Joe Masteroff, the Tony-winning librettist for two of the most beloved Broadway musical shows, ‘Cabaret’ and ‘She Loves Me,’ passed away on Friday at the Actors Fund Home located in Englewood, New Jersey. He was 98 years old.
The sad news was confirmed by his friend and literary executor, Howard Marren.
Masteroff, born on December 11, 1919, in Philadelphia to owners of a notions store, served in the United States Army during the World War II. He later studied playwriting at the American Theatre Wing’s Professional School. He initially began his career as an actor by making his first every Broadway debut in ‘The Prescott Proposals.’ A few years later, Masteroff got the dream opportunity of playwriting his play ‘The Warm Peninsula’ a Julie Harris story which ran on Broadway for a couple of months.
Although ‘The Warm Peninsula’ was a warm success, it did grab the attention of Harold Prince. Prince hired Masteroff to script a musical based on Miklos Laszlo’s Hungarian play. The play adaptation was named as ‘She Loves Me’ in the year 1963, having music by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock while Prince directed the musical. The Harold Prince-directed show earned five Tony nominations. Moreover, the musical has been revived two times on Broadway in the years 1993 and 2016.
A few years later, Prince again hired Masteroff to adapt the play ‘I Am Camera’ by John Van Druten. The play adaptation was named ‘Cabaret’ with songs by Fred Ebb and John Kander. The musical won earned Tony nominations, of which it won eight, which includes Best Musical.
Some of the other musicals written by Masteroff include 70, Girls 70, another Ebb-Kander collaboration in 1971, Georgia Avenue, Paramour, Six Wives, Desire, Anna Christie and Under the Elms.
Masteroff is survived by his niece, Judith Weiner belonging to Boca Raton in Florida.