The gift was ours to borrow: Thank you, Marvin Hamlisch

Ah, sad to hear that Marvin Hamlisch died today. A Chorus Line, whose music he composed, will always have a special place in my heart as my first high-school musical. My freshman year at St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco I was cast in the ensemble. While I had been into musicals since I was a little kid, it was that experience that helped crystallize my love for performing on stage. And what better show than one about the life of performers, in this case, dancers. Even nowadays I’m always singing or humming those songs, and sure enough I named this blog after a Chorus Line song, Cassie’s “The Music and the Mirror.”

He had quite a multi-faceted career, to which I intend to devote more exploration, but at the very least I must say for his Chorus Line music I am indeed grateful.

In 2005 Thom and I saw Marvin Hamlisch conduct Brian Stokes Mitchell’s concert with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington. At the time I wrote:

Before Brian’s set, the National Symphony Orchestra played suites from South Pacific (Richard Rodgers) and The Light in the Piazza (Adam Guettel), and afterwards conductor Marvin Hamlisch asked the audience to name the connection between the two. One woman in the front row blurted out that the composer of Piazza is “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s grandson.” Ha! (Guettel is Rodgers’ grandson.) It became a running gag throughout the evening. “We knew Rodgers and Hammerstein were close, but…”

Hamlisch is a bit of a cutup. When one couple arrived late into the concert hall (why they weren’t escorted by an usher, especially since they had seats way up front, I don’t know), he stopped his banter, asked for their tickets, and showed them to their seats himself.