Hello, Jerry! Herman's Showtune Gets Off-Bway Run Starting Feb. 18

News   Hello, Jerry! Herman's Showtune Gets Off-Bway Run Starting Feb. 18 The Jerry Herman revue, Showtune, seen last fall at the Helen Hayes Theatre in Nyack, NY, will transfer to Off-Broadway's Theater at St. Peter's for a six-week run starting Feb. 18, producer Jenny Sanchez told Playbill On-Line.

The production, a piano-and-voice celebration of Herman's songs from his many Broadway musicals, will feature the Nyack cast with the exception of Donna McKechnie, who had commitments to her own solo act. Karen Murphy will step into the role for the Manhattan run.

Joey McKneely, choreographer for Broadway's The Life and Smokey Joe's Cafe, makes his directorial debut with the show (he also handles the choreography). Official opening is Feb. 27.

Showtune, which is also the title of composer lyricist Herman's 1996 memoir, began performances at the Helen Hayes Theatre Company Oct. 12 and continued to Oct. 21, 2002. Herman later told Playbill Radio's Robert Viagas he was exploring Off-Broadway's Harold Clurman Theatre and Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre as possible destinations for a commercial transfer. The Theater at St. Peter's is now the hot spot. The house is usually home to the York Theatre Company.

The revue will feature Murphy (late of A Christmas Carol) and former Baby star Martin Vidnovic (and others) in an evening of tunes from a host of Herman musicals: "Shalom" (Milk & Honey); "Before the Parade Passes By," "Hello, Dolly!," "It Only Takes a Moment," "It Takes a Woman," "Put On Your Sunday Clothes," "Ribbons Down My Back" and "So Long Dearie" (Hello, Dolly!); "Bosom Buddies," "If He Walked Into My Life," "It's Today," "Mame," "The Man in the Moon," "My Best Girl," "Open a New Window," "That's How Young I Feel," "We Need a Little Christmas" and "What Do I Do Now?" (Mame); "And I Was Beautiful," "Kiss Her Now," "I Don't Want to Know" and "One Person" (Dear World); "Big Time," "Hundreds of Girls," "I Promise You a Happy Ending," "I Won't Send Roses," "Look What Happened to Mabel," "Movies Were Movies," "Tap Your Troubles Away," "Time Heals Everything" and "Wherever He Ain't" (Mack and Mabel); "I'll Be Here Tomorrow" (The Grand Tour); "Just Go to the Movies" and "Nelson" (A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine); and, from La Cage aux Folles, "A Little More Mascara," "The Best of Times," "I Am What I Am," "Song on the Sand" and "With You on My Arm."

Vidnovic and Murphy will be joined onstage by Paul Harman, who was in the original companies of Les Misérables and Chess; Tom Korbee, a recent graduate of the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music; Russell Arden Koplin, who appeared on Broadway in Les Misérables and James Joyce's The Dead; and Sandy Binion, a former back-up singer for Tammy Faye Baker who has performed several times in Nyack's Broadway Concert Series and appeared in Broadway's Jane Eyre. Seven-time MAC Award winner Bobby Peaco is the show's pianist. Conceived by Paul Gilger, Showtune features direction and choreography by Smokey Joe's Cafe's Joey McKneely with musical direction by James Followell (a musical director for KT Sullivan).

Early 2003 is busy for Herman, who is said to be taking an apartment in Manhattan for several months: A starry benefit concert version of his Mack & Mabel will be staged March 31. Gay Men's Health Crisis is producing.

The all-star concert will held at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall and feature such Broadway heavyweights as Brian Stokes Mitchell, Leslie Uggams, Nathan Lane, Donna McKechnie, Michael Feinstein, Debbie Gravitte and Douglas Sills. Arthur Allan Seidelman will direct the concert, with choreography by Dan Siretta and musical direction by Donald Pippin. Jon Wilner will produce the event. Wilner and Herman have long been hoping their rewrite of Mack & Mabel (revised by Francine Pascal) gets to Broadway. The concert may be the boost the show needs.