Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Marvin Hamlisch remembered at star-studded Lincoln Center service as Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Liza Minnelli

Hamlisch died in August at 68; he composed the landmark Broadway show 'A Chorus Line' which won the Tony and the Pulitzer

Emotions and voices soared Tuesday in memory of Marvin Hamlisch and the way he was.

Brooklyn's Barbra Streisand came home to the city to lead the star-studded, invitation-only celebration of the life of the composer, her longtime friend and collaborator.
The audience at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre was a mix of friends and colleagues , including Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, Sarah Jessica Parker, Joe Torre, playwright Neil Simon, songwriter Carole Bayer Sager, lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman and actor Joel Grey.
"This began with a phone call from Barbra the day after Marvin died," said Hamlisch's widow Terre, who introduced the evening in honor of her husband who died Aug. 6. "She said, "I want to send Marvin off in a big way."

Streisand made good on her promise in a moving tribute that brought out the big names from music, film and theater, who gathered in the event presented by the Juilliard School, which Hamlisch attended as a child prodigy.

A scholarship program has been established in his name.

Aretha Franklin delivered a soulful take on the James Bond theme "Nobody Does it Better" and followed it with a spiritual.

Liza Minnelli, accompanied by Michael Feinstein, joyfully recalled her 50-year friendship with Hamlisch with a sweetly revised version of "If You Really Knew Me" from "They're Playing Our Song."

Other performers included trumpeter Chris Botti, violinist Itzhak Perlman and cellist Carter Brey.

Hamlisch's Broadway breakthrough show, "A Chorus Line," was well-represented with several songs -- “At the Ballet,” sung by former cast members of the revival of the show; "What I Did for Love," played by trumpeter Chris Botti and "Nothing," sung by British actress Maria Friedman.

Hamlisch’s last show "Sweet Smell of Success" and the musical he was working on at the time of his death, "The Nutty Professor, also were featured.

Streisand brought the program to an emotional conclusion with heartbreaking versions of "The Way We Were" and "Through the Eyes of Love" from "Ice Castles."

She recalled meeting Hamlisch in 1963. "He was the rehearsal pianist for 'Funny Girl,'" she said, adding that he also fetched coffee for the cast. "I didn't drink coffee, so he brought me a chocolate doughnut -- and not one, but two."

They shared a passion for music, film and food, she added
Marvin," she said, then grinned. "The name itself makes me smile. I'm from Brooklyn and I can hear Brooklyn mothers leaning out of windows calling, ‘Marvin!’"

She closed the evening as she gazed at a portrait of Hamlisch singing, "So it's the laughter we will remember, whenever we remember, the way you were."

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