Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman A celebratory two-hour musical entertainment of glamour, optimism, love, melody, and women.
St James Theatre, Broadway - 18 December, 1985 (139 perfs)
More than most songwriters, Jerry Herman has put the 'larger-than-life' women of his shows centre stage. There's Dolly Gallagher Levi of Hello, Dolly!, Auntie Mame Dennis of Mame, Countess Aurelia of Dear World, Mabel Normand of Mack and Mabel. And female impersonator ZaZa of La Cage Aux Folles. So it is fitting that in Jerry's Girls there are women centre stage once again. Women affectionately celebrating Jerry's special gift for writing songs that capture the true spirit of the American musical theatre.
The show's 'name-dropping' title song, Jerry's Girls (to the tune of It's Today from Mame), that opens Act One, honours the 40-plus female stars who have appeared in Herman musicals over the years.
It Takes a Woman introduces Singer #1 who descends the center staircase to sing the optimistic Put On Your Sunday Clothes from Hello, Dolly! and to lead the ensemble "all aboard" for an energetic finish to the number. Singer #2's first star turn is to perform the romantic ballad It Only Takes a Moment, also from Dolly!. The defiant Wherever He Ain't from Mack and Mabel brings Singer #3 onstage for her initial appearance.
A quartet of Santas, adorned with hats and singing We Need a Little Christmas from Mame, greets a gift-bearing 'Christmas Carol' and decorates her with yards of garland to create a living tree.
In a mini-dramatic-scene, Singer #2 performs both the Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand lyrics of I Won't Send Roses, visually assisted by Mack's famous fedora hat and Mabel's cherished rag doll. Then it's cheer-up time for #2 as #1 enters, dressed like a cross between Shirley Temple and Baby Snooks, to sing Tap Your Troubles Away As all of her dance class students appear, #1 challenges them and #2 with her adorable brand of tap instruction.
In a breathtaking echo duet with Singer #4, #2 brings new life to Kiss Her Now from one of Jerry's lesser-known musicals, Dear World.
A spirited celebration lights up the stage when the girls, dressed in sweaters and saddle oxfords, dance to the big band sounds of That's HOw Young I Feel from Mame.
Lumbering down the stairs to an Open a New Window march, #3 has a chance to clown in her "pregnant-and-oh-so-sorry" character number, Gooch's Song from Mame.
What follows is another of Carol Channing's signature songs from Hello, Dolly! As Dolly Gallagher Levi she is tired of leading a safe, solitary existence and longs "to rejoin the human race." She restates her determination as she sings one of Jerry's most optimistic tunes, Before the Parade Passes By.
I Don't Want to Know from Dear World begins as an enchanting waltz number but soon turns into a powerfully, dramatic "carousel-gone-mad" rendition by #2.
The all-female ensemble, costumed as men in top, hats and tails, acquaints the audience with Jerry's "new girl", the transvestite chanteuse Za-Za of the Tony Award-winning La Cage aux Folles.
Against a background of glitzy mirrors and drapes; the "men" also introduce one of the world's most famous living legends - a character Singer #1 assumes to perform the title song from La Cage Aux Folles.
Singer #3, bathed in midnight lighting and in harmony with Singers #5 and #6, give a gentle, touching interpretation of Song On the Sand.
A pool of red light surrounds #2 as she moves center stage. She takes a defiant stance, remains silent for a moment, and then begins her blazing delivery of I Am What I Am.
Dressed in red gowns and led hand-in-hand by Singer #1,
the entire company singsThe Best of Times as the
show's jubilant finale.
From the sleeve note by Larry Alford
Musical Numbers: (in alphabetical order)