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Frederic Chapin

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Frederic Chapin (1 December 1873 – 27 December 1947) was the composer who wrote the music for L. Frank Baum's 1905 stage musical The Woggle-Bug. Chapin was recommended for the job by Henry Raeder, the Chicago theatrical producer who staged the show. (Chapin's music for the show was generally praised by the critics, who treated Baum's scenario much more harshly.)

Apart from this one connection with Baum and Oz, Chapin composed music for a number of shows in his era, including:

  • The Storks: A Musical Fantasy in Two Acts (1902)
  • Pussy in a Corner: A Musical Comedy in a Prologue and Two Acts (1904)
  • The Forbidden Land: A Tibetan Comic Opera (1904)
  • The American Girl: A Musical Play in Two Acts (1906)
  • The Maid and the Millionaire (1907).

For the last of these, Chapin wrote the book and lyrics as well as the music — an expansion from music to words that would mark his later career. Chapin was also the author of Toodles of Treasure Town and Her Snow Man (1908) and Pinkey and the Plumed Knight (1909), both illustrated by Merle De Vore Johnson. He wrote short stories too.

In a second phase of his career, Chapin worked in Hollywood, primarily as a screenwriter (though he composed a score for the film Unashamed as late as 1938). Chapin wrote scripts for three dozen films from 1914 into the 1930s; he worked in many genres. One of his earliest projects was the screenplay for a 1914 filming of his 1912 stage comedy C.O.D. His screenwriting work ranged from Ravished Armenia (1919), a (sadly-lost) account of the Armenian genocide, to Daredevil Jack (1920), a serial that starred boxer Jack Dempsey.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Chapin died in Los Angeles.

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