Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Broadway Stars In Salute To Lerner

July 11, 1986|CLARKE TAYLOR

NEW YORK — Memories of Alan Jay Lerner flooded Broadway's Shubert Theater Thursday at a memorial service for the noted lyricist, who died here June 14, of cancer, at age 67.

"Few men in our melancholy age gave so much pleasure to so many people," said historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., echoing the sentiments of the dozen other friends and colleagues of Lerner's who were present along with a standing-room-only audience that included Lerner's widow, actress Liz Robertson.

Among those to speak or perform from the stage of the Shubert were Julie Andrews, Leonard Bernstein, John Cullum, Richard Kiley, Sidney Kingsley, and George Rose; Rex Harrison spoke on film from London. Some of the speakers, as well as other Broadway actors and actresses, also sang excerpts from such Lerner shows as "On a Clear Day, You Can See Forever," "Brigadoon," and "Carmelina," while film clips were shown of Harrison, singing from "My Fair Lady," and Maurice Chevalier and Hermione Gingold, from "Gigi." Throughout the 1 1/2 hour long "celebration," the American musical form with which Lerner and his frequent collaborator Frederick Lowe were associated also was remembered.

"I'm just as amazed as everyone else at how good we were and how easy it was for us at times to create," relayed Lowe to the Shubert audience, through a message read by Kitty Carlisle Hart. The message continued, "It won't be long before we'll be writing together again . . . I just hope they have a decent piano up there."

The audience seemed especially moved by the appearance of Julie Andrews, who had flown from London for the occasion. Reflecting on her first meeting with Lerner at the Shubert while auditioning for "My Fair Lady," Andrews spoke of the "rare gathering of talent" on Broadway during the peak of Lerner's career. She then sang what she said was the lyricist's favorite song, Noel Coward's "If Love Were All." And she read a message from actor Robert Goulet, who likewise reminisced about his career breakthrough performance in Lerner and Lowe's "Camelot."

Andrews read a line from the end of the 1960s musical that became an anthem for the short-lived Kennedy Administration, in which King Arthur, referring to Lancelot, says, "He's less than a drop in the deep blue sea. But some of the drops sparkle . . . some of them do sparkle."

The service concluded with a film clip of Lerner himself singing the title song from "Camelot."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|