The Way I was
One of the most gifted popular composers of our time, Marvin Hamlisch has written an unforgettable book - outrageously funny, witty, brutally frank, and moving - about the remarkable career that brought him three Academy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, and international fame by the age of thirty-one. It also left him alone, with nowhere to go but down. The son of Viennese immigrants, he was sent to New York City's Juilliard School of Music when he was only six, but the place made him a nervous wreck, and he unfailingly threw up before every final exam. He helped a young Liza Minnelli make her first record - as a Christmas present for her mother, Judy Garland. He next made his way downtown to Broadway, where he was a rehearsal pianist (and fetched chocolate-covered doughnuts) for Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl. He then hopped a train to Hollywood. ("After all, if God had wanted us to fly, he wouldn't have given us economy class".) It was there he composed the score and title song for The Way We Were and adapted the music for The Sting and accepted three Oscars in one evening. He came back east after that to work with Michael Bennett on A Chorus Line, the now-fabled longest-running musical ever. It was followed by more successes and then by Jean, a noble failure, and Smile, an ignoble one. "Something had gone terribly wrong. . . . What followed were very tough years for me, years without any writing offers of much consequence. It's funny, celebrity status. . . . Part of me knew that other projects would come in their own time and in their own way, but being idle and alone was still agony. I became very depressed. I had excruciating headaches. I also had to put to rest the child in me that stillsaw things in black and white, success or failure". He came to realize the need to slow down and reflect on where his musical career - and his life - were going. "My life would have to stop being about showing them. It would have to start to be about showing me". The Way I Was is both delightfully comic and painfully candid.
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The Rehearsal Pianist
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