In Brief | Marvin Hamlisch wasn’t a typical composer. He wasn’t a typical anything. He was a child prodigy who was composing piano etudes at Julliard at six, and who broke Academy Award records before he turned 30.

2024 will mark the 80th anniversary of Hamlisch’s birth. Concord Theatricals is preparing a celebration of his extraordinary life and enduring career: 5, 6, 7… 80 Years of Marvin Hamlisch. What better way to uphold his legacy than by filling the world’s finest concert halls with his music?

Marvin Hamlisch with his three Academy Awards (1974). Credit: Photofest

Credit: Photofest

Hamlisch’s wife, Terre Blair Hamlisch, who is dedicated to the preservation of his legacy, says “Marvin believed life was a book and not a chapter.” If Hamlisch’s life were a book, it included a bevy of accolades (he is one of two people to have ever achieved PEGOT status) and, most importantly, a mountain of timeless melodies. Over his four-decade-long career, Hamlisch composed more than 40 film scores, including his Oscar-winning score and song for The Way We Were, and his adaptation of Scott Joplin’s ragtime music for The Sting, for which he received a third Oscar.  On Broadway, he composed the smash hit A Chorus Line, which received the Pulitzer Prize and is still performed on stages around the world today.


Composer Marvin Hamlisch and lyricist Edward Kleban of A Chorus Line circa 1980. Credit: Photofest

When asked about Hamlisch’s legacy as a composer, his trusted collaborator and friend J. Ernest (Ernie) Green notes, “I truly believe that if Marvin had not written A Chorus Line, we would not have musicals like the ones we see on Broadway today. He had a gift for setting emotional ideas without becoming saccharine—not a small feat!”

Marvin Hamlisch and A Chorus Line Director Michael Bennett. Credit: Sony Pictures Classics/Photofest

Hamlisch also had a gift for switching seamlessly between musical genres. “From a young age, he was exposed to classical, jazz and Broadway, film music and pop music,” shared Todd Ellison, a longtime friend of Hamlisch’s who recently directed the studio recording of Hamlisch’s final work, The Nutty Professor. “It’s not surprising that he moved so easily within all of the genres, with a winning personality to boot.”

Concord Theatricals is commemorating what would have been Hamlisch’s 80th birthday by commissioning a new suite of his most famous work, A Chorus Line, arranged for symphony orchestra. The concert suite, arranged by Daniel Capelletti, allows audiences to experience the beloved songs from this groundbreaking musical in a new and profound way. “It’s always a pleasure to write for the orchestra—the most beautiful tool a composer can dream of,” said Capelletti. “It’s an arduous task, but so satisfying because of the universe of possibilities it opens up.”

Marvin Hamlisch circa 1970s. Credit: Photofest

In addition to the suite, Concord has also released a new full evening of Hamlisch’s tunes, Nobody Does It Better: The Music of Marvin Hamlisch. The collection spans Hamlisch’s storied career, from screen to stage, including everything from the buoyant “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” to the sweeping “What I Did for Love,” which was released 50 years ago this October.

“This is a special year, but it’s also bittersweet because I know that Marvin would be having a blast if he were here with us celebrating,” laments Ernie Green.

Marvin Hamlisch with Choreographer Bob Avian and the 2006 cast of A Chorus Line. Credit: UPI Photo/Ezio Petersen

Marvin will always be remembered as a man of uncompromising generosity, unrelenting wit and unbelievable talent. It’s nearly impossible to pin down a favorite of his tunes. For some, it may be “At the Ballet” from A Chorus Line or “Disneyland” from Smile. For others, it’s “Nobody Does It Better” or “Through the Eyes of Love” from his iconic film scores. Every song a different vibe, a different emotional state.

As Terre Blair Hamlisch notes, “He leaves us with a soundtrack of our lives.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Marvin Hamlisch in 1974. Credit: Photofest

Read more from Concord Theatricals’ interviews with Terre Blair Hamlisch, Ernie Green, Todd Ellison, and Daniel Capelletti HERE.