Jerry Herman - "Wherever He Ain't (From Mac & Mabel)"
In June we will be featuring all LGBTQ+ artists in honor of LGBTQ Pride Month
As an out gay artist for the entirety of his career and proudly living with the AIDS virus since 1985 he has been a beacon and banner for the LGBTQ+ community.
Jerry Herman is an American composer and lyricist, known for his work in Broadway musical theater. He composed the scores for the hit Broadway musicals Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles. He has been nominated for the Tony Award five times, and won twice, for Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles. In 2009, Herman received the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. He is a recipient of the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors.
Herman is the only composer/lyricist to have had 3 original productions open on Broadway at the same time from February to May 1969: Hello, Dolly!, Mame , and Dear World. He was the first (of two) composers/lyricists to have three musicals run more than 1500 consecutive performances on Broadway (the other being: Stephen Schwartz): Hello, Dolly! (2,844), Mame (1,508), and La Cage aux Folles (1,761). Herman is honored by a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at the 7000 block of Hollywood Boulevard.
Herman's work has been the subject of two popular musical revues, Jerry's Girls conceived by Larry Alford, and Showtune (2003) conceived by Paul Gilger. A 90-minute documentary about his life and career, Words and Music by Jerry Herman by filmmaker Amber Edwards, was screened in 2007 and then broadcast on PBS. In the 2008 animated film WALL-E, Herman's music from Hello, Dolly! influences the character WALL-E.
In 1989, American-playwright Natalie Gaupp wrote a short play titled "The Jerry Herman Center." The play is a comedy which portrays the lives of several patients in "The Jerry Herman Center for Musical Theatre Addiction." In 2012, Jason Graae and Faith Prince collaborated on The Prince and the Showboy, a show which pays tribute to Herman; Graae worked extensively with Herman and described him as "a survivor of the highest degree [who] lives his life as an eternal optimist."
Mack and Mabel is a musical with a book by Michael Stewart and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman. The plot involves the tumultuous romantic relationship between Hollywood director Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand (transformed from an artist's model to a waitress from Flatbush, Brooklyn for the musical), who became one of his biggest stars. In a series of flashbacks, Sennett relates the glory days of Keystone Studios from 1911, when he discovered Normand and cast her in dozens of his early "two-reelers", through his creation of Sennett's Bathing Beauties and the Keystone Cops to Mabel's death from tuberculosis in 1930.
The original 1974 Broadway production produced by David Merrick starred Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters. It received eight Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, but did not win any. There was no nomination for Jerry Herman's score. Although the original production closed after only eight weeks, the songs were praised, and subsequent productions, especially in Britain, have had success.
Bernadette was an incredible Mabel, and so of course I’m giving you her version, but I’m also giving you Marin Mazzie’s concert production of the song, because she soars.
So today, with a little humor and a lot of feels, I choose Jerry Herman’s "Wherever He Ain't (From Mac & Mabel)" as performed by Bernadette Peters or Marin Mazzie as my, get up go, gumption isn’t cheap, keep walking sister, song for a, it was a March and it’s still a protest even if it’s a Parade, shout OUT Louise, c’mon Mary we can do this, Monday.