Tuesday, July 10, 8931

Jerry Herman (1931) - Hello, Dolly!

Jerry Herman (1931)

Hello, Dolly! (1964)

Jerry Herman (born Gerald Herman on July 10, 1931 in New York City) is an American composer/lyricist of the Broadway musical theater. He composed the scores for the hit Broadway musicals Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles.

Raised in Jersey City by musically-inclined parents, Herman learned to play piano at an early age, and the three frequently attended Broadway musicals. His father, Harry, was a gym teacher and in the summer worked in the Catskill Mountains hotels. His mother, Ruth, also worked in the hotels as a singer, pianist, and children's teacher, and eventually became an English teacher. After marrying, they lived in Jersey City, New Jersey and continued to work in the summers in various camps until they became head counselors and finally ran Stissing Lake Camp in the Berkshire Mountains. Herman spent all of his summers there, from age 6 to 23. It was at camp that he first became involved in theatrical productions, as director of Oklahoma!, Finian's Rainbow and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

At the age of 17, Herman was introduced to Frank Loesser who, after hearing material he had written, urged him to continue composing. He left the Parsons School of Design to attend the University of Miami, which has one of the nation's most avant garde theater departments.

After graduation, Herman moved to New York City, where he produced the off-Broadway revue I Feel Wonderful, which was comprised of material he had written at the University of Miami.

It opened at the Theatre de Lys in Greenwich Village on October 18, 1954 and ran for forty-eight performances. It was his only show his mother was able to see; shortly after it opened, she died of cancer at 44, and Herman spent the next year in deep mourning.

In an attempt to break loose from his grief, Herman eventually collected enough original material to put together a revue called Parade in 1958. Choreographed by friend Phyllis Newman, and with a cast that included Charles Nelson Reilly (who later co-starred in Hello, Dolly!), it opened at a tiny New York City jazz club called the Showplace. Critical raves and glowing word-of-mouth kept the show running for two years.

In 1960, Herman made his Broadway debut with the revue From A to Z, which featured contributions from newcomers Woody Allen and Fred Ebb as well. That same year producer Gerard Oestreicher approached him after seeing a performance of Parade, and asked if he would be interested in composing the score for a show about the founding of the state of Israel.

The result was his first full-fledged Broadway musical, Milk and Honey (starring Molly Picon), in 1961. It received respectable reviews and ran for 543 performances.

In 1964, producer David Merrick united Herman with Carol Channing for a project that was to become one of his most successful, Hello, Dolly!. The original production ran for 2,844 performances, the longest running musical for its time, and was later revived three times.

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! (Film, 1969)

Hello, Dolly! is also the title song of the popular 1964 musical. Louis Armstrong's version was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001.

"Hello, Dolly!" was first sung by Carol Channing, who starred as Dolly Gallagher Levi in the original 1964 Broadway cast. In December 1963, at the behest of his manager, Louis Armstrong made a demonstration recording of "Hello, Dolly!" for the song's publisher to use to promote the show.

Hello, Dolly! opened on January 16, 1964 at the St. James Theatre in New York City, and it quickly became a major success. The same month, Kapp Records released Armstrong's publishing demo as a commercial single.

The best-known recording is by Louis Armstrong in 1964. His version reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, ending The Beatles' streak of three number-one hits in a row (they also held the top three spots) and becoming the biggest hit of Armstrong's career, followed by a gold-selling album of the same name.

The song also spent nine weeks atop the adult contemporary chart shortly after the opening of the musical.

"Hello, Dolly!" won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1965, and Armstrong received a Grammy for Best Vocal Performance, Male. Louis Armstrong also performed the song (together with Barbra Streisand) in the popular 1969 film Hello, Dolly!.

"Hello, Dolly!" is a pop standard, and has been covered by many distunguished artists, including:

Carol Channing (1964) sang a variation of the song, titled "Hello, Lyndon!"
Petula Clark (1964) in English, French, and Spanish
Bobby Darin (1964)
Duke Ellington (1964)
Ella Fitzgerald for her (1964) albums Hello, Dolly! and Ella at Juan-Les-Pins
Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli (1964)
Marvin Gaye (1964)
Benny Goodman (1964)
Frank Sinatra for his (1964) album It Might As Well Be Swing
Frankie Vaughan (1964)
Lawrence Welk (1964)
Andy Williams (1964)
Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass (1964)
Sammy Davis, Jr. (1965)
Mary Martin (1965)
The Bachelors (1966)
Pearl Bailey (1967)
Violetta Villas (1968)
Matt Monro (1968)
Pinky and Perky (1968)
Barbra Streisand (1969)
Ethel Merman (1970)
Jean-Jacques Perrey - Moog Indigo (album) 1970. The song was entirely instrumental and re-created with a moog styling.
Lou Rawls (1979)
Cab Calloway (1991)
Wayne Newton (1992)
Liza Minnelli (1997)
Nancy Wilson (2001)
Harry Connick, Jr. for his (2007) album Oh, My NOLA
Zooey Deschanel 2007, in the movie "Raving"
Kelly Ripa 2004, In an episode of "Hope & Faith"

Sinatra's rendition of the song, recorded with the Count Basie Orchestra, features new lyrics, improvised by Sinatra, which pay tribute to Louis Armstrong.

The song's refrain is:

Hello, Dolly! Well, hello, Dolly!
It's so nice to have you back where you belong!

The melody of Hello, Dolly! became caught up in a lawsuit which could have endangered timely plans for bringing out a film version of the musical. Mack David (1912-1993), an Academy Award-nominated composer also known for his compositions for television, sued for infringement of copyright, because the first four bars of Herman's show number, Hello, Dolly!, were the same as those in the refrain of David's song Sunflower from 1948. As he recounts in his memoirs, Herman had never heard "Sunflower" before the lawsuit, and wanted a chance to defend himself in court, but, for the sake of those involved in the show and the potential film, he reluctantly agreed to pay a settlement before the case would have gone to trial.


In 1966, Herman's next musical was the hit Mame starring Angela Lansbury, which introduced a string of Herman standards, most notably the ballad "If He Walked Into My Life," the holiday favorite "We Need a Little Christmas," and the title tune.

Although not commercial successes, Dear World (1969) starring Angela Lansbury, Mack & Mabel (1974) starring Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters, and The Grand Tour (1979) starring Joel Grey are noted for their interesting concepts and their melodic, memorable scores. Herman considers Mack & Mabel his personal favorite score, with later composition La Cage aux Folles in a close second. Both Dear World and Mack & Mabel have developed a cult following among Broadway aficionados.

In 1983, Herman had his third mega-hit with La Cage aux Folles starring George Hearn and Gene Barry, which broke box-office records at the Palace Theatre and earned Herman yet another Tony Award for Best Musical. From its score came the gay anthem "I Am What I Am" and the rousing sing-a-long "The Best of Times."

Many of Jerry Herman's show tunes have become pop standards. His most famous composition, "Hello, Dolly!", is one of the most popular tunes ever to have originated in a Broadway musical, and was a #1 hit in the United States for Louis Armstrong, knocking The Beatles from #1 in 1964. A French recording by Petula Clark charted in the Top Ten in both Canada and France. Other well known Herman showtunes include "Before the Parade Passes By," "Put On Your Sunday Clothes," and "It Only Takes a Moment" from Hello, Dolly!;

Herman is the first 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). (He has been followed in this regard by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Schwartz).

In 2008, in the film WALL-E -- Herman's music in Hello, Dolly! influences the title character, giving him emotions.


James Byron Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955) was an American film actor. He is a cultural icon best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause (1955), in which he starred as troubled Los Angeles teenager Jim Stark. The other two roles that defined his stardom were as loner Cal Trask in East of Eden (1955), and as the surly farmer Jett Rink in Giant (1956). Dean's enduring fame and popularity rests on only these three films, his entire output in a starring role. His death in a car crash at an early age cemented his legendary status.

He was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and remains the only person to have two posthumous acting nominations. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Dean the 18th best male movie star on their AFI's 100 Years…100 Stars list.

[8932 Williams / 8931 Herman / 8931 U. Ghana]