Jerry Herman's Mrs. Santa Claus Expected To Be London Christmas Pantomime

News   Jerry Herman's Mrs. Santa Claus Expected To Be London Christmas Pantomime Jerry Herman and Mark Saltzman's American TV movie musical, "Mrs. Santa Claus," may fly into London as an annual Christmas pantomime in 2004, Herman told Playbill On-Line.

Ever since it first aired in 1996, the original TV musical starring Angela Lansbury as the liberation-hungry wife of Kris Kringle, had prompted speculation (mostly from fans) about its viability as a stage property. Screen-to-stage transfers are not rare: Look at Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Fame and Footloose.

Herman said a producer in London sent him a script of the potential London stage show.

"Mark Saltzman and I are all in favor of doing it that way because it would be a permanent thing — they do them over and over and over again," Herman said. "It's a perfect Christmas pantomime."

In the show, Mrs. Santa Claus steals Santa's sleigh in an effort to live a little, and crash-lands in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 19th-century, where she gets mixed up with immigrants, suffragists and an evil toymaker.

The score from composer-lyricist Herman (Hello, Dolly!, Mame, La Cage aux Folles) was released on a cast album, though it isn't what some would call a full length musical theatre score. "It was done for television, with all those commercials, Herman said, "so we had to be frugal about how much we put into it. For the London pantomime, I'll probably add a song or two."

The score includes "Avenue A," "Whistle" and the title song, among others.

Screenwriter Saltzman's latest project is the Neapolitan flavored Romeo and Bernadette for Coconut Grove Playhouse and Paper Mill: The State Theatre of New Jersey. Herman's Showtune, a new revue, begins a commercial run Off-Broadway Feb. 18 at The Theatre at St. Peter's.