“Our Hearts Should Remember and Follow” Tom Jones

“Our Hearts Should Remember and Follow” Tom Jones

Music Theatre International remembers and honors lyricist Tom Jones, who passed away on August 11, 2023. More than an MTI author, he was a dear friend to the MTI family. Tom Jones's tender lyrics shaped the world of American musical theatre.

With composer Harvey Schmidt, Jones created the Off-Broadway hit The Fantastickswhich opened in 1960. Running for 17,162 performances at the Sullivan Street Playhouse, the original production holds the record as the world's longest running musical. In 1991, The Fantasticks received the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre. To this day, productions of The Fantasticks have gone up on stages in over 60 countries.

Further Reading: Look back the 50th anniversary of The Fantasticks.

Ten years before The Fantasticks, Jones and Schmidt met and first worked together at the University of Texas at Austin. After college, they were drafted in the Korean War, but this did not stop their collaboration - they wrote songs together through the mail.

In a creative partnership spanning over 50 years, Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt made more beautifully intimate works such as I Do! I Do!, 110 In The Shade, Mirette, The Game of Love, and Celebration. While their musicals often featured minimalist sets and a small cast, they explored larger-than-life themes of relationships and human existence.

Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt received Tony nominations for both I Do! I Do! and 110 In The Shade. They were welcomed into the Theater Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012.

Read more about Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt's collaboration.

"When you hear and see their musicals, you know you're seeing a Tom and Harvey show," said MTI Co-Chairman Freddie Gershon in 2017. "They have an identifiable voice - that's a collective voice. A voice of their musical voice, their lyrics, their dialogue - seamlessly, it's melded, and then it's galvanized. And when it comes back out, you hear and feel something which is not derivative. Purely original and sui generis. It seems natural, and it seems simple. It's not simple. It's hard work. What they do is hard work."

“Our hearts should remember and follow” in Tom Jones's legacy.