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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Maury Yeston

Among the established Broadway composers, Maury Yeston is a unique gem. His musical Nine was innovative, inspired and daringly unconventional. I always admired Maury for this achievement. Later he was the one who had the idea to turn the novel Phantom Of The Opera into a musical. His version is excellent; unfortunately Andrew Lloyd Webber who wrote anther version made Yeston look like a windfall reaper. With great expectations I went to a Broadway preview of Titanic in 1997. I was sure Maury Yeston would use this great metaphor of the "unsinkable" ocean liner that hit an iceberg on its virgin voyage to create again something extraordinary. But not so. Titanic turned out to be just another show with a predictable dramaturgy and a conventional score. I was disappointed, though I knew my own works did not entitle me to criticize others for conventionality. When I met Maury Yeston a few years later, I was happy that this warm and gentle man didn't ask me about my opinion on Titanic. My admiration for his genius has not waned. Last year I heard his September Songs and was in awe.

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