HANK BEEBE received his B.A. in English and Masters in Musical Composition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He later studied with composer Vincent Persichetti at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music, and then, at Persichetti’s suggestion, moved to New York to seek a market for his work.
His first theater production as composer and lyricist was an Off-Broadway children’s musical, “The Cowboy and the Tiger”, which ran for two years, and was later produced on ABC Television starring Jack Gilford, David Wayne, and Paul O’Keefe. After that Beebe wrote the score for “Lady Lily’s Dilemma”, which first starred the cast of the soap opera “Search For Tomorrow”, and then was given a regional theater production starring Tessie O’Shea at Ford’s Theater, Washington, D.C.
His next musical, “Tuscaloosa’s Calling Me” (called “Tuscaloosa” by theatergoers)
received rave notices and ran for four-hundred and fifty-two performances in New York, winning the Outer Critics Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical. This led to Broadway and the musical “Hellzapoppin’”, starring Jerry Lewis and Lynn Redgrave. Beebe wrote these scores with his new writing partner, Bill Heyer.
During these years Beebe and Heyer wrote many industrial musicals. These lavishly produced shows, created by Broadway writers and cast with Broadway performers, were designed to motivate the sales forces of large companies, and were not attended by the public. Only recently have some of these shows become widely known, thanks to the book by Steve Young and Sport Murphy “Everything’s Coming Up Profits”.
In 1980 Beebe moved to Maine, where he, his wife Nancy, and his daughter Selby created Embassy Players, a non-profit community theater group, to produce further musicals by Beebe. Eighteen new Beebe musicals have been produced by Embassy Players, and a number of them have been staged by community theater and church groups around the country and as far away as Mannheim, Germany. The most popular of these are “Go Out Singing”, the biblical story of Peter and Paul and the Early Christians; “Foster Father”, the story of St. Joseph; “Fire Belle”, the story of the first female firefighter in a town’s fire department; and “Calvin”, the story of the terse and surprisingly humorous 30th President of the United States.
Beebe’s work is also represented in the choral field, where his over one-thousand published choral works include those for churches (such as “Go Out With Joy”, “The Lord Is My Light”), for schools (“Hats”, “Gloves”, “Shades”); and for all choruses to improve their ability to read music at sight (Many volumes of sight-singing pieces for Masterworks Press).
Today Beebe lives in Maine with his wife Nancy, daughters Selby and Linda, grandsons John and David, granddaughter Christa and her husband, Vo, plus great-granddaughters Jolene, Loretta, Lucinda, and Vivienne.