Remembering the Pure Imagination of Leslie Bricusse

Remembering the Pure Imagination of Leslie Bricusse

Leslie Bricusse, MTI author and Grammy, Tony, and Oscar winner has passed away at 90. It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to an accomplished composer and artist whose music ignited the childlike wonder in so many and shaped the childhoods of a generation.

Born in Pinner, Middlesex (now a suburb west of London) in 1931, Bricusse began his career with Anthony Newley, an English actor and songwriter. They would go on to write and premiere their first musical Stop the World - I Want to Get Off in 1961. The musical would go on to have 5 Tony nominations, including Best Musical and Best Author for Newley and Bricusse.

In between writing award-winning musicals, Bricusse and Newley also went on to write award- winning songs that transcend time such as "Goldfinger", "Feeling Good", and "What Kind of Fool Am I" which went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Song.

Bricusse would collaborate with Newley once more in 1967 on the film Dr. Dolittle, which garnered 9 Academy Awards, with Bricusse going home with Best Song for "Talk to The Animals". The film would go on to have a stage adaption in 1998 with the music, lyrics, and book being written Bricusse himself.

In 1971, Bricusse would compose the iconic music and score for Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, including "The Candy Man", and "Pure Imagination". The original and unique sound was nominated for an Academy Award and be remembered for decades to come. The stage adaptation, Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, has been tailored specifically for younger audiences with Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka JR., KIDS, and TYA versions. The movie was also adapted into a Broadway musical, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory with Bricusse returning to adapt it for the stage. 

Bricusse would go on to receive acclaim again with his Tony Award nominated work Jekyll & Hyde, an adaptation of one of the most iconic stories in classic literature. He earned the nomination of Best Book as well as Best Musical in 1997. The show has remained a perenially popular choice for performers across the globe.

Leslie Bricusse's career spanned 7 decades not only because of his iconic compositions, but because of his love for music and his dedication to the craft. As Bricusse would have it, "When you live in a world of a imagination, your imagination doesn't necessarily grow old with you."