Friday, January 04, 2008

Words and Music

"Words and Music by Jerry Hermann" played on my local PBS station on new years day. The name was completely unfamiliar. I can't explain this. He wrote all the songs, both words and music, for Hello Dolly and Mame, plus several other shows. There were interviews with Carol Channing and Angela Lansbury and films of the shows.

It was agreed that his shows didn't translate as well to the movies due to the loss of immediacy. The song "Hello Dolly" is considered the greatest production number in theater history. I have only seen the movies which starred Barbra Streisand, much too young for Dolly Levi, and Lucille Ball, not nearly edgy enough for Mame. I haven't seen them in the theater.

They explained that he doesn't read music. Someone had to transcribe his songs.

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