Alan and Marilyn Bergman have been a dominant musical composing duo in the show business for more than 50 years. They have worked with Broadway giants such as Marvin Hamlisch and Michael Legrand and have written music for the likes of Frank Sinatra (Nice ‘N Easy) and Barbra Streisand (The Way We Were, Yentl.) In 1982, the Bergman’s were the first ever to be nominated for three of the five song slots for The Academy Award for Best Original Song. Hamptons.com caught up with Bergman who will be performing some of his singles off his new album, “Lyrically, Alan Bergman” on July 28th at The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center.
Hamptons.com: What got you into music and what specifically got you into writing music for the big screen?
Alan Bergman: When I was a kid, 11 or 12-years-old, that’s what I wanted to do was to write songs. I started writing very early and I dreamed about writing for the stage and luckily that has been realized. So I always wanted to write in a dramatic context.
H: In 2007, Stephen Holden of The New York Times called your music “unabashedly romantic and time conscious.” How would you describe your and your wife’s music?
A.B.: Well we tried to write for the heart and the mind. And luckily we’ve had the chance to write with great composers and wonderful singers who have a responsible feeling towards the songs they sing.
H: You’ve won Oscar Awards, Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards and Golden Globe Awards. How did that feel?
A.B.: Well, it’s nice to be recognized by your peers and the public. We were thrilled each time. What it does is give you a thought that it’s really rewarding. It’s a platform when you win or are nominated for awards. You get more attention than those who don’t. You get to be heard and appreciated and use those to be heard even more than the original context.
H: How do you think your work has evolved throughout the course of your career?
A.B.: Well I hope it gets better and better. We try. You know what the world doesn’t need is another song because there is all the time. Be unique and original as much as you can and that’s exciting. And hopefully, as we grow, the practice grows and the results are better and better, we hope.
H: Onto your upcoming performance at The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, what can the audience expect from you?
A.B.: Well I hope they have a wonderful evening. I’m going to sing songs that are on my CD and maybe a few more.
H: Will anybody be making any special guest appearance in Westhampton Beach on July 28th?
A.B.: Well, let’s see. Maybe. Who knows?
H: You’re a Brooklyn boy. Do you spend any time in the Hamptons?
A.B.: We’ve been to the Hamptons once. We spent a wonderful weekend there many years ago… We were in, I think, East Hampton.
H: What are you working on next?
A.B.: We’re working on many projects. One is an animated film called “Broadway Chicken” about a chicken who wants to be a Broadway star. We’ve wanted to do this for a long time. And then there’s a project called “Visions of America.” It’s a film narrated by Clint Eastwood… which is, what makes up the film is a compilation of the wonderful pictures that a photographer took for 30 years of America, the most beautiful pictures.
H: What is the best piece of advice you can give to aspiring Broadway songwriters?
A.B.: Two things: listen to the great Broadway composers that have preceded them. And to read both books written by Stephen Sondheim… well they’re absolutely great books. You can read what his process is and learning what his process is. He’s the best there is. You can learn a lot.
For tickets to Bergman’s show on Sunday, July 28th at the WHBPAC visit www.whbpac.org.