Google Marty Panzer and you'll be convinced that he was born in the CBS Mailroom at the age of 18, and he may well may have been, in the sense that the CBS Mailroom was where he began to first feel alive.
Up 'til then Marty had no identity, felt that he had no talents, no direction, no ambition, and had no idea what he was going to do with his life. A family friend told Marty to get a job in the CBS Mailroom and that he would find his path in life there. And he did. There isn't much info about his life before that on the Internet so I asked about it and he told me. Marty has a much older brother who was married by the time Marty was six, which is when his mother became a widow. "It was just Mom and I in Williamsburg." He truly loved his mother, who "gave me nothing but love and affection," and credits her with making him a loving, positive, optimistic person. He wrote his first hit about her -- I am Your Child -- a song which was adopted by Rob Reiner to help build his I Am A Child Foundation.
During his first day in the mailroom Marty noticed a familiar face. It belonged to Barry Manilow, who had graduated from Brooklyn's Eastern District High School -- Marty's Alma Mater -- the previous year and had been toiling in the CBS mailroom for six months. Manilow had enough talent, direction and ambition to sustain a battalion and he and Marty, who had known each other casually before, gradually became close friends. Marty established his career at CBS-TV as Manager of Air Control on-Air Operations where he was involved in setting up the format for the first Superbowl, the first lunar landing and countless news and sports events. "I expected to stay at CBS for the rest of my life," and then Barry, who'd established himself musically, asked Marty to help him write a commercial jingle on spec for Cup-a-Soup. It was a success and started Marty on a commercial career with Barry.
Thanks to Barry, Marty discovered he did have talent for writing lyrics and in the ensuing 48 years he has written about 100 lyrics for Manilow tunes, many of them major hits, plus over 100 lyrics for Disney Songs, and a variety of songs with other people like Don Grady, of "My Three Sons."
Barry and Marty are still best friends and according to Marty "nothing is better than working with your best friend." Here's how they work. Marty write lyrics for a year and shows them all to Barry when they get together. Barry prefers to see the lyrics first. He writes the music after he decides which lyrics work for him.
Living in LaLa Land among the musicrati has given Marty a slew of stories well worth retelling, which Marty will be raconteur-ing: wonderfully hilarious, honest and touching stories about his musical and non-musical adventures with Kenny Rogers, Julio Iglesias, Michael Crawford, Dianne Schuur et al. at the Triad Theater at 158 West 72nd in Manhattan on April 28 (Completely Sold Out Already) and April 29 at 7:30.
He loves writing sons for the Disney Princesses. "Disney is always optimistic. It's one of last places where you can write about love and faith in the future."
Marty's favorite lyric? All the Time, which is about feeling like an outsider, a feeling which everyone shares at least once in a lifetime.
All the time I thought there's only me
Crazy in a way that no one else could be
I can't believe that you were somewhere, too
Thinking all the time there's only you
All the time, all the wasted time
All the years waiting for a sign
To think I had it all
All the time
You say you're not satisfied? You say you want more for your money? Tell you what I'm gonna do. Attending Marty's show is also a mitzvah; this show is a Benefit for the Manilow Music Project. And because it's being produced by Pat Addiss, who brought you Promises, Promises, Spring Awakening, The 39 Steps, War Horse, etc., Broadway notables like Tony winner Katie Finneran, Santino Fontana, Brent Barrett, Andrea Burns plus surprise guests will be singing the songs that Marty will be talking about. FYI, the reason Pat is producing Marty's show is because after she was introduced to Marty by a friend who thought they would enjoy each other, Pat found his stories so enchanting, she decided to share them and him with you, me and the world.
"An Evening With Marty Panzer" is co-produced with Sandi Durell