In this season of political rancor and of foreign governments attacking their own citizens, it’s a good time for all of us to step back and take a deep breath and seek out something that will whisk us away, at least for a little while.
Marvin Hamlisch–The Man and His Music— is what is right with life. His melodies will live on even if the man himself is gone. I was appalled regarding how little time was spent by our news markets in commemorating this man’s great contribution to making our lives that much better; he was a real Mensch.
I was one of the fortunate fans who met Mr. Hamlisch in person. Several years ago, he presented a solo performance at a neighborhood venue and I was lucky enough to be in the audience. It was just an empty stage, a grand piano, a hand mike, and Hamlisch. He played his music, played other people’s music, bantered back and forth with the capacity audience, and showed his relaxed personable side while performing flawlessly on the piano. His arrangements from film and theater were full and romantic, but music of the stage in particular was certainly his forte.
About halfway through the program, he stopped suddenly, and blurted out, “Wait a minute, I hear a certain song!” Then after two piano chords, two local college students literally flew out of the wings of the stage, crossed downstage and much to the surprise and joy to all of us, began singing Hamlisch’s own award-winning “They’re Playing Our Song.” The improvised choreograph was professional and the crowd loved it. I knew these two musical theater majors and after the show I went backstage to congratulate them and to meet Mr. Hamlisch. He truly was “the real thing” on AND off the stage; sincere, funny, and charming. A great night for me.
I mourn his passing; we have lost one of the Greats. He had so much more to show us.