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Burt Shevelove

SHEVELOVE, BURT (1915–1982), U.S. theater writer. Born in Newark, N.J., Shevelove graduated from Brown University and earned a master's degree in theater from Yale. After serving as a volunteer ambulance driver in World War II, he started his theatrical career in 1948 when he co-produced, directed, and wrote material for the revue Small Wonder. He directed a revival of Kiss Me Kate in 1956, then Bil and Cora Baird's Marionette Theater, and later Hallelujah, Baby!, which won a Tony Award as best musical in 1967. But as co-author with Larry *Gelbart of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Shevelove scored his biggest triumph. The zany musical, with Zero *Mostel in the starring role, won six Tony awards, including best musical and best book. Based on the works of Plautus, Funny Thing had its origins in Shevelove's research on the plots of Plautus when he was a graduate student. In 1971, Shevelove directed a revival of No, No, Nanette, which brought Ruby Keeler, the film and stage star, out of retirement to win new fame. Shevelove, who worked with Stephen *Sondheim on Funny Thing, collaborated with him again in 1974 on an adaptation of Aristophanes's The Frogs, which he directed at Yale. The memorably unconventional production was performed in and around the Yale pool. In theater circles, Shevelove was well known as a play doctor, helping musicals that were in difficulty to reach Broadway. He also produced, directed, and wrote many television shows, for which he won Emmy and Peabody Awards.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.