"The trick in writing theater lyrics, to me, is getting inside the skin of the character, getting inside that character's head, and trying to come up with a song that that character would sing. It's harder than it looks … If you really get inside that character, the vocabulary becomes his vocabulary. That's what you try to do."
About This Interview
In their their two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Lee Adams and Charles Strouse discuss their musical collaborations. Each is interviewed solo in half-hour interviews, and together in a one-and-a-half-hour interview. Strouse and Adams discuss writing music and lyrics for Broadway plays including their hit, "Bye Bye Birdie," "Golden Boy" (starring Sammy Davis, Jr.), and "Applause" (an adaptation of "All About Eve"). The pair then talk about their composition of one of the most well-remembered television theme songs of all time, All in the Family's "Those Were the Days." They offer advice to aspiring composers and lyricists, and talk about taking time off from their partnership. They also speak of their Emmy-winning song "Let's Settle Down" which was written for a 1995 television movie version of Bye Bye Birdie, starring Vanessa Williams and Jason Alexander. Karen Herman conducted the interview on October 10, 2005 in New York, NY.