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A Film by Michael Kantor


Composers, Lyricists & Writers

Moss Hart

A distinguished librettist, director, and playwright who was particularly renowned for his work with George S. Kaufman. Hart is reported to have written the book for the short-lived “Jonica” in 1930, but his first real Broadway musical credit came three years later when he contributed the sketches to the Irving Berlin revue “As Thousands Cheer.” Subsequent revues for which he co-wrote sketches included “The Show Is On,” “Seven Lively Arts,” and “Inside USA.” During the remainder of the ’30s Hart wrote the librettos for “The Great Waltz” (adapted from the operetta “Waltzes of Vienna”), “Jubilee,” “I’d Rather Be Right” (with Kaufman), and “Sing Out the News” (which he also co-produced with Kaufman and Max Gordon). In 1941 he wrote one of his wittiest and most inventive books for “Lady in Dark,” which starred Gertrude Lawrence, and gave Danny Kaye his first chance on Broadway.

Moss Hart

Born: October 24, 1904
Died: December 20, 1961
Key Shows
  • "Face the Music"
  • "The Great Waltz"
  • "I'd Rather Be RIght"
  • "Jubilee"
  • "Lady in the Dark"
Related Artists
  • Irving Berlin
  • George M. Cohan
  • Ira Gershwin
  • Kitty Carlisle Hart
  • Lorenz Hart
  • George Kaufman
  • Cole Porter
  • Richard Rodgers
  • Kurt Weill

Thereafter, as far as the musical theater was concerned, apart from the occasional revue, Hart concentrated mostly on directing, and sometimes producing, shows such as Irving Berlin’s “Miss Liberty,” and Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s smash hits “My Fair Lady” and “Camelot.” He won a Tony Award for his work on “My Fair Lady.” His considerable output for the straight theater included “Light up the Sky,” “The Climate of Eden,” “Winged Victory,” and (with Kaufman) “Once in a Lifetime,” “You Can’t Take It With You” (for which they both won the Pulitzer Prize), and “The Man Who Came to Dinner.”

In 1941 he wrote one of his wittiest and most inventive books for “Lady in Dark.”

Hart also wrote the screenplays for two film musicals, HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN (1952) and the 1954 remake of A STAR IS BORN, starring Judy Garland. His absorbing autobiography, ACT ONE, was filmed in 1963 with George Hamilton as Hart and Jason Robards as Kaufman.

ACT ONE, Moss Hart.

Source: Biographical information provided by MUZE. Excerpted from the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF POPULAR MUSIC, edited by Colin Larkin. © 2004 MUZE UK Ltd.

Photo credits: Photofest