One of American songwriting´s most memorable characters went by the name of Frank Loesser. He projected a coarse, common image, but it was really just a reaction to pretentious parents suffering from severe intellectual snobbery. “Mr. Tough-Guy” was a cover for an exquisitely refined sophistication that found expression in some of the best and most original work done in an era already teeming with musical riches. Few figures possessed Loesser´s combination of musical acumen and aesthetic instincts, and he matched this artistic talent with considerable shrewdness in his business dealings.
His early successes in Hollywood were extensive but exclusively as a lyricist: (with Burton Lane) “Says My Heart,” “Moments Like This,” “The Lady´s In Love With You,” (with Frederick Hollander) “The Boys in the Backroom,” (with Hoagy Carmichael) “Small Fry,” Heart and Soul,” “Two Sleepy People,” (with Jimmy McHugh) “Let´s Get Lost,” “Murder He Said,” (with Jule Styne) “I Don´t Want To Walk Without You, Baby,” (with Arthur Schwartz) “They´re Either Too Young or Too Old.”
Eventually, he would provide both music and lyrics for “Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year,” “Baby, It´s Cold Outside,” (Academy Award winner) and from HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSON starring Danny Kaye, “Anywhere I Wander,” “Copenhagen,” “No Two People.”
His achievements on Broadway were also as both composer and lyricist and showed an unparalleled variety: WHERE’S CHARLEY? (period piece farce), GUYS & DOLLS (modern comedy fable), THE MOST HAPPY FELLA (grand opera), HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING (social satire). These Broadway classics are still frequently revived and include such song standards as “Once In Love With Amy,” “I´ve Never Been In Love Before,” “Luck Be a Lady,” “If I Were a Bell,” “Standing on the Corner,” “I Believe in You.”
Best known as the creator of GUYS & DOLLS and himself a self-created Runyonesque New York “character,” Frank Loesser proved himself repeatedly to be one of the most gifted and versatile talents to grace the entertainment industry during the Golden Age of Broadway and Hollywood.
If you would like to engage Fred Miller for one of his Lectures-in-Song, please contact him directly at any time. For a full listing of all Lectures, click here.
Fred Miller’s Lectures-In-Song comprise a series of solo programs, each an historical, anecdotal and musical profile of some great personality or important aspect of American Popular Song. These Lectures are delivered by singer/pianist/narrator Miller at the piano, and each reflects his lifetime passion and appreciation for great music. He studied classical piano in his hometown of Albuquerque from ages 7-15 but early on gave up any notion of music as a profession. At that time, Fred assumed a musical career was either one devoted to the rigid discipline of classical music or being a freewheeling rock star, and he accurately decided he had no aptitude for either. However, at age 22, upon hearing Ella Fitzgerald sing Cole Porter, he found his calling and life’s mission.
Through the Seventies and Eighties, Miller studied and absorbed in minute detail the life and times and songs of nearly all the great American composers and lyricists who thrived during Broadway & Hollywood’s Golden Age between the two World Wars. In 1987, he founded Silver Dollar Productions in order to produce operettas, dramas, musicals and small cabarets. Silver Dollar Productions required ensemble casts, props, costumes and, most significantly, the challenges of publicity and selling tickets, and for a dozen busy years, the company presented an unbroken string of varied and highly lauded performances.
In 1999, Miller was simultaneously underwritten by both his local Hunterdon County Library and the Art Alliance of Philadelphia to present a series of six solo Lectures-In-Song, each devoted to one of the premiere Broadway/Hollywood songwriters: George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, and Harold Arlen.
In presenting history, biography and psychology while sitting at a piano singing the superlative songs of his heroes, Miller has found a single performing medium that utilizes most of his intellectual and musical passions.The list of Lectures-In-Song that began with six in 1999 is now more than seventy(and growing!), a joyful tribute to the boundlessly rich field of American Popular Song.