What transforms a few simple words into musical theatre lyrics – and then lifts them, floats them, and ultimately catapults them into our permanent collective consciousness?
None of us actually knows, but we do recognize that alchemy when we hear it. And from the remarkable lyricist Sheldon Harnick, who passed away on June 23, 2023, at the age of 99, we heard it amazingly often.
His She Loves Me was Roundabout’s first, joyous foray into the world of musicals: we produced the first Broadway revival of this 1963 gem in 1993 and then visited it again in 2016, with a production that would go on to be broadcast live nationwide.
This was a show with a genius, literate but never pretentious book by Joe Masteroff and a trove of delightful, jewel-toned melodies from Jerry Bock. And then there were Sheldon’s words: clever, human, and heartfelt. The legerdemain of simplicity was part of his magic, in She Loves Me as well as such shows as Fiddler on the Roof, Fiorello!, The Rothschilds, and The Apple Tree, which we produced in 2006. In our three collaborations with him, we found a warm, smiling, loving man who supported our work and grew to love Roundabout. The feeling was beyond mutual.