A lovable musician of genius

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The life of Jerry Bock, composer of such legendary musicals as FIORELLO, SHE LOVES ME, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, and THE ROTHSCHILDS  was celebrated in a performance hosted by his long-time partner, lyricist Sheldon Harnick at the American Airlines Theatre on January 24.

I met Jerry and Sheldon with SHE LOVES ME in 1964, the London production that I presented with Hal Prince and Tony Walton. I was blown away by their ability to invoke another time and place through their work, and commissioned them, with playwright John Arden, in 1965 to write a musical about Admiral Nelson and Lady Hamilton, to be named TRAFALGAR. Sadly that production never reached the stage, but a triumphant FIDDLER burst upon the world. For the London production, we discovered Topol as a new international star.

In 1970, I designed the lighting for THE ROTHSCHILDS on Broadway, met my wife, Molly, and further cemented my friendship with Jerry and Sheldon.

On moving to America in 1988, it was Jerry’s son, George, who recommended Ridgefield as a place for us to make a home. He was right.

Jerry will be long missed. We send our love, and gratitude for their friendship, to his dear wife, Patti, and their children Portia and George.