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American Musicals


The centennial celebration kicks off this spring with a few concert events:

On April 16 and 18, Opera Omaha will celebrate American musical theater with "So In Love with Broadway," featuring a centenary tribute to Frank Loesser by Broadway star Ron Raines along with special guests Emily Loesser and Jo Sullivan Loesser and conducted by Hal France.

On May 3, The Kennedy Center will host two special events: Millennium Stage will unveil a new stage work based on Frank Loesser’s previously unheard “animal songs.”  Later that evening, the Terrace Theater will present “Broadway Up Close and Personal: Frank Loesser.”  ASCAP’s Michael Kerker will interview Jo Sullivan Loesser about the composer and lyricist’s work and life.

There are a number of revivals of Loesser's musicals currently in development, including How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, which opens on September 24 at Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut. The limited engagement will close on November 28, 2010.

In March, Turner Classic Movies will show Red, Hot and Blue, a 1949 comedy in which the role of mobster Hair-do Lempke is played by none other than Loesser. The film, which was directed by John Farrow and stars Betty Hutton and Victor Mature, will be broadcast on March 7, 2010.

During his career, which spanned nearly four decades, he wrote the lyrics to over 700 songs, composed five Broadway Musicals -- Where's Charley?, The Most Happy Fella, Greenwillow, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and perhaps most famously, Guys & Dolls, and contributed lyrics to some 80 films, picking up two Tony Awards, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Pulitzer Prize along the way.

1993 saw the publication of A Most Remarkable Fella , a biography by his daughter Susan Loesser. In 1999, Loesser was honored by the United States Postal Service with a stamp bearing his likeness. In 2003, Knopf published The Complete Lyrics of Frank Loesser, and in 2006, Loesser was the subject of the PBS documentary Heart & Soul: The Life and Music of Frank Loesser.

Loesser's songs have been recorded by a dazzling array of performers including Louis Armstrong, Pearl Bailey, Betty Carter, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Dean Martin, Willie Nelson, Les Paul, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Rufus Wainwright, among many others.