JOE BLITMAN'S
FASHION & CELEBRITY DOLLS
2021 HOLIDAY ADVENT CALENDAR
DAY 8




16 Dartmouth Drive
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
323-953-6490

 
joeblitman@aol.com





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CY COLEMAN

1929-2004




Born in NYC as Seymour Kaufman, Cy Coleman learned to play piano on an upright left behind by one of his parents’ ne’er-do-well tenants. 



Cy turned out to be a child prodigy and performed at Carnegie Hall when he was 7.




From classical music he migrated to jazz, which was all the rage after World War II. 




Coleman played in myriad nightclubs either as a single or with a small combo -- The Cy Coleman Trio:





As the 50’s went along, he achieved considerable success with live performances and with his well-received jazz records:



Many of the songs on his records come from the Great American Songbook. 




Before we get into the songs composed by Cy Coleman, let’s take a look at the website items we’re featuring today:





MALIBU BEACH/BIRTHDAY PARTY
DIORAMA/BACKDROP
(2021 BARBIE CONVENTION GIFT)
(2021)
$39.99


SLAY ALL DAY KEEKI
METEOR
(2021)
NRFB
$149.00


ROCKER DEE DEE
(1987)
$35.00


BRUNETTE TNT FRANCIE
(1967-68)
$149.00


ORANGE ZIP
(FRANCIE OUTFIT)
(the one pictured in our
Mod Francie book)
(1968)
Mint & Complete
$395.00


CHER
(MEGO DOLL)
(1976)
Excellent
$45.00

DRAGON LADY
(CHER OUTFIT)
(1976)
Near mint & Complete
with Fashion Card
$75.00


JAPANESE OUTFIT #DS2245
(JAPANESE EXCLUSIVE)
FRANCIE OUTFIT
(1967)
NRFB
$1,399.00


TITIAN BUBBLECUT BARBIE
with PALE PINK LIPS
(1963)
$159.00


SEE'S CANDIES BARBIE
(1999)
$40.00


GIFT CERTIFICATES
IN ANY AMOUNT YOU WANT



Starting in the early 1950’s, Cy Coleman wrote songs with a variety of lyricists before finally settling in with Carolyn Leigh:




Leigh had had a big hit in the early 50’s with her lyrics to “Young at Heart” and part of the score for “Peter Pan.” 



Early on in their collaboration, Coleman & Leigh hit one out of the park with “Witchcraft,” sung by Frank Sinatra:




In the 60s, Cy did his own version of “Witchcraft” on the “Playboy After Dark" TV show (which was hosted by a semi-comatose Hugh Hefner):



Cy had written the theme music for "Playboy After Dark": 

Even if you didn’t know where the song is from, the catchy instrumental is a tune you have definitely heard. 

It sounds like an elegant alley cat (on the prowl) strutting his stuff after the sun's gone down.  (Not to be confused with Andrew Lloyd Webber.)

60 some-odd-years later, it still sounds fresh:
 


From the get-go, Coleman and Leigh had their eyes focused on Broadway.

Together, they auditioned for several prospective musicals in the late 50’s and early 60’s, including “Gypsy.” 



They didn’t get that job, but they did write a spec tune that became a hit for Tony Bennett:



In 1961, after Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz divorced and the "I Love Lucy" series and specials had run their course, Lucy decided to make her Broadway debut in a show backed solely by Desilu called “Wildcat.” 




There was supposed to have been a TV Special about it called “Lucy Goes to Broadway,” but that notion got lost somewhere along the way. 

The score was by Coleman & Leigh, and there was one break-out hit:




The show got so-so reviews, but EVERYBODY loved Lucy, so the show was a consistent sellout.
 




However, at age 50 -- and having never done 8 performances a week of a show she was carrying mostly on her shoulders -- Lucy kept getting sick and, once, collapsed on stage mid-performance. 

Reluctantly, she closed the show after 6 months.
 

Coleman and Leigh quickly bounced back with “Little Me,”
 




based on a best-selling novel by Patrick Dennis
 




(who also wrote “Auntie Mame”):







Sid Caesar played 7 parts in a tour-de-force performance that landed him on the cover of Newsweek:
 




There were several standards that came out of the show, including “I’ve Got Your Number,” performed charmingly here by Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore:



In 1963, Coleman got a call from Cary Grant (whom he did not know), who professed to be Coleman & Leigh’s biggest fan. 



Grant hired them to write a song for his next movie, “Father Goose.” 




Pass Me By” was the result and was a hit for Peggy Lee
:




From all accounts, Carolyn Leigh was high maintenance, and she and Coleman went their separate ways.
 


Coleman encountered 61-year-old lyricist Dorothy Fields (see Holiday Advent Calendar, Day Two) at a cocktail party.
 




She'd been writing songs since before Coleman was born!  

Cy asked if she’d like to collaborate on a Broadway show. 

Her reply? 

“Thank God someone asked!”
 




Their first Broadway score was for “Sweet Charity” in 1966:
 





Here’s Gwen Verdon



performing one of the better-known songs from that show: 
 
 


They then wrote the score for "Seesaw," which opened on Broadway in 1973:




Sadly, Dorothy Fields died in 1974. 

Over the next 25 years, Coleman worked with a variety of lyricists on a string of musicals that were mostly hits and won him an armful of Tony Awards:


1977 - “I Love My Wife” with Michael Stewart who also wrote book.







1978 - “On the Twentieth Century” with Comden & Green who also wrote the book






1980 - "Barnum" with Michael Stewart





1989 - “City of Angels” with David Zippel with book by Larry Gelbart






1991 - “The Will Rogers Follies” with Comden & Green with book by Peter Stone





1997 - "The Life" with Ira Gasman




From “City of Angels,” which paired Coleman’s jazz score with David Zippel’s witty lyrics, there emerged a standard of sorts. 

For the last 30 years, if you listened in on any audition of a woman trying out for a musical, chances are you'd hear her sing “You Can Always Count on Me.” 

It’s a sensational number that gives the singer the chance to show off her singing ability as well as her acting and comedy chops.

 

Here’s Randi Graff, who introduced the song (and won a Tony in the process), performing on the “Donahue” show: 



When it came to writing music, you could always count on Cy.

Now here's a little bonus -- a glimpse into the makings of a show for which Cy wrote the music, but didn't live to see produced on stage:







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