Excerpt from Actor’s Devo for Nov 11th

Posted: November 14, 2011 in Devotionals

November 11


From left to right, Lowe & Lerner

All things are possible until they are proved impossible and even the impossible may only be so, as of now. ~ Pearl S. Buck


Alan Jay Lerner was born on August 31, 1918, one of three sons of Joseph Lerner, the founder of Lerner Stores, Inc.   He had a good education, which took him to Harvard, and he studied at the Juilliard School of Music during his vacations from Harvard. He had done sketches and lyrics for two Harvard Hasty Pudding shows.


Frederic “Fritz” Loewe was older, having been born on June 10, 1904, in Vienna, Austria, the son of Edmund Loewe, a well-known operetta tenor.  (Operetta, best known for the works by Gilbert & Sullivan, was the forerunner of American musicals.) A precocious youth, Loewe was playing piano at 4 and had by 9 composed the tunes for a music hall sketch with which his father toured Europe.  At 15 he had a hit song with “Katrina,” which sold three million copies in Europe.  In 1924 he came with his father to America, but his initial engagements at New York’s Town Hall and the Rivoli Theatre did not lead to follow-up bookings.


The two met by chance in a club (The Lamb’s) in NY City in 1942.  Both had been trying in vain to crack the tough NY entertainment scene.  After all, as one writer quipped, “The difference between (the big clubs) The Friars, The Lambs, & The Players Club, was that the Lambs catered to gentleman wanting to be actors, the Players to actors who wanted to be gentlemen, and the Friars catered to men who were neither but wanted to be both.”  Lowe reportedly made a wrong turn on his way to the restroom, and struck up a conversation with Lerner whom he had recognized.   They struck up a conversation and almost immediately started collaborating.  Though the relationship was fraught with rough going,  and they were each to swear on and off that they’d never again work with the other, they pressed through the difficulties…sure that on the other side lay greatness…and it did.  The works they ultimately created have been as long lasting as they have been celebrated:


1947 Brigadoon

1951 Paint Your Wagon

!956 My Fair Lady

1960 Camelot

1973 Gigi


When they finally received the Kennedy Center Honor for the Arts, our country’s highest arts award, it was not their successes that defined them, but rather their failures.  That is to say they were, in the end, defined by the way they handled adversity.  It was this kind of tough love relationship that ultimately led Lerner to say of Loewe in his 1994 memoirs,

“I loved him more than I understood or misunderstood him and I know he loved me more than he understood or misunderstood me.”

They embraced the chaos together, and came out with greatness.


It was on this day in 1943 that their second co-creation opened on Broadway.  It was called “What’s Up?”  And it was a spectacular failure.  I’m glad they kept writing.


Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron,

so one person sharpens another


James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

  1. Dave Tucker says:

    Printed and read… quite good. Thanks for pointing us to the good read!
    Dave Tucker

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