Even the flops and failures of a fine musical-theatre composer will contain gems that deserve to take on a life of their own, alongside the big hits from the composer's catalog. The musical revue "Jerry's Girls," featuring the music and lyrics of award-winning Broadway composer Jerry Herman, “was the show that marked my Broadway debut... ages ago!” laughs Springfield native and Broadway/TV veteran Kim Crosby. She’s one of the lead performers in Springfield Contemporary Theatre’s new production of “Jerry’s Girls,” directed and choreographed by Josh Inman. It opens tonight (Friday August 12) at SCT Center Stage in Wilhoit Plaza and runs through August 28. “I was one of the ensemble women,” says Kim, “and it was a phenomenal experience to have worked with the original stars there: Dorothy Loudon, Chita Rivera and Leslie Uggams. For the SCT production this month she’s doing the Leslie Uggams songs. The other leads in the SCT staging are Carol Reinert and Kelly Osborne. SCT’s Alex Huff is the musical director.
In addition to songs from Herman’s major hits like “Hello, Dolly!”, “Mame,” and “La Cage Aux Folles,” the review spotlights songs from earlier and/or lesser-known Jerry Herman scores such as “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine,” “Mack and Mable,” and “Milk and Honey.”
Musical revues like “Jerry’s Girls” are always an exercise in discovery, says director/choreographer Josh Inman. “When I first started working on this show, there are, of course, the classics that you come to expect when you come to the show. But there are several songs that I was not familiar with, but they are just as good (as the famous ones). And audiences, they’re going to love it. It takes you through Herman’s canon, but it’s so much more than that.”
“And we don’t just sing the ‘women’s songs’, either—we sing all the male characters’ songs too!” says Kim Crosby.
Kim made sure to point out that “we have a terrific group of ensemble women—four gals, and they work harder than we did in the Broadway company! There were of 8 of us in the company; all of us were singer-dancers. But (our smaller ensemble) is doing every single number. Phenomenally talented.” Adds Josh Inman, “they support the (three) leading ladies, but there are several moments in the show that they get to be featured as well.” The ensemble is comprised of MSU Theatre and Dance students Molly Fowler, Natalie Gorman, Olivia Jones and Haley Rolland.
Performances of “Jerry’s Girls” are Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 PM & Sundays at 2:00 PM August 12-28. For ticket information call Springfield Contemporary Theatre at 831-8001 or visit www.springfieldcontemporarytheatre.org.