Charlie Smalls

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Charlie Smalls
Born (1943-10-25)25 October 1943
Queens, New York
Died 27 August 1987(1987-08-27) (aged 43)
Belgium
Occupation Composer, songwriter,
Awards Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics
1974: The Wiz
Best Original Score
1975: The Wiz

Charlie Smalls (October 25, 1943 – August 27, 1987) was an African-American composer and songwriter, best known for writing the music for the 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz.

Career[edit]

A musical prodigy, Smalls attended the Juilliard School at age eleven in 1954, staying until 1961.[1] He wrote the song "From Me To You" for the Hugh Masekela 1966 album Hugh Masekela's Next Album.[2] In 1968, he appeared on the "Some Like It Lukewarm" episode of The Monkees (episode #56, original airdate March 4, 1968), chatting at a piano with singer Davy Jones.[3] He wrote a song for John Cassavetes's 1968 film Faces called "Never Felt Like This Before".

After graduating from the High School of Performing Arts, Smalls toured as a member of the New York Jazz Repertory Company before beginning work on The Wiz. An African-American retelling of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Wiz was adapted into a feature film, starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, by Motown Productions and Universal Pictures in 1978. He also wrote the score for the 1976 film, Drum.

Death[edit]

Smalls died suddenly in Belgium, during emergency surgery to repair a burst appendix. He was 43.

He is survived by his son Michael.[4] At the time of his death, Smalls was working on a new musical. He had begun working on Miracles, a musical adaption of The Man Who Could Work Miracles by H.G. Wells. He had recorded some songs with Geoffrey Holder and The Harlem Boys Choir.[5]

Honours[edit]

Smalls won the 1975 Tony Award for Best Score for his work on The Wiz.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Aufderheide, Jeremy (2007). "Creators: Charlie Smalls". The Wiz: A Virtual Coffee Table Book. Retrieved January 20, 2008.
  2. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Original-Broadway-Cast-Of-The-Boys-In-The-Band-Mart-Crowleys-The-Boys-In-The-Band-The-Original-Broad/release/1773445
  3. ^ Sandoval, Andrew (2005). The Monkees: The Day-By-Day Story Of The 60s TV Pop Sensation. Thunder Bay Press. p. 178. ISBN 978-1-59223-372-4. 
  4. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1987/09/04/obituaries/charlie-smalls-is-dead-composer-of-the-wiz.html
  5. ^ http://www.thewizthemusical.com/creators/smalls.php
  6. ^ Search for "Charlie Smalls" at "Past Winners Search". The American Theater Wing's Tony Awards. Retrieved January 20, 2008.

External links[edit]