More, Sir, of Loesser: Actors Fund Benefit to Homage Broadway’s Most Happy Fella

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FrankLoesser

The following is courtesy of publicist Adrian Bryan-Brown:

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Chance and Chemistry:
A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser

A Concert to Benefit The Actors Fund
co-chaired by Jo Sullivan Loesser and Sir Paul McCartney

At Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre on Monday, October 26, 2009

Liz Callaway, Debbie Gravitte, Hugh Jackman,
Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell,
Chita Rivera, John Stamos and Lillias White
lead an all-star cast

Chance and Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser, a concert to benefit the Actors Fund, will take place at the Minskoff Theatre on Mon., Oct. 26, 2009 at 7:30pm. The event will be co-chaired by Jo Sullivan Loesser and Sir Paul McCartney, and hosted by Annette Bening, Kevin McCollum and Jonathan Tisch.

The evening will be directed and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli (South Pacific, Sunday in the Park with George, Altar Boyz) with musical direction by Brad Haak.

For more information and sponsorship opportunities call The Actors Fund at (212) 221-7300 Extension 133. For updates, please visit www.actorsfund.org.

Frank Loesser has been called the most versatile of all Broadway composers, having supplied both music and lyrics for such varied works as Guys and Dolls, Where’s Charley?, The Most Happy Fella and How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. Born June 29, 1910, in New York City, Loesser wrote his first song at the age of 6. In 1931, he teamed with William Schuman (future President of Juilliard), resulting in Loesser’s first published song, “In Love with a Memory of You.” In 1936, Loesser and composer Irving Actman contributed five songs to The Illustrator’s Show. It closed after five performances, but landed them a Hollywood contract. There, Loesser provided lyrics for the music of such greats as Jule Styne, Hoagy Carmichael, and Burton Lane, producing hits such as “I Don’t Want to Walk Without You,” “Heart and Soul”, “Two Sleepy People,” and the 1948 Academy Award winner, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” for which he also supplied the music. In 1948, producers Cy Feuer and Ernest Martin convinced Loesser to create the score for Where’s Charley?, which became his first Broadway hit, and introduced the song, “Once In Love With Amy.” He followed that with one of the masterworks of musical theatre, Guys and Dolls, opening Nov. 24, 1950, and winning the Tony Award for Best Musical.

Loesser wrote the score and the book for his next show, which he called an “extended musical comedy,” The Most Happy Fella. How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying opened Oct. 14, 1961, winning the Pulitzer Prize and seven Tonys, including Best Musical. In the midst of his stage work, Loesser returned to Hollywood and created one of his best loved scores for the film Hans Christian Andersen, which featured “Wonderful Copenhagen,” “Anywhere I Wander,” “The Inch Worm” and “Thumbelina.”

Since Loesser’s untimely death in 1969, The Most Happy Fella has been revived on Broadway and at the New York City Opera (where it has become part of the permanent repertory); How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying returned in 1995, starring Matthew Broderick, and becoming a long running hit. Guys and Dolls won the 1992 Tony Award for Best Revival, and returned in 2009 for its fourth run on Broadway. In 1999, Loesser was honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a postage stamp bearing his likeness.

The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps all professionals in performing arts and entertainment. The Fund, which supports actors and performers and everyone behind the scenes who works in theatre, film, TV, music, dance, radio and opera, is a safety net, providing social services and emergency assistance, health services, employment and training programs and housing support for those who are in need, crisis or transition. Learn more about The Actors Fund at www.actorsfund.org.