Sidney Michaels, a playwright who was nominated for Tony Awards in three consecutive seasons in the 1960s, died last Friday in Westport, Connecticut. He was 83. Michaels was always unfortunate in the Tony’s for being up against some legendary productions.
Michaels made a splash on Broadway in 1962 with his play “Tchin-Tchin,” starring Margaret Leighton and Anthony Quinn, an Americanized version of a farcical, bittersweet French comedy about a pair of betrayed spouses attempting, ineptly, to gain their revenge by having an affair of their own. It ran for 222 performances and nominated for a Tony for best director in the spring of 1963, though it lost to “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
In 1964 Alec Guinness won his only Tony for his performance in the title role in “Dylan,” Michaels’s biographical portrayal of the poet Dylan Thomas. (The play itself was also nominated; the winner that year was “Luther” by John Osborne.)
And in 1965, Robert Preston played the title role in the musical “Ben Franklin in Paris,” for which Michaels wrote the book (and the lyrics to Mark Sandrich Jr.’s music), earning his third Tony nomination and losing to the author of another legendary production, Joseph Stein, for “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Sidney Michaels’s successes led to some unsuccessful partnerships. He and the composer Richard Rodgers collaborated on a musical, “The Beautiful Woman,” about the Egyptian queen Nefertiti, that was reportedly to star Diahann Carroll, but the project was never completed. Michaels also worked with the composer Mitch Leigh (“Man of La Mancha”) on a musical called “Halloween”; it never made it to Broadway despite a road-tryout cast that included Barbara Cook and Jose Ferrer.
Two other shows he wrote — “Goodtime Charley,” a 1975 musical about Joan of Arc starring Joel Grey and Ann Reinking, and “Tricks of the Trade” (1980), a cold war spy story set in a New York psychiatrist’s office, starring George C. Scott and Trish Van Devere — appeared on Broadway but were short-lived.
He was born in New York City in 1927. His father was a producer of burlesque shows and a theatre manager in Boston. In 1968 Michaels wrote the film “The Night They Raided Minsky’s,” the bawdy comedy that purports to tell the story of the birth of striptease.
– most of the informations was extract from the New York Times obituary