Jerry Herman: Poet of the Showtune by Stephen Citron

By Stephen Citron

The 1st in-depth biography of the prestigious composer/lyricist who created hi, Dolly!, Mame, and l. a. Cage aux FollesThis revealing and finished booklet tells the total tale of Jerry Herman’s existence and occupation, from his early paintings in cabaret to his fresh compositions for degree, monitor, and television.Stephen Citron attracts on vast open-ended interviews with Jerry Herman in addition to with ratings of his theatrical colleagues, collaborators, and shut acquaintances. The ensuing book—which sheds new mild on every one of Herman’s musicals and their scores—abounds in attention-grabbing anecdotes and behind-the-scenes information about the area of musical theater. Readers will discover a sharply drawn portrait of Herman’s deepest lifestyles and his inventive abilities. Citron’s insights into Herman’s tune and lyrics, together with voluminous examples from each one of his musicals, are as instructive as they're edifying and entertaining.Stephen Citron is celebrated for laying off clean mild at the American musical theater and the artists who inhabit it. His prior books comprise Songwriting, The Musical from the interior Out, and biographies of No?l Coward, Cole Porter, Alan Jay Lerner, Oscar Hammerstein 2d, Stephen Sondheim, and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

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When you put on something like Oklahoma! you learn how a good show is constructed. After Oklahoma! I did Finian’s Rainbow, and the following year, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. And, as I read books about the theater, the shows got more and more lavish. Once I asked my father to buy me a scrim. ’ I said, just let me pick it EARLY DAYS 24 out, and you’ll see. And I installed theatrical lighting—I mean, I had shows going on there that were as good as the summer stock productions in that area. And I learned from it.

Herman. Let him alone. Let him develop. Something’s happening that’s very interesting. He’s using odd chords, and if he learns they are not the normal chords to use, he won’t use * Ethel Pesin remembers her experience of teaching Herman differently: “Jerry was not very impressed with classical music, but interested in popular songs. I wanted him to start traditionally learning to read music with the Thompson book [a standard, but very boring manual for beginning children]. I worked with him in half-hour segments for a period of about three months.

After a day at grammar school, his only escape from reality was the piano. He would quickly dispose of his homework and rush to the instrument. So alienated was he from his classmates that he did not try to join the school orchestra, instead keeping his piano playing to himself. His inability to read music allowed him to explore his own musicianship from the inside, but it left him out of reach of school music teachers; the musical arrangements the orchestra played were performed from the written score.

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Jerry Herman: Poet of the Showtune by Stephen Citron
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