He regretted that his early success with "A Chorus Line" when he was just 29 years old was not repeated over and over again. His collaborators on that project died soon afterwards and were not around to collaborate on any future projects. Hamlisch never found quite the same team to work with ever again. Still, he went on to garner three Oscars, four Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, a Tony Award as well as a Pulitzer Prize. He was one of just eleven other artists to earn awards in all four categories (EGOT).
His great love was Broadway music. In the early 1970's, Broadway was dying. With the success of "A Chorus Line," Hamlisch was part of the resurgence of the Broadway Musical. That show led the way. The public wanted to see more shows with quality music and appealing stories. Broadway shows became popular again and the area was cleaned up. In fact many theaters even started catering to families with children. Producers learned that they had better "grow their audience" by making shows accessible to the future generations. Marvin Hamlisch spent his later years devoting himself to making sure that the great music of the Broadway stage was not forgotten. As the Pops conductor of eight different concert orchestras around the country, he promoted the works of greats such as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Lowe, Frank Loesser and others. He made great contributions to our collective memory of our American Songbook comprised of the best of the great Broadway and Pop composers, old and new.
I went to see some Broadway shows in the early 1970's and remember how run-down and seedy the show district was then. The shows we saw were nothing great either. They were not the calibre I had expected to see from all the stories I had heard from people who had been to see Broadway shows in the glory days. What a difference when I went back to see some Broadway shows in the late 1990's and early 2000's. The marquee's were bright with titles of new shows and revivals of wonderful old shows. Many of these shows were family friendly, as well. How refreshing to see that the producers were taking thought for the rising generation. I saw busloads of school children being dropped off to see matinee performances of "The Lion King" and "Wicked." In the early 1970's, I would never have allowed my children anywhere near 42nd Street. Thank you, Marvin Hamlisch for helping the Broadway Musical make a comeback.
So many creative people are needed to make a successful Musical Theater Show, no matter the level, all the way from Broadway down to local Children's Theater. Writers, composers, producers, directors, actors, singers, dancers, choreographers, scenic designers, builders, costumers, tech crews, musicians, marketing teams, publishers, even those who run the theater -- it takes so many people to make the magic happen! I have also been grateful to have wonderful collaborators to help make my visions a reality. There really is nothing better than to have happy collaborations!