By Helaine Feldman, ZEALnyc Contributing Writer, February 2, 2017
One of the most highly anticipated events of the 2017 Broadway season is the upcoming revival of Hello, Dolly! starring Bette Midler and featuring a memorable score by Jerry Herman.
But, before that, the York Theatre will be presenting an earlier work by Herman, his first Broadway show in fact, Milk and Honey.
Milk and Honey opened at the Martin Beck Theatre on October 10, 1961 and ran for a very respectable 543 performances. Set against the backdrop of Israel's struggle for recognition, the show starred Yiddish theatre legend Molly Picon, along with Metropolitan opera stars Mimi Benzell and Robert Weede, and garnered a Best Original Score Tony nomination for Herman.
This current production launches the Winter 2017 Musicals in Mufti series at the York (mufti meaning "in street clothes, without the trappings associated with a full production"). The 12-member cast is led by American operatic bass-baritone Mark Delavan (Metropolitan Opera), Alix Korey (the delightful Yente, the matchmaker, from last season's Fiddler on the Roof) and Anne Runolfsson (The Phantom of the Opera).
Although Milk and Honey often gets lost in the list of Jerry Herman's bigger hits, a 1994 revival at Off-Broadway's American Jewish Theatre prompted a New York Times review by David Richards, which said: "...There is always Mr. Herman's score to soar to the rescue. I wouldn't want to dismiss Hello, Dolly! or Mame. But is it possible that his very best work came first?"
The limited engagement of Milk and Honey runs through February 5 at the York Theatre Company at Saint Peters, 619 Lexington Avenue, entrance on East 54th Street).
And, something else for musical theatre fans to look forward to in 2017 is Jerry Herman's score for Dear World, a musical adaption of The Madwoman of Chaillot, which played on Broadway in 1969 starring Angela Lansbury. Dear World, with Tyne Daly, is scheduled as the third of the series of Musicals in Mufti, playing at the York Theatre from February 25-March 5.
That makes a trio of Herman hits coming this season -- three times a charm!
Cover: Bette Midler; photo: courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
Helaine Feldman, a Contributing Writer for ZEALnyc, writes about theater performance and related features.
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