A letter from John Lithgow to Marvin Hamlisch -
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARVIN!!!
I write to you even though you are gone because in my mind you are not. In the last few years, I have done a lot of concerts for kids and solo shows for adults all over the country. It always seemed that every time I arrived at a concert hall, you had just done a concert and had left the day before or else you were due the following week. I was constantly leaving messages for you to await your arrival or your return engagements.
Wherever I went people spoke with awe and deep affection of your energy, generosity and extravagant brilliance. You spread joy, humor and above all, music to millions and you clearly loved doing it. Of those millions, I was one of the lucky ones. In 2001 I was in rehearsal rooms and studio’s with you, in groups and in solo coaching sessions working with you on my first ever Broadway musical.
WATCH (2 MIN) Music & Scenes excerpt from the Musical Sweet Smell of Success and Comments from John Lithgow, Peter Filichia and Craig Carnelia:
What an introduction!
I was not only your student but your eager audience as you frequently plopped yourself down at the piano and entertained everyone with your quick silver, hilarious improvised parodies. All of us looked on delighted and dazzled as music burst out of you.
When someone like you leaves us it is a terrible loss because you take so much joy with you. This is why I persuade myself that you are not gone. Your music still lives on of course, but so does your spirit in the memory of everyone who knew and worked with you. In my mind, you just did a gig and left yesterday and are due back again next season, right on schedule.
This letter is my message for you, awaiting your return.
Much love forever,
(Source: The American Cancer Society Gala celebration: “A Spring Salute to Marvin Hamlisch” — Featuring the Music for his Musical Score for the Broadway Musical “Sweet Smell of Success” - John Lithgow performed the role of J.J. Hunsecker in the 2002 Broadway Musical and won a Tony Award for best actor in a musical, 2002)