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Tom Lehrer

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ENTERTAINMENT
May 26, 2000 | RICHARD CROMELIN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Is Tom Lehrer "the most brilliant song satirist ever recorded"? That's the claim made by Barry Hansen in the hardcover booklet that accompanies "The Remains of Tom Lehrer," a three-CD set that arrived in stores this week. Hansen, better known as Dr. Demento, the radio personality whose program has showcased Lehrer's music for decades, makes a strong case for his position. But one thing there's no arguing is that Lehrer has had the most unusual career of any song satirist ever recorded.
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ENTERTAINMENT
October 3, 2004
I was surprised that Mike Boehm's fascinating article about "Alma" (" 'Alma' Is a Muse in Motion," Sept. 26) did not have a sidebar mentioning Tom Lehrer's brilliant song about Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel. Like Joshua Sobol, Mr. Lehrer was struck by Alma's gravitation toward husbands of genius: "Alma, tell us! / All modern women are jealous / You should have a statue in bronze / For bagging Gustav and Walter and Franz." The lyrics and melody are priceless, and you don't have to pay $125 to schlep around a theater for three hours.
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ENTERTAINMENT
July 16, 1991 | M.E. WARREN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Tom Lehrer, a Harvard-educated mathematician, accidentally became a troubadour of his times--the '50s and '60s--when songs he'd written for his own amusement turned out to amuse others as well. As performed in college coffeehouses and urban cafes, such songs as "The Old Dope Peddler," "Pollution" and "The Masochism Tango" became favorites of sophisticates eager for a witty perspective on modern problems. "Tomfoolery," being staged by the Grove Shakespeare Festival at the Gem Theatre through Aug.
BOOKS
April 20, 2003
Comedians -- In an April 6 review of Gerald Nachman's book "Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s," Stan Freberg was identified as being Jewish, while Tom Lehrer was identified as not being Jewish. Freberg is not Jewish, and Lehrer is Jewish.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 9, 1991 | MARK CHALON SMITH
The last time the Grove Shakespeare Festival staged "Tomfoolery," a revue of songs by satirist Tom Lehrer, company founder Thomas F. Bradac directed and Cyrus Parker-Jeannettewas his assistant. That was in May of 1989. Now, as the Grove's latest version of the show approaches, Parker-Jeannette is in charge of it. But Bradac's presence is being felt as much as ever. Bradac, 43, resigned unexpectedly last week after 12 years as the festival's artistic director.
BOOKS
April 20, 2003
Comedians -- In an April 6 review of Gerald Nachman's book "Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s," Stan Freberg was identified as being Jewish, while Tom Lehrer was identified as not being Jewish. Freberg is not Jewish, and Lehrer is Jewish.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 3, 2004
I was surprised that Mike Boehm's fascinating article about "Alma" (" 'Alma' Is a Muse in Motion," Sept. 26) did not have a sidebar mentioning Tom Lehrer's brilliant song about Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel. Like Joshua Sobol, Mr. Lehrer was struck by Alma's gravitation toward husbands of genius: "Alma, tell us! / All modern women are jealous / You should have a statue in bronze / For bagging Gustav and Walter and Franz." The lyrics and melody are priceless, and you don't have to pay $125 to schlep around a theater for three hours.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 22, 1990 | ROBERT HILBURN, TIMES POP MUSIC CRITIC
Rodney Dangerfield isn't the only comedian who gets no respect when it comes to compact discs. Shelley Berman, Bob Newhart, Mort Sahl and Jonathan Winters each had Top 25 albums in the late '50s or early '60s, but none of those albums is available in CD. The absence of Newhart and Winters is especially surprising because of Newhart's continuing popularity on television and Winters' widely acknowledged influence on such contemporary figures as Robin Williams. Newhart's first two Warner Bros.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 7, 1986 | KIRK ELLIS
Whatever happened to Tom Lehrer, you ask? Well, the Harvard mathematician-turned-satirical songwriter--who penned such ditties as "National Brotherhood Week," "The Vatican Rag" and the immortal "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park"--is alive and well and living (in absentia, anyway) in "Tomfoolery," an entertaining compendium of Lehrer tunes currently tinkling ivories at the Burbage.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 15, 1989 | JAN HERMAN, Times Staff Writer
The roar of approval that greeted the final bows in "Tomfoolery" at the Gem Theatre on opening night Friday was not only rare but well deserved. Wild hurrahs, coming as they did from middle-of-the-road playgoers rather than opera buffs who have a tendency to rave, guarantee that word-of-mouth on this show will be better than it has been for anything the Grove Theatre Co. has done all season. Not that previous offerings, such as the critically underrated "Requiem for a Heavyweight," haven't deserved popularity; nor that its perennial holiday favorite, "A Child's Christmas in Wales," hasn't drawn predictable "oohs" and "aahs."
ENTERTAINMENT
May 26, 2000 | RICHARD CROMELIN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Is Tom Lehrer "the most brilliant song satirist ever recorded"? That's the claim made by Barry Hansen in the hardcover booklet that accompanies "The Remains of Tom Lehrer," a three-CD set that arrived in stores this week. Hansen, better known as Dr. Demento, the radio personality whose program has showcased Lehrer's music for decades, makes a strong case for his position. But one thing there's no arguing is that Lehrer has had the most unusual career of any song satirist ever recorded.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 20, 1997 | DARYL H. MILLER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
There he was, yapping his tomfool head off about war, pollution, prejudice, dope peddling and more. Tom Lehrer, a Harvard-educated mathematician, stumbled into the music business when he found that people would pay good money for recordings of the satiric songs he'd been writing for fun.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 7, 1996 | TODD EVERETT, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Taste-challenging songs including "The Masochism Tango," "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" and "The Old Dope Peddler," first released in the Eisenhower era, gained Tom Lehrer a reputation as an underground humorist of the first order. Broadcast personality and novelty record authority Barrett "Dr. Demento" Hansen calls Lehrer "the most brilliant musical satirist ever to have made records."
ENTERTAINMENT
July 16, 1991 | M.E. WARREN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Tom Lehrer, a Harvard-educated mathematician, accidentally became a troubadour of his times--the '50s and '60s--when songs he'd written for his own amusement turned out to amuse others as well. As performed in college coffeehouses and urban cafes, such songs as "The Old Dope Peddler," "Pollution" and "The Masochism Tango" became favorites of sophisticates eager for a witty perspective on modern problems. "Tomfoolery," being staged by the Grove Shakespeare Festival at the Gem Theatre through Aug.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 9, 1991 | MARK CHALON SMITH
The last time the Grove Shakespeare Festival staged "Tomfoolery," a revue of songs by satirist Tom Lehrer, company founder Thomas F. Bradac directed and Cyrus Parker-Jeannettewas his assistant. That was in May of 1989. Now, as the Grove's latest version of the show approaches, Parker-Jeannette is in charge of it. But Bradac's presence is being felt as much as ever. Bradac, 43, resigned unexpectedly last week after 12 years as the festival's artistic director.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 22, 1990 | ROBERT HILBURN, TIMES POP MUSIC CRITIC
Rodney Dangerfield isn't the only comedian who gets no respect when it comes to compact discs. Shelley Berman, Bob Newhart, Mort Sahl and Jonathan Winters each had Top 25 albums in the late '50s or early '60s, but none of those albums is available in CD. The absence of Newhart and Winters is especially surprising because of Newhart's continuing popularity on television and Winters' widely acknowledged influence on such contemporary figures as Robin Williams. Newhart's first two Warner Bros.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 7, 1996 | TODD EVERETT, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Taste-challenging songs including "The Masochism Tango," "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" and "The Old Dope Peddler," first released in the Eisenhower era, gained Tom Lehrer a reputation as an underground humorist of the first order. Broadcast personality and novelty record authority Barrett "Dr. Demento" Hansen calls Lehrer "the most brilliant musical satirist ever to have made records."
ENTERTAINMENT
November 20, 1997 | DARYL H. MILLER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
There he was, yapping his tomfool head off about war, pollution, prejudice, dope peddling and more. Tom Lehrer, a Harvard-educated mathematician, stumbled into the music business when he found that people would pay good money for recordings of the satiric songs he'd been writing for fun.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 15, 1989 | JAN HERMAN, Times Staff Writer
The roar of approval that greeted the final bows in "Tomfoolery" at the Gem Theatre on opening night Friday was not only rare but well deserved. Wild hurrahs, coming as they did from middle-of-the-road playgoers rather than opera buffs who have a tendency to rave, guarantee that word-of-mouth on this show will be better than it has been for anything the Grove Theatre Co. has done all season. Not that previous offerings, such as the critically underrated "Requiem for a Heavyweight," haven't deserved popularity; nor that its perennial holiday favorite, "A Child's Christmas in Wales," hasn't drawn predictable "oohs" and "aahs."
ENTERTAINMENT
May 9, 1989 | Jan Herman
Notes from all over. . . . Will it be Judd Hirsch or Steve Landesberg (of TV's "Barney Miller") on stage at the Gem Theatre in Garden Grove when Murray Schisgal's latest play, "The Songs of War," has its world premiere there in July? Or either one? "Hirsch and Landesberg are supposed to be reading the script right now," says Tom Bradac, artistic director of the Grove Theatre Company. "But who knows if they're willing?" Playwright Schisgal, who had arrived in Los Angeles from New York last week to work on a movie project for longtime friend Dustin Hoffman, turned up to watch the first cast auditions at the Gem over the weekend.
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