By Ellis Nassour
Last Monday May 17, at the Players Club in Gramercy Park, the Theatre Museum honored Disney film musical legends Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, with its Theatre Museum’s Career Achievement Award, the Mint Theatre Company for Theatre Preservation in their mission to revive long ago classics; and Samuel French, the publisher/licensee of countless plays, for Theatre Arts Education.
Disney Theatrical’s Thomas Schumacher made the presentation to Richard Sherman, who accepted on behalf of his brother Robert, who was in London and unable to attend. Veteran actor George Morfogen made the Mint presentation to the theatre’s A.D. Jonathan Bank.
Among the artists providing entertainment were John Bolton, Kevin Cahoon, Jim Dale, Jessica Grove, and Noah Racey. The entertainment portion was directed by Tony Walton, with Aaron Gandy as musical director.
Tony and Drama Desk winner Dale, an Oscar-winner for Best Song for his tune "Georgy Girl," performed Sherman Brothers songs from the once-Broadway bound musical, Busker Alley, based on the film St. Martin’s Lane which starred Charles Laughton.
"I remember the buskers outside London’s West End theatres in the late 40s," said Dale. "I’d been taught their comedic dancing when I was nine, so when Tony Walton [who was to direct the musical] offered me the role of Charlie Baxter, I had a good idea of his kind of life. I went a step further and learned ventriloquism and to play ukulele. It’s a wonderful role for any song and dance man. I still hope one day it will materialize onstage. My added experience as a comic in the British Music Hall traditions was an enormous help. The score is better than Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang and Mary Poppins."
Helen Marie Guditis, is the Theatre Museum’s board prez with Bway producer/author/playwright Stewart F. Lane as board chair. The Museum has presented awards for excellence in theater history preservation and theater arts education, For more information on Theatre Museum programs, visit www.thetheatremuseum.org.
Photography By Genevieve Keddy