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Tom Jones, a lyricist and librettist, has passed away

Tom Jones, known for his work as a libertarian and songwriter for The Fantastix, has passed away. He was also associated with Broadway for 42 years and composed music for various Broadway shows including “The Fantastix”, “110 in the Shade”, and “I Do! I Do!”. He was 95 years old.

Alongside Harvey Schmidt, Tom Jones wrote “The Fantastix” for the summer theater at Barnard College. After its off-Broadway premiere in May 1960, it became the longest-running production in the history of American theater and one of the most frequently performed musical programs worldwide. Their first Broadway show, “110 in the Shade”, revived Audrey McDonald’s career on Broadway. “I Do! I Do!” with Mary Martin and Robert Preston also enjoyed Broadway success, becoming a staple both nationally and internationally.

For many years, Jones and Schmidt worked privately in their theater workshop, focusing on smaller-scale, often experimental, music. Notable among these efforts were “Celebration”, which ran on Broadway, and “Philemon”, which won an Outer Critics Circle Award. They contributed sudden music and songs to “Out Cry”, a Zolton Kallay’s Off-Broadway play, and later developed a full-score musical version under the title “The Show Goes On”, presented at the York Theatre. Their music mirroring the award-winning children’s book, “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane”, premiered at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut.

Apart from an Obie Award and the 1992 Special Tony Award for “The Fantastix”, Jones and Schmidt were inducted into the Broadway Hall of Fame at the Gershwin Theatre and received stars on the Off-Broadway Walk of Fame on May 3, 1999, outside the Lucille Lortel Theater.

On December 4, 2017, the York Theatre Company honored Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt’s musical theater writing team at a gala concert and award ceremony, directed by Richard Jay-Alexander, with musical direction by Andrew Gerle. They were recognized for their lifetime achievement in musical theater with the 2017 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, presented by the Asian Society in a program hosted in Asia. This event marked their last performance together, just before Schmidt’s passing in 2018.


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