Kelly Hamilton is a composer, lyricist, and author of musical plays and operas. His father was Francis Hamilton, a newspaperman and jazz critic; his mother, Doris, sang and played piano, but died when he was 11. He grew up in Atherton, south of San Francisco, where he began writing and producing musicals as a teenager, basing them on classic works like Jane Eyre and The Scarlet Letter. He moved to Hollywood in the late 1960s where he attended UCLA, wrote songs for Capitol Records, and joined Lehman Engel’s BMI Musical Theater Workshop. SURPRISE! is a musical version of Molière’s TARTUFFE, premiered in 1970 in a small Theater in Hollywood, and subsequently produced in San Francisco. In the early 1970s he wrote DANCE ON A COUNTRY GRAVE, a romantic musical based on Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native. The show premiered in Chicago in 1974, starring Andrea Marcovicci as Eustacia Vye with a cast that included John Savage, Shawn Elliott and David Selby. With music orchestrated by Eddie Sauter, the show was acclaimed as “a thing of beauty and joy,” won a Joseph Jefferson award, and has been produced in a variety of regional Theaters, most notably Off-Broadway in 1977 where it starred Kevin Kline and Donna Theodore, and in Philadelphia in 1998, when the score was at last recorded with the gifted Denise Whelan. The show has been optioned three times for Broadway and twice for London, but no producer has yet been able to put a deal together. During that period, Hamilton also wrote SAGA, which has been described as a folk-rock-jazz-gospel-ragtime opera. A dark, folkloric portrait of America, the show was produced in 1979 by the Lyric Theater of New York with Stephen Bogardus in his first starring role. In an abrupt change of style, Hamilton wrote TRIXIE TRUE, TEEN DETECTIVE, a jaunty farce about a publishing company churning out a series of Nancy Drew – style books. The show premiered Off-Broadway in 1980 at Lucille Lortel’s Theatre De Lys and has become part of the standard repertory. A cast album was recorded in 2006, the same year Hamilton completed a new musical about an earthshaking event, THE LAST BIG THING.