Morton DaCosta

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b. Morton Tecosky, 7 March 1914, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 29 January 1989, Redding, Connecticut, USA. DaCosta first appeared on Broadway as an actor but later began directing. Among his early…
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Artist Biography by

b. Morton Tecosky, 7 March 1914, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 29 January 1989, Redding, Connecticut, USA. DaCosta first appeared on Broadway as an actor but later began directing. Among his early plays as an actor are The Skin Of Our Teeth (1943), It’s A Gift and Hamlet (both 1945). He directed Plain And Fancy and No Time For Sergeants (both 1955), and then had two huge successes: Auntie Mame (1956, starring Rosalind Russell and Cris Alexander, which ran for 639 performances), and The Music Man (1957), starring Robert Preston and Barbara Cook, with support from David Burns and Helen Raymond. This show ran for 1, 375 performances and won eight Tony Awards, including one each for Preston, Cook and Burns as well as two for Meredith Willson, as composer-lyricist and as author (the latter shared with Franklin Lacey) and as best musical show. DaCosta also directed the film version of Auntie Mame (1958), with Russell again in the title role. The film was well received, and Russell and the film itself were among four unsuccessful nominations for Oscars.

DaCosta also directed the film version of The Music Man (1962), for which Preston reprised his role; Shirley Jones, Paul Ford and Hermione Gingold were in the parts played on stage by Cook, Burns and Raymond. Oscar nominations were not so generous but musical director Ray Heindorf won for Best Score. DaCosta directed the film Island Of Love (1963), which starred Preston, Tony Randall and Walter Matthau but this was poorly received. Meanwhile, he had continued with his stage work, including productions of the musicals Saratoga (1959, for which he also wrote the book), Sherry! (1967) and Maggie Flynn (1968), none of them successes. He directed straight drama, too, including The Wall (1960). DaCosta’s 70s work for the stage also mixed musicals and straight drama, among the former A Musical Jubilee (1975), among the latter The Women (1973) and Doubles (1985). He sometimes worked under the name Tec DaCosta.