BILL SOLLY has always been writing songs and musicals. In Canada he contributed to My Fur Lady, Jubilee, Spring Thaw, Clap Hands, and many CBC radio and TV shows, but his focus was always musicals. Let the Piper Come, one of his first, was based on L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valley; then there was a big musical about the St Lawrence Seaway called Strawberry that almost —and didn’t happen. Montreal Rep, however, mounted I Love Electra in 1959, and Vamp Till Ready, Made in the Mountains and Come North Come Home were performed at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Alberta where Solly helped pioneer the school’s musical theatre division.
In England for fifteen years, Solly wrote for Maurice Chevalier, Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Annie Ross, Danny La Rue, Marty Feldman, Matt Monro, Brigitte Bardot, Max Bygraves and George Burns, collaborated with Charles Aznavour, Serge Gainsbourg and Denis King, and had five (now six) productions in London’s West End: Sweet William, Ad Lib, Queen Passionella and the Sleeping Beauty, Danny La Rue at the Palace and The Great American Backstage Musical. The latter, originating in Los Angeles, had a book with Donald Ward, with whom Solly has had six other musicals in New York including the 1975 Off Broadway hit Boy Meets Boy which (although it’s only now becoming clear) actually invented the idea of gay marriage. In November 2012, almost 40 years later, the musical had a very successful UK premiere in London.
Other Solly/Ward musicals in New York: 100 Miles From Nowhere (Come North Come Home), a newly revised Sweet William (Kleban award for book, ‘08), Tent Show (Mrs Moses), Stars ‘n Stripes and The Snow Queen. On his own Solly has written six musicals for children, The Cat in the Castle, The Three Magic Mushrooms, The Traveling Tree, The Story of Millicent, The Sleeping Beauty Musical and Mother Goose, and in New York runs BSCT (Bill Solly Children’s Theatre). Other New York credits: two revues of songs, Solly’s Follies (also presented in Los Angeles) and Callbacks; a play The Ruby Slippers (with Neil Kennedy), and the 3-actor musical Girl Boyfriend Piano (with Mark Finley). He also has three new musicals: Smile & Say Hello (with Chris Weikel), A Night at Danny La Rue’s, and Big Man on Campus (with Mark Finley).
"Clever enough to invite
"Lyrics metrically ingenious, music at once very knowing and bursting with exuberant innocence"
"Reminiscent of Cole Porter's
"Solly's music and lyrics
"Unusually rich in good new melodies"
"The bright stuff of which Off Broadway musicals are made"