, Dolores Gray and Johnny Downs. The show—about a man who is incapable of having fun, until he visits a carnival and falls in love with one of the performers—opened at the New Century Theatre on Nov. 10, 1945 and ran for 267 performances, eventually transferring to the Shubert Theatre. It would be Mr. Balzer's sole Broadway credit. The musical was made into a movie starring Donald O'Connor, though the film used none of the songs from the stage show.

After Are You With It?, Mr. Balzer returned to Benny's radio show and eventually followed him to television. He won two Emmy Awards for his work. He also wrote for comedians George Burns, Gracie Allen and Red Skelton.

He was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1915, and had his first professional writing job for radio's Kraft Music Hall, where he met Burns.

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