Once-in-a-lifetime a talent comes along that eclipses all others. In our lifetime such a talent was named Marvin Hamlisch. On January 21, 2013 the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert will feature a tribute to the living genius of Marvin Hamlisch entitled “They’re Playing His Songs”. Born in New York City in 1944, Hamlisch was the youngest student to ever attend the Juilliard School of music. His love of two things is legendary: piano and baseball.
The music of Marvin Hamlisch surrounded all of us during our lifetimes and accompanied us during our special moments. When Barbara Streisand sang The Way We Were it was impossible not to feel moved by nostalgia. Two of my favorite films are Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting, both featuring unforgettable soundtracks composed by the brilliant Maestro himself. A Chorus Line was one of the longest running Broadway shows ever and Ice Castles was the theme for many young girls who loved to wax romantic. When I heard that our local McCallum Theatre was going to do a tribute to the amazing legacy of compositions Marvin Hamlisch left us, I knew it would be a stellar event.
Few people knew Hamlisch better than my friend here in the desert, Ed Yoe. For 39 years they worked together on nothing but a handshake. Their collaborations raised millions of dollars for charitable organizations and entertained millions of fans the world over. Ed attended Marvin’s wedding to Terre Blair in New York 23 years ago. More recently he attended the lavish memorial at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan where the elite and gifted of the show business industry paid homage to the great composer and conductor. We both agree that the world is a richer and kinder place for having known Marvin Hamlisch.
The Palm Springs area is known all over the world and has seen its share of the rich, the famous, the ultra-talented, and the pure genius. But, at least for me, it is tough to think of anyone who could surpass Marvin Hamlisch when it comes to being a beloved and gifted man. The musical gifts he bestowed upon us will continue to light up our lives, enrich our weddings and our special moments of life, amuse us and make us feel like dancing, even on days when there are clouds above us. It was his joy and his purpose to bring a smile to the faces of everyone he met. And that he surely did.
I hope you will find the time to join all of us as we celebrate the amazing journey of Maestro Martin Hamlisch, our once in a lifetime.