Hello, Jerry! | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Jerry Herman traces his infatuation with the Broadway musical back to 1946 and Annie Get Your Gun: after seeing the show as a kid, he plunked out "They Say It's Wonderful" on the piano by ear. A master tunesmith in the Irving Berlin tradition, the 68-year-old Herman has been retro from the start: his Hello, Dolly! sounded almost as old-fashioned in 1964 as it does today. But Herman's songs from Dolly, Mame, Mack & Mabel, and La Cage aux Folles have a durability that the work of a more adventurous or trendy writer couldn't match, and by tailoring material to the talents of such stars as Carol Channing, Angela Lansbury, and Tallulah Bankhead he's become an especially insightful analyst of the art of performing. This benefit concert, presented by the Chicago Humanities Festival and the ASCAP Foundation, will team Herman with singer-actors Jason Graae, Karen Morrow, and Paige O'Hara under the guidance of veteran musical director (and longtime Herman colleague) Don Pippin. It's a show-tune lover's dream come true, and the pricey tickets help support a good cause: that is, the Humanities Festival's educational programs, such as the free seminar and classes Herman and his colleagues will lead for local high school and college students earlier in the week. Thursday, June 13, 7:30 PM, Merle Reskin Theatre, DePaul University, 60 E. Balbo; 312-661-1028, ext. 32.

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