A Spoonful of Sherman

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A Spoonful of Sherman
A Spoonful Of Sherman April 2014 flyer.jpg
St. James Theatre poster by Rebecca Pitt (Second Run)
Music Al Sherman, Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman and Robert J. Sherman
Lyrics Al Sherman, Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman and Robert J. Sherman
Book Robert J. Sherman
Productions 2014 London
2017 London
2018 UK/Ireland Tour

A Spoonful of Sherman is a musical revue which premiered on January 6, 2014 at the St. James Theatre in London and which is currently poised for its first UK/Ireland tour.[1] Originally produced, written and emceed by Robert J. Sherman, A Spoonful of Sherman first served as the UK book launch for Sherman's father's (posthumously released) autobiography: Moose: Chapters From My Life for which Sherman was also the book's editor. After each performance of that original run, Sherman participated in a book signing after the show. The show was billed as "A Celebration of the Life, Times and Songs of Robert B. Sherman" and was received extremely well by the crowd and the critics alike. The cast consisted of four rising West End theatre stars including Charlotte Wakefield, Emma Williams, Stuart Matthew Price and Greg Castiglioni. Musical Direction was provided by Colin Billing and the show was directed by Stewart Nicholls.[2] Lighting was designed by the show's Stage Manager Andrew Holton. In the 2017 version of the show, focus of the show's narrative shifted to both Sherman Brothers' lives as well as to the life of their father, Al Sherman.[3]

Productions[edit]

The show was produced by MusicWorld (UK) in association with the St. James Theatre, James Albrecht, Creative Director. Joanne Benjamin and Clive Chenery of The Entertainment Business provided General Management.

2014 Productions[edit]

A Spoonful of Sherman received outstanding notices, garnering four stars from Clive Davis of the London Times[4] as well as four and five star reviews from dozens of other papers and online reviewers.[5][6][7][8] The show covered ninety years of Sherman songwriting (including material written by the Sherman Brothers' father, Al Sherman (who began writing music in the early 1920s.) Songs written by the younger Robert Sherman were also included in the show as well) but the focus of the evening was the music and lyrics of Robert B. Sherman and the Sherman Brothers. "In deciding what songs to select, particular emphasis was put on material that would propel the narrative of Robert B. Sherman's life story forward. My narration would then fill in the gaps. Of course almost all of the famous stuff made it in. Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Winnie the Pooh , The Jungle Book and "It's A Small World (After All)" were represented, but I'm particularly pleased that we were able to include some unexpected gems in the mix as well."[9] A Spoonful of Sherman was so successful in its own right, that further shows were scheduled for April 2014.[10][11]

2017 Production[edit]

A Spoonful of Sherman returned to London, playing August 7 - 20, 2017 at "Live at Zédel". Helena Blackman and Daniel Boys starred alongside pianist/singer Christopher Hamilton. Narrating the show once again was Robert J. Sherman.[12][13][14][15] While the book for the two 2014 productions largely remained the same, in the 2017 version, Sherman modified his script, removing emphasis on his father, Robert B. Sherman's life and making the story more about both Sherman Brothers (Robert and Richard) and their Tin Pan Alley era songwriter father, Al Sherman. New musical arrangements were provided by Rowland Lee. Robert J. Sherman explained that changes had to do with the evolution of the show's purpose for being. In 2014 the show was designed merely to serve as a "happy memorial" to his recently deceased songwriter father, Robert B. Sherman. But as the show grew, it began to take on a life of its own, the purpose, and therefore, the focus of the show needed to change as well.[16]

2018 UK/Ireland Tour[edit]

On December 20, 2017, producers James Yeoburn of United Theatrical and Robert J. Sherman announced the launch of the first A Spoonful of Sherman UK/Ireland. The tour premiered on February 14, 2018 at the EM Forester Theatre in Tonbridge, Kent with its press night held on March 27 in Greenwich. The tour was a radical departure from the previous three productions. The evolution could be described as a morphing from a clever cabaret to a fully realized albeit minimalist, stage musical. Cast members for the tour include Sophie-Louise Dann, Mark Read, Glen Facey, Jenna Innes and Ben Stock. Directing and choreographing is Stewart Nicholls. A new book was devised by Robert Sherman. Stage and costume design is by Gabriella Slade and new musical arrangements and musical supervision is by Rowland Lee. Listed among the first tranche of tour venues are Pavilion Theatre (Bournemouth); Theatre Royal (St. Helens); Tivoli Theatre (Aberdeen); Eden Court (Inverness); Hippodrome (Darlington); Chequer Mead (East Grinstead); Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (Guildford); Theatre Royal (Windsor); Greenwich Theatre (London)[17][18] Buxton Opera House (Buxton); Swansea Grand Theatre (Swansea); Harrogate Theatre (Harrogate); Atkinson Theatre (Southport); Queens Theatre (Hornchurch); Shanklin Theatre (Isle of Wight); Riverfront Center Theatre, (Newport); Octagon Theatre (Yeovil); Wyvern Theatre (Swindon); Theatre Royal (Lincoln); Playhouse Theatre (Weston-super-Mare); Northcott Theatre (Exeter); Queens Theatre, (Barnstaple); Theatre Royal, (Dumfries); Beacon Arts Centre, (Greenock); Everyman Theatre (Cork) and Pavilion Theatre (Dublin).[19]

Origin of the Name[edit]

A Spoonful of Sherman is derived from the title of the popular song "A Spoonful of Sugar" from the successful 1964 Walt Disney musical motion picture, Mary Poppins. The song was written by the Sherman Brothers.

Critical praise for A Spoonful of Sherman[edit]

  • Pete Shaw of Broadway Baby gave the show 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ writing: "There’s a light bulb moment in A Spoonful Of Sherman when you realise its magic lies not within its high production values, exquisite lighting, fantastic set, immaculate choreography or supremely talented cast, but with the memories these songs ignite...Ultimately, A Spoonful Of Sherman is a feel-good musical journey executed with polished flair."[20]
  • Clive Davis of The London Times gave the show 4 Stars ★ ★ ★ ★, writing that it was: “A show that strings together one joyous hit after another, delivered by a first-rate quartet of singers.”[4]
  • Mark Shenton of The Stage wrote, "There’s plenty to both surprise and delight here."[5]
  • UK Theatre Web gave the show 5 Stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ writing: “It really was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Riffs and mash-ups on Winnie The Pooh, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins and a smashing Al Sherman Medley made the evening all too short, all too few songs, all the more memorable. I feel privileged to have been there. A truly scrumptious smorgasbord of smash hits by the Sherman Brothers.”[21]
  • North West End gave the show 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ writing: "The Sherman Brothers might have said that a song must be Singable, Sellable and Sincere. But, A Spoonful Of Sherman is Stylist, Slick and Superbly Sang throughout."[22]
  • Bargaintheatreland gave the show 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ writing: "Something magical happened at St James Theatre – it was a night of revelation, emotion and sheer joy."[23]
  • Jonathan Baz gave the show 4 Stars ★ ★ ★ ★ in 2014 writing: “It is a wonder that this charming show has not been staged before. Amidst all of Broadway’s giant songwriting partnerships, none reaches out to the child within us quite like the legacy of the Sherman Brothers. Cleverly crafted songs that speak of hope against adversity, written in verses that talk to every age. This show deserves to tour and when it comes to your town, don’t miss it!”[24] In 2017 Baz reviewed the show again, and once again gave the show 4 Stars ★ ★ ★ ★ writing: "...but for all the family’s multi-generational talent, this show lives and breathes the genius of the Sherman Brothers. Love, laughter and history – it’s all here in a charming evening’s entertainment."[25]
  • Rhiannon Lawson of What's On Stage gave the show 4 Stars ★ ★ ★ ★ and wrote: "If you love a bit of nostaligia, enjoy flying a kite, singing with orangutans, feeding the birds or wondered what the wonderful thing about Tiggers is, you will have a Truly Scrumptious evening at A Spoonful of Sherman. Leaving the theatre with a spring in my step, I don't expect my sugar rush from this evening to be over for some time.[7]
  • Phil Willmott of London Box Office gave the 2017 Zedel production 5 Stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ commenting: "Sherman himself has a charming and unassuming stage persona and when he's joined by the glossily accomplished trio of Helena Blackman, Daniel Boys, and singer/accompanist Christopher Hamilton the four have an enjoyably quirky chemistry on stage. Helena Blackman has a soaring gorgeous voice and is adept at conveying every nuance of a lyric. Aspiring musical theatre performers really should study her technique and Daniel Boys combines a rich and sumptuous vocal range with a delightful playfulness."[26]
  • Edward Seckerson wrote: “A cavalcade of Sherman, three generations, no medicine, just charm, and one or two genuine surprises...to demonstrate that the legacy lives on – “Music of the Spheres” by Robert J. Sherman (given a real sheen by Stuart Matthew Price). I want to hear that again, as I do “The Whistle Tune” from Busker Alley.”[27]
  • Traffic Light Theatregoer wrote "Robert J. [Sherman]'s more recent works such as "Music Of The Spheres"...made A Spoonful Of Sherman a full-bodied experience for us. Helena Blackman soaring soprano easily encompassed a range of 20th century song styles from perky 1920s to near operetta to the limpid notes and musical hall idiom of Sherman Brothers' songs. Meanwhile Daniel Boys put his own Eastenders stamp on chimney sweep Bert's songs from Mary Poppins and the doowop jazzy Jungle Book numbers"[28]
A Spoonful of Sherman
A Spoonful of Sherman 2014-2015 Original Cast Recording CD Jewel Case.jpg
Cast recording by Original London Cast
Released 13 July 2015 (2015-07-13)
Genre Musical Theatre
Length 91:51
Label SimG Records
Producer Nick Lloyd Webber
  • Remotegoat gave the show 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ writing that it was: "Supercalifragilistic-expialidocious! An evening of magic and delight."[29]
  • Musical Theatre Review wrote: "I predict a great future for A Spoonful of Sherman. Don’t miss this great cast!"[6]
  • West End Wilma gave the show 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ writing: "The audience were on the edge of their seats yearning for more."[30]
  • The Public Reviews called the show: "Irresistible" giving it 4 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ “A delightful way to spend a couple of hours - great fun."[31]
  • The Leighton Buzzard Observer wrote: “Walt Disney may have built a magical ‘toon empire but it was the Sherman Brothers who gave the mouse maestro his voice. A Spoonful of Sherman is a night of pure indulgence.”[32]
  • Stagey Secrets wrote: “Truly scrumptious. The overwhelming power of their music is inescapable.”[33]

Original London Cast Recording[edit]

The double CD, Original London Cast Recording was recorded between July 2014 and February 2015. It was produced by Nicholas Lloyd Webber and mixed and engineered by Matthew Weir at the Palace Studios, located in London. Mastering was produced by Simon Grieff and engineered by Sam Featherstone at Price Recording. The executive producer of the album was Robert Sherman who also wrote and performed the narration and co-conceived the show with musical director, arranger and pianist, Colin Billing. It was released by SimG Records on July 13, 2015.[34] CD available at Dress Circle Reviews of the CD were extremely favorable.[35][36][37][38][39][40] The cast recording was released digitally on iTunes September 7, 2015.[41]

External Links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cheesman, Neil (December 20, 2017). "First Tour Dates Announced for A Spoonful of Sherman". London Theatre 1. Retrieved 5 January 2018. 
  2. ^ "St James Theatre - Events: A Spoonful of Sherman". 
  3. ^ Marcolina, Cindy (August 22, 2017). "BWW Interview: Robert J. Sherman Talks A SPOONFUL OF SHERMAN". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved September 8, 2017. In that 2014, earlier incarnation of the show, my dad was the protagonist, the focus of the story I was trying to tell. In 2017 though, I knew we needed to shift the focus so that it also incorporated my uncle and grandfather's stories too. So the protagonist shifted. The new protagonist became "THE IDEA of The Sherman Brothers". It sounds like a peculiar sort of protagonist, I suppose - even to us "writer types". But when you realise that it was very much my grandfather's mission to have his two sons collaborate on songs together, very much in his footsteps, then you understand that the "idea of The Sherman Brothers" has a life and a personality of its own. 
  4. ^ a b Davis, Clive. "A Spoonful of Sherman at the St. James Theatre, SW1" The Times, January 15, 2014
  5. ^ a b Shenton, Mark. "A Spoonful of Sherman" The Stage, April 22, 2014
  6. ^ a b Honoré, Patrick. "A Spoonful of Sherman – St James Studio Theatre" Musical Theatre Review, January 19, 2014
  7. ^ a b Lawson, Rhiannon (April 26, 2014). "A Spoonful of Sherman (St James Theatre)". whatsonstage.com. 
  8. ^ Anderson, Gemma (April 21, 2014). "Review: A Spoonful of Sherman, St James Theatre". ayoungertheatre.com. 
  9. ^ Robert J. Sherman comments on "A Spoonful of Sherman" facebook.com, accessed August 1, 2015
  10. ^ Admin (February 21, 2014). "Critically acclaimed 'A Spoonful of Sherman' returns to St James Studio From Tuesday 15 – Tuesday 22 April 2014". theartsshelf.com. 
  11. ^ Shenton, Mark (March 4, 2014). "A Spoonful of Sherman, Celebration of Songs By Three Generations of Songwriters, to Be Reprised at London's St. James Theatre Studio". playbill.com. 
  12. ^ Hanks-Farmer, Caroline. "A Spoonful of Sherman – Live at The Zedel until 20th August". Carns Theatre Passion. Retrieved 15 August 2017. 
  13. ^ "A Spoonful of Sherman". Live At Zedel (2017). 
  14. ^ Hewis, Ben (13 June 2017). "Casting announced for A Spoonful of Sherman at Live at Zedel". What's On Stage. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 
  15. ^ News Desk (14 June 2017). "Cast Announced For A SPOONFUL OF SHERMAN Live at Zédel". West End Wilma. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 
  16. ^ Johnson, Paul. "A Spoonful of Sherman Magic". Sardines Magazine. Retrieved 22 February 2018. 
  17. ^ BWW News Desk (December 20, 2017). "Sherman Brothers Musical to Tour UK". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 22 December 2017. 
  18. ^ Cheesman, Neil (December 20, 2017). "First Tour Dates Announced for A Spoonful of Sherman". London Theatre 1. Retrieved 22 December 2017. Robert J. Sherman, son of Robert B. Sherman and a successful composer in his own right brings the utterly compelling story of one family’s century-long, award-winning musical journey to UK audiences in 2018. 
  19. ^ "A Spoonful of Sherman Tour Dates". Small World International, Ltd. Retrieved 18 February 2018. 
  20. ^ Shaw, Pete (27 March 2018). "A Spoonful Of Sherman". BroadwayBaby.com. Retrieved 30 March 2018. 
  21. ^ Weston, Orlando (January 14, 2014). "Robert J Sherman at the St James Theatre". uktw.co.uk. 
  22. ^ Cox, Daniel. "A Spoonful of Sherman - Theatre Royal, St Helens". North West End. Retrieved 30 March 2018. 
  23. ^ Cronin, Caroline (January 13, 2014). "A Spoonful of Sherman". bargaintheatreland.com. 
  24. ^ Baz, Jonathan (January 14, 2014). "A Spoonful of Sherman". jonathanbaz.com. 
  25. ^ Baz, Jonathan (15 August 2017). "A Spoonful of Sherman". jonathanbaz.com. Retrieved 16 August 2017. 
  26. ^ Willmott, Phil (August 17, 2017). "Review: A SPOONFUL OF SHERMAN at Zédel Brasserie". London Box Office. Retrieved September 8, 2017. 
  27. ^ Seckerson, Edward (January 14, 2014). "A Spoonful of Sherman, St. James' Theatre Studio". edwardseckerson.biz. 
  28. ^ NewsDesk (August 11, 2017). "A Spoonful of Sherman - Worth A Lot More Than Tuppence". Traffic Light Theatergoer. Retrieved September 8, 2017. 
  29. ^ Waites, Aline (January 14, 2014). ""Sheer Musical Magic and Delight"". remotegoat.com. 
  30. ^ West End Wilma (February 10, 2014). "Critically acclaimed ★★★★★ 5* A Spoonful of Sherman returns to St James Studio". westendwilma.com. 
  31. ^ Foster, Ian (April 20, 2014). "A Spoonful of Sherman – St James Studio, London". thepublicreviews.com. 
  32. ^ Cox, Anne (January 14, 2014). "A Spoonful of Sherman - Teamwork Creates A Dazzling Show". Leighton Buzzard Observer online. 
  33. ^ Miles, Louise (January 14, 2014). "A Spoonful of Sherman - Review 13/01/14". stageysecrets.com. 
  34. ^ BWW News Desk (July 9, 2015). "A Spoonful of Sherman: Original London Cast Recording Out Next Week". broadwayworld.com. 
  35. ^ Baz, Jonathan (July 12, 2015). "A Spoonful of Sherman CD Review (5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★)". jonathanbaz.com. 
  36. ^ Cooper, Jackson (July 10, 2015). "CD Review: A Spoonful of Sherman (4 1/2 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2)". thepublicreviews.com. 
  37. ^ Wakeham, Nick (July 17, 2015). "CD Reviews – A Spoonful of Sherman, Lost West End, Gypsy, The Scottsboro Boys, The King and I". musicaltheatrereview.com. 
  38. ^ Eastham, Terry (July 7, 2015). "Review of SimG Record's A Spoonful of Sherman (4 stars ★ ★ ★ ★)". London Theatre 1. 
  39. ^ "CD Review: A Spoonful of Sherman (Original London Cast Recording)". Ought To Be Clowns (blog spot). July 19, 2015. 
  40. ^ "SimG Records: A Spoonful of Sherman: Original Cast Recording". simgproductions.com. Retrieved March 27, 2016. 
  41. ^ "iTunes: A Spoonful of Sherman (Original London Cast Recording)". itunes.apple.com. Retrieved March 27, 2016.