Marmorstein bolsters the story of Hart's rocketlike career with a wealth of factual detail. Where he bogs down, terribly, is in trying to parse the lyrics for their poetic value and their place in the multiple traditions on which the well-read Hart gleefully drew. But his biographer's sense, his dogged researches, and his fair-mindedness constantly lead him in good directions. His account of Rodgers's controversial involvement in Hart's business affairs at his death is the best-balanced I've encountered.

Impish wordplay, plus booze binges: Rodgers and Hart, 1936
Courtesy Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Impish wordplay, plus booze binges: Rodgers and Hart, 1936

Details

A Ship Without a Sail: The Life of Lorenz Hart
By Gary Marmorstein
Simon & Schuster, 576 pp., $30

Rodgers's deep misgivings about his collaboration with Hart are summed up in the startling remark he made decades later, in an oral-history narrative: "There is a statute of limitations on gratitude." Is there really? To know, you would have to be one of the colleagues who were obliged to carry Hart home in a drunken stupor and then stare in amazement while he poured out matchlessly hilarious, perfectly shaped, encore stanzas.

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1 comments
hrmnkzglr
hrmnkzglr

In spite of what the Bible says (& what most Christian churches teach), there is a God. A God of infinite, unconditional Love. (In spite of the state of the earth now - or in historic memory.)

A God also known to many as Infinite Intelligence.

How do I know? Do you have the hours or patience to listen as I tell you my story & all the surprises revealed to me from the Spirit World? You really don't - especially on the very limited space afforded here.


Why I subscribed to the Offstage Voice Newsletter:

I just couldn't let this opportunity pass to tell the world (or the infinitesimally small portion of it who'll read this) how much I appreciate, how much I loved/love Lorenz Hart. (No, I never met him. I was 4 when he died.) Perhaps if I had known him I too couldn't have countenanced his behavior. I'll bet against that. Perhaps if I had known him he wouldn't have acted in any distasteful ways. On that...I'd bet.

I have a fantasy: In it I'm born maybe on Jan 1, 1900. I grow up to have a voice as good and as sweet and as powerful as any male singer has ever had. From the age of, say 14, I demonstrate my singing abilities all over the world. I'm truly an over-night sensation. There may be some people who can't stand me: my stentorian voice (yet capable of the most breath-taking pianissimos, and holding the sweetest or highest notes longer than any other tenor - remember blessed Franco Corelli?), or my gushing-with-good will and unconditional love type personality, or my stunning matinee-idol good looks. (They're the 1% minority of the world's population who can't stand me.)

Yes,I'd be 6'3" and as handsome as can be. With a perfectly proportioned muscular physique - just breath-takingly stunning! (As all who see me - especially in the nude, can testify.) A blue-eyed, green-eyed, a redhead, a brunet, a blond - whatever Larry Hart prefers. Yes, and I'm as loving as a human can be. I'm pure Love.

I met Larry Hart. I can't remember where or when. I think it was when I was 18. But YES! we meet. And the angels sing! It's love at first sight. I am gay, also, - of course! I sweep him off his feet. Carry him to my bed. Make love to him. So passionately, so gently, so joyously. It's a manifestly complete, a heavenly union - yet right here on earth! From that moment on - it's our blessed nuptial bed. Nobody near us - to see us or hear us - no friends or relations - while we're having sexual elations. Except the angels in the Spirit World. Who rejoice at our perfect love - perfectly expressed! I kiss him, cover him with unconditional kisses. He can't deny it - he knows he is loved! Knows (I know this seems unfair, but bare with us. For God's sake! Let there be Light. And Life. And Love!) - he knows that at least for us - we experience perfection. Paradise on Earth. And it stays that way. Well passed our 75th anniversary together. We are the grand marshals of a hundred gay-pride parades. When they become the rage. We are the poster boys for gay commitment. For gay bliss. Because of us, gay marriage is accepted 2 - maybe 3, decades earlier in the West. And now in 2014 even in the Muslim Word.

Yes, such miracles come true. Miracles like no one could ever have imagined.


May I also say, truly humbly, that it was my angelic voice in pre-June of 1914 that convinced the would-be-assassinators of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary (and his wife) that there is a Loving God. A God who could be appealed to - to bring about justice for their homeland. Thus preventing World War I (You DO know 700,000 men died in the Battle of the Somme in 1916? SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND men were pounded into the mud there in northern France! I'm pretty sure I was one of them in my previous past life.)  With no WWI, there was no WWII. No 40 million dead in that war. No Holocaust of 6 million Jews. It's amazing what a Voice of Pure Love can do.

In a fantasy.

 
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