Georgia Brown - Lillian Klott 1933-1992

 
 

In 1965 I was given an LP recording of Georgia Brown singing the songs of Kurt Weill. This was because of my interest in the composer, not the singer, but I grew to love the recording and although I never heard her perform, the singer too. I remember seeing her as Lola in the BBC TV Sartre trilogy ‘The Roads to Freedom”  broadcast in 1970. Again, in “Shoulder to Shoulder” four years later her voice in the signature tune and her acting as a suffragette - and joint writer - seemed to assure her career ascendancy.

And, in the background, the knowledge that she had been Oliver’s first ever Nancy, achieving stardom in London, then New York, but being passed over for the film rôle she so obviously deserved. It is said that in spite of her subsequent achievements she  never overcome the slight ... I have no idea.

In 2013 I was asked to make a one-hour long ‘special’ based around my favourite music recording. What started as a simple task - one record, a little chat, turned into a considerable one. There was no definitive source of biographical material, no biography, few images, and access to film and tv recordings was limited. Fortuitously the British Film Institute decided to screen new prints of the ‘rediscovered’ recordings of “The Road to Freedom” and I spent a weekend in London watching all eleven episodes.  But I simply didn’t take any notes about Brown’s performances in the cabaret scenes - let alone clandestinely record them!

What sources there are out there are often contradictory: for example, she got the part as Nancy either through an audition where Lionel Bart - a schoolchild friend - suddenly recognised her, or passing on opposite sides of the street. Both are agreed, he exclaimed “Lilly Klott” her family name.

On these pages you can see some of the sources which I have tried to assemble in some order. You can also hear the programme, and read the script. If like me you become besotted with this extraordinary voice, remarkable actor, indefatigable woman, then search for and buy her records. And join the demand for the BBC to show her archive programmes for new generations to enjoy.

A forgotten, legendary music theatre star

These pages contain much of the material collected during the making of my one hour special broadcast about September Song, the Songs of Kurt Weill by Georgia Brown. You can listen to the programme here.

These pages are a continuing  ‘work in progress’. So little is well documented about Georgia Brown that I suspect my collecting will go on for some time - and I welcome additions.

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I will date last changes 31 October 2013

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