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Overview and Commentary
John Latouche (This section is currently in preparation)
"Latouche's family moved to Richmond, VA when he was four months old. His parents soon divorced, and he grew up there in genteel poverty living with his mother, Effie, a seamstress, and his younger brother, Louis. Latouche graduated from public school and, thanks to a scholarship he won in a literary contest, moved to New York City in 1932. He attended Riverdale Country School for a year, Columbia University for two years, then left school to concentrate on writing for the theatre, contributing music and/or lyrics to a number of musical revues on and off-Broadway, as well as writing nightclub material for a variety of performers." (To read the remainder of this biography of LaTouche, go to babydoe.org.)
from a review of, Taking a Chance on Love,
an off-Broadway revue based on the songs of John Latouche,
Anita Gates, The New York Times
March 3, 2000.
"John Latouche's name comes up now and then. Whenever there's a revival of ''Candide,'' for which he wrote some of the original lyrics. Or when a cabaret performer rediscovers one of his gems, like ''Take Love Easy.'' But over all, for a man who wrote the lyrics, book or both for more than 20 musicals from the 1930's to the 50's, Latouche is extremely unknown. The York Theater Company is trying to change that with ''Taking a Chance on Love,'' a performance of 30 or so of his songs, named for his most famous one, which he wrote with Theodore Fetter."
Ed.'s note: Perhaps Latouche's best known song "Taking a Chance on Love" was written for the 1940 Broadway show Cabin in the Sky. As Ken Bloom tells the story, Vernon Duke who wrote the music for "Taking a Chance on Love" stated in his autobiography (Passport to Paris, Boston: Little Brown, 1955) that while looking for "a heart-warming number" for the show Cabin in the Sky," he came across a never used song of his called "Fooling Around with Love," a song he had written some time before with a lyric by Ted Fetter: "I tried it out on Latouche; he fell for the tune, but thought the title not sufficiently 'on the nose' for the dramatic situation. An afternoon's work, with an assist from Fetter, followed, and what emerged was 'Taking a Chance on Love.' one of my better known songs" (Bloom, p. 215).
"Helen and the Boys" from The Golden Apple
by John Latouche and James Moross
"The local guys fantasize about Helen, but are outraged to discover that she married old Menelaus while they were away at war. Ulysees calms them and they pledge to refrain from violence. Moross' music ranges from the breezy, Latin-esque opening to the solemn concluding "oath" section, where he ingeniously combines a classic American sound with an ancient Greek ceremonial idiom (as befits the subject matter). From the only fully-staged, full orchestra production since the '54 premiere."
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Master List of Great American Songbook Songwriters
Names of songwriters who have written at least one song included in the Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbook are listed below.
Names of songwriters with two or more song credits in the catalog (with rare exceptions) are linked to their own Cafe Songbook pages, e.g. Fields, Dorothy.
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