"Jimmy [Nederlander] has been a wonderful friend and a real champion of mine through the years," Herman told Playbill On-Line. "He produced all the revivals of Dolly that he let me oversee. He was one of the producers of La Cage and Jerry's Girls. He's been like my mentor. He called me one day and said, 'OK, it's time for us to do a series of your shows.' We had a lovely talk and we made a verbal agreement that his organization would do Mame first, La Cage second and Dolly third."
Herman said Mame will likely emerge in late 2004, La Cage in 2005 and Dolly sometime after. "When that year comes," Herman said with a laugh, "if I'm still around, we have to find a new Dolly." (Past Dollys Carol Channing and Barbra Streisand still stick in the public's imagination.)
The Nederlanders have not yet made a formal announcement about the Herman revivals.
Of La Cage, a 1983 hit written with librettist Harvey Fierstein, inspired by the play and film of the same name, Herman said, "My darling Harvey Fierstein has come up with a great idea for a way to do La Cage a second time and still keep it the La Cage that everyone knows — but make it fresh. I don't wanna give away his idea, but it's a lovely way to do it — a more gritty and exciting way to do it."
Is Herman writing anything new? "I can't even really think of doing anything else now," the busy Herman said. Among other things, he and Tommy Tune are putting together Miss Spectacular for a Las Vegas 2004 launch by producers Kenneth Greenblatt and Ben Sprecher, and Mack and Mabel is still being shepherded by Jon Wilner for a future commercial run, Herman said.
Herman, a resident of Beverly Hills for the last decade, has taken an apartment in New York to have an East Coast nest while he works on various projects. On Feb. 18, a commercial Off-Broadway run of Showtune, a new-to-New-York revue, begins at The Theatre at St. Peter's. On March 31, Mack and Mabel gets a starry New York benefit concert with many different performers rotating in the lead role. The concert is a trimmed version of the recently-revised musical about the silent screen legends Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand.