Jerry Herman's best-known musicals — Hello, Dolly, La Cage aux Folles, Mame — are nothing if not joyful. Whether it's matchmaker Dolly Levi making a grand entrance at her favorite eatery or drag queen Albin declaring with pride "I Am What I Am," Herman's songs are associated with great moments of unadulterated singing and dancing, musical-comedy happiness.
That must be why the likes of Carol Channing, Leslie Uggams, Angela Lansbury and Lee Roy Reams, all original cast members of Herman's shows, are drawn back to sing for Tap Your Troubles Away: The Music of Jerry Herman, a benefit for the Actors' Fund to be held at Los Angeles' Luckman Theatre Nov. 10.
Channing (Hello, Dolly, Jerry's Girls), Uggams (Jerry's Girls), Lansbury (Mame, Dear World) and Reams (Broadway's The Music of Jerry Herman, La Cage aux Folles) are only a few names on the evening's bill. Also scheduled to appear are Lucie Arnaz, Tyne Daly, Joely Fisher, Jason Graae, Sam Harris, Marilu Henner, Dale Kristien, Andrea Marcovicci, Donna McKechnie, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Rita Moreno, Hugh Panaro, Valarie Pettiford, Charlotte Rae, Douglas Sills and Jo Anne Worley among others.
The stellar cast revisits music from all of Herman's shows including the lesser known Milk & Honey, Dear World and The Grand Tour as well as the popular Mack and Mabel, Mame, Hello, Dolly and La Cage aux Folles. Herman is a member of both the Songwriter's Hall Of Fame (inducted in 1981) and the Theatre Hall Of Fame (inducted in 1986). As part of the gala, Herman will receive the Hedda Harringan Logan Award, the highest honor the Actors Fund gives out.
Frequent benefit stager David Galligan directs. Ron Abel provides the arrangements and musical direction. Tap Your Troubles Away is sold out. The Luckman Theatre is located on the California State University, Los Angeles campus at 5151 State University Drive.
The Actors Fund of America, a not-for-profit social welfare organization, assists entertainment professionals by providing workshops, counseling and money to those in need as well as helping those living with AIDS and HIV. After Sept. 11, many actors lost "survival jobs," temp work, waiter and waitress jobs, etc. and there has been extra pressure on the Fund to provide for these members of the profession. In a recent New York Times article, Actors Fund executive director Joseph Benincasa predicted that the charity group may fall short in funds by as much as $1 or $2 million.
— By Christine Ehren