Original Cast Recording
|Basis||Revue of Jerry Herman's songs|
Created by Herman and Larry Alford in 1981, the show originated as a modest presentation at Onstage, a nightclub located in the Theater District in midtown-Manhattan (New York City). Writing in The New York Times, John S. Wilson called it "a brilliantly lively and scintillating evening of cabaret."
After La Cage aux Folles opened to rave reviews two years later, producer Zev Bufman approached the pair and suggested they mount a full-scale, all-star version. On February 28, 1984, the expanded Jerry's Girls premiered at the Royal Poinciana Playhouse in Palm Beach, Florida, with Carol Channing, Andrea McArdle, and Leslie Uggams, backed by an all-female chorus, recreating scenes and songs from Herman's hits, including Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and Mack and Mabel. Jerry's Girls, the show's opening number set to the music of "It's Today" from Mame, enumerated the many actresses who had appeared in Herman productions over the years. An original cast recording was released by Polydor Records.
After fourteen previews, the Broadway production, directed by Alford and choreographed by Wayne Cilento, opened on December 18, 1985 at the St. James Theatre, where it ran for 141 performances. Uggams was joined by new cast members Dorothy Loudon and Chita Rivera. In a continuously critical review, Frank Rich of The New York Times wrote "The only thing that Jerry's Girls has in common with a bona fide Jerry Herman musical is that it occupies the St. James, the theater where Dolly once promised she'd never go away again... Whatever the point of the all-female cast, one must still wonder why the show's particular female stars were chosen. None of them have been associated with Mr. Herman's musicals. Only one (Miss Uggams) is primarily a singer. All three have strident mannerisms that the director, Larry Alford, takes sadistic glee in calling to our attention."
Chita Rivera was nominated for her role in this musical at the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical at the 1986 40th Tony Awards.
Original cast album song list
- Wilson, John S."'Jerry's Girls' review"New York Times, August 20, 1981
- "'Jerry's Girls' listing guidetomusicaltheatre.com, retrieved April 19, 2010
- Rich, Frank."Theater Review"New York Times, December 19, 1985
- Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical#1980s Tony Awards lists on Wikipedia