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Cy Coleman

Born June 14, 1929, New York. N. Y.
Died November 18, 2004, New York, N.Y.

Coleman, born Seymour Kaufman, was brought up in the Bronx. He was a child prodigy and had given piano recitals in Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall by the ripe old age of 9 .

Despite the early classical success, he decided to build a career in popular music. His first collaborator was Joseph Allen McCarthy but his most successful early partnership, albeit a turbulent one, was with Carolyn Leigh. The pair wrote many pop hits including Witchcraft and The Best Is Yet To Come, and also wrote two Broadway musicals : Wildcat, which starred Lucille Ball, and Little Me.

In 1964, Coleman met Dorothy Fields at a party, and asked if she would like to collaborate with him. She is reported to have answered Thank God somebody asked. Fields was revitalised by working with the much younger Coleman, and by the contemporary nature of their first project, which was to become Sweet Charity. The show was a fabulous success and Coleman found working with Fields much easier than with Leigh. The partnership was to work on two more shows – an aborted project about Eleanor Roosevelt, and Seesaw, which reached Broadway on 1973, after one of those troubled out-of-town tours.

Dorothy Fields's delight in working with Coleman was described by her son David Lahm:

There was one piece of sheet music that I found … to the song In Tune which is from Seesaw and one of the lines is something like "Three completely different instruments but when they play together they're in tune" and on this piece of music are the words "That's us!" in Dorothy Fields's handwriting and it just seemed like a spontaneous expression of how great it was to have somebody who could really keep up with her and challenge her and she knew when she set out to do something with Cy Coleman that it was going to be of high quality and it was going to be exciting and it was going to feel good to work on the lyric.

The Fields/Coleman association was cut short by Fields' death in 1974.

Coleman continued to write for the stage, writing the scores for the following shows:

1977 I Love My Wife (lyrics Michael Stewart)
1978 On The Twentieth Century (lyrics Betty Comden and Adolph Green)
1979 Home Again, Home Again (lyrics Barbara Fried) – did not reach Broadway
1980 Barnum (lyrics Michael Stewart)
1988 Welcome to the Club (lyrics Coleman, AE Hotchner)
1989 City of Angels (lyrics David Zippel)
1991 Will Rogers Follies ( lyrics Betty Comden, Adolph Green)
1997 The Life ( lyrics Ira Gasman)

Cy Coleman died on 18th November 2004.

Full obituary of Cy Coleman

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