Singers.com

In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument

Home | Doo Wop | Barbershop | World | Contemporary | Christian | Vocal Jazz | Choral | Christmas | Instructional | Arrangements

Cy Coleman Biography

Cy Coleman

Click Here for Arrangements, Compositions and Recordings

Born: 1929. Died: 2004. Lived in: United States

Coleman was born Seymour Kaufman on June 14, 1929, in New York City to Eastern European Jewish parents, and was raised in the Bronx. His mother, Ida (nee Prizent) was an apartment landlady and his father was a brickmason. He was a child prodigy who gave piano recitals at Steinway Hall, Town Hall, and Carnegie Hall between the ages of six and nine. Before beginning his fabled Broadway career, he led the Cy Coleman Trio, which made many recordings and was a much-in-demand club attraction.

Coleman's career as a Broadway composer began when he and Leigh collaborated on Wildcat (1960), which marked the Broadway debut of comedian Lucille Ball. The score included the hit tune "Hey, Look Me Over." When Ball became ill, she left the show, and it closed. Next for the two was Little Me, with a book by Neil Simon based on the novel of the same name by Patrick Dennis. The show introduced "Real Live Girl" and "I've Got Your Number," which became popular standards.

In 1964, Coleman met Dorothy Fields at a party, and when he asked if she would like to collaborate with him, she is reported to have answered, "Thank God somebody asked." Fields was revitalized by working with the much younger Coleman, and by the contemporary nature of their first project, which was Sweet Charity, again with a book by Simon, starring Gwen Verdon, and introducing the songs "If My Friends Could See Me Now", "I'm a Brass Band" and "Big Spender". The show was a major 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 in 1973 after a troubled out-of-town tour. Despite mixed reviews, the show enjoyed a healthy run. The partnership was cut short by Fields' death in 1974.

Coleman remained prolific in the late 1970s. He collaborated on I Love My Wife (1977) with Michael Stewart, On The Twentieth Century (1978) with Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and Home Again, Home Again with Barbara Fried, although the latter never reached Broadway. Also in 1970 he produced the single "Lying Here" for the Rock Opera "Sensations", and took a full page (back cover) ad in Billboard magazine to promote his upcoming star vocalist Steve Leeds singing

Awards
1978 - Tony Award - Best Original Score - On the Twentieth Century
1990 - Tony Award - Best Original Score - City Of Angels
1991 - Tony Award - Best Musical - The Will Rogers Follies
1991 - Tony Award - Best Original Score - The Will Rogers Follies

Media Articles
Obituary, Playbill, Cy Coleman, a Master of the Show Tune, Is Dead at 75

Obituary, New York Times, Cy Coleman, Broadway Composer, Dies at 75