Adolph Green


Adolph Green

Adolph Green (December 2, 1914ndash October 23, 2002) was an American lyricist and playwright who, with long-time collaborator Betty Comden, penned the screenplays and songs for some of the most beloved movie musicals, particularly as part of Arthur Freed's production unit at MGM, during the genre's heyday. Many people thought the pair were married; they were not, but they shared a unique comic genius and sophisticated wit that enabled them to forge a six-decade-long partnership that produced some of Hollywood and Broadway's greatest hits.

Early life and career

Green was born in the Bronx to Hungarian-Jewish immigrants Daniel and Helen Weiss Green. After high school, he worked as a runner on Wall Street while he tried to make it as an actor. He met Comden through mutual friends in 1938 while she was studying drama at New York University. They formed a troupe called the Revuers, which performed at the Village Vanguard, a club in Greenwich Village. Among the members of the company was a young comedian named Judy Tuvim, who later changed her name to Judy Holliday, and Green's good friend, a young musician named Leonard Bernstein, frequently accompanied them on the piano. The act's success earned them a movie offer and the Revuers traveled west in hopes of finding fame in "Greenwich Village", a 1944 movie starring Carmen Miranda and Don Ameche, but their roles were so small they barely were noticed, and they quickly returned to New York.

Their first Broadway effort joined them with Bernstein for "On the Town", a musical romp about three sailors on leave in New York City that was an expansion of a ballet entitled "Fancy Free" on which Bernstein had been working with choreographer Jerome Robbins. Comden and Green wrote the lyrics and book, which included sizeable parts for themselves. Their next two musicals, "Billion Dollar Baby" (1945) and "Bonanza Bound" (1947) were not successful, and once again they headed to California, where they immediately found work at MGM.

They wrote the screenplay for "Good News", starring June Allyson and Peter Lawford, "The Barkleys of Broadway" for Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, and then adapted "On the Town" for Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly, scrapping Bernstein's music at the request of Arthur Freed, who did not care for the Bernstein score.

They reunited with Kelly for their most successful project, the classic "Singin' in the Rain", about Hollywood in the final days of the silent film era. Considered by many film historians to be the best movie musical of all time, it ranked #10 on the list of the 100 Best American Movies of the 20th Century, compiled by the American Film Institute in 1998. They followed this with another hit, "The Band Wagon", in which the characters of Lester and Lily, a husband-and-wife team that writes the screenplay for the show-within-a-show, were patterned after themselves. They were Oscar-nominated twice, for their screenplays for "The Band Wagon" and "It's Always Fair Weather", both of which earned them a Screen Writers Guild Award, as did "On the Town". Their stage work during the next few years included the revue "Two on the Aisle", starring Bert Lahr and Dolores Gray, "Wonderful Town", an adaptation of the comedy hit "My Sister Eileen", with Rosalind Russell and Edie Adams as two sisters from Ohio trying to make it in the Big Apple, and "Bells Are Ringing", which reunited them with Judy Holliday as an operator at a telephone answering service. The score, including the standards "Just in Time," "Long Before I Knew You," and "The Party’s Over," proved to be one of their richest.

In 1958, they appeared on Broadway in "A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green", a revue that included some of their early sketches. It was a critical and commercial success, and they brought an updated version back to Broadway in 1977. Among their other credits are the Mary Martin version of "Peter Pan" for both Broadway and television, a streamlined "Die Fledermaus" for the Metropolitan Opera, and stage musicals for Carol Burnett, Leslie Uggams, and Lauren Bacall, among others. Their many collaborators included Garson Kanin, Cy Coleman, Jule Styne, and André Previn.

The team was not without its failures. In 1982, "A Doll's Life", a misguided attempt to figure out what Nora did after she abandoned her husband in Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House", ran for only five performances, although they received Tony Award nominations for its book and score.

Comden and Green received Kennedy Center Honors in 1991.

Green's third wife was actress Phyllis Newman, who had understudied Holliday in "Bells Are Ringing". They had two children, Adam and Amanda.

His Broadway memorial, with such luminaries as Lauren Bacall, Kevin Kline, Joel Grey, Kristin Chenoweth, Arthur Laurents, Peter Stone, and, of course, Betty Comden in attendance was held at the Shubert Theater on December 4, 2002.

Additional Broadway credits

*"The Will Rogers Follies" (1991)
*"Singin' in the Rain" (1985)
*"On the Twentieth Century" (1978)
*"Lorelei" (1974)
*"Applause" (1970)
*"Hallelujah, Baby!" (1967)
*"Fade Out - Fade In" (1964)
*"Subways Are For Sleeping" (1961)
*"Do Re Mi" (1960)
*"Say, Darling" (1958)

Theatre awards and nominations

*1991 Tony Award for Best Original Score ("The Will Rogers Follies", winner)
*1986 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical ("Singin' in the Rain", nominee)
*1983 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical ("A Doll's Life", nominee)
*1983 Tony Award for Best Original Score ("A Doll's Life", nominee)
*1978 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical ("On the Twentieth Century", winner)
*1978 Tony Award for Best Original Score ("On the Twentieth Century", winner)
*1970 Tony Award for Best Musical ("Applause", winner)
*1968 Tony Award for Best Composer and Lyricist ("Hallelujah, Baby!", winner)
*1968 Tony Award for Best Musical ("Hallelujah, Baby!", winner)
*1961 Tony Award for Best Musical ("Do Re Mi", nominee)
*1957 Tony Award for Best Musical ("Bells Are Ringing", nominee)
*1953 Tony Award for Best Musical ("Wonderful Town", winner)

External links

* [http://www.ibdb.com/person.asp?ID=3911/ Adolph Green at IBDb]
* [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0337582/ Adolph Green at IMDb]

References

"Off Stage", a memoir by Betty Comden published in 1995

External links

* [http://www.nypl.org/research/manuscripts/the/theagree.xml Adolph Green Papers, 1944-2002 - The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts]
* [http://www.nypl.org/research/manuscripts/the/thecomgr.xml Comden and Green Papers, 1933-2003 - The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts]
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/25/obituaries/25GREE.html Adolph Green, Playwright and Lyricist Who Teamed With Comden, Dies at 87] , "The New York Times", October 25, 2002
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/04/arts/theater/04MEMO.html A Broadway Memorial? That's Entertainment] , "The New York Times", December 4, 2002


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Adolph Green — (* 2. Dezember 1914 in New York City; † 23. Oktober 2002 ebenda) war ein amerikanischer Songschreiber, Drehbuchautor und Schauspieler. In seiner mehr als 60 Jahre andauernden Zusammenarbeit mit Betty Comden schrieb er Texte für Broadway Musicals… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Adolph Green — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Green. Adolph Green, né le 2 décembre 1914 à New York et décédé le 23 octobre 2002 à New York est un parolier, un dramaturge et un acteur américain. Il a fait la plus grande partie de sa… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green — Infobox Musical name= A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green caption= 1977 Recording music= Leonard Bernstein Jule Styne André Previn Saul Chaplin Roger Edens lyrics= Betty Comden and Adolph Green book= Betty Comden and Adolph Green basis=… …   Wikipedia

  • GREEN, ADOLPH — (1915–2002), U.S. theatrical writer. Born in the Bronx, New York, Green was educated at the City College of New York. He worked as a lyricist on many Broadway musicals. Among them were On the Town (and book, 1946); Two on the Aisle (1952);… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Green (Familienname) — Green ist ein englischer Familienname Herkunft und Bedeutung Das englische Wort green bedeutet „grün“ oder auch „Anger“ (village green); der Name kann vielfältige Ursprünge haben. Varianten Greene Bekannte Namensträger Inhaltsverzeichnis A B C D …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Green, Adolph — ▪ 2003       American lyricist, screenwriter, and actor (b. Dec. 2, 1915, Bronx, N.Y. d. Oct. 23, 2002, New York, N.Y.), enjoyed a six decade long creative collaboration with Betty Comden that resulted in not only a number of joyously enduring… …   Universalium

  • Green (name) — Family name name = Green imagesize= caption= pronunciation = meaning = region = origin = varied related names = Greene footnotes = [ [http://www.census.gov/genealogy/names/names files.html 1990 Census Name Files ] ] Green is common surname… …   Wikipedia

  • Green — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom.  Pour l’article homophone, voir Greene. Sur les autres projets Wikimedia : « Green », sur …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Adolph Zukor — Données clés Nom de naissance Adolph Zukor Naissance 7 janvier 1873 Ricse Hongrie Nationalité d origine  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Adolph Douai — (1819 1888). Karl Daniel Adolph Douai (1819 1888), known to his peers as Adolph, was a German Texan teacher as well as a socialist and abolitionist newspaper editor. He is remembered as one of the leading American Marxists of the 19th Century as… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.