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Biography : The 1960s

For the first half of the decade, Dorothy did not work for the theatre. She needed someone to tempt her back, and the person who finally took on that role was young composer Cy Coleman. He was firmly of the new generation, a jazz pianist who loved the new Manhattan night life. However he had two Broadway shows under his belt, Wildcat and the great success Little Me, and he appreciated Dorothy's special talent.

Fittingly, her first project with Coleman was a contemporary piece, the first time Dorothy had written for a modern-day musical since Stars in Your Eyes. Sweet Charity was the product of a five-person creative team – Fields, Coleman, Fosse, Verdon and Neil Simon – in which Dorothy stood out as being a generation older than the other four.

 

However she showed that her delight in slang and colloquialisms was undimmed and she invented and deployed an authentic and evocative street-talk in her work for this show. Sweet Charity was one of the last Broadway shows where individual songs made an immediate, lasting impact on a wider audience – Big Spender and If My Friends Could See Me Now were hits.

Neil Simon later wrote of his memories of working with Dorothy.

The success of Sweet Charity was a tribute to the entire creative team, but must have been particularly sweet to the 61-year-old Dorothy. However she produced little else in the 1960s – a few songs for plays and films (including one-off collaborations with Quincy Jones, and her son David Lahm), and an abortive project using Kern melodies.

Biography  The 1950s                        Biography  The 1970s

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