Sweet Charity Composer Coleman Dies, Aged 75Date: 19 November 2004
Legendary American composer Cy Coleman (pictured) passed away last night (18 November 2004) after a suspected heart attack. He was 75.
A Broadway stalwart to the end, Coleman had attended the New York opening night performance and post-show party for Michael Frayn’s Democracy. He left the party when he started to feel ill and later collapsed and died at hospital.
Among Coleman’s many stage credits are the Tony Award-winning musicals The Will Rogers Follies, City of Angels and On the Twentieth Century, as well as The Life, Barnum, I Love My Wife, Seesaw and Little Me.
But he’s probably best remembered for providing the score to Bob Fosse and Neil Simon’s 1966 musical Sweet Charity. The Broadway premiere starred Gwen Verdon as dance hall hostess Charity Hope Valentine, a role which was played by Juliet Prowse in the UK 1967 premiere and Shirley Maclaine in the 1969 film. The musical was most recently revived in the West End in a 1998 production starring Bonnie Langford.
In addition to Sweet Charity, Coleman’s shows On the Twentieth Century, City of Angels and Barnum also received major UK productions. His other stage credits include Wildcat, Little Me, The Great Ostrovsky, Grace, Like Jazz and Pamela’s First Musical.
From his collaborations with lyricists like Carolyn Leigh and Dorothy Fields, Coleman created song classics such as “Witchcraft”, “When in Rome”, “If My Friends Could See Me Now”, “Big Spender” and “There’s Got to Be Something Better Than This”.
- by Terri Paddock