Cy Feuer (January 15, 1911 – May 17, 2006) was an American theatre producer, director, composer, musician, and half of the celebrated, legendary producing duo Feuer and Martin. He was the winner of three competitive Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre and a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award.
Born Seymour Arnold Feuerman in Brooklyn, New York, he became a professional trumpeter at the age of fifteen, working at clubs on weekends to help support his family while attending New Utrecht High School. It was there he first met Abe Burrows, who in later years he would hire to write the book for Guys and Dolls. Having no interest in mathematics, science, or sports, he dropped out of school and found work as a trumpeter on a political campaign truck. He later studied at the Juilliard School before joining the orchestras at the Roxy Theater and later Radio City Music Hall. In 1938, he toured the country with Leon Belasco and His Society Orchestra, eventually ending up in Burbank, California. Following a ten-week stint there, the orchestra departed for Minneapolis, but he opted to remain in California.
Feuer found employment at Republic Pictures, serving as musical director, arranger, and/or composer of more than 125 mostly B-movies, many of them serials and westerns, for the next decade, save for a three-year interruption to serve in the military during World War II. During his Hollywood sojourn, he enjoyed a tumultuous one-year affair with actress Susan Hayward, worked with Jule Styne, Frank Loesser, and Victor Young, among others, received five Academy Award nominations for his film scores, and married divorcée Posy Greenberg, the mother of three-year-old Bobby. (The couple later had a son of their own named Jed.)
In 1947, having decided he had no real talent for film scoring, Feuer returned to New York City, where he teamed up with Ernest H. Martin, who had been the head of comedy programming at CBS Radio. After an aborted attempt to stage a production based on George Gershwin's An American in Paris, they produced Where's Charley?, the 1949 Frank Loesser adaption of Charley's Aunt. Although it was panned by six of the seven major New York critics, positive word-of-mouth about the show, particularly Ray Bolger's star turn in it, kept it running for three years. Over the next several decades, Feuer & Martin mounted some of the most notable titles in the Broadway musical canon, including Guys and Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, both of which won the Tony Award for Best Musical. As of 2007, How to Succeed... is one of only seven musicals to have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Feuer and Martin owned the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre from 1960 to 1965.
Feuer's greatest career success was the 1972 film version of Cabaret, which won eight Academy Awards, winning him a Best Picture Oscar nomination as the film's credited producer. (Cabaret lost Best Picture to The Godfather, but Feuer won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy.) With Martin, he was responsible for the 1985 screen adaptation of A Chorus Line, which proved to be one of their biggest flops.
Feuer's memoir, I Got The Show Right Here: The Amazing, True Story of How an Obscure Brooklyn Horn Player Became the Last Great Broadway Showman, written with Ken Gross, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2003.
Feuer served as president, and later chairman, of the League of American Theatres and Producers (now called The Broadway League) from 1989 to 2003. He died on May 17, 2006 of bladder cancer in New York City, aged 95.
Additional Broadway credits
- Can-Can (1953)
- The Boy Friend (1954)
- Silk Stockings (1955)
- Hamlet (1964)
- Skyscraper (1965)
- Walking Happy (1966)
- The Act (1977)
Awards and nominations
- 2003 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement
- 1967 Tony Award for Best Musical (Walking Happy, nominee)
- 1966 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical (Skyscraper, nominee)
- 1966 Tony Award for Best Musical (Skyscraper, nominee)
- 1963 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical (Little Me, nominee)
- 1963 Tony Award for Best Musical (Little Me, nominee)
- 1963 Tony Award for Best Producer of a Musical (Little Me, nominee)
- 1962 Tony Award for Best Musical (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, (winner)
- 1962 Tony Award for Best Producer of a Musical (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, winner)
- 1951 Tony Award for Best Musical (Guys and Dolls, winner)
- Sons of the Pioneers (1942)
- Cy Feuer at the Internet Broadway Database
- Cy Feuer at the Internet Movie Database
- TonyAwards.com Interview with Cy Feuer