Christa Fuller/Harry Groener/Julie Anne Aho/Lisa Beth Carroll/Lisa Mayer,
Unsung Musicals: The Ultimate Collection
I was so stunned and affected by the news of Marvin Hamlisch’s death this morning that I had to stop working for about a half hour to collect myself. That reaction was about as unexpected as his death was, but when I think about it, so many of his songs are so interwoven with my subconscious and my memories, it makes sense.
“Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows” is my personal soundtrack to happy moments. A Chorus Line was not only one of the first shows I ever saw on Broadway — the film soundtrack was one of my first obsessions after outgrowing Annie. (I’m sure I’ve told the stories of my dancing around the house singing “Let Me Dance For You” more than once on the internet.) My brother’s bar mitzvah video opens (as so many of that era must) with the sound of Streisand singing “The Way We Were.” And when I fall in love, it’s always to the tune of “Fallin’” from They’re Playing Our Song.
Hamlisch’s autobiography, The Way I Was, is a fascinating and heartbreaking read. He comes across as someone who was never fulfilled by all his achievements, particularly because they were followed by so many disappointments. Listening to a track like this one, featuring Harry Groener singing the title song from Smile, one of Hamlisch’s biggest flops and most painful failures, it’s hard to think of this score as any sort of disappointment, but that’s showbiz.
Rest in peace, Mr. Hamlisch.