Jerry Herman Poet of the Showtune Stephen Citron

Publication date:
11 Aug 2004
Yale University Press
352 pages: 235 x 156mm
40 halftones
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The first in-depth biography of the celebrated composer/lyricist who created Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles

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.

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.

"This is an extraordinary and invaluable work about the extraordinary and invaluable talent Jerry Herman. Any lover of the musical theatre should be grateful to add it to their library. I know I am."—Fred Ebb, Lyricist

“Should be required reading for anyone who has ever enjoyed a comic lyric or a brassy piece of melody from Hello, Dolly!, Mame or La Cage aux Folles. It’s a splendid biography, festooned with a generous analysis of his libretto and compositions. Herman’s imperishable spirit is all here in this personal, sharp-as-tacks portrait of a composer-lyricist whose heart—and archive—seems to have been an open book.”—Randy Gener, American Theatre