Charles Hart is a British lyricist, songwriter and musician. He is best known for re-writing the lyrics to, and contributing to the book of Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical The Phantom of the Opera. He also co-wrote (with Don Black) the lyrics to Lloyd Webber's 1989 musical Aspects of Love. Hart also re-wrote Glenn Slater's lyrics for Love Never Dies, the sequel to Phantom.
Born in London, Hart was educated at Desborough School, Maidenhead, Robinson College, Cambridge and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
In an interview with The Times, he stated that he began writing lyrics as a child, some of which were "dark and contemplative – precociously murderous and quite, quite feisty"; he was motivated to do so professionally in the 1970s when his grandmother, actress Angela Baddeley, starred in a London stage production of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music.
When I was at the Guildhall I sent a tape to Sondheim, fully expecting a reply hailing the next true genius of the West End... All I got was a note saying that I had 'rhyming poison' which got in the way of my characters and plot, and of course he was entirely right. But my ambition was to be an English Sondheim. Being a lyricist is the ideal job for a university-educated dilettante, because it uses up all the rubbish in your education.
Hart attracted the attention of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh, who were judges of the Vivian Ellis Awards for music theatre writers in which Hart was a finalist with an entry based on Moll Flanders. Webber hired him as a lyricist for The Phantom of the Opera a year later.
He also wrote lyrics for The Kissing-Dance and The Dreaming (both with music by Howard Goodall), also for The Vampyr: A Soap Opera (BBC TV). He has written miscellaneous songs, as well as both words and music for television, (Watching, Split Ends for Granada TV) and Love Songs (BBC Radio). His Two Studies for String Quartet premièred in February 2005 at London’s Purcell Room, performed by the Sacconi Quartet.
He has received two Ivor Novello Awards and has been nominated twice for a Tony Award. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for writing the lyrics to a new song "Learn to be Lonely" which was sung by Minnie Driver over the final credits to the film version of The Phantom of the Opera.
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