Bill Solly
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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).

As a performer Solly toured Canada for a year in the 1957 hit My Fur Lady, was in Zbigniev Rybczynski’s PBS video Steps, and sang in the premiere of Charles Strouse’s one-act opera, The Future of the American Musical Theatre. There are five CDs of his songs: The World’s in Rhyme, Sing Me, Let Me Give You a Lift, I Could Fall in Love, & This is One of My Good Days, along with Gay Friendly 1 & 2. Bill Solly is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild.

 

"Clever enough to invite
rip-roaring comic performances"
Stephen Holden, New York Times

"Lyrics metrically ingenious, music at once very knowing and bursting with exuberant innocence" 
Irving Wardle, The Times (London)

"Reminiscent of Cole Porter's
fiendish cleverness" 
Edmund White

"Beautiful music"
Martin Gottfried, New York Post

"Solly's music and lyrics
are fresh and biting"
Bill Edwards, Daily Variety

"Unusually rich in good new melodies"
Chip Deffaa, New York Post

"The bright stuff of which Off Broadway musicals are made" 
Roy Sander, Backstage