It was an afternoon to remember as Broadway paid tribute to legendary composer and lyricist Jerry Herman at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. We covered Hello Dolly! and Mame, today we pay tribute to Mack and Mabel.
Mack and Mabel had a book by Michael Stewart and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman. The plot involves the tumultuous romantic relationship between Hollywood director Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand (transformed from an artist’s model to a waitress from Flatbush, Brooklyn for the musical), who became one of his biggest stars.
The original 1974 Broadway production produced by David Merrick starred Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters. It received eight Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, but did not win any. There was no nomination for Jerry Herman’s score, which was a travesty. Although the original production closed after only eight weeks, the songs were praised, and subsequent productions, especially in Britain, have had succeeded
Debbie Gravitte showed how exciting this score was with “Where Ever He Ain’t”.
Michael Feinstein brought his emotional enduring of “I Wont Send Roses”.
But it was Bernadette Peters who showed why this show was one not to miss and why she was nominated for a Tony Award.
At the celebration Sir Paul McCartney sent video tape presentations. McCartney talked of Herman being “one of the all-time greats” whose music will last forever. Louis Armstrong’s recording of Hello, Dolly! took the #1 spot from The Beatles.
Jerry Herman gave us gave us tunes we could hum and still sing today. His shows consist of Milk and Honey, Hello Dolly!, Ben Franklin in Paris, Mame, Dear World, Mack & Mabel, The Grand Tour, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, La Cage aux Folles and Jerry’s Girls.
New York City Center Encores! is bringing back Mack & Mabel, for seven performances at New York City Center from Feb 19 – 23. This love letter to the silent film era, hopefully will make it back to Broadway to be enjoyed.
Tomorrow a standing ovation, songs that made us cry, cheer and sing forever.