(Michael Feingold’s article appeared in the Village Voice, 7/18.)

'I was small [when I was born], and am still small, because my heavy brain does not permit me to grow in a vertical direction." The cockeyed witticism, from a jocular self-interview that the teenage Lorenz Hart published in a high school periodical, shows that his signature attitude toward life was already firmly in place, years before he had begun to write the song lyrics that made him one of the immortal figures of the American musical theater. The line's ironic bravado, barely concealing an undercurrent of painful rue, crystallizes Hart's tone, a perfect balance of outward humor and inner hurt.


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