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Composer and Lyricist Bill Solly Dies at 89

Composer and Lyricist Bill Solly Dies at 89

Bill Solly, accomplished composer, lyricist and author peacefully passed away in his home Wednesday, April 8th. Born in 1931 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Solly graduated from McMaster University in 1953 and pioneered the musical theatre division at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Alberta. Living in England for fifteen years, he wrote for many colorful celebrities and had five productions in the West End.

After his move to New York City, Solly's revolutionary Off-Broadway hit musical, Boy Meets Boy (co-authored with Donald Ward), introduced the notion of gay marriage in 1975. Together Solly and Ward created seven other musicals, including The Great American Backstage Musical. On his own, Solly wrote many musicals for children and created the Bill Solly Children's Theatre (BSCT). Other credits include revues of his songs, Solly's Follies, two Christmas musicals and two novels.

In 2018, The Other Side of Silence (TOSOS) honored him with their first-ever TOSOS Honors Award-celebrating his particular theatrical genius. Solly could be seen walking the streets of New York composing a song in his head about the city he loved so much. His wry sense of humor, eternal optimism and prolific body of work will live on in the hearts of his many cherished friends. In lieu of flowers, Bill Solly and his family have requested donations to be made to TOSOS ( in Mr. Solly's name.

"Bill is probably best known for the music/lyrics and book co-authorship of the ground-breaking musical BOY MEETS BOY which was originally produced off-Broadway in 1975. In 2002, TOSOS' first production was a series of play readings at the LGBT Center in which BOY MEETS BOY was included. That's how I got to meet Bill. He later asked me if I'd like to collaborate with him as a book writer on a new musical. I began working with him both as writer and a director. It was a privilege to be his colleague and friend."- Mark Finley, TOSOS Artistic Director

"Bill Solly was one of the most delightful gentlemen I have had the good fortune to know. He was a genius with a lyric, surprisingly winsome with a melody, and gave us characters that could break your heart with a single line. I feel so lucky to have been in his orbit and I will always regret we weren't able to get his Boy Meets Boy up for a large audience to see. If you need a little something to brighten your mood-and who doesn't these days-listen to a little Bill Solly. I guarantee it will make you smile." Jamie Heinlein, Actress and TOSOS Board Secretary

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