All tagged Jerry Herman

Remembering The Grand Tour

Jerry Herman is best remembered for his splashy musical comedies, including Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles. In fact, Herman often is unfairly criticized (in some circles) for his catchy, upbeat showtunes and feel-good fare. There is nothing wrong with a joyous showtune, but this generalized assessment of Herman’s work would be incorrect for two reasons. First, within his big hits, Herman wrote plenty of tender, gentle, emotionally-charged songs of subtlety like “Ribbons Down My Back”, “My Best Girl” and “Look Over There.” Second, Herman wrote just as many musicals that looked at the darker side of humanity, and though there is much joy to be found in his scores for Dear World and Mack & Mabel, there is also much sadness. The same can be said for one Herman’s most “un-Herman” musicals, the glorious, if under-appreciated, The Grand Tour. 

Determined to Remember the Broadway Merman

Ethel Merman is one of the great divas of the Broadway musical. Known for her earth-shaking singing voice full of gusto and volume, Merman spent decades as the go-to star for Broadway musical comedy. Though she often found work on television and in film, it was on Broadway, where no amplification was required for her voice to carry over an orchestra, that Merman was her most effective and memorable. Today, I celebrate the stage highlights of Merman’s Broadway musical career. 

Remembering Jerry Herman’s Mrs. Santa Claus

We love Jerry Herman, especially his devotion to creating music and lyrics that make larger-than-life ladies shine: Hello, Dolly!MameDear WorldLa Cage aux Folles. These are all sparkling examples of Herman's ability to create a pedestal for the great ladies of the musical stage to explode with verve and personality. It has always been what he has done best.

Our Best Girl: Celebrating 50 Years of MAME

On May 24th the 1966 musical Mame will celebrate its 50th Anniversary. The original Broadway production worked its magic for 1,508 performances and saw a parade of stars march through the title role: Angela Lansbury originated the part, followed by Celeste Holm, Janis Paige, Jane Morgan, and Ann Miller. Tony Awards were awarded to Lansbury (Best Actress), Beatrice Arthur (Best Featured Actress), Frankie Michaels (the youngest winner of a Tony Award, won for Best Featured Actor) but the Best Musical prize went to Man of La Mancha. Despite having an avid following, Mame has only been revived once on Broadway in 1983 (with Lansbury) but that only ran 41 performances. A much-maligned film version was made in 1974 starring Lucille Ball.