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Charles Strouse

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Charles Strouse (born June 7, 1928) is a three-time Tony Award-winning American composer and lyricist.

Strouse was born and raised in New York City, the son of Ira and Ethel (Newman) Strouse. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Strouse studied under David Diamond, Aaron Copland and Nadia Boulanger.

Strouse’s first Broadway musical was the 1960 hit Bye Bye Birdie, with lyrics by Lee Adams, who would become his long time collaborator. Strouse won his first Tony Award for best score for this musical, which is considered the precursor of the rock musical. Strouse’s next show, All American, with a book by Mel Brooks and lyrics by Adams, came in 1962 and produced the standard “Once Upon a Time” (recorded by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Bobby Darin, among others). Following this was Golden Boy (1964, also with Adams), starring Sammy Davis Jr. and It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman (1966, based on the popular comic strip)which introduced the song “You’ve Got Possibilities” sung by Linda Lavin.

In 1970, Applause (starring Lauren Bacall, with book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and lyrics by Adams) won Strouse his second Tony Award. In 1977, Mr. Strouse adapted another comic strip for the stage, creating the hit Annie, which garnered him his third Tony Award and two Grammy Awards. Other Strouse musicals include Charlie and Algernon (1979), Dance a Little Closer (1983, with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner), Rags (1986) and Nick & Nora (1993). Strouse also wrote a number of musical revues, many with Adams.

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