Showtune (musical)

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This article is about the 2003 musical revue. For other uses, see Show Tunes (disambiguation).
Logo, 2003 New York Production
Music Jerry Herman
Lyrics Jerry Herman
Book Paul Gilger
Productions 1985 San Francisco, premiere
1987 San Diego
1987 Hawaii
1996 San Francisco, encore
1998 London
2003 New York City
2003 Los Angeles
2003 Florida
2006 Edinburgh
2008 Tokyo

Showtune is an internationally popular Off Broadway musical revue celebrating the words and music of Broadway composer Jerry Herman. Its title was inspired by Herman's autobiography of the same name.

The forty songs featured in Showtune come from the Herman Broadway musicals Milk and Honey (1961), Hello, Dolly! (1964), Mame (1966), Dear World (1969), Mack & Mabel (1974), The Grand Tour (1979), A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine (1980), and La Cage aux Folles (1983).

Conceived by California architect Paul Gilger, the songs in Showtune are juxtaposed into thematic scenes and song-cycles, placing a strong emphasis on Herman's lyrics and their optimistic messages. The song-cycle format creates dramatic sub-texts giving through-lines to the show, making Showtune unique among musical revues.

Scene and Song List[edit]


Courtesy of Music Theatre International


Scene 1

We are welcomed to the world of Jerry Herman, one of the Golden Age of Broadway's pre-eminent tunesmiths, with the glittering opening number from Mame – "It's Today!" Also included in this dazzling opening number is yet another optimistic view of life in Show Biz – "Big Time" from the 1974 hit Mack and Mabel – originally starring Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters.

Scene 2

"We Need A Little Christmas" opens the next section and tells us how to deal with the bad news we seem to find everywhere. If thinking of Christmas doesn't help, then all you have to do is "Put On Your Sunday Clothes!" The number ends with the cast in their Sunday finery simulating a train with the men's bowler hats becoming smokestacks and the ladies' parasols acting as the wheels.

Scene 3

We're taken backstage to a Cabaret where we find an actor sitting in front of his makeup mirror. He is "putting on his Sunday clothes" in the process of making no ordinary transformation – he is preparing to become "Zaza" the star of La Cage Aux Folles! ("A Little More Mascara"). Zaza makes "herself" right at home as a crescent moon descends for "The Man in the Moon" and deftly performs the obbligato. The scene ends with the full cast declaring the right of each individual to live their own life in "I Am What I Am."

Scene 4

"The Four Seasons" is the theme for a view of Herman's unique outlook on love. In the "Spring" of love we hear the plaintive "I Won't Send Roses" with both sides of the couples thoughts on the matter represented; the anticipation of love in "Ribbons Down My Back" and the preparation for dating with instruction in "Dancing."

A battle of the sexes ensues as we reach the hot "Summer" of love as the men sing the chauvinistic "It Takes A Woman" driving the women to announce that they're going "Wherever He Ain't!" The men counter with the fact that there are "Hundreds of Girls" to be had and take out their little black books as proof. The address books are quickly confiscated as the ladies bid the men "So Long, Dearie" and we approach the more reflective nature of "Autumn."

Recounting a memory of love we hear one woman confide to the others "And I Was Beautiful" prompting a gentleman to suggest that someone "Kiss Her Now" (While She's Young). The cast interlocks their thoughts and sing both songs in counterpoint segueing to the "Winter" of love where we discover that "Time Heals Everything."

Scene 5

What's that I hear down the street? Is that a parade? We'd better go and taste Saturday's high life "Before the Parade Passes By!" We quickly find out that "One Person" can beat a drum and change the world and that we need to "Open a New Window" everyday. After a breath-taking counterpoint section of all three we end the act with a jubilant reprise of "Before the Parade Passes By."


Scene 1

Act Two begins with a visit to the movies and the world of silent film. Mack Sennett introduces us to the days when "Movies Were Movies" and we follow the Mack and Mabel love story through the eyes of a cameraman who sings "Look What Happened to Mabel" to inform us about her burgeoning career. Mabel enters dressed as one of Sennett's famous bathing beauties and dances a youthful Charleston to "That's How Young I Feel" before reprising "Look What Happened to Mabel" backed by Mack, the cameraman, a stage manager and a few extras.

Jeanette MacDonald, wearing a bonnet over her blonde curls, and Nelson Eddy, sporting his Mountie uniform, enter for Take 113 of "My Best Girl." At the end of the number, an exasperated Mack yells "Cut!!!" as Nelson exits. Jeanette, left sprawled on the floor wearing her hoop-skirt, sings of the difficulty of appearing opposite the talent-free Mr. Eddy ("Nelson").

The cast enters and sits facing the audience as if they were watching a movie. They ask the audience if they "need to relax? need to escape?" and advise "Go see Fay Wray in the palm of an ape" in "Just Go to the Movies" – a celebration of the Golden Age of Hollywood in a remarkable "list" song.

Scene 2

As the cast exits, a woman helps one of the men with a costume change and they exchange a glance – a moment of unrequited love ("It Only Takes a Moment"). As the beautiful ballad finishes, a very pregnant Agnes Gooch enters singing, "It only took a moment..." and segues into her big number "Gooch's Song." In response to Agnes' final question of "What do I do now?" a man enters wearing tap shoes and encourages Agnes to "Tap Your Troubles Away" and is soon joined by all the other men in a rousing tap number.

Scene 3

As if Agnes Gooch weren't woman enough for these guys, Dolly Levi enters in her red feathered headdress as the men welcome her with "Hello, Dolly!" Not one to be outdone, Mame Dennis enters wearing her signature white satin turban and full-length gloves as the men greet her with an abbreviated chorus of "Mame."

The two women acknowledge each other in a biting little exchange, setting up the "friendly" rivalry that the two must have shared as leading ladies of the Broadway stage as they launch into "Bosom Buddies." The number ends in a hilarious cat-fight between the two!

Scene 4

Now that we've seen the funny side of Jerry Herman we visit the serious and deeply romantic side as one of the men, in a moment of optimistic denial, sings "I Don't Want to Know." As we are swept into his world we discover that there are more inhabitants here – bitter lovers with unresolved issues who, as we find out, still have beautiful memories of their love ("Song on the Sand"). The couples all embrace the beauty of the love that they have or once had.

Scene 5

As peace comes to their relationships, the audience is tenderly instructed in the various meanings of "Shalom" which is responded to by the stirring "I'll Be Here Tomorrow."

A woman enters and wonders about the way she conducted herself in the poignant "If He Walked Into My Life." She is consoled by a man who says, "I Promise You a Happy Ending" like the ones that you see on the screen, but before he finishes the last line the cast struts on in silk top hats for the Finale singing a rousing medley of "Mame," "The Best of Times" and topped with a reprise of "It's Today."

Curtain Call

As if this hadn't been enough entertainment for one lifetime, the cast takes its bows singing "Hello, Dolly!" while encouraging the audience to join in and celebrate the remarkable music and career of Jerry Herman.


The entire show is quickly paced with brilliantly arranged medleys of Herman's wonderful songs, constructed so that each has its own unique dramatic commentary.

The complete show features 40 songs from Milk and Honey, Hello, Dolly!, Mame, Dear World, Mack and Mabel, The Grand Tour, A Day in Hollywood, and La Cage Aux Folles.

The abridged one-act version contains the same basic structure of the full show with condensed medleys, but still featuring a full 30 songs from the above-mentioned hits.

Production history[edit]

Tune the Grand Up in California[edit]

San Francisco, premiere[edit]

Showtune was originally titled Tune the Grand Up, and premiered May 1, 1985 as a cabaret production at The 1177 Club in the Gramercy Towers on Nob Hill in San Francisco. It was directed by Paul Gilger and Barbara Valente, with choreography by Valente, and musical direction by James Followell. The show was produced by Eve Stoddard with production management by Gene Price and stage management by Bill Perez. The production received unanimous rave reviews from 13 newspapers, including both the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner. The show ran for 2 years, winning 11 awards including 3 awards for Best Musical from Hollywood Drama-Logue, Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, and the San Francisco Council on Entertainment. The original San Francisco cast was:

  • John Nockels (Man 1)
  • Darlene Popovic (Woman 1)
  • James Followell (Man 2 and the Pianist)
  • Alma Sayles (Woman 2)
  • David Broussal (Man 3)
  • Lise-Marie Thomas (Woman 3)

Cindy Herron joined the cast in the second year as Woman 3. Herron subsequently went on to star as one of the original four singers in the R&B female group En Vogue.

San Diego[edit]

In March 1987, a second company of Tune the Grand Up opened at the Lyceum Space Theatre in San Diego, also receiving rave reviews, including Variety. The San Diego cast was:

  • John Nockels
  • Darlene Popovic
  • James Followell
  • Mimi Unser
  • Timothy Connell
  • Cindy Herron

Timothy Connell went on to perform for three years in the Broadway production of Monty Python's Spamalot.


In September 1987, a third company of Tune the Grand Up performed at the Kahilu Theatre in Kamuela (Waimea), Hawaii. The production was financed by actor Richard Smart, who was the owner of the Parker Ranch on the Big Island. Smart had seen the original production in San Francisco and brought the revue to the 490 seat Kahilu Theatre which he had built in 1979 in the town of Kamuela, which sits on the Parker Ranch. The Hawaii production was directed and supervised by Paul Gilger. The Hawaii cast was:

  • John Nockels
  • A.J. Holmes
  • Lem Ignacio
  • Alma Sayles
  • David Broussal
  • Cindy Herron


In 1996, New York producer Jennifer Strome optioned the rights to Tune the Grand Up and produced all subsequent productions of the revue up through the 2003 New York production, beginning with the successful 1996 production in the Delta King Riverboat Theatre in Sacramento, California. The Sacramento cast was:

  • John Nockels
  • Mary Gannon
  • Barry Lloyd
  • Rachel Songer
  • Ric Iverson
  • Jennifer Russell

San Francisco, encore[edit]

During the holiday season of 1996, Tune the Grand Up returned to San Francisco at the Alcazar Theatre. The production was supervised by Jerry Herman, directed by Jay Manley, choreographed by Barbara Valente, with musical direction by Barry Lloyd. It won critical acclaim and a number of Hollywood Drama-Logue Awards, including one for each member of the cast:

The Best of Times in London[edit]


In 1998, the revue was produced twice in London, by Strome in association with Sharleen Cooper Cohen, with a new title, The Best of Times. It was directed and choreographed by Bill Starr, with musical supervision by Julian Kelly and with musical direction and band orchestrations by Fiz Shapur. The cast of the first London production at the Bridewell Theatre was:

  • Garth Bardsley
  • Melanie E. Marshall
  • Barry Lloyd
  • Lindsay Hamilton
  • Jamie Golding
  • Karen Evans

West End[edit]

The successful Bridewell production was transferred in late 1998 to the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End theatre district, again receiving rave reviews, including London's Sunday Times, Financial Times, Evening Standard, and Time Out London. The West End cast was:

  • Garth Bardsley
  • Kathryn Evans
  • James Followell
  • Sarah Payne
  • Jamie Golding
  • Lindsay Hamilton

Garth Bardsley went on to write the Anthony Newley biography, Stop the World.
Jamie Golding went on to perform the role of Rusty the Steam Engine in Starlight Express in the Starlighthalle production in Bochum, Germany, and in the New Zealand tour production.

Showtune in New York[edit]

NY Tryout & Off Broadway Production[edit]

In fall of 2002, the revue, now christened Showtune, had its New York out-of-town tryout at the Helen Hayes Theatre in Nyack, New York. The production was directed and choreographed by Joey McKneely, with musical direction by James Followell, set design by Klara Zieglerova, costume design by Tracy Christensen, lighting design by Brian Nason, sound design by Peter Fitzgerald, stage managed by Renee Lutz, casting by Cindi Rush, and general management by Peter Bogyo. The cast was expanded from six to seven:

In February 2003, Showtune opened Off Broadway at the Theatre at St Peter's in the Citicorp Center Building, receiving numerous rave reviews, including Variety, United Press International and the Associated Press. The revue was produced by Strome in partnership with famed film producer David Brown (Jaws, Driving Miss Daisy, Cocoon). McKechnie was not available for the Off Broadway production due to prior commitments. The original NY cast and production staff were the same as the tryout, with Karen Murphy replacing McKechnie.

Subsequent Premieres[edit]

Los Angeles[edit]

In June 2003, Showtune had its Los Angeles premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse, again to rave reviews, including the Los Angeles Times. The production was directed by Bill Starr and Sheldon Epps, with choreography by Starr and musical direction by James Followell. The LA cast was:

Merle Dandridge went on to perform the role of Joanne in the 2003 and 2008 Broadway productions and the 2009 National Tour of Rent, and the role of Lady of the Lake in the Broadway production of Monty Python's Spamalot.
Stephanie Lynge went on to perform in the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast.


In December 2003, Showtune had its Florida premiere at the Caldwell Theatre in Boca Raton. The production was directed by Michael Hall, with choreography by Barbara Flaten and musical direction by Bobby Peaco. The design team included sets by Tim Bennett, costumes by Estela Vrancovich, lighting by Tomas Salzman and sound by Steve Shapiro. The Florida cast was:

  • Martin Vidnovic
  • Lourelene Snedeker
  • Steve Wilson
  • Connie SaLoutos
  • Benjamin Schrader
  • Stephanie Lynge
  • Bobby Peaco

Benjamin Schrader went on to perform the role of Elder White in the Broadway production of The Book of Mormon.


Showtune had its Scottish premiere at the 2006 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Produced by Strictly Songtime, the Edinburgh cast was:

  • Greig W.W.Hill
  • Geraldine McDade
  • Ian McInnes
  • Anne Diack
  • Matthew Brown
  • Aileen Scott Johnson
  • Iain Rowbotham


In 2008, the Umeda Arts Theatre Co. LTD presented the Japan premiere of Showtune at the Galaxy Theatre in Tokyo on November 14, and then subsequently at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center in Nishinomiya, Hyogo on November 28. The Japanese-languaged production was produced by Emi Shinohara with Umeda Arts Theatre and directed by Akio Miki with the Takarazuka Revue Company, with musical direction by Masako Yoshida, and choreography by Miho Aoki, Norikazu Honma, and Kiyomi Maeda. The design team included sets by Syuusaku Nimura, costumes by Zirou Makoto, lighting by Toshiyuki Kasahara, sound by Masahito Ootsubo, and hair & makeup by Noriko Nakahara. Stage management by Teruhiko Nakanishi. The Japan cast was composed of alumni from the all-female Takarazuka Revue Company, performing both male roles (otokoyaku) and female roles (musumeyaku). The cast of 9, listed with their prior Takarazuka troupe affiliations, are:

Otokoyaku performers:

  • Saki Asaji 1983–1986 Moon, 1986–1998 Star (Takarazuka Top Otokoyaku Star 1994–1998)
  • Midori Hatsukaze 1988–1997 Flower, 1997–2000 Moon, 2000–2005 Senka
  • Saki Kaede 1990–1998 Snow, 1998–2002 Flower
  • Miran Ooma 1999–2006 Star

Musumeyaku performers:

Cast Recording[edit]

In 2004, a cast recording of Showtune was produced in New York City with members from the New York (NY), Los Angeles (LA) and Florida (FL) productions:

  • Martin Vidnovic (NY, LA & FL) (Man 1)
  • Karen Murphy (NY) (Woman 1)
  • Paul Harman (NY) and Steve Wilson (FL) (Man 2)
  • Sandy Binion (NY) (Woman 2)
  • Tom Korbee (NY) (Man 3)
  • Stephanie Lynge (LA & FL) (Woman 3)
  • Bobby Peaco (NY, LA & FL) (Man 4 and the Pianist)

Licensed Productions[edit]

Showtune has been licensed for numerous productions throughout the United States and overseas. A partial list:

(With the original title "Tune the Grand Up"):


  • Bakersfield Civic Light Opera, Bakersfield, California
  • Back Alley Theatre, Van Nuys, California


  • Brandywine Cabaret, Atlanta, Georgia


  • Richland Academy of the Arts, Mansfield, Ohio

(With the title "The Best of Times"):


  • City Varieties Music Hall, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
  • Sutton Coldfield Musical Theatre Company, Birmingham, West Midlands, England


  • Gloc Musical Theatre, Ealing, West London, England

(With the title "Showtune"):


  • Caldwell Theatre Company, Boca Raton, Florida
  • Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena, California


  • Desert Opera Theatre, Palmdale, California
  • Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota, Florida
  • Livestock Musical Theatre, Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Riverside Theatre, Vero Beach, Florida
  • Springfield Community Players, Springfield, Vermont
  • Vandervort Center Theatre, Springfield, Missouri
  • University of Miami, at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre, Coral Gables, Florida


  • Cypress College, Cypress, California
  • Knutsford Amateur Operatics Society, Knutsford, England
  • Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland
  • Oldham Metropolitan Amateur Operatic Society, Oldham, England
  • Plaza Theatrical Productions, Oceanside, New York
  • St. Mark Players, Washington, D.C.
  • Temple Sinai, Dresher, Pennsylvania


  • Applause Community Center, Burnsville, Minnesota
  • Athens Creative Theatre, Athens, Georgia
  • Bankstown Theatrical Society, Sydney, Australia
  • Community Players of Streator, Inc., Streator, Illinois
  • Connecticut Playmakers, Greenwich, Connecticut
  • Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Garden State Chorale, Moorestown, New Jersey
  • Red Barn Theatre, Key West, Florida
  • St. Louis Community College, Florissant Valley Campus, Missouri
  • Star Playhouse, Suffolk Y-JCC, Commack, New York


  • California State University, Chico, California
  • Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, North Carolina
  • Potters Bar Theatre Company at the Wyllyotts Theatre, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, Middlesex, England
  • Savannah Community Theatre, Savannah, Georgia
  • Spotlight Musical Productions, North York, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • St. Mary's University, Winona, Minnesota
  • Village Theatre Guild, Glen Ellyn, Illinois


  • Broward Stage Door Theatre, Coral Springs, Florida
  • Falkirk Bohemians Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland
  • Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York
  • Landmark Musicals, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Umeda Arts Theatre Company, at the Galaxy Theatre, Tokyo, Japan, & at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center, Nishinomiya, Japan
  • University of Chichester, at the Alexandra Theatre, Chichester, West Sussex, England. Directed by West End Cast member Garth Bardsley, with Musical Supervision by Julian Kelly.
  • University of South Carolina, Beauford, South Carolina


  • American Hebrew Academy, Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Backwell Playhouse, Backwell, Bristol, England
  • La Salle Academy, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York
  • Miami-Dade College Opera/Musical Theatre Ensemble, Miami, Florida
  • The Musical Theater Center, North Bethesda, Maryland
  • Theatre Company of Rhode Island, at the Assembly Theatre, Harrisville, Rhode Island
  • Uxbridge Musical Theatre, at the Compass Theatre, Uxbridge, Middlesex, England


  • Actors Theatre of Indiana, Carmel (Indianapolis), Indiana
  • Canberra Philharmonic Society, at Teatro Vivaldi, Canberra, Australia
  • Forest Musical Productions, at the Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford (Northeast London), England
  • The Park Players, Edgewater, New Jersey
  • Schuylerville Community Theatre, Schuylerville, New York
  • South Puget Sound Community College, at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, Olympia, Washington
  • Spotlight Theatre Company, at the John Hand Theatre, Denver, Colorado
  • University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


  • Footlighters, Inc., at the Stained Glass Theatre, Newport, Kentucky (Greater Cincinnati Area)
  • Herne Bay Musical Society, at the Playhouse Theatre, Whitstable, Kent, England
  • High School for the Performing Arts, Houston, Texas
  • Just Cause Productions, at the Aberdeen Arts Centre, Aberdeen, Scotland
  • St Thomas More Theatre Company, Middleton, Greater Manchester, England
  • Tip Top Productions, at The Forum Studio Theatre, Chester, Cheshire, England
  • WEK: Youth Music Theatre, at the Mitre Theatre, Croydon, Surrey, England


  • Boonah Community Theatre, at the Boonah Cultural Centre, Beaudesert, Queensland, Australia
  • Chatham Drama Guild, at the Creative Arts Center, Chatham (Cape Cod), Massachusetts
  • City Varieties Music Hall, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
  • Florida Atlantic University Festival Repertory Theatre, Boca Raton, Florida
  • Huntsville Community Chorus Association, Huntsville, Alabama
  • Illinois Theatre Center, Park Forest (Chicago), Illinois. (Showtune was Illinois Theatre Center's final production prior to theatre closing on May 2, 2012 due to passing of its founder Etel Billig.)
  • Lytham Amateur Operatic Society, at the Lowther Pavilion, Lytham, St. Annes, England
  • Pompano Beach Amphitheatre, Pompano Beach, Florida
  • Theatre of Performing Arts of Southern York County, New Freedom, Pennsylvania


  • Bridgwater Arts Centre, Bridgwater, Somerset, England
  • Chautauqua Players, Carmichael (Sacramento), California
  • Edinburgh College, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Lake Zurich Playhouse, Palatine, Illinois
  • Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York (Second production. First production in 2009.)
  • Rocky Hill Town Theatre, Rocky Hill, Connecticut
  • Sutter Street Theatre, Folsom, California
  • Travella High School, Coral Springs, Florida
  • White Pines Inn Dinner Theatre, White Pines State Park, Oregon, Illinois


  • Canberra Repertory Society, Canberra, Australia
  • Gloc Musical Theatre, Ealing, West London, England (Second production. First production in 2003 as "The Best of Times".)
  • Ocean County Vocational Tech School, Toms River, New Jersey
  • Ocean Professional Theatre Company, at OceanFirst Theatre, Stafford Township Arts Center, Manahawkin, New Jersey
  • Tredegar Operatic Society, at Beaufort Theatre, Ebbw Vale, Wales
  • Wigan Musical Theatre Group, St. Michaels Parish Hall, Wigan, Greater Manchester, England


  • Heart of the Hills Players, Warren, Michigan
  • Intermountain Christian School, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Loughton Operatic Society, at Lopping Hall, Loughton, Essex, England
  • Madison County Arts Council, at the Brennan Loft, London, Ohio
  • Pirate Jenny Cabaret, at The Gwyn Hall, Neath, West Glamorgan, Wales
  • Romsey Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, at the Plaza Theatre, Romsey, Hampshire, England
  • St. Philips Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, at St. Philips Parochial Hall, Bolton, Lancashire, England (Showtune was the final production at St. Philips Parochial Hall. Building sold in 2015 after 90 years of performances there.)


  • Cloak & Daggers Theatre, at the Penn's Landing Playhouse, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Showtune was the premiere production for this new theatre company.)
  • Conundrum Theatre Company, at the Rialto Theatre, South Pasadena, California
  • DeSales University, at the Labuda Center for Performing Arts, Center Valley, Pennsylvania
  • High School for the Performing Arts, at the Black Box Theatre, Houston, Texas (Second production. First production in 2011.)
  • Pirate Jenny Cabaret, at The Gwyn Hall, Neath, West Glamorgan, Wales (Second production. First production in 2015.)
  • Portsmouth Players, at the Players Studio Theatre, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
  • Sainsbury Singers, at the Oakwood Centre, Reading, England
  • Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park (Orlando), Florida


External links[edit]