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Words and Music by Jerry Herman


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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Feinstein, Carol Channing, Barry Brown, George Hearn, Angela Lansbury
  • Directors: Amber Edwards
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2008
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0010W4D6Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,485 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Words and Music by Jerry Herman" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

WORDS AND MUSIC is the story of one of Broadway's iconic figures: the composer/lyricist of Hello, Dolly!, Mame and La Cage aux Folles. Jerry Herman and an all-star cast, from Carol Channing to Angela Lansbury to Michael Feinstein, chart his rise from 1950s off-Broadway through all of his smash hits. Featuring never-before-seen footage of original stage performances, and a score full of classic show tunes.

Review

"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

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Richard LeComte VINE VOICE on January 22, 2008
I've admired Jerry Herman ever since I became interested in musicals in the early 1970s. In fact, my parents and I saw "Mack & Mabel" in previews back in 1974, and later on I went standing room to see "La Cage Aux Folles" in 1984. His score for "Mame" was one of my mother's favorites, and it's easy to sing five or 10 of his songs from memory, because they stick in your head. These are not "simple show tunes," either -- many of them have complicated lyric structures, rhythms and melodies that make them interesting to listen to again and again. I even am something of a fan of "Dear World" and "The Grand Tour," even though those shows were flops, and the scores aren't as consistent as in Herman's hits.

The documentary is poignent both because it looks at Herman's triumphs and failures (and goes into the complicated history of "Hello, Dolly!" on the road and because Herman today still seems to love what he does. The commentary from Charles Nelson Reilly and Arthur Laurents is especially entertaining; Reilly offers great early anecdotes about Herman's career, and Laurents' commentaries on Herman's musicals are on target. "Dolly" and "Mame" are fantasy shows, and it's obvious that Herman believed everything he wrote. Plus, the archival footage is wonderful, from the photos of Herman as a youth to the film clips of musical numbers from long-ago productions, particularly "Parade," "Mame" and "Mack & Mabel."

This is an especially well-done documentary, containing many delights for theater buffs. And Herman's continued enthusiasm, shown has he coaches young performers, reminds you of why you love theater in the first place.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Roger Howell on March 1, 2008
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To anyone who is a fan of Jerry Herman's music,this wonderful DVD contains just about everything you could wish to know. Well-considered comment without any of the usual awful showbiz "gushiness" that often accompanies such biographies,this film also contains archive footage from some of the original Broadway productions,which if only for that reason alone,makes it a little treasure. Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Carles M. Masip Montero on April 22, 2008
Jerry Herman is a musical theatrical genius in the most classical way, and it's obvious in this docummentary that he's also a great person, with interesting things to say, but about the theatre world as of his personal life!
Plus, the chane to see footage from Hello, Dolly, Mame, Grand Tour, La Cage, Mack & Mabel... who could ask for anything more? Well, maybe some more full numbers as extra features...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. C. Lemos on August 22, 2008
There has never been a documentary on a behind-the-scenes person in show business, that is as perfect as this one. It covers EVERY aspect of Herman's marvelously productive career.....from early off Broadway shows (PARADE) to the Broadway hits (DOLLY, MAME, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES) to the Broadway failures (DEAR WORLD, GRAND TOUR, MACK & MABEL) to him today (when this documentary was made). An exceptional story....an exceptional gentleman.....an exceptional production. One not to be missed, and to be seen again and again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Paul A. Dellit on September 7, 2008
Verified Purchase
"Hello Dolly, "Mame", "La Cage aux Folles - three fabulous Broadway musicals. All written by one fabulous composer - the one and only Jerry Herman. If you love all things Broadway and all things musical theatre, then you will adore this wonderful documentary - WORDS AND MUSIC BY JERRY HERMAN. It gives a rare and candid glimpse into the life of one of the most talented and beloved American musical theatre composers. This is a fascinating look at his childhood, where his marvellous musical talent was quite evident very early on; and then takes us on a journey through to the huge successes of "Hello Dolly"(starring Carol Channing) and "Mame" (starring Angela Lansbury); to some of his lesser critical and box office gems. To write the Music OR Lyrics to a hit stage show must be a wonderful feeling. But to write the MUSIC & LYRICS must be a truly amazing feeling. Let's hope that JERRY HERMAN makes it back to Broadway with another BIG HIT sometime soon!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. Chris Caggiano on June 6, 2010
This DVD is worth the price for the archival footage of Jerry Herman's various shows. The home movies and TV footage are invaluable. The footage of Carol Channing performing Hello, Dolly at the White House is especially rich and priceless.

But as for the documentary itself, it's unfortunately marred by interviews that are facile, and modern footage that is clearly staged and often awkward. The scene during which Jerry goes back to his childhood home is stilted and static. And the sequence in which Jerry works with Actor Jason Graae on a revival of The Grand Tour is painfully self-conscious.

That said, there are some really moving aspects of the film as well, including the segment in which Jerry discusses the death of his long-time partner to AIDS and the fact that he himself is HIV-positive. But along the way, we have to experience quite a number of awkward moments and ham-handed film making.
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