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Wednesday January 19th

UNC to honor Alan and Marilyn Bergman with gala concert

Alan and Marilyn Bergman, famous lyricists and UNC alumni, answer students' questions and share their experiences at a masterclass held Monday in Person Recital Hall.
Buy Photos Alan and Marilyn Bergman, famous lyricists and UNC alumni, answer students' questions and share their experiences at a masterclass held Monday in Person Recital Hall.

In their shared career, lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman have collected 16 Academy Award nominations.

The couple wrote the lyrics to numerous iconic songs from film, television and stage plays throughout the last 50 years.

See the show

Where: Hill Hall Auditorium

When: 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Tickets are

Their achievements will be honored tonight with a gala concert featuring renditions of a selection of their songs.

“It’s an incredible amount of work that they’ve done over the years,” said Terry Rhodes, chairwoman of the music department.

Alan Bergman graduated from UNC in 1948.

“I had a wonderful time here, I really did,” he said.

Though his wife Marilyn did not attend the University, she said she still has cause to appreciate it.

“I’m grateful to UNC for preparing Alan (musically) for me the way they did,” she said with a playful glance toward her husband. The two married in 1958.

Alan Bergman will be honored as a distinguished alumnus at Wednesday’s University Day celebration.

“In my estimation, this award is actually long overdue,” Rhodes said.

She said that the concert will primarily be “an evening of popular songs.

“Students will recognize some of them for sure — but maybe not all of them,” she said.

Rhodes will provide piano accompaniment for many of the concert’s songs — excepting “In the Heat of the Night,” for which Chancellor Holden Thorp will play.

The concert will feature the talents of many UNC students and faculty, as well as a performance by Alan himself.

He will sing the title track of the film “The Way We Were,” starring Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand. The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1973.

Julie Fishell, a UNC professor of dramatic art, will sing “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” from the film “Best Friends.”

The song will be a duet with Jeff Meanza, PlayMakers Repertory Company’s associate artistic director.

“One of the LPs I listened to growing up was ‘What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?’ by the Bergmans and Michael Legrand,” Fishell said.

“I listened to that record for hours.”

Ben Boecker, executive production director for Pauper Players, will sing “It Might Be You,” the theme song to the film “Tootsie.”

A music major, Boecker said that lyrics are essential to a song’s ability to connect with people.

“You need lyrics in order to communicate a very specific idea,” he said.

Boecker also said that from the standpoint of a musical theater performer, he appreciates lyrics that are well-written.

“You can just sing the words, and people will listen and be involved,” he said.

The Bergmans said when they collaborate on lyrics, there are rarely contentious moments.

“Yes, there are disagreements,” Alan said.

“But the more you write, the more you find out that the alternatives are endless.”

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