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SANDY WILSON  

(b 1924 )

Sandy Wilson was born in 1924 and attended Harrow and Oxford. He got his first experience of writing and acting at university, writing for and appearing in revues. His growth as a writer eventually resulted in his name being in lights in the West End as author (with Julian Slade) of some very successful hit musicals.

Sandy Wilson was invited to contribute material to two 1948 revues at the Lyric Hammersmith: Oranges and Lemons and Slings and Arrows. Following this success, he wrote the book and lyrics for an entire revue, See You Later, at the Watergate Theatre in 1951. The Players’ Theatre took note of this new talent, and asked him in late 1952 to write a short musical, set in the ’20s. Such was the success of this production, titled The Boy Friend, that it had a much longer run than the originally planned three weeks, and Wilson was eventually encouraged to expand it into a full-length musical. Sandy Wilson also completed and launched a new mini-musical, The Buccaneer, which opened at the Watergate Theatre in September 1953 for a short run.

The Boy Friend was Wilson's most successful West End production, his other noteworthy West End musicals include Valmouth (1958, starring Bertice Reading and later Cleo Laine), Divorce Me Darling (1964, a bright but far less successful sequel to The Boy Friend), and His Monkey Wife (1971). In 1959 he also contributed additional material to a revue by Peter Cook, Pieces of Eight. Twenty years later, in 1979, he was invited to write a new version of the Christmas pantomime Aladdin, which played at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, over the 1979-80 holiday season.

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