Schermerhorn Working on WWII-Set Musical

PlayBlog   Schermerhorn Working on WWII-Set Musical
Born on the Fourth of July, William Schermerhorn celebrates his 50th birthday this year with a spectacular fireworks display on the Hudson River. He can do this as the vice president/creative director of Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group.

He’s also the fellow who lines up the Broadway talent for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and on occasion he has been known to chip in some original songs for the event, co-authored with his writing partner of five years, composer Doug Katsaros.

On Aug. 2, at Joe’s Pub — for two performances only (at 7 and 9:30) — their collective wares will be paraded by Anthony Rapp and Stephanie D’Abruzzo in a lively little revue titled Free To Dream: The Songs of Katsaros and Schermerhorn. All proceeds for the concert will benefit The New York Pops’ music education programs.

“Those are the unsung things The Pops does,” said Schermerhorn. “People always think of them being in Carnegie Hall, but they do a lot more.”

So does Schermerhorn. Between Firecracker Day and Turkey Day, he works on “a musical about The Army Air Corps doing their radio show in Santa Ana, CA, where Milton DeLugg was writing songs with Frank Loesser and William Holden was the commanding officer. I was going to call it The Music Boys, but, after The Scottsboro Boys and The Burnt Part Boys, I’m looking for a new title.

“Milton, at 91 years of age, started telling me stories about those old days, and they were such fun that I said, ‘We gotta do something with this.’ The next thing you know we’re sorta writing a show. I would give him lyrics, and he would set a melody for them — and it would immediately sound like a World War II classic. Milton was writing them back then. It’s not pastiche when he writes them because he wrote them originally. It’s still in his style. When we write ‘When the Girl Back Home Lives Just Around the Corner,’ he makes it sound like something that came out in 1943.”

In addition to lyrics, Schermerhorn is writing the book — but he’s not a fanatic about it: “I may want to bring another book author in so if you know anyone let me know.”

— Harry Haun

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