Jerry Herman: Poet of the Showtune

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9780300100822: Jerry Herman: Poet of the Showtune

This revealing and comprehensive book tells the full story of Jerry Herman’s life and career, from his early work in cabaret to his recent compositions for stage, screen, and television.
Stephen Citron draws on extensive open-ended interviews with Jerry Herman as well as with scores of his theatrical colleagues, collaborators, and close friends. The resulting book which sheds new light on each of Herman’s musicals and their scores abounds in fascinating anecdotes and behind-the-scenes details about the world of musical theater. Readers will find a sharply drawn portrait of Herman’s private life and his creative talents. Citron’s insights into Herman’s music and lyrics, including voluminous examples from each of his musicals, are as instructive as they are edifying and entertaining.

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About the Author:

Stephen Citron is well known for shedding fresh light on the American musical theater and the artists who inhabit it. His previous books include Songwriting, The Musical from the Inside Out, and biographies of Noël Coward, Cole Porter, Alan Jay Lerner, Oscar Hammerstein 2nd, Stephen Sondheim, and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

From Publishers Weekly:

Citron (The Musical from the Inside Out), the biographer of Broadway greats Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber, offers up a comprehensive overview of composer Jerry Herman’s works and a rose-tinted look at the man behind the music. Drawing on extensive interviews with Herman, Citron relays the arc of his life and career, from the ballad he wrote at the age of 13 (called "It’s Not My Fault") to his critically acclaimed first musical, Milk and Honey (1961), to the smashing success of Hello Dolly! (1963). Citron obviously admires Herman and his oeuvre; in his acknowledgements, he writes "Herman is that rare subject, a joy for a biographer, possessed of total recall and never too busy to answer a question. Honest but never hurtful in discussing colleagues, giving but not controlling." This effusive praise extends to Herman’s musicals: Mame is "foolproof" and "one of the finest musicals of the sixties," while a ballad from Mack and Mabel is "in the top echelon of dramatic art." And as for Herman’s critics, Citron simply dismisses their claims. The result is a one-sided portrait of an unrelentingly nice guy. When Citron isn’t lauding his subject, however, he does offer some knowledgeable insights into the musical qualities of Herman’s shows. Though this is far from an objective look at Herman’s life and work, it is the most thorough biography of this composer to date. As such, it may appeal to theatre scholars and musical aficionados. 40 Photos.
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