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16 Jule Styne

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Hi, this is Paul Lazarus. In the 1980s I produced and hosted a radio series called Anything Goes, a celebration of the American musical theater. Now the Broadway Podcast Network is bringing back this show. Today, excerpts from an interview with composer Jule Styne, who created the music for such celebrated shows as FUNNY GIRL, PETER PAN, and the Broadway classic, GYPSY. This interview took place originally on April 12th, 1979, on the occasion of the release of Jule Styne's biography, simply called “Jule.”

Interview:
PL: In the early days, how did you keep yourself going, you and your family? I know that you…

JS: Well, in the early days, I was born in London in 1905. My father was a professional wrestler, and we used to go to music halls was when I was of age, about 3 years old. I went to music halls in London and my father later on became an egg inspector and I used to have these functions and I used to perform as a child entertainer. I was a Harry Lauder imitator and Harry Lauder was the Al Jolson of London at that time. He was an international star.

PL: I've heard a story about your first stage experience.

JS: Yeah, we went to the music hall when I was about four and a half years old or 5 years old and we had a box - my rich aunt and uncle took us there - and we had a box alongside the stage, and I jumped without anybody knowing. I jumped up on the stage and everybody thought it was Harry Lauder with a plant, so to speak, and it was right in the middle of his song, and the audience laughed and they thought that perhaps this was part of the act, but indeed it wasn't. And when they laughed he turned around and lo and behold there I was, this little boy. And he stopped the orchestra and he spoke to me and he said what my name was and I told him my name and he asked me what do I do. Do I perform? I says, “yes,” so he says “what do you perform?” I said, “everything you do,” which got another laugh in the audience. He says, “would you like to sing one of my songs?” I says “yes,” and I said “I’d like to sing ‘She's My Daisy’.” And he handed me his crook and I perform “She's My Daisy” with the orchestra, and of course it was an overwhelming thing. Then I ran back to my box and my mother and father reprimanded me for it. My father wanted to kill me, and they made me go backstage to apologize, and when we entered the Lauder’s room he laughed and he told me he didn't mind that at all. In fact, it was great fun, because it gets to be routine doing show after show, and this was something new for him. But he said “never be an imitator,” and he told my mother and father that I should take piano because I had a good sense of rhythm and a good sense of music and that I should study an instrument. And so, I started taking piano lessons in London and we didn't have a piano at home – naturally, they were too expensive - so I practiced in a hall, where you rent the hall for an hour every day. I finally got into the London conservatory and I was just getting on with the early studies - the Hanon studies and scales and things like that - when we moved to the United States from London...

PL: You moved to Chicago.

JS: Yes, my father was an egg inspector, and it was during the war in 1912. There was a demand, and a group of them came over, and my father was one. And Chicago being the largest railroad Center and the center of – naturally, in our country - all the eggs that Wisconsin and Michigan and Iowa, Illinois, Indiana are all centered in Chicago because it was the largest railroad center in the world.

PL: You started playing piano with a lot of jazz greats in Chicago.

JS: Well that’s later on. First, before that, I went to the Chicago College of Music and I won a Mozart Scholarship. I was a child prodigy. I played with the Chicago Symphony, many symphony orchestras. And I damaged my second finger on my right hand. We were very poor and so, unbeknown to my mother and father, I took a job when I was about eleven years old. There were no child labor laws then. And I took a job. A fella told me I could earn $3 on Fridays and Saturdays in 3 hours each day by taking a long thin wire about 3 feet long - this thin wire - and you put it in a press, sort of, and you pull a lever and out comes a wire coat hanger. I liked it because it was new to me, to think that I could make a coat hanger, which was a whole new - I had made it, you know? But I got my finger caught in the press, and it was only because I grabbed my finger in pain, but by myself grabbing the finger and pressing it, I held it together because I would have lost the tip of the first joint. The audience, your audience can't see it, but I'll let you see. You see this finger goes down and that’s it. I lost a sense of feeling at the tip there, and it affected my playing, my technique. And so, when I went to study one year with a great, great pianist at the time, Harold Bauer, who taught a summer course in Chicago. And he told me that I am very musical and all that, but I’d never become a great pianist because that finger has impaired me. And he says, “So why don't you going to conducting or writing or something like that?” Of course, I was shattered because I really liked it. I wanted to be that, because I had won over an audience as a child playing Mozart A major and Mozart D minor… and I start going to high school. In high school I quickly found out no one cared for my talents, when I played Chopin, etcetera. Everybody just walked away, and I found some terrible pianist who played for dancing during lunch hour in high school. Kids used to congregate in the gym and dance in lunch hour and I felt that I could do better. And I picked up some songs in a music shop and learned them and came quickly the next week, Monday morning. Rushed to the gymnasium, played these popular songs and I was quite good at it. And fellas wanted me to play at the school sophomore dance, and the junior prom or whatnot, and I liked it. And then I became a professional and played in little bands. And one band that I played with along the road, climbing, a few years had passed, in my band was Benny Goodman. And then I gave up my band. I went with the Ben Pollock Band which was which was the best Dixieland 10-piece band that ever was, because guys like the Gene Goldkette Band used to come by from Detroit. They used to come from all over to hear this band. In the band, of course, were the future greats of our country, the nucleus of the big band era, practically, was in that band. Charlie Spivack was the second trumpet player, Glenn Miller was a trombone player, Jack Teagarden was another trombone player. Benny Goodman was the clarinet and saxophone player, 3rd saxophone player. Chicago was a great nucleus of jazz. We used to go down to here King Joe Oliver at the Lincoln Gardens in Chicago, and Glenn Miller once told him “Joe, you can't use your chops up like that blowing all night from 10 at night to 4 in the morning. You ought to get somebody else to play along with you.” And so, he sent up from New Orleans and his name was Louis Armstrong. He played second trumpet to Joe Oliver. Well it was just, Chicago was just - the world was going on there, you know? And I worked for the Capone syndicate and place had my own band.

PL: You met Al Capone once, when he was putting that evening together…

JS: Oh, that was the week before the Dempsey-Tunney fight. He entertained senators, governors, mayors from all over the United States at the Metropole Hotel for a whole week. Every night there was a different show. And, of course, the big thing was the opening night. Al Capone conducted my orchestra - big band, 50 men for that week “Rhapsody in Blue.” When he told me he wanted to do it, I didn’t about to laugh, because after all it was- I must say he was a very amiable man, you know. We never know what people are and the people walking the streets today you say, oh, isn’t that fella, some of our best friends, I mean, stick a knife in you if you don't look. Al Capone never carried a gun, you know. He had bodyguards and that was the era I grew up in Chicago, and I was unhappy with everything. I never wanted to write songs, I never wanted to have bands, I never wanted to coach girls. I don't know what I wanted. What I wanted is what I couldn't be, the classical part of it, which to this day is something that -

PL: Are there regrets from that?

JS: Oh, all my life there will be regrets. It hasn’t stopped. I’ve been to analysts, all sorts… I’ll tell you something, I was always insecure, I think until 15 years ago, I was insecure about my work even though when I had hit shows and I - I don't think it was until FUNNY GIRL. I had gone to a psychiatric therapist to find out certain things that bother me that I was doing like gambling and things like that. I went to find out what it was and I, you know an analyst never tells you anything, he just listens, but you do your homework by yourself and you find came to realize – and I realized that I was so insecure about songwriting. I was never insecure about my piano playing as a child. I was positive about that. Positive! When I walked out in the stage with the Chicago Symphony and played, I knew I was good. I knew I was good because I always felt that the audience - if they were any good, they'd be up there playing. So, I knew I knew more than the audience. I think every artist does that too. You know, everybody says “oh, how well he played.”

PL: You started writing songs about that time too, because I know I'm going to ask you later to play “The Guy in the Polka Dotted Tie.” Was that the first song?

JS: Well that took place when I went to high school. When I was such a smash in the high school auditorium, a guy walked up to me and he said, “listen we're doing a school show in the senior class and we need a little song. A little song that we could kind of dance to.” Kind of a sand dance, a soft shoe, like. So, I wrote this thing musically and it only had music then. And many years later I put it in a movie at Republic and there were words put to it by fellow the late very good friend of mine, the late Saul Meyer.

“THE GUY WITH THE POLKA-DOTTED TIE” (Jule Styne plays and sings)

PL: So. what do you call your first song?

JS: That is my first melodic thing in a popular field which turned out, it subsequently turned out to be “The Guy With the Polka-Dotted Tie.” The first time I wrote a song was when I was walking. I was playing in a band in Florida, Arnold Johnson was the name of the band, we were playing Hollywood, Florida doing the land boom down in Florida down in ‘27. And I there was a girl I wanted to date very badly. One night I did get a date with her, and we were walking along the beach about 4 o’clock in the morning, along - it was just beautiful. And Florida was all very primitive down there, and I started humming a song, and she said “what is that?” I said “I don't know.” She says “well you must have” - the expression was “then you made it up.” She said “you made it up.” I said “yeah, I made it up.” She says “look, I’ll date you every night next week if tonight, when I come to the club with another fella, you play this song.” So, I went home that day and orchestrated it. We played it at the club that night it was an instant - But it was called “Sunday,” and to this day it’s one of my big standards, because every year a new jazz group is recording it.

PL: That was set later to lyrics as well.

JS: (sings)That was one of the early big hits Gene Austin ever had and Cliff Edwards - Ukulele Ike – had, and the Gene Goldkette Band at a tremendous record of it. First big jazz record we ever heard. We were playing it with the Pollock Band. That was a big number. That’s what I would call my first song that was a national hit. It sold about a million copies, you know. But I never wanted to write songs then and I left writing songs, had my own band, played in bands. I didn't write again until, for serious, in 1940.

PL: First, you went out to Hollywood.

JS: I was a vocal coach out in Hollywood. I coached Shirley Temple, and Alice Faye, and Tony Martin and prepared all their works, all the stuff for the Ritz brothers, everything at 20th Century Fox. I worked for 20th Century Fox.

PL: It seems like you had a difficult time with Ms. Temple.

JS: Yeah, well she was a precocious child. She knew she was good. She couldn't help it, reading your name “Shirley Temple” all over the campus, I mean it's a human frailty, a human thing that could happen to a child, knowing how good she is. She was a star, one of the biggest motion picture stars of the period.

AD BREAK TRT 14:50:18

This is Anything Goes with Paul Lazarus. You’re listening to an interview conducted in 1979 with composer Jule Styne.

Interview:
JS: A lot of people asked - I suppose even the people listening are asking – “gee, I wonder what inspired him to write ‘It’s Magic’ or what inspired him to write ‘Three Coins in the Fountain’ or what inspired him to write ‘People’ for Barbra Streisand – well I just want to tell you something. There's no inspiration. It's perspiration. You work and you work, work can you become a professional. There are thousands of songwriters fly-by-night. “Hey, I wrote a song.” “Hey, listen to this.” “I’ll get Billy Joel to record it.” Or “I’ll get this one to record it.” Or “PauI Simon likes it,” or all that stuff. That's nothing. But writing a song isn't one song, it's writing for longevity. Thank God my songs have longevity. They've lasted - I have songs now that are being played - as I mentioned, one song, “Sunday,” well my god, that's ’27, that’s 50 years ago. They’re still playing this standard of mine. My show songs from BELLS ARE RINGING, and my show songs from GYPSY, and my show songs from FUNNY GIRL, and HIGH BUTTON SHOES, and PETER PAN, are just played and played and played. Now here's two of the most played songs we have in the confines of ASCAP: “Everything's Coming Up Roses” and “People.” Well, “People” I wrote in ’63, so now we're in ’79, so that's 16 years ago. “Everything's Coming Up Roses” is ’58, so that's 21 years ago, so they’re songs that get played as much as any new song. And because of my early training playing with Glenn and playing with Jack Teagarden, playing with Benny, they have a natural jazz instinct to them. I always write songs for the tenor saxophone because they make standards. I find all those jazz tenor saxophones, if they like it, it’ll last forever.

PL: There's a story, the Jerome Kern story, while you were in Hollywood and those Monday night meetings with the all those famous songwriters.

JS: It was a wonderful thing. Jerome Kern was like the dean. Everybody would congregate in his house Monday nights, for his pleasure mainly. But you would find, at that time, Harold Arlen, Ira Gershwin, and Harry Warren, and Hoagy Carmichael, whoever. All these on Monday night would come to Kern’s house and Kern would find out what's going on, what they’re doing. It was like a little union meeting. Everybody would sit down and play a new song or Kern would sit down to play, and I took my publishers with me over one night and my publisher was drunk that night. He was very embarrassing, and all the fellows were sitting there, and he walked in with me and he says - this is my debut to these fellows - and he says he, “while you fellows are sitting on your ASCAP here, he's writing all the songs and supporting you,” which is very embarrassing for me. Anyhow, Mr. Kern came over, I met him for the first time, and I had three songs on the Hit Parade at one time, I had “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” and I believe it was “This Magic” and something else. Now he asked me to play “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” and as you know (sings). Well anyhow, that song only had 16 bars. Kern was sweet and he said, “you know, those songs are the hardest songs to write.” I had so much trouble with “The Siren Song.” (sings) So, he’s saying I had trouble with the sixteen bars. I didn’t want to tell him I wrote the song in three minutes, because I didn’t want to spoil his point.

I don't write those popular songs anymore. Those were growing up songs, writing for money, writing for a recording, honestly. I don't write for that anymore. I'm a dramatist now and I write dramatic music for the theater. “Everything's Coming Up Roses,” I didn't know if it was going to be in the show or what. I just wrote a thing that suited Arthur Laurents’ wonderful book and of course Stephen Sondheim wrote the fabulous lyrics to the GYPSY score. But we write for the dramatic value of a piece.

If a song took over 3 minutes, I knew it wasn't going to be any good because it didn't play through naturally. Like “Time After Time” I wrote, I think, in a minute. That was at thing at a party where Sinatra wanted to know if anybody heard the score to ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. You know originally it was written by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields. Jerome Kern died and Irving Berlin subsequently wrote the wonderful score of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. But before Kern died, it was Sinatra who says, “anybody heard Kern’s song from ANNIE GET YOUR GUN?” I said “I have.” I heard one ballad, I really hadn't heard it. I was drunk and I said I'd heard. Well he said “play it.” So walking over… I had about four feet to get to the piano. In that time - I played it in the key of D. D is a very inventive key. It’ll take you - it's a classical key. Any sharp key, all the sharp keys are classical keys. The flat keys are popular keys for me. When anybody plays the key of C it’s no key. No sound at all. So many songs have been written in the key of C, I wrote them myself when I'm writing for the masses.

PL: What were those parties like at Sinatra's house when all the people got together to do shows?

JS: Well, we were trying to keep Sinatra at home that time. His marriage was breaking up from Nancy. We liked Nancy, and we wanted to keep it together. We felt sorry for her and so we used to dream up these parties. Frank didn’t know. We’d keep him at home, see? A weekly party Thursday night, there was a new show every Thursday night. I mean a show. Sammy Cahn would be writing the script and we and Axel Stordahl would be arranging it, and I was writing the music, and Sammy Cahn was typing out the thing. Then we had people come over, rehearse, Gene Kelly, Janet Blair, Judy Garland, didn't matter who, was in that show that week. We’d call about to say, “you’re in the show next week,” and they’d say “great!” I mean it’s like a movie tale. All for nothing. They were done at Frank's house and this one night, one of the shows we were short of talent and Frank said “anything from the score of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN.” I said as I told you…“I heard it.” I was drunk and I walked up to the piano and I played quickly (singing)… making it sound like Kern. And I finished through a whole chorus of the music of “Time After Time.” Frank said “gee, that's beautiful! Oh, that Kern is unbelievable!” You know what, I said “well, you're great, you're great.” Frank says “play it again,” and I forgot what I played. I've completely forgot. I didn't even remember. I was stoned. I mean, there I was. I forgot what I played, but Sammy Cahn didn't forget, and the next day Sammy set the lyrics. And it became “Time After Time.” And we put it away. We were doing a movie for Frank called IT HAPPENED IN BROOKLYN and we used that song. Frank says “let’s do that Jerome Kern song.” He always called it the Jerome Kern song. And so, became a tremendous hit, well it's one of the biggest standards we have to this day.

In some ironic way, I was making a song like Kern, which wasn't Kern at all but it had the flavor, because I told you, I played it in the key of D. There’s a longevity to all the Kern songs. And all my songs, like songs like “I Fall In Love Too Easily” and the place you're going… the minute you start playing it, everybody runs to the piano and joins in because it's from ANCHORS AWEIGH. Or a song from my first show that flopped on the road. It was called GLAD TO SEE YOU.

PL: That was your very first stab at Broadway.

JS: It closed on the road. That was before HIGH BUTTON SHOES. It had my big standard, “Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry” was from that song. Anything that’s dramatic has longevity. One of the great dramatic songs of all time was written for a revue by Yip Harburg and Jay Gorney, “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime.” That's dramatic, so it lasts. Up to this day it lasts. The most professional part about a song are the words, because if the words are strong - sure there are tunes I've written where you could you could say anything to “Time After Time,” you could say anything to “People.” I mean the tune is rich, but when you have a great lyric with it then it remains because people remember words. They don’t remember words, strangely enough, after they hear the song the first time. They go to a hit show like SOUTH PACIFIC, for instance, they hear a song, “Some Enchanted Evening.” When they go out dancing that same night, the band plays (singing) they don’t remember the words but they remember the song, because they remember the words in the confines of the play. That's what the drama has. You do not remember a song unless it has great words in it on the stage. If it does, you’ll remember the tune. If it doesn't, you dismiss it.

PL: It seems to me, the time that you got together with Stephen Sondheim to write GYPSY was the moment when you wrote those very, very successful dramatic songs.

JS: Listen, HIGH BUTTON SHOES and GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES all had big hit songs, and then as well as BELLS ARE RINGING, “Just In Time” and “Party's Over.” When I wrote with Stephen Sondheim, the subject matter was dramatic, The story of a woman who wanted to be somebody and couldn't emerge by herself, and so she wanted to emerge through her children. Looking for identification, and that’s tragic because everybody in the confines of the drama of GYPSY got what they wanted, excepting she. She never got what she wanted. In the end, she got nothing. So, when you go to that, you know, and I must say Stephen Sondheim without a doubt is the greatest lyric writer I've ever written with. He knows more about lyric writing, well, he knows more… What’s wonderful about Steve, Steve's a fine musician. I suppose if Steve hadn’t written lyrics, he'd have been a fine composer, just straight composer. But, of course, Steve understands music. When I play him a tune, a melodic structure, 8 bars, 16, the whole thing, he knows the importance, where I'm important musically and he's going to say something important. He never says unimportant things, on an intricate rhythm. He values notes. He appreciates music. Other people just set words to music, that's all. They're too busy trying to find out what they're going to say, and they don't hear the music. They just hear rhythmic pattern, they get the metric sense, half note that goes up, down you know

PL: Another lyricist, very similar to that, is Frank Loesser.

JS: Frank Loesser was different. Frank Loesser was a Runyon-esque character. Acting that way. He wasn't really off that way, but when he wrote he became something else. You know, Frank Lester anticipated the revolution of youth today many years ago. He started using a kind of cheap wordage. It was poetic but he used it. He said “they don't understand four syllable words,” and he kind of set it in another way. A lot of lyric writers write dummy lyrics down, you know, they write, then change. Frank never wrote the lyrics down his life. He memorizes it, he writes it in this head. I can appreciate it, because I don't write at the piano, you see. I write away from the piano. I go to the piano to flatter my ego and play it however I want to play it. I think I play rather well.

PL: You’ve worked with many greats, George Abbott and Jerome Robbins. What do you think of the director is in terms of the musicals that you…

JS: I tell you, when you talk about directors… I’ve only met one genius in the theater, and that’s Jerome Robbins. Jerome Robbins is more than a director. He knows how to direct it, but while he's directing it, he remembers how the ending of the play goes. He never destroys a character for the moment. It's more than just keeping the man, you say, “in character,” you got to keep him in character with the play, the meaning of the play. Should he do something, should he lift the cigarette at the wrong time, should I say words - they may be wrong for the character. The actor wants to do everything, you know. The actor.

George Abbott is a teacher. George Abbott directs boom, boom, boom, no time wasted. He’ll cut, edit so he's accommodating what he's got on the stage and he’ll never make that actor go for more, he doesn’t believe the actor can go for more, and so he cuts it out. But he was a great teacher and some of his teachings were beyond belief between George Abbott. You know what Robbins always said, there were two George's in his life, George Abbott and George Balanchine, but indeed Jerry had that special something that comes to one of a kind, I call them the one-of-a-kind people.

There’s a freedom on a stage production, there’s a special invention because remember when you do direct the stage, there's no close-up. The close-up is lighting, words that you say, a move in… all for the man in sitting in the 17th row. The man sitting in the 17th row in a movie gets the same shot as the man sitting in the first row because that camera moves in and you see the face of crying, laughing, whatever it is.

PL: There’s that funny story about Busby Berkeley.

JS: Poor Busby Berkeley. I did a show, it was a most unfortunate show, it’s that show called GLAD TO SEE YOU, and this man, you know when you say we got Busby Berkeley…Busby Berkely, he was very sick and he was taking some drugs of some kind and drinking at the same time. And I came into the theater while we were on the road in Philadelphia with this unfortunate show, GLAD TO SEE YOU, and there he was, and the two people, he was staging the ballad. And the two people were against the back bricks. I walked over and said “Busby, if you pardon me for a minute, you know we’ll never hear them singing against the bricks. The orchestra’s here, 28 men are playing way back there.” This is the day before microphones. We didn't use microphones in the theater. You have to bring him down closer to the audience. He says “don't worry about it, because I'm coming in on a crane shot to them, it’s a close up.” He was all confused. He thought he was on a soundstage, all mixed up. But those are pathetic cases, but they're funny and pathetic.

PL: The very first show of yours that I was entitled to see was FUNNY GIRL, and that's one of the reasons that I'm in this business. My experience for that show. I know that it was really through your efforts that Barbra Streisand ended up playing.

JS: Yes, Barbra Streisand, I was writing FUNNY GIRL for Mary Martin and Mary Martin quickly dropped out, and I realized she’d be wrong for the thing. And then the producer got Robbins into it. Oh, Stephen Sondheim was going to be the lyric writer originally for it, with Mary Martin, and he’s walked out. He said: “I don't want to write for Mary Martin for this show.”

I read in the paper, see Barbra was in, she played a minor part I show called I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE and I read the paper Walter Kerr’s review. Not at that time but maybe a year before, he said if they ever do the life of Fanny Brice, this girl should play it. And David Merrick said “We're looking for somebody. I want you to go down and see this girl Barbra Streisand. She's singing down at the Bonsoir down at the village.” And I went 27 nights out of 28. Did not believe it. Although I must tell you I met her earlier, and in fact I had a date with her, but I was so taken with her, and subconsciously, while I was writing - now we have Anne Bancroft signed for FUNNY GIRL. While we have Anne Bancroft signed, I'm writing the score, and I'm subconsciously writing the score for that girl, for her voice. Not the character, her voice. For Anne Bancroft…

PL: How did it end up?

JS: It ended up that Anne Bancroft cussed me out for writing such an intricate score, that I will never get anybody to act the part and to sing the difficult score. And Robbins said if we don't get that person, we won't do the show. But he knew he had a show when he heard three or four of the songs I wrote with Bob Merrill. I guess that’s why the songs suited Barbra, so I was writing for her. She didn’t know, but I was writing them for her all the time. In fact, Barbara didn't like “People” and she didn't like “Rain on My Parade.” That’s another story, you have to fight your way, you know. Everybody thinks it's easy.

I think there have been too many remakes of old movies and remakes of old plays done in the musical. I have found my four biggest hits were originals. HIGH BUTTON SHOES was original BELLS ARE RINGING was an original by Comden and Green, an original story, FUNNY GIRL was an original biography. Never done the story of Fanny Brice - I mean, I never seen the movie before of Fanny Brice so it was an original, and Gypsy was an original. It came from the novel - I call it an original, if you dramatize the novel, that’s an original. By original, I mean something that hasn't been made in a movie before or a play before, and I think there's too many of those. CARMELINA is based on a movie, I REMEMBER MAMMA is based on an old play and a movie. Now, in just the last few years, ANNIE was on a cartoon that's like an original. SOUTH PACIFIC was an original. WEST SIDE STORY was an original. Sure, you say it’s based Romeo and Juliet. But it was a new conception, all dance.

I agree with Steve Sondheim. I want to go his way. He's younger than I am, he’s come into it later than I am. But, I go his way, and he says “if I don't do originals, then who's going to do them?” We must do originals. He says “Jule, please do originals,” and so that's what I'm doing. I'm doing an original with Herb Gardner. TREASURE ISLAND is an original. I mean it's a classic, same as PETER PAN, it's a version of. But those are classical things, you know, they last forever. TREASURE ISLAND, PETER PAN…

“NEVER NEVER LAND” (Jule Styne plays the piano)

Jule Styne at the piano playing “Never Never Land” from his beloved score to PETER PAN.

You’ve been listening to excerpts from an interview with legendary composer Jule Styne. Associate producer Jeff Lunden. Anything Goes - Backstage with Broadway's Best - is produced and hosted by Paul Lazarus. For more information, visit AnythingGoesPL.com. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to rate and follow us. Thanks for listening.

Excerpts from an interview with Jule Styne, famed composer of FUNNY GIRL, BELLS ARE RINGING, GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, PETER PAN and Broadway classic GYPSY. Styne discusses his life and career and performs one of the first songs he ever wrote. The interview took place in 1979 on the occasion of the release of Styne’s biography simply entitled, Jule. The legendary composer recalls his early days in London as a Harry Lauder imitator, and growing up in Chicago, playing in jazz bands with Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Jack Teagarden, meeting Al Capone, his Hollywood career with Frank Loesser and Sammy Cahn, evenings in Los Angeles with Frank Sinatra and Jerome Kern, and of course, his Broadway shows with Busby Berkeley, Jerome Robbins, George Abbott, Comden & Green, Bob Merrill, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim.

Featured songs performed by Styne at the piano: “The Guy With The Polka-Dotted Tie,” and “Never Never Land.“

Originally produced and broadcast in 1986. For more information go to AnythingGoesPL.com or BPN.FM/AnythingGoes. Theme music arranged by Bruce Coughlin. Sound mixing by David Rapkin. Associate producer Jeff Lunden. Anything Goes – Backstage with Broadway’s Best – is produced and hosted by Paul Lazarus.

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