Jerry’s Girls is night of fantastic entertainment looking back at the success of composer and lyricist Jerry Herman and the women who influenced his life. Some of these women include well known names such as Angela Lansbury in Mame and Barbra Streisand, Carol Channing and Ethel Merman in Hello Dolly!. Herman claims that the biggest influence in his life was his mother, Ruth, and he often used the strong female role-models in his life to create his female characters. After the success of La Cage Aux Folles, Carol Channing, Andrea McArdle and Leslie Uggams took Jerry’s Girls to Broadway.
The intimate auditorium of the St James Studio is decorated with photos of all of ‘Jerry’s girls’ which shows the extent of Herman’s success. When you look across a room and Bea Arthur is staring back at you, you know you’ve made it.
The small cast includes Anna-Jane Casey, Ria Jones and Sarah-Louise Young. They are backed by pianist, Edward Court and reeds are played by Sophie Byrne. The cast are the perfect embodiment of the phrase ‘good things come in small packages’ and the dynamics among them shows a friendship beyond just colleagues, which worked well with Herman’s music. The performers are all incredibly charismatic and completely lovable. Between songs, they take the audience through Herman’s career, usually taking the most humorous route to their anecdote. In fact, no other cast would be able to convince you that ‘We Need A Little Christmas’ in March.
It is so amazing to be able to hear the man himself speak as excerpts of interviews play. No matter what point of his career he’s being interviewed, it is obvious that he is still overwhelmed and surprised by the success his musicals brought him. Even if you go in thinking you do not know the music of Jerry Herman, there is something recognisable to everyone.
The five performers never cease to surprise the audience with their own flourishes throughout the performance. If you want to ‘Tap Your Troubles Away’, Jerry’s girls can show you how. If you want to know what ‘Bosom Buddies’ are, they are here to help. Most of all Jerry’s girls will relay Herman’s most important message to his fans: ‘I am what I am’. It’s only showing for a brief time so get down there fast as ‘The Best of Times is Now’.
Jerry’s Girls is playing St James Studio until 15 March. For more information and tickets, see the St James Theatre website.