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“Showtune” by Conundrum at the Rialto

Mar 21, 2016

jerryhermandoc460On April 2, for one night only, the songs of Jerry Herman—”Hello, Dolly!,” “Mame,” and “La Cage Aux Folles”—will be heard live from the stage of the Rialto Theatre.

With a band in the orchestra pit, Conundrum Theatre Company, in partnership with Friends of the Rialto and Old Oak Cellars winery in Pasadena, will present a live musical review. All proceeds benefit the Friends’ advocacy efforts to bring the Rialto into a new era of glory days.

A little about songwriter, producer and director Jerry Herman…

Jerry Herman’s father was a gym teacher who worked in hotels located in the Catskills during the summer. His mother worked in these same hotels as a singer, pianist and teacher. They worked at and eventually ran Stissing Lake Camp in Pine Plains, New York where Jerry spent his summers from the age of six to twenty-three. “It was at camp that he first became involved in theatrical productions, as director of Oklahoma!, Finian’s Rainbow and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.”¹ During this time, he tried his hand at songwriting.

At seventeen, Herman was introduced to songwriter Frank Loesser (of Guys and Dolls) who encouraged him to continue songwriting, and then at University of Miami, Herman wrote, produced, and directed the musical Sketchbook, which became the longest running show in the university’s history.

 

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After graduation, Herman moved to New York City and wrote and produced off-Broadway shows, then broke into the world of Broadway in 1960. His first smash hit was with Hello, Dolly! in 1964 with Carol Channing playing the lead role, followed two years later by Mame starring Angela Lansbury. Less popular, but shows that ultimately drew a cult following were Dear World, again with Lansbury, Mack & Mabel (1974), and The Grand Tour (1979) with Joel Grey. Herman’s legacy was sealed, exemplified by the fact that he was the subject of several Hirschfeld caricatures.

Herman has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (located at 7090 Hollywood Boulevard) and, for a note of trivia, the song “Hello, Dolly!” sung by Louis Armstrong became a huge hit in America, knocking the Beatles out of the number one spot in 1964.

Herman’s last smash hit came in 1983 with La Cage aux Folles starring George Hearn and Gene Barry, which earned him another Tony Award for Best Musical.

 

Gene Barry, center, in La Cage aux Folles, 1984

Gene Barry, center, in La Cage aux Folles, 1984

 

Conundrum Theatre Company is “a non-profit professional theatre company” with the goal of producing “classic musicals and plays with contemporary staging and production values” (ConundrumTheatreCo.com). “Showtune” will star Katrina Veldkamp, a member of Conundrum and the Los Angeles’ only lawyers’ choir called Legal Voices, the vocal wing of the L. A. Lawyers’ Philharmonic.

 

Katrina Veldkamp

Katrina Veldkamp

 

The band preparing for "Showtune" at Old Oak Cellars

The band preparing for “Showtune” at Old Oak Cellars

 

Past performance at the Rialto with Amanda Achen; photo by Ryan Luevano

Past performance at the Rialto with Amanda Achen; photo by Ryan Luevano

 

 

Showtune
Saturday, April 2, 8-11 p.m.
Rialto Theatre, 1023 Fair Oaks Ave., South Pasadena 91030
Tickets: $22-$44 at Eventbrite here
For more info, visit Friends of the Rialto on Facebook

 

Friends of the Rialto are looking for volunteers to help dust, mop, vacuum, move materials, etc. Anyone working a minimum of 3 hours receives half-price tickets to the show and anyone working 6 hours or more receives one free general admission ticket.

Workday hours:
Friday, March 25th, 2-7 p.m.
Saturday, March 26th, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Email FriendsoftheRialto@gmail.com.

 

Inside the Rialto; photo by Hunter Kerhart

Inside the Rialto; photo by Hunter Kerhart

 

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Photo: Hunter Kerhart

 

Photo: Hunter Kerhart

Photo: Hunter Kerhart

 

Photo: Hunter Kerhart

Photo: Hunter Kerhart

 

Photo: Hunter Kerhart

Photo: Hunter Kerhart

 

Photo: Escott Norton

Photo: Escott Norton

 

~~~

 

¹ Citron, Stephen (2004). Jerry Herman: Poet of the Showtune. New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. 10–14, 23. Wikipedia.org/wiki/jerry-herman.

 

 




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