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Lerner and Loewe are the duo of lyricist and librettist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe, known primarily for the music and lyrics of some of Broadway's most successful musical shows, including My Fair Lady, Camelot, and Brigadoon.

Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, more commonly known as Fritz, met in 1942 at the Lambs Club in New York City[1] where, according to Loewe, after mistakenly taking a wrong turn to the men's room he walked past Lerner's table. Having recognized him he asked if Lerner wrote lyrics and Lerner confirmed Loewe's question.

Lerner claimed to be the more dominant one of partnership, which is supported by interviews with their close friends, saying that he would throw out the first two melodies that Loewe would write to any song even if they were both perfect. He said he always knew, with a little pushing, Loewe was capable of greater work. Loewe also worked perfectly with Lerner, who would agonize for weeks over a lyric. Unlike other collaborators Lerner would work with, Loewe was the most understanding of the time Lerner needed for his lyrics and would never pressure him to complete the work.

Their dynamic partnership is somewhat of a mystery as it is not clear as to why they would end their collaboration only to begin again (until The Little Prince, their last work together). After Brigadoon, their first major success, Loewe was heard telling his close friends that, as long as he lived, he would never work with Lerner again. But they did work together again, reaching the pinnacle of their partnership with My Fair Lady. Strangely, they only got to work on the adaption of Pygmalion (play) (on which My Fair Lady is based) after Noel Coward and Rodgers and Hammerstein had passed it up. Again, for unknown reasons, their partnership grew frazzled as they were knee deep in work with Camelot. After Camelot, Fritz Loewe retired and swore he would never write another note.

Their last collaboration came with the 1974 musical film, The Little Prince, which received mixed reviews but was lauded as one of the team's most cerebral scores.

Regardless of their professional relationship, Lerner and Loewe were close friends and remained so until the end of their lives. Their final public appearance was in December 1985, when they received a Kennedy Center Honor, six months before Lerner's death.

Lerner said this of Loewe:

“There will never be another Fritz. Writing will never again be as much fun. A collaboration as intense as ours inescapably had to be complex. But I loved him more than I understood or misunderstood him, and I know he loved me more than he understood or misunderstood me.”

Contents

Theatre works

Film adaptations

Notes

References

  • Lees, Gene (2005, originally published 1991). The Musical Worlds of Lerner and Loewe. University of Nebraska Press (bisonbooks.com), ISBN 0803280408
  • Green, Benny, Editor (1987). A Hymn to Him : The Lyrics of Alan Jay Lerner. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 0879101091
  • Lerner, Alan Jay (1985). The Street Where I Live. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306806029
  • Green, Benny. "Frederick Loewe, a prince of musical comedy", The Guardian, February 16, 1988, p. 33
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