Betty Comden


Honorary Degree (1999)
Doctor of Music
Bernstein Celebration
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: Myles Brand


Classic Broadway lyricists and librettists Betty Comden and Adolph Green, whose half-century string of hits revolutionized American musical theater, were awarded honorary doctor of music degrees by Indiana University in April, 1999, prior to the performance of Leonard Bernstein's Mass at the Musical Arts Center in Bloomington.

The partnership of Comden and Green began in the 1930s, when they were performing around Manhattan with Judy Tuvim (later known as film star Judy Holiday) in a trio called The Revuers. They couldn't afford writers, so they began to create their own material and discovered they clicked. Soon everyone, including Bernstein, was coming to see them.

They collaborated with Bernstein and choreographer Jerome Robbins on the first Broadway show for all of them. On the Town became the smash hit of 1944. The duo went on to enjoy a long run of Broadway musical hits including Wonderful Town (1953), Bells Are Ringing (1960) and Hallelujah, Baby (1967). Their success continued into the 1990s with the Tony Award-winning The Will Rogers Follies, written with Cy Coleman.

Their Hollywood triumphs include the screenplays for the musical masterpieces Singin' in the Rain, The Band Wagon and It's Always Fair Weather.