Richard Lewine was born in New York City on July 10, 1910. He attended the Franklin School, where he was an active athlete. He studied music at Columbia University.
Lewine launched his composing career writing songs with lyricist June Sillman for the Broadway revue, Fools Rush In (1934) and with lyricist John Latouche for the Off-Broadway play Murder in the Old Red Barn (1936). He then wrote three musicals with lyricist Ted Fetter and librettist John Van Antwerp. Naughty-Naught and The Fireman’s Flame were produced Off-Broadway in 1937 and The Girl from Wyoming (1938) on Broadway. In 1939, Lewine was musical director for a show at Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Club, Fair Enough, which had songs by Alan Jay Lerner.
After a four year stint as an officer in the Signal Corp, during World War II, Lewine collaborated with lyricist/librettist Arnold B. Horwitt for his next musical, the hit revue, Make Mine Manhattan (1948) which played 429 performances on Broadway and subsequently toured the country. The original cast for the musical featured David Burns, Sid Caesar and Bob Fosse. Though Lewine primarily focused on his television career from the 1950s on, he occasionally returned to theater. He reunited with Horwitt for the Broadway musical, The Girls Against the Boys (1959) which starred Bert Lahr, Nancy Walker and Dick Van Dyke. In 1970, Lewine produced Look to the Lilies, a musical based on William E. Barrett’s novel, Lilies of the Field, with a score by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn. With John Fearnley, Lewine conceived a revue of songs by Lewine’s second cousin Richard Rodgers and his first partner, Lorenz Hart, Rodgers and Hart (1975).
From 1953 through 1961, Lewine worked at CBS television in many capacities, including as Director of Special Programs, Director of Special Projects, Executive Producer and Vice President. At CBS, Lewine consistently brought theater to a wider audience, producing television versions of such plays as This Happy Breed (1956), Blithe Spirit (1956), Hamlet (1958) and The Hasty Heart (1958) and musicals such as Wonderful Town (1958). Lewine also produced original television musicals such as Cole Porter’s Aladdin (1957) and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1957). He was the executive producer for first four seasons of the acclaimed series, The New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts with Leonard Bernstein (1957-1962). After Lewine left CBS in 1961, he worked as an independent producer, with shows such as Hootenanny (1963-1964) on ABC, and various specials including Walter Marks’ Pinocchio (1968) for NBC and Jule Styne’s The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood (1965) for ABC. Lewine also produced two programs for ABC: Stage 67, Burt Bacharach’s On the Flip Side (1966) and Rodgers and Hart Today (1966). Lewine earned an Emmy Award and the Screen Producers’ Award for producing Barbra Streisand’s first television special, My Name is Barbra (1965).
Lewine was also an author of several scholarly works on musical theater. His books, written in collaboration with Alfred Simon, include Encyclopedia of Theatre Music (1962), Songs of the American Theatre (1973) and Songs of the Theatre (1984.) Lewine was involved in many organizations, serving as a Vice President and Council member for the Dramatists Guild, as the Secretary for the Author’s League Fund and the Dramatists Guild Fund and an active member of ASCAP. After the death of Richard Rodgers in 1979, Lewine took over the running of The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization for two years. Lewine continued to compose orchestral pieces, such as A Little Theatre Music (1981) and A Walk in the City (1982) for clarinet and piano.
Lewine was married to Mary Haas on September 29, 1945, with whom he had two children, Peter Emmett Lewine and Cornelia Mary Lewine. Mary Haas Lewine died in 1968. Lewine married Elizabeth Rivers on November 27, 1970. He died in New York on May 19, 2005.
From the guide to the Richard Lewine papers, 1897-2004, 1925-1984, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)
|creatorOf||Richard Lewine papers, 1897-2004, 1925-1984||The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.|
|associatedWith||Caesar, Irving, 1895-1996||person|
|associatedWith||Coward, Noel, 1899-1973||person|
|associatedWith||Drake, Alfred, 1914-1992||person|
|associatedWith||Horwitt, Arnold, 1918-1977||person|
|associatedWith||Latouche, John, 1917-1956||person|
|associatedWith||Porter, Cole, 1891-1964||person|
|associatedWith||Rodgers, Richard, 1902-1979||person|
|associatedWith||Simon, Alfred, 1907-1991||person|
|associatedWith||Van Antwerp, John||person|
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|