Celebrated lyricist and playwright
Lifelong partnership with Betty Comden gave us greatest film and Broadway hits; 12 Tonys
The team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the longest running creative partnership in theatre history, began writing and performing their own satirical comic material in a group called "The Revuers," which included the late Judy Holliday. They went onto collaborate with Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins on what was the first show for all of them, "On The Town." Also with Mr. Bernstein they did the score for "Wonderful Town." With Jule Styne they wrote the book and/or lyrics for "Bells Are Ringing," "Hallelujah, Baby," "Do Re Mi," "Subways Are For Sleeping," "Peter Pan," and others, wrote the book for "Applause," and book and lyrics for "on The Twentieth Century" and "A Doll's Life." Four of these, "Applause," "Hallelujah, Baby," "Wonderful Town," and "On The Twentieth Century," won them five Tony Awards, and "A Doll's Life," a Tony nomination.
Adolph Green was born in the Bronx, New York on December 2, 1915 into a family of Hungarian immigrants. He graduated high school in 1934 and worked at assorted jobs including as a runner on Wall Street. In 1937, at a summer camp, he met the young Leonard Bernstein who was the music counselor, and they became life-long friends. In 1938, another decisive meeting occurred while making the rounds of theatrical agents he met Betty Comden. Together with Judy Holliday, the two formed the act The Revuers, which performed in the legendary Greenwich Village nightclub, The Village Vanguard.
The Comden and Green film musicals include "Singin' In The Rain," "The Band Wagon," "On The Town," "Bells Are Ringing," "It's Always Fair Weather," "Good News," and "The Barkleys Of Broadway." Two of these, "The Band Wagon" and "It's Always Fair Weather," received Academy Award Nominations, and those two plus "On The Town" won the Screen Writer's Award. "Singin' In The Rain" was recently voted one of the ten best American films ever made and, by a vote of international film critics conducted by the prestigious magazine "Sight and Sound," it was chosen as Number Three of the ten best films of all time.
As performers, they appeared in "On The Town," and later did an evening at the Golden Theatre, "A Party With Betty Comden and Adolph Green," comprised of material from their own shows and movies, and from their act, "The Revuers." In 1977 they did a new version of "A Party" to unanimous acclaim at the Morosco Theatre, and toured with it. "A Party" received an Obie Award when it was first performed.
Comden and Green are both members of the Council of the Dramatists' Guild, have been elected to the Theatre Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters' Hall of Fame, and have received the Mayor of New York's Certificate of Excellence. Mr. Green has also appeared in the films "Simon," "My Favorite Year," "Garbo Talks," and "Lilly In Love."
Highlights from the Comden-Green catalog include "Just In Time," "The Party's Over," "Make Someone Happy," "New York, New York," "Neverland," "It's Love," "Lonely Town" and "Some Other Time." Stars they have written for in their musicals and films include Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Lauren Bacall, Rosalind Russell, Judy Holliday, Mary Martin, Phil Silvers, Carol Burnett and Nancy Walker.
In 1991, Comden and Green reunited with Cy Coleman to write the lyrics for the Tony Award winning Broadway success: The Will Rogers Follies.
Green died at 81 on October 23, 2002 in New York City.