"Words and Music by Jerry Herman," Amber Edwards' delightful documentary, celebrates the life and talent of the gifted composer-lyricist who won Tonys for the scores of Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles.
Among those appearing in the documentary are Carol Channing, Angela Lansbury, Charles Nelson Reilly, Marge Champion, Arthur Laurents, Michael Feinstein, Fred Ebb, George Hearn, Phyllis Newman, Charles Strouse, Don Pippin, Jason Graae, Francine Pascal, Leslie Uggams, Miles Kreuger, and Ken Bloom. There is also some great home-movie footage (taken by Pippin) of the rehearsals of several Herman shows.
Extras on the DVD (a New Year's Day release on PBS Home Video) will include Carol Channing performing the complete title song of Hello, Dolly! at the White House for President Lyndon B. Johnson; "Dancing Shoes," from Herman's 1955 college musical; and "Before the Parade Passes By," performed by Herman and Merman Ethel's last stage appearance was as Broadway's seventh (and final) Dolly.
Amber Edwards' expert, award-caliber achievement deserves many thanks from musical-comedy fans, especially people who admire "The Words and Music of Jerry Herman." States Herman, "I'm absolutely thrilled!" --PLAYBILL: STAGE TO SCREENS by Michael Buckley, Playbill.com
Words and Music by Jerry Herman is Amber Edwards' fantastic new documentary film about one of the musical theater's most beloved composer-lyricists. It traces Herman's rise from crafting Off-Broadway revues in the 1950s to his Broadway triumphs with such shows as Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles, and it also covers such disappointments as Dear World, Mack & Mabel, and The Grand Tour.
The doc is scheduled to be aired by PBS in New York on December 31 and nationwide on January 1, but if you pre-order it now through Amazon.com, you might get hold of it a few days earlier. It features interviews with such stars as Carol Channing, Angela Lansbury, Charles Nelson Reilly, and George Hearn, but the most stunning thing about the movie is its inclusion of archival color footage of the original productions of Dolly! and Mame, painstakingly synched-up with full stereo audio from the original cast albums of those shows.
Words and Music by Jerry Herman is an invaluable time capsule and a worthy tribute to a man who holds a major place in Broadway history. --by Michael Portantiere, BroadwayStars.com