William F. Brown, Tony-Nominated Book Writer of The Wiz, Dies at 91

first_imgBrown made his Broadway debut when his play The Girl in the Freudian Slip opened at the Booth Theatre on May 18, 1967. A wild contemporary comedy about a married psychiatrist who finds himself attracted to a patient, the show ran only four performances, but is notably the first adult Broadway credit for Bernadette Peters, who was cast as a standby in the role of the psychiatrist’s teen daughter. A popular illustrator, Brown also designed the play’s advertising artwork and logo.The following year, Brown was head writer on the Broadway revue Leonard Stillman’s New Faces of 1968 and was hired to write to book for How to Steal an Election. Subtitled “A Dirty Politics Musical,” the off-Broadway musical opened in the weeks prior to the 1968 Presidential election that brought Richard Nixon’s victory. With a score by folk artist Oscar Brand, the show depicted Jazz Age president Calvin Coolidge materializing to give a cynical political history lesson to two disillusioned protesters (played by Clifton Davis and Carole Demas, who would both go on to successful Broadway careers). Brown’s next project become a Broadway juggernaut and earned him a Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical. The Wiz was a contemporary retelling of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, featuring a street-smart book by Brown, an R&B score by Charles Smalls and an all-black cast of performers. Although it opened with little fanfare at the Majestic Theatre on January 5, 1975, it would go on to win a total of seven Tony Awards including Best Musical and run for over four years on Broadway. A movie version was released in 1978, and The Wiz was revived on Broadway just five years after its closing in 1984. Brown was involved in many high-profile new productions of the popular hit throughout his life, and updated his book for a successful 1990s tour that reunited original show stars Stephanie Mills and André De Shields.Following the success of The Wiz, Brown collaborated with Lee Adams and Charles Strouse to write the book for A Broadway Musical, a backstage musical about their experience writing the show Golden Boy for Sammy Davis Jr. fourteen years prior. It premiered off-Broadway at the Theatre of the Riverside Church for a 26 performance run before transferring to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, where it opened on December 21, 1978. Famously, it closed the same night.Other theatrical ventures include the book for the musicals Damon’s Song, Twist and The Nutley Papers and the musical revues Coconuts (which premiered at the Coconut Grove complex in Miami), Straight Up With a Twist and Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know at Lucille Lortel’s White Barn Theatre in Westport, CT. His play A Single Thing in Common was also published. He also wrote the book and lyrics for about 100 corporate industrial shows, films and videos for clients including Ford Motors, State Farm Insurance and Pepsi-Cola.Brown has over 100 television writing credits including David Frost Review, That Was the Week That Was, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dean Martin Show, The Jackie Gleason Show, The Johnny Carson Show, The Merv Griffin Show and Love American Style. He also wrote special material for performers including Joan Rivers, Georgie Kaye, Leslie Gore, Joey Foreman and Joel Grey, for whom Brown created a TV pilot.Brown was also head writer for A Salute to Those Who Served, a two-hour musical event with a cast of over 200 that was held in Washington, D.C. at the dedication of the Korean War Veterans Memorial.In addition, Brown was a syndicated cartoonist with the comic strip Boomer and wrote and illustrated five books he also authored, as well as illustrating many others. An ad for The Girl in the Freudian Slip in The New York Times. View Comments William F. Brown, the Tony-nominated American writer who is best known for his libretto to the long-running Broadway musical The Wiz, died on June 23 in Westport, CT, according to his longtime wife and collaborator, Tina Tippit. He was 91.Brown was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on April 16, 1928. After attending Princeton University, he moved to New York City and landed a job writing for Look Magazine in 1950. After a year in the U.S. Army, he worked from 1952 to 1954 as a television producer for the advertising agency Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborne (BBDO), while also starting a freelance career as an author, illustrator, cartoonist and TV writer. His began his show business career by contributing comedy sketches and lyrics to nine of cabaret producer Julius Monk’s acclaimed revues that were popular in Manhattan and Chicago through the 1950s and 1960s.center_img William F. Brown and wife Tina Tippit in 2013.(Photo provided by family of William F. Brown) Tiger Haynes, Hinton Battle, Stephanie Mills and Ted Ross in The Wiz.(Photo: Martha Swope/NYPL) William F. Brown (Photo provided by family of William F. Brown)last_img read more


Dan Hanson Jr. Appointed To The CAWA Board Of Directors

first_imgDeMoulpied comes to LSI from the Private Client Services practice of Ernst & Young where he managed strategy & operations improvement engagements for privately held client businesses. Some of his prior roles include VP of strategic development, director of strategic initiatives, and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt at OptumHealth, UnitedHealth Group’s health services business, as well as Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at General Electric, where he applied operations improvement principles to customer service, supply chain and product development. A successful entrepreneur, deMoulpied is also the founder of PrestoFresh, a Cleveland-based e-commerce food/grocery business.  DeMoulpied has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management from the United States Air Force Academy and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Dayton in Marketing and International Business. He served six years with the USAF overseeing the development of technology used on fighter aircraft and the E-3 Surveillance aircraft, finishing his career honorably as Captain. Hanson is a vice president and corporate director of Hanson Distributing Co. He joined the family business full time in 2003, serving in various capacities including store manager, outside salesman and sales manager. In January 2013, he took over operational responsibility for Hanson’s six company-owned stores, with responsibilities for sales, product and pricing. “We are very pleased that Dan has decided to get more involved with the association in joining its leadership,” said Jimenez.AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement,Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI), manufacturer of Hot Shot’s Secret brand of performance additives and oils, recently announced the expansion of senior leadership. Steve deMoulpied joins LSI as the company’s chief operating officer (COO). AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement SACRAMENTO, Calif. – CAWA Chairman Ed Jiminez has announced the appointment of Dan Hanson Jr. to the CAWA Board of Directors, effective immediately. With more than 20 years of experience across multiple industries and functional areas, deMoulpied has particular expertise in organizations with complex technical products. Combined, his prior positions have required a spectrum of skills in corporate strategy, operations improvement, product quality, and revenue cycle management. He has an impressive history of utilizing data driven problem solving (Lean Six Sigma) and project management (PMP and CSM) to achieve strategic goals surrounding customer satisfaction, operational efficiency and improved profit.  LSI President Brett Tennar says, “Steve’s success in developing operational strategies that improves the bottom line, builds teamwork, reduces waste and ensures quality product development and distribution checks many of the boxes of what we were looking for in a COO. This, coupled with his career in the Air Force working with highly technical systems and his in-depth understanding of Lean Six Sigma and Business Process Management sealed our offer. As our tagline states, our products are Powered by Science. This data driven approach is one reason why our company has grown exponentially as we employ the most advanced technology to product development. I am confident that Steve is the right person to drive operational strategy for our diverse and growing brands.” Advertisementlast_img read more