Partner Kenward Elmslie

Queer Places:
14 N 4th St, Richmond, VA 23219
Columbia University, 116th St & Broadway, New York, NY 10027
12 Minetta St, New York, NY 10012
217 E 49th St, New York, NY 10017
136 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065
Poet's Corner, Calais, VT 05648, Stati Uniti
Robinson Cemetery Calais, Washington County, Vermont, USA

Larger memorial image loading...John Treville Latouche (La Touche) (November 13, 1914,[1] Baltimore, Maryland – August 7, 1956, Calais, Vermont) was a lyricist and bookwriter in American musical theater.  Latouche’s patroness was Alice Bouverie, the sister of Vincent Astor. In the summer of 1953 Latouche, and his lover, Kenward Elmslie, bought a house in the small town of Calais. In the 1955 Harvard Alumni Directory, Kenward Elmslie is listed as living with him.

John Treville Latouche was born in Baltimore, Maryland. His mother's family was of Jewish ancestry. His family moved to Richmond, Virginia, when he was four months old. There he attended school, before going north to Columbia University. He became involved in music and theater, writing for the Varsity Show and joining the Philolexian Society. He did not graduate. [2][3] In 1937 Latouche contributed two songs in the revue Pins and Needles. For the show Sing For Your Supper (1939), he wrote the lyrics for "Ballad for Uncle Sam", later retitled "Ballad for Americans", with music by Earl Robinson. It was featured at both the 1940 Republican Convention and the convention of the American Communist Party, and was extremely popular in 1940s America. This 13-minute cantata to American democracy was written for a soloist and as well a full orchestra. When performed on the CBS Radio network by singer Paul Robeson, it became a national success. Subsequently, both Robeson and Bing Crosby[4] regularly performed it. Actor and singer Brock Peters also made a notable recording of the cantata.

Latouche provided the lyrics for Vernon Duke's songs (including, with Ted Fetter, "Taking A Chance On Love") for the musical Cabin in the Sky (1940). He also wrote lyrics for Duke's musical Banjo Eyes (1941), which starred Eddie Cantor. He appeared as The Gangster in the experimental film Dreams That Money Can Buy (1947).

He returned to music, writing the lyrics for the song "The Girl With the Pre-Fabricated Heart" (music by Louis Applebaum), which accompanies a sequence conceived by French artist Fernand Léger. Latouche wrote the book and lyrics for The Golden Apple (1954) with music by Jerome Moross; it won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical. In 1955 he provided additional lyrics for Leonard Bernstein's Candide. Latouche also wrote the libretto to Douglas Moore's opera The Ballad of Baby Doe, one of the few American operas to join the standard repertoire. In 1955, he collaborated with co-writer Sam Locke and composer James Mundy on the Carol Channing vehicle The Vamp, which closed after a run of only 60 performances. He had been working with David Merrick on setting the Eugene O'Neill play Ah, Wilderness to music, but died during working on the adaptation. It was later developed as Take Me Along.

Latouche was a protégé of James Branch Cabell and friends with writers Gore Vidal and Jack Woodford. Latouche dated Louella Woodford when they were both teenagers. He also was friends of the architect William Alexander Levy (who designed and built Hangover House for travel writer Richard Halliburton), and writer Paul Mooney, who assisted Halliburton in several of his classic travel works.[5] Latouche died of a sudden heart attack at his home in Calais, Vermont, aged 41.

The New York Theatre Company produced Taking a Chance on Love - The Lyrics and Life of John LaTouche, A New Musical Revue ("The Bad Boy of Broadway Is Back") in 2000, with notes by Ned Rorem (recorded by Original Cast Records). The John LaTouche Archive, containing journals, family letters, scrapbooks of photographs and newspaper articles, is housed at Columbia University. Out in the World - Selected Letters of Jane Bowles 1935-1970, edited by Millicent Dillon (Santa Barbara: Black Sparrow Press, 1985), contains a number of references to LaTouche, and his circle of friends and acquaintances. Chapter 28 of The Autobiography of Jack Woodford (Doubleday, Garden City, 1962) is devoted to La Touche.[6]


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