Born: May 19, 1924; Sale, Cheshire, England
Died: August 27, 2014; Taunton, England
A composer, lyricist and author, Wilson studied at Harrow and Oxford University, where he wrote and appeared in many undergraduate productions. He began to make his mark in the West End by contributing songs to revues such as Slings And Arrows (1948) and Oranges And Lemons (1949). In 1950 he provided the lyrics for a provincial production of Michael Pertwee’s musical play Caprice, and then was the author and composer of See You Later (1951) andRead more See You Again (1952). His big break came in 1953 when he was asked to write the book, music and lyrics for The Boy Friend, a light-hearted spoof of the musical comedies of the 20s. The delightful score included ‘I Could Be Happy With You’, ‘A Room In Bloomsbury’, ‘Won’t You Charleston With Me?’, ‘It’s Never Too Late To Fall In Love’, ‘Fancy Forgetting’, and the lively title song. After starting its life as an hour-long entertainment at the tiny Player’s Theatre, in London, The Boy Friend moved first to the Embassy Theatre, where it was expanded, before finally transferring to Wyndhams’ Theatre in the West End on 14 January 1954. It ran for over five years, and Julie Andrews made her New York stage debut in the Broadway production, which lasted for over a year. The show has subsequently been produced in many countries throughout the world, and enjoyed revivals in New York (1958) and London (1967 and 1993). The 1971 film version was directed by Ken Russell, and starred Twiggy, Christopher Gable, Moyra Fraser and Tommy Tune. As well as The Boy Friend, Wilson has been the composer and/or author and lyricist of some of the most civilized and enjoyable shows (British or otherwise) ever to play the West End. They included The Buccaneer (1955), Valmouth (1958), Pieces Of Eight (1959), Call It Love (1960), Divorce Me, Darling! (1965), As Dorothy Parker Once Said (1966), Sandy Wilson Thanks The Ladies (in which he also appeared, 1971), His Monkey Wife (1971), The Clapham Wonder (1978) and Aladdin (1979). Read less
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