The composer of both words and music for Mame, Hello, Dolly!, La Cage aux Folles, Milk and Honey, Dear World, The Grand Tour, Mack & Mabel and the Las Vegas themed, as yet unproduced, Miss Spectacular, Herman is one of the most successful contributors to the Broadway theater. His performances paved the way for many Broadway actors and captivated fans to buy Broadway tickets in droves.
Starring Jerry Herman and Friends
By Esther Lynn
Anyone with even a little knowledge of musical theater knows the name Jerry Herman. The composer of both words and music for Mame, Hello, Dolly!, La Cage aux Folles, Milk and Honey, Dear World, The Grand Tour, Mack & Mabel and the Las Vegas themed, as yet unproduced, Miss Spectacular, Herman is one of the most successful contributors to the Broadway theater.
New York-born Jerry Herman, with his mother as his teacher, has been playing piano since he was six. After high school, he started to train as a designer, but had second thoughts, and switched to drama at the University of Miami. While still in his 20s, he was playing piano in New York clubs and writing material for several well-known entertainers. During the late '50s and early '60s, he worked on a number of off-Broadway musical shows, the first of which was "I Feel Wonderful" (1954), and had several songs in the revue "Nightcap," which ran for nearly a year. He also wrote the book, music and lyrics for, and directed, "Parade" (1960). In the same year he contributed the opening number, "Best Gold," to the short-lived "A to Z." In 1961, after writing some songs for "Madame Aphrodite," Herman enjoyed his first real success with his score for the Broadway musical "Milk and Honey," which ran for 543 performances. Three years later he had his first big hit with "Hello, Dolly!" ("Before the Parade Passes By," "It Only Takes a Moment," "Put on Your Sunday Clothes"), which stayed at the St. James Theater in New York for almost seven years, making it the longest running musical for its time. Although facing stiff competition from "Funny Girl," "Hello, Dolly!" swept the Tony Awards that season, winning 10, a record that remained unbroken for 37 years, until The Producers won 12 Tonys in 2001. "Hello, Dolly!," with its Grammy-winning title tune, provided Carol Channing with her greatest role.
In 1966, Herman scored another triumph with "Mame." Once again, there was a hit title song, along with other winners including "If He Walked Into My Life," "We Need a Little Christmas," "Open a New Window," "Bosom Buddies," and "It's Today." Since then, his classy scores have included "Dear World" ("And I Was Beautiful," "The Spring of Next Year," 1969), "Mack & Mabel" ("I Won't Send Roses," "When Mabel Comes in the Room," "Movies Were Movies," 1974), "The Grand Tour" (1979), and "La Cage aux Folles" ("Song on the Sand," "With You on My Arm," "I Am What I Am"). The latter show opened in 1983, and ran for 1,176 performances in New York. Herman won a Grammy for the "Mame" cast album, and Tony Awards for his work on "Hello, Dolly!" and "La Cage aux Folles."
In 1993, Herman left New York to live in California. He explained that his 10-year absence was due to lack of inspiration. Revivals of his works are constantly being performed somewhere in the world. In late 1995, Herman's personal favorite of all his own shows, "Mack & Mabel," made its West End debut. In December of 1996, the two-hour musical, Mrs. Santa Claus starring Angela Lansbury, was shown on CBS television. It was Herman’s first creative contribution to the medium, although both "Hello, Dolly!" and "Mame" became movies.
Now 75, Jerry Herman is an inductee in the Theater Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 1996, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Hollywood Press Club. He is the only composer/lyricist in history to have three musicals run more than 1500 performances on Broadway: "Hello, Dolly!" (2,844), "Mame" (1,508), and "La Cage aux Folles" (1,761). Many of Herman's showtunes have become standards. His most famous composition, "Hello, Dolly!" was a No. 1 hit in the United States for Louis Armstrong, knocking The Beatles off the charts in 1964. Another famous Herman song, "If He Walked into My Life" from Mame, was recorded by Eydie Gorme, becoming a pop standard and winning a Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance, Female in 1967. His autobiography, Showtune: A Memoir by Jerry Herman, was published in 1996.
Performing at UNLV with Jerry Herman will be Jason Graae, Karen Morrow and Paige O’Hara, with Don Pippin conducting.
Award-winning actor/singer/dancer Jason Graae has done it all - from Broadway to Los Angeles (and now Las Vegas), opera to cabaret, television to film, and concerts to recording. Jason recently received the 2006 Theatrical Community Spirit Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, and his solo show, "Coup de Graae!" just won the 2006 New York Nightlife Award, as well as the Bistro Award for Best Major Engagement. He has appeared on Broadway in "A Grand Night For Singing," "Falsettos." "Stardust," "Snoopy!," and "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?" Off-Broadway shows include "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh", for which he received a Drama Desk Nomination for Best Actor in a Musical, "Forever Plaid," "Olympus on My Mind" and "All in the Timing" among others.
On TV, Jason has appeared on many shows including "Six Feet Under," "Rude Awakening," "Friends," "Frasier," "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," "Living Single," "Providence" and "Caroline in the City." On PBS, he was a guest soloist twice with the Boston Pops on "Evening at Pops," and with Marvin Hamlisch and The National Symphony on "Holiday for the Troops at The Kennedy Center." Movies include Disney's "Home on the Range," "On Edge," "Gepetto" and "The Dukes of Hazzard in Hollywood." He made his Los Angeles Opera debut as Njegus in "The Merry Widow."
Lately, Jason has been touring the country with his solo show and with fellow cabaret/recording artist Liz Callaway. He has recorded more than 40 CDs, including original cast albums, concerts, compilations, and his two solo CDs, "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile- Jason Graae sings Charles Strouse" and "Jason Graae LIVE at The Cinegrill."
Chicago-born Karen Morrow has had a long and varied career as a singer-actress specializing in musical theater. Her spectacular voice and natural charm have won her fans for decades. Her honors include the Emmy and the Theatre World Award, plus five Dramalogue Awards and an Ovation nomination.
Her New York career began with an attention-getting turn in the Off-Broadway show "Sing, Muse!" She won a 1962 Theatre World Award for this performance. She also played Luce in a celebrated revival of Rodger & Hart’s "The Boys From Syracuse" and a number of classic roles in City Center’s five years of great revivals, including in Frank Loser’s "The Most Happy Fella." Award-winning Morrow’s first Broadway production, Jack Lawrence and Stan Freeman’s "I Had a Ball," with costar Buddy Hackett and Richard Kiley, opened in December 1964. Exactly two years after "I Had a Ball" opened, Karen Morrow had her next first night on Broadway: A Joyful Noise, with costars John Raitt and Susan Watson, in a show that was the debut Broadway choreography assignment of Michael Bennett, who would create "A Chorus Line" a decade later. Some of her other credits include "I'm Solomon," "Music, Music," "The Grass Harp" (based on a Truman Capote story), "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" and the national tour of "Showboat."
In 1972 she was cast in The Selling of the President (with Barbara Barrie, Nell Carter, Pat Hingle, Pamela Myers and Philip Michael Thomas). For the rest of the '70s and early '80s, she made Los Angeles her home base where she appeared regularly on The Merv Griffin Show, The Tonight Show and Match Game. Other TV work included appearances in many seriesThe Jim Nabors Hour, Love, American Style, Medical Center, Starsky and Hutch, Tabitha, Alice, Friends, The Love Boat, Trapper John, M.D., Falcon Crest, Murder, She Wrote, Night Court and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. She starred in a "Great Performances" for PBS and also appeared in two TV movies: The Boy in the Plastic Bubble and I Was a Mail Order Bride.
Karen Morrow's stage work outside of New York has includes the Show Boat (national tour of the 1994 Broadway production), Die Fledermaus, Mahogany, Anything Goes, Annie Get Your Gun, Call Me Madam, Hello, Dolly!, Oliver!, Follies (as Carlotta), Sweeney Todd and A New Brain. She has performed these and many others in Los Angeles, Seattle and Houston and appeared in concerts with major orchestras in Los Angeles, Milwaukee and Honolulu. Karen continues to be a well sought after teacher, conducting master classes in performance and audition skills across the United States.
A veteran of the New York stage, Paige O’Hara is probably best known by the masses as the voice of Belle in Walt Disney’s award-winning Beauty and the Beast. The Ft. Lauderdale, Florida-native is a Jerry Herman favorite and has toured with him numerous times. She made her Broadway debut playing Ellie May Chipley in the 1983 Broadway revival of Showboat starring Donald O'Connor and went on to play the role again in numerous venues. She starred as Fantine in the award-winning Les Miserables on Broadway, and performed the title role in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, both on Broadway and in the national tour. She also co-starred as Ado Annie in the classic Oklahoma! Internationally she starred as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific, toured Japan as special guest with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, portrayed Venus in the BBC's recorded broadcast of the live presentation of Kurt Weill's One Touch of Venus and is featured prominently on the recordings of Mack & Mabel in Concert. Paige also costarred with Maureen McGovern in Gershwin's Of Thee I Sing / Let 'Em Eat Cake. Her recording of Jerome Kern's Sitting Pretty was released on the New World label, and a new version of South Pacific opposite Justino Diaz was released in 1997.
On the American stage, Ms. O'Hara starred in concert versions of Sitting Pretty, The Cat and the Fiddle, Oh Boy, and Oh Lady! Lady!, all at Carnegie Hall as well as One Touch of Venus at Town Hall. She is a veteran of regional theater including the title role in Evita, Paint Your Wagon opposite Jose Ferrer, and as murderess Winnie Ruth Judd in the drama Tiger Lady.
A number of years ago, Paige and her husband, actor/singer Michael Piontek (in Las Vegas he was a two year cast member of EFX and spent three years as a principal cast member of "Mamma Mia!" at Mandalay Bay), moved to Las Vegas for Paige’s role as guest star in the Great Radio City Music Hall Spectacular with the Radio City Rockettes at the legendary Flamingo Hotel. She has also appeared as a special guest with Robert Goulet in his concert evening "The Man and His Music" at The Venetian.
Ms. O'Hara’s debut solo recording just so happens to be Loving You: Paige O'Hara Sings Jerry Herman, featuring such classic Herman tunes as "La Cage Aux Folles", "Loving You" (a duet with husband Michael) from the film Mame and "It Only Takes A Moment" from Hello, Dolly! Paige and Michael perform around the country in their own concert evening, "From Belle to Broadway." A fast-paced revue, directed by Lee Roy Reams (another Herman favorite) and backed by four on-stage musicians, the show features Disney Classics, a salute to Judy Garland, an homage to Rodgers & Hammerstein and Jerome Kern, and Broadway medleys from South Pacific, Mack and Mabel, Evita and Phantom of the Opera (Piontek played the role of Raoul in the LA production of Phantom).
These days, in addition to doing some recording for Disney and making some movie appearances, the talented lady is one of the stars of the well-reviewed Menopause The Musical, playing in the Las Vegas Hilton’s Shimmer Cabaret. When she isn’t singing on a stage somewhere (which isn’t very often), Paige relaxes with one of her other passions - painting.
Macon, Georgia-born Donald Pippin is one of Broadway's most honored conductors. He not only served for 14 years as Musical Director of New York's famed Radio City Music Hall, his distinguished career also includes La Cage Aux Folles, Cabaret, Mack & Mabel, Seesaw, Applause, Mame, Oliver (for which he won a Tony) and A Chorus Line. On television, he was Musical Director for An Evening with Alan Jay Lerner, seen on "Live from Lincoln Center," as part of PBS' "Great Performance" series. Mr. Pippin has conducted throughout the world - including The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Florida Sunshine Pops Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Chattanooga, Detroit, Fort Worth, Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, National, Pittsburgh and Saint Louis, as well as the BBC and London Symphony Orchestras, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cardiff Festival Orchestra and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. He was also invited by Beverly Sills to be the guest conductor for the New York City Opera's production of The Music Man. He is the recipient of the Emmy Award for Broadway Sings Jule Styne, the Drama Desk Award for "consistently outstanding musical direction and commitment to the theatre" and a gold record for the original cast album of A Chorus Line.
In 1990, Pippin was in London to conduct the 25th Anniversary Gala of Hello Dolly, with Carol Channing, returning in 1991 to conduct the concert galas celebrating the 100th birthday of Cole Porter. In January, 1993, Don Pippin arranged and conducted Marilyn Horne's performance at President Bill Clinton's Inauguration. He supervised the musical preparation for Jule Styne's The Red Shoes and in July, 1994, he conducted Marilyn Horne, Jose Carreras and the National Symphony Orchestra in a gala benefit concert at Wolf Trap Farm Park. In the fall of 1996, he returned to London for a 20th Anniversary presentation of A Chorus Line with the BBC Concert Orchestra and a Royal Albert Hall gala marking the centennial of the lyrics of Ira Gershwin. CBS aired Jerry Herman’s Mrs. Santa Claus, a made-for-television movie starring Angela Lansbury, for which Mr. Pippin was the vocal arranger and musical director, while PBS telecast An Evening with Paul Sorvino, conceived, arranged and conducted by Mr. Pippin. In 1999, he created An Evening of Americana Pop Music for Marilyn Horne, a program that the two artists continue to perform throughout the United States. The 2003, he lead a concert version of Jerry Herman's Mack & Mabel at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts' Avery Fisher Hall.
This exceptional program is sure to be one of the top presentations in this or any of the UNLV concert seasons - past, present or future. It offers a rare opportunity to see the best of Broadway…in Las Vegas. If you miss this one, you will wish you hadn’t. In his first Las Vegas appearance, I say, "Hello, Jerry! It’s so nice to have you here where you belong." And P.S., thanks for bringing your friends!
(Note: Jerry Herman and his friends will be conducting Master Classes at UNLV during their stay.)
Hello, Jerry! starring Jerry Herman -
with Jason Graae, Karen Morrow, Paige O’Hara and Don Pippin conducting
Artemus W. Ham Hall, UNLV
Saturday, October 21, 2006 8 pm
$35, $50, $80 (Single tickets on sale beginning Aug. 19)
For reservations call (702) 895-2787