Jerry's Girls - Musicals in Mufti - The York Theater - Will's New York Nite Life
Jerry's Girls - Musicals in Mufti - The York Theater
The York Theater Company at St. Peter’s
619 Lexington Avenue, 935-5820,
Saturday August 5 through Sunday August 13
In Hello, Dolly, which has taken New York by storm all over again 50 years after the original production, leading man Horace Vandergelder is described as “half a millionaire.” Songwriter and Broadway guru Jerry Herman has made considerably more than half a million dollars from his many hits. But in spite of his overwhelming commercial success, he’s never gotten quite the intellectual acclaim he deserves - which can only be because his shows are fun and upbeat musical comedies, rather than dark brooding musical dramas like those of his contemporary, Stephen Sondheim. But, don’t mistake comedy for dispensable frivolity - Mr. Herman’s words and music are just as substantial as those of anyone who has ever written for the modern musical theater, from Rodgers & Hammerstein on sideways. Jerry Herman is perhaps best known as a composer of material for name-above-the-title Broadway divas, so it makes sense that the best known retrospective of his work should be geared for three first rate female performers: Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Stephanie Umoh, and our favorite singer-comedienne-impressionist, Christine Pedi. First produced in 1981 (and now expanded to include songs from later shows), this two act revue features the highlights from over the whole course of his remarkable, six-decade career, including the expected blockbusters, Dolly, Mame, La Cage Aux Folles and such lesser-known but eminently worthy works such as Milk and Honey, Dear World, Mack and Mabel, and The Grand Tour. If there’s any one production that can best substantiate Mr. Herman’s claim, in one of his lyrics, that “there’s no tune like a show tune in 2/4,” this is it.
Author: Will Friedwald
Will Friedwald writes about music and popular culture for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL & VANITY FAIR, and reviews current shows for THE OBSERVER and THE CITIVIEW NEW YORK. He also is the author of eight books including the award-winning A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS, SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU, STARDUST MELODIES, TONY BENNETT: THE GOOD LIFE, LOONEY TUNES & MERRIE MELODIES, and JAZZ SINGING. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He is also a consultant and curator for Apple Music.
SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU - NEW REVISED EDITION (Chicago Review Press, May 2018)