Jerry Herman, Tony-Winning ‘Hello, Dolly!’ Composer, Dead at 88 - EpicNews

Jerry Herman, the Tony Award-winning composer for Broadway hits like Whats up, Dolly!, La Cage aux Folles, and Mame, died Thursday, The Associated Press studies. He was 88.

Herman’s goddaughter, Jane Dorian, confirmed his dying and stated the trigger was pulmonary complication. Herman had been residing along with his associate, Terry Marler, in Miami.

Herman’s oeuvre included 10 Broadway musicals that debuted between 1960 and 1998, whereas he additionally contributed music to a number of extra reveals. He gained 4 Tonys, together with Greatest Composer and Lyricist for Whats up, Dolly!, Greatest Unique Rating for La Cage aux Folles, a particular Lifetime Achievement in Theatre prize in 2009, and Greatest Revival of a Musical for Whats up, Dolly! in 2017. Alongside the way in which, Herman additionally picked up two Grammys, Music of the 12 months in 1964 for the titular observe from Whats up, Dolly!, and Greatest Rating From an Unique Forged Present Album in 1966 for Mame. In 2010, he was named a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Herman rose to fame within the Sixties, when Broadway was starting to embrace reveals with heavier themes and music — however Herman’s type was harking back to Rodgers and Hammerstein and musical theater’s golden age of 20 years prior. His melodies had been infectious and easy, his lyrics typically bursting with optimism and pleasure (“We will inform, Dolly/ You’re nonetheless glowin’, you’re nonetheless crowin’/ You’re nonetheless goin’ robust,” goes “Whats up, Dolly!”).

Whereas Herman didn’t essentially place himself as an opponent of musical theater’s evolution and alter, he was dedicated to the core tenets of its golden age. When requested in regards to the rising presence of rock in musicals in a 1969 interview with Broadway licenser, Tams-Witmark, Herman stated, “Definitely rock has its place on the American musical stage, simply as the subsequent pop sound may have its place a number of years from now, however it’s the musical comedy writing that ignores immediately’s jukebox that continues to be traditional and timeless.”

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Herman was born in New York Metropolis in 1931 and raised in Jersey Metropolis. He taught himself to play the piano and began on his profession path after his dad and mom took him to see Annie Get Your Gun. He studied theater on the College of Miami, then returned to New York, the place he labored as a musician and ultimately debuted on Broadway with some songs he contributed to the 1960 revue, From A to Z. The next yr, his first full present, Milk and Honey — in regards to the founding of Israel — premiered and earned 5 Tony nominations, together with Greatest Musical.

Three years later, Herman would rating his first main hit with Whats up, Dolly! The present cleaned up on the Tonys, profitable 10 of the 11 awards it was nominated for, and it could run for nearly seven years and a pair of,844 performances, making it the longest-running Broadway musical on the time. 1966’s Mame was one other smash, profitable three Tony Awards and working for 1,500 performances.

Over the subsequent decade, Herman wrote three reveals — 1969’s Pricey World, 1974’s Mack & Mabel, and 1979’s The Grand Tour — that had been well-received however struggled to last more than just a few months on Broadway. His subsequent true hit didn’t come till 1983, with La Cage aux Folles — a revolutionary musical adaptation of a French play a few homosexual couple who run a drag nightclub, and a ebook by Harvey Fierstein. The present would run for over 4 years, decide up six Tonys, together with Greatest Musical, and its large Act One finale, “I Am What I Am” would develop into a pleasure anthem.

As NPR notes, amidst the success of La Cage aux Folles, Herman’s longtime associate, Marty Finkelstein, died of problems from AIDS, and Herman was additionally recognized as HIV-positive. Although this was on the top of the AIDS disaster, Herman was capable of keep alive because of a routine of medicine, and over time he labored diligently to boost cash for AIDS analysis.

Herman successfully retired from Broadway after La Cage aux Folles, although he was behind a handful of revues that includes music from all through his profession, 1985’s Jerry’s Ladies, 1998’s An Night With Jerry Herman, and an off-Broadway present, Showtune. In 1996, Herman printed his autobiography, additionally titled Showtune.