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Biography

Biography of Leslie Bricusse

LESLIE BRICUSSE - (Composer/Lyricist/Librettist)

Double Oscar and Grammy winner Leslie Bricusse is a writer-composer-lyricist who has contributed to many musical films and plays during his career. He was born in London, and educated at University College School and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. At Cambridge, he was President of the Footlights Revue Club and founded the Musical Comedy Club. There, he co-authored, directed and performed in his first two musical shows, OUT OF THE BLUE and LADY AT THE WHEEL, both of which made their way to London’s West End. He also found time in the gaps to acquire a Master of Arts Degree.

The late, great Beatrice Lillie plucked him out of the Footlights Revue at the Phoenix Theatre, and made him her leading man in AN EVENING WITH BEATRICE LILLIE at the Globe Theatre, where he spent the first year of his professional life writing another musical, BOY ON THE CORNER, and the screenplay and score of his first motion picture, CHARLEY MOON, which won his first Ivor Novello Award. That year he decided to drop the possibilities of directing and performing, and concentrate his career on becoming a full-time writer-composer-lyricist.

His subsequent stage musicals include STOP THE WORLD - I WANT TO GET OFF; THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT - THE SMELL OF THE CROWD; PICKWICK; HARVEY; THE GOOD OLD BAD OLD DAYS; GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS; HENRY’S WIVES; SCROOGE; ONE SHINING MOMENT; SHERLOCK HOLMES; JEKYLL AND HYDE and VICTOR/VICTORIA. He has written songs and/or screenplays for such films as DOCTOR DOLITTLE; SCROOGE; WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY; GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS; SUPERMAN; VICTOR/VICTORIA; SANTA CLAUS - THE MOVIE; HOME ALONE I & II; HOOK; TOM & JERRY - THE MOVIE and various PINK PANTHERS.

Bricusse has written more than forty musical shows and films, and over the years has had the good fortune to enjoy fruitful collaborations with a wonderful array of musical talents, including Anthony Newley, Henry Mancini, John Williams, John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith, Jule Styne, Quincy Jones, Andre Previn, Frank Wildhorn and Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky (whose NUTCRACKER SUITE he adapted into a song score).

His better-known songs include: What Kind Of A Fool Am I?; Once In A Lifetime; Gonna build A Mountain; Who Can I Turn To?; The Joker; If I Ruled The World; My Kind Of Girl; Talk To The Animals; You And I; Felling Good; When I Look In Your Eyes; Goldfinger; Can You Read My Mind? (The love theme from Superman); You Only Live Twice; Le Jazz Hot; On A Wonderful Day Like Today; Two For The Road; The Candy Man; This Is The Moment; Crazy World; Pure Imagination and Ompa-Loompa-Doompa-Dee-Doo.

He has been nominated for ten Academy Awards, nine Grammys and four Tonys, and has won two Oscars, a Grammy and eight Ivor Novello Awards, the premiere British Music Award.

Hundreds of Bricusse’s songs have been recorded by major artists, including Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Sammy Davis, Jr. (who recorded 60 Bricusse songs), Tony Bennett, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Petula Clark, Julie Andrews, Liza Minnelli, Andy Williams, Rex Harrison, Kate Smith, Elaine Paige, Anthony Newley, Michael Feinstein, Bette Midler, The Moody Blues, Nancy Sinatra, Lena Horne, Sergio Mendes, Nina Simone, Dionne Warwick, Robert Goulet, Matt Monro, Ray Charles, Ethel Merman, Placido Domingo, Jennifer Holliday, Danny Kaye, Robbie Williams, Mariah Carey, Linda Eder, Maroon 5, Michael Bublé and The Black-Eyes Peas.

In 1989 he received the Kennedy Award for consistent excellence in British songwriting, bestowed by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, and was inducted into the American Songwriters’ Hall of Fame - only the fourth Englishman to be so honoured – after Noel Coward, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Bricusse is currently represented internationally and across the United States by JEKYLL & HYDE, written with Frank Wildhorn, which ran for four years at the Plymouth Theatre in New York, with a dozen international productions around the world, and VICTOR/VICTORIA, written with Blake Edwards and Henry Mancini, which successively starred Julie Andrews, Liza Minnelli and Raquel Welch on Broadway, and is now to be seen across America and in other international productions, including Madrid in 2005 and Mexico City in 2006.

Bricusse’s children’s stage musical version of Raold Dahl’s WILLY WONKA opened at the Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts in Washington DC in November, 2004, before embarking on a three-year national tour.

Another Bricusse perennial, his musical version of SCROOGE, in which Anthony Newley starred at the Dominion Theatre in London’s West End, is also seen annually in many productions in the U. K., Europe, the U. S. and Japan. Currently, the title role is being played by Richard Chamberlain in the U. S. and Tommy Steele at the London Palladium in the U. K.

For DOCTOR DOLITTLE, another current stage musical, which played four years in the U. K. starring Phillip Schofield and almost one hundred assorted animatronic animals created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, Bricusse serves as librettist, composer, lyricist and co-producer. Further productions are planned in Europe, Australia, South Korea and Japan. A major U. S. production opened in the summer of 2005.

His next project is a remarkable musical biography of the world’s greatest entertainer, the late Sammy Davis, Jr., entitled SAMMY, directed and choreographed by Debbie Allen. Bricusse has also completed the book and lyrics of his musical adaptation of CYRANO DE BERGERAC, his new collaboration with Frank Wildhorn, which will open in the U. K. in 2006, as will Bricusse’s compilation songbook show, BRICK BY BRICK BY BRICUSSE.

Shows by Leslie Bricusse

Doctor Dolittle
Jekyll & Hyde (B'way)
Willy Wonka
Willy Wonka JR.
Willy Wonka KIDS
Willy Wonka TYA
Doctor Dolittle JR.