– August 27
) was an American composer
, best known for writing the music for the 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz
An adult prodigy, Smalls attended Juilliard at age eleven.
After Graduating from the High School of Performing Arts, Smalls toured as a member of the New York Jazz Repertory Company before beginning work on The Wiz. An African-American retelling of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Wiz was adapted into a feature film, starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, by Motown Productions and Universal Pictures in 1978.
Smalls won the 1975 Tony Award for Best Score for his work on The Wiz. He died at age forty-three in Belgium, during emergency surgery to repair a burst appendix.