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Park Avenue apartment building that has trees growing in a lobby sitting area and a front desk like a hotel. Up in his living room, he sits at a piano that's encased on three sides by a soundproof shell.

"When I moved in, the neighbors started complaining the minute I hit the first note," he explains.

Within sight or reach of his piano bench are a color photo of his dog, a stack of staff paper on a low table, a telephone and a stereo. There Hamlisch bends to his notes, a slim six-footer with thick, dark-red hair, wearing glasses.

The music for A Chorus Line, now hard-driving, now evoking the pained hopes of chorus line-aspirants, constitutes his first Broadway score. He was already working in the theatre at 19, though, thumping the keys for Barbra Streisand and the rest of the cast in rehearsal for Funny Girl. Hamlisch played piano for other preparing shows, advanced to arranging music for dance numbers, and wrote a hit song, "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows," but couldn't convince anyone to entrust an original score to him. At 22, he found his opening in Hollywood, where he has written the scores for 13 films, including The Way We Were and  The Sting, for which he cornered his "Oscars." Then he got his chance on Broadway.
 
"I wrote A Chorus Line over a 13-month period beginning in April, 1974," Hamlisch relates. "With all the underscoring, it's a lot of music - 270 pages not counting orchestra parts.

"I prefer to start with a musical idea, then work with a lyricist in fitting words to it. But you can't always win that race. The way we worked things out for this show, I'd first get together with Ed Kleban, who did such a great job on the lyrics, to think about and discuss what each song should be about and what the ideal tempo would be. Then we'd work separately for a couple of days.

"I wake up kind of late, and just getting into the right mood takes me a while. So my good hours are from 2 to 6 p.m. That's it. I can't sit at the piano any longer. All the time I'm there I have a tape recorder going, in case I work through something I really like. I could never remember it all from that first playing. I have stacks and stacks of cassettes of those session.

"All the rest of the day I'm concentrating totally on what I'm writing. I keep that number in my head and go over it constantly. I know authors talk about getting 'too close' to their work, but I can't get close enough."

Richard Adler, who cannot play the piano or any other instrument, also makes heavy use of a tape recorder, into which he hums the notes as they break through consciousness. He finds his hand-size model supplanting his toy xylophone. He likes to be able to compose wherever he might be, and he attracts fewer worried glances on a plane, say, when he croons into his recorder than when he takes his xylophone and mallet out of their special leather case and begins tapping out tunes.

Adler was the composer, with lyricist Jerry Ross, of the prize-winning scores of such smashes as Pajama Game and Damn Yankees, which contained winning tunes like "Hey There" and "Hernando's Hideaway." Adler, too, will have a new production this year. He's doing the songs, with wordsmith Will Holt, for a new musical by George Abbott, Music Is, due into 
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Fine examples of music of B'way - Sondheim's Pacific Overtures, Hamlisch's  A Chorus Line.
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