Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The rise and fall of Lionel Bart

The rise and fall of Lionel Bart, who died aged 68 in 1999, is a classic rags-to-riches-to-rags theatre story. Generally credited with being the father of the modern British musical, Bart wrote probably the best loved of all popular shows in the past century - Oliver!- yet died more or less broke, certainly washed up, living in a house in Acton and on subs from friends, notably the royalty on Oliver! which was arranged for him by the producer Cameron Mackintosh long after he had sold all the rights in his own show.
More from Michael Coveney in The Independent.

Bart's career is currently being celebrated in It's a Fine Life! at the Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch (book by Chris Bond).

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