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Put on a Happy Face: A Broadway Memoir
by Charles Strouse
Publisher: Union Square Press 2008
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Just about everyone who can hum knows and loves Charles Strouse’s music. He composed some of the most successful shows in Broadway history (Annie, Bye Bye Birdie, Applause, and Golden Boy); wrote the film score for Bonnie and Clyde as well as the unforgettable theme song for All in the Family; has been sampled by one of today’s biggest rap stars—Jay-Z, in the Grammy-winning Hard Knock Life; and his songs have been sung by musical greats from Frank Sinatra to Ray Charles to Barbra Streisand. Timed to coincide with public celebrations of his 80th birthday, Put on a Happy Face grants an insider’s glimpse of Broadway, Hollywood, and beyond. With sparkling wit, Strouse relates the behind-the-curtain stories of his remarkable achievements, and tells fascinating tales about the people he’s worked with along the way, including Butterfly McQueen, Gower Champion, Sammy Davis Jr., Lauren Bacall, Mel Brooks, Clifford Odets, Warren Beatty, Hal Prince and Carol Burnett. Strouse had a knack for spotting talent on the rise, and was instrumental in the early careers of Dick Van Dyke, a nine-year-old Sarah Jessica Parker, and a novice writer who, in 1958, showed Strouse a play he’d written, which the young Strouse, seeing real promise, recommended to a theater colleague. The play and playwright? The Zoo Story by eventual Pulitzer Prize-winner Edward Albee. Strouse is a musical-theater legend who is as entertaining on the page as his work is on the stage!

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