Showtune: Celebrating The Words & Music of Jerry Herman
Musical revue in 2 acts. Composer/Lyricist: Jerry Herman: Conceived by: Paul Gilger: Piano & Vocal Arrangements by: James Followell
Showtune was originally titled Tune the Grand Up, and premiered 1 May, 1985 as a cabaret production at The 1177 Club on Nob Hill in San Francisco, California.
Original production in London under the title "The Best of Times" - Bridewell Theatre, 1998. Transferred to Vaudeville Theatre, London 1998
For full details of productions and casts visit Wikipedia
A revue celebrating the words and music of Jerry Herman, composer and lyricist for some of Broadway's greatest shows, including "Hello, Dolly!," "Mame" and La Cage Aux Folles." Incorporating hit song after hit song, this revue is sure to please audiences young and old alike with its toe-tapping music and it's witty and knowing lyrics. A small cast and a grand piano make this the perfect intimate revue for any slot in your season... or as a great fund-raiser!
Two versions of the show exist – The complete 2-act version, and the abridged 1-act.
We are welcomed to the world of Jerry Herman, one of the Golden Age of Broadway’s pre-eminent tunesmiths, with the glittering opening number from Mame – “It’s Today!” Also included in this dazzling opening number is yet another optimistic view of life in Show Biz - “Big Time” from the 1974 hit Mack and Mabel – originally starring Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters.
“We Need A Little Christmas” opens the next section and tells us how to deal with the bad news we seem to find everywhere. If thinking of Christmas doesn’t help, then all you have to do is “Put On Your Sunday Clothes!” The number ends with the cast in their Sunday finery simulating a train with the men’s bowler hats becoming smokestacks and the ladies’ parasols acting as the wheels.
We’re taken backstage to a Cabaret where we find an actor sitting in front of his makeup mirror. He is in the process of making no ordinary transformation – he is preparing to become “Zaza” the star of La Cage Aux Folles! (“A Little More Mascara”). Zaza makes “herself” right at home as a crescent moon descends for “The Man in the Moon” and deftly performs the obbligato. The scene ends with the full cast declaring the right of each individual to live their own life in “I Am What I Am.”
“The Four Seasons” is the theme for a view of Herman’s unique outlook on love. In the “Spring” of love we hear the plaintive “I Won’t Send Roses” with both sides of the couples thoughts on the matter represented; the anticipation of love in “Ribbons Down My Back” and the preparation for dating with instruction in “Dancing.”
A battle of the sexes ensues as we reach the hot “Summer” of love as the men sing the chauvinistic “It Takes A Woman” driving the women to announce that they’re going “Wherever He Ain’t!” The men counter with the fact that there are “Hundreds of Girls” to be had and take out their little black books as proof. The address books are quickly confiscated as the ladies bid the men “So Long, Dearie” and we approach the more reflective nature of “Autumn.”
Recounting a memory of love we hear one woman confide to the others “And I Was Beautiful” prompting a gentleman to suggest that someone “Kiss Her Now” (While She’s Young). The cast interlocks their thoughts and sing both songs in counterpoint segueing to the “Winter” of love where we discover that “Time Heals Everything.”
What’s that I hear down the street? Is that a parade? We’d better go and taste Saturday’s high life “Before the Parade Passes By!” We quickly find out that “One Person” can beat a drum and change the world and that we need to “Open a New Window” everyday. After a breath-taking counterpoint section of all three we end the act with a jubilant reprise of “Before the Parade Passes By.”
Act Two begins with a visit to the movies and the world of silent film. Mack Sennett introduces us to the days when “Movies Were Movies” and we follow the Mack and Mabel love story through the eyes of a cameraman who sings “Look What Happened to Mabel” to inform us about her burgeoning career. Mabel enters dressed as one of Sennett’s famous bathing beauties and dances a youthful Charleston to “That’s How Young I Feel” before reprising “Look What Happened to Mabel” backed by Mack, the cameraman, a stage manager and a few extras.
Jeanette MacDonald, wearing a bonnet over her blonde curls, and Nelson Eddy, sporting his Mountie uniform, enter for Take 113 of “My Best Girl.” At the end of the number, an exasperated Mack yells “Cut!!!” as Nelson exits. Jeanette, left sprawled on the floor wearing her hoop-skirt, sings of the difficulty of appearing opposite the talent-free Mr. Eddy (“Nelson”).
The cast enters and sits facing the audience as if they were watching a movie. They ask the audience if they “need to relax? need to escape?” and advise “Go see Fay Wray in the palm of an ape” in “Just Go to the Movies” – a celebration of the Golden Age of Hollywood in a remarkable “list” song.
As the cast exits, a woman helps one of the men with a costume change and they exchange a glance – a moment of unrequited love (“It Only Takes a Moment”). As the beautiful ballad finishes, a very pregnant Agnes Gooch enters singing, “It only took a moment…” and segues into her big number “Gooch’s Song.” In response to Agnes’ final question of “What do I do now?” a man enters wearing tap shoes and encourages Agnes to “Tap Your Troubles Away” and is soon joined by all the other men in a rousing tap number.
As if Agnes Gooch weren’t woman enough for these guys, Dolly Levi enters in her red feathered headdress as the men welcome her with “Hello, Dolly!” Not one to be outdone, Mame Dennis enters wearing her signature white satin turban and full-length gloves as the men greet her with an abbreviated chorus of “Mame.”
The two women acknowledge each other in a biting little exchange, setting up the “friendly” rivalry that the two must have shared as leading ladies of the Broadway stage as they launch into “Bosom Buddies.” The number ends in a hilarious cat-fight between the two!
Now that we’ve seen the funny side of Jerry Herman we visit the serious and deeply romantic side as one of the men, in a moment of optimistic denial, sings “I Don’t Want to Know.” As we are swept into his world we discover that there are more inhabitants here – bitter lovers with unresolved issues who, as we find out, still have beautiful memories of their love (“Song on the Sand”). The couples all embrace the beauty of the love that they have or once had.
As peace comes to their relationships, the audience is tenderly instructed in the various meanings of “Shalom” which is responded to by the stirring “I’ll Be Here Tomorrow.”
A woman enters and wonders about the way she conducted herself in the poignant “If He Walked Into My Life.” She is consoled by a man who says, “I Promise You a Happy Ending” like the ones that you see on the screen, but before he finishes the last line the cast struts on in silk top hats for the Finale singing a rousing medley of “Mame,” “The Best of Times” and topped with a reprise of “It’s Today.”
As if this hadn’t been enough entertainment for one lifetime, the cast takes its bows singing “Hello, Dolly!” while encouraging the audience to join in and celebrate the remarkable music and career of Jerry Herman.
The entire show is quickly paced with brilliantly arranged medleys of Herman’s wonderful songs, constructed so that each has its own unique dramatic commentary.
The complete show features 40 songs from Milk and Honey, Hello, Dolly!, Mame, Dear World, Mack and Mabel, The Grand Tour, A Day in Hollywood, and La Cage Aux Folles.
The abridged one-act version contains the same basic structure of the full show with condensed medleys, but still featuring a full 30 songs from the above-mentioned hits!
- It's Today (Mame) - Company
- Big Time (Mack and Mabel) - Company, featuring Woman 1
- We Need a Little Christmas (Mame) - Man 3, Woman 3
- Put On Your Sunday Clothes (Hello, Dolly!) - Company, featuring Woman 2
- A Little More Mascara (La Cage aux Folles) - Man 2, Women
- The Man In The Moon (Is A Lady) (Mame) - Man 4, Man 2
- I Am What I Am (La Cage aux Folles) - Company, featuring Woman 2
- Song On The Sand - Prelude (La Cage aux Folles) - Company
- I Won't Send Roses (Mack & Mabel) - Man 1, Woman 1
- Ribbons Down My Back (Hello, Dolly!) - Woman 3
- Dancing (Hello, Dolly!) - Woman 2, Man 3, Company
- It Takes A Woman (Hello, Dolly!) - Man 1, Man 2, Man 4
- Wherever He Ain't (Mack & Mabel) - Woman1, Woman 2
- Hundreds Of Girls (Mack & Mabel) - Men, featuring Man 3
- So Long Dearie (Hello, Dolly!) - Woman3, women
- It Takes A Woman (reprise) - Man 3, Man1
- And I Was Beautiful (Dear World) - Woman 1
- Kiss Her Now (Dear World) - Man 1
- And I Was Beautiful / Kiss Her Now Counterpoint - Company
- Time Heals Everything (Mack & Mabel) - Woman 2
- Before The Parade Passes By (Hello, Dolly!) - Woman 1
- One Person (Dear World) - Man 1
- Open A New window - Company
- Counterpoint March - Company
- Hello, Dolly! - Entr'acte (Hello, Dolly!) - Orchestra
- Movies Were Movies (Mack & Mabel) - Man 1
- Look What Happened To Mabel (Mack & Mabel) - Man 2, Woman2
- That's How young I Feel (Mame) - Woman 1
- Look What Happened To Mabel (reprise) - Woman 1, Man 1, Woman 2, Man 2
- My Best Girl (Mame) - Man 3
- Nelson (A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine) - Woman 3
- Just Go To The Movies (A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine) - Company, featuring Man2, Woman 2
- It Only Takes A Moment (Hello, Dolly!) - Man 3
- What Do I Do Now (Gooche's Song) (Mame) - Woman 3
- Tap Your Troubles Away (Mack & Mabel) - Man 2b, Man 4, Woman 3
- Bosom Buddies (Mame) - Woman 1, Woman 2
- I Don't Want To Know (Dear World) - Man 1
- I Don't Want To Know (reprise) - Women
- Song On The Sand (La Cage aux Folles) - Company, featuring Man2b, Woman 2
- Shalom (Milk and Honey) - Woman 3
- I'll Be Here Tomorrow (The Grand Tour) - Woman 2
- If He Walked Into My Life (Mame) - Woman 1
- I Promise You A Happy Ending (Mack & Mabel) - Man 4
- Mame (Mame) - Company
- The Best Of Times (La Cage aux Folles) - Company
- It's Today (reprise) - Company
- Hello, Dolly! - Curtain Call - Company
- It's Today (instumental- bows) - Orchestra
In a cast recording of Showtune was produced in New York City with most of the New York cast.
- WOMAN #1 Leading woman type. Comedian. (40s - 50s)
Alto: Low F sharp to High C sharp, with a belt -
Some Soprano singing
- MAN #1 Leading man type, wise, with humour (40s - 50s) Bass-Baritone: Low A - F
- WOMAN #2 Sassy personality with humour, in prime of life (30s)
Alto/Soprano: Low F sharp - C sharp, with high belt -
Some Soprano singing
- MAN #2 Comic, in prime of life (
Baritone: Low G - G or A
- WOMAN #3 Ingenue with a sprightly comic flair, dancing a plus.
Early to late 20s -
Soprano: Low G - High A, with belt
- MAN #3 Young leading man, dance or strong movement a plus.
Early to late 20s -
Strong Tenor: Low A flat - High A
- MAN #4 Pianist-singer. Must have musical theatre and classical piano skills, cabaret experience helpful.
Mid 20s to early 40s -
Baritone: Low A flat - High E