Celebrating Betty Comden’s Centenary
By Open Air Theatre
In 1944 Betty Comden’s and Adolph Green’s first show, On The Town, opened on Broadway; it was the beginning of a fruitful creative partnership in which Comden and Green would write lyrics, and often librettos, for some of the most iconic musicals on stage and screen. Today we celebrate the centenary of Betty Comden’s birth on 3 May 1917, and her and Green’s contribution to theatre history.
Having begun by writing and performing their own comedic material with their group, ‘The Revuers’ (also including Judy Holliday), Comden and Green went onto collaborate for over 60 years on projects including Bells Are Ringing, Wonderful Town, On The Twentieth Century, Peter Pan, The Will Rogers Follies, and notably the classic movie musical Singin’ in the Rain. Over the years their work featured many household names including Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Lauren Bacall, Rosalind Russell and Bert Lahr.
In 1980 Comden and Green were inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, and in 1991 they both received the Kennedy Center Honors, given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture.
Comden and Green’s appeal is resolute as many of their works are recreated on stage and screen time and again. Our production of On The Town opens on 19 May, “New York, New York, it’s a helluva town!’, their lyrics say it all.
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