Jerry Herman: If he walked into my life
I chose this song both because it’s a wonderful song from a great show, but also to highlight Jerry Herman and Marin Mazzie, two giants who each died in the last few years. I feel that even though Jerry Herman won two Tony awards, he may be somewhat overlooked as a songwriter. And it’s hard to overstate the importance of La Cage aux Folles in raising the profile of gay life into the mainstream during the AIDS crisis of the 1980’s.
Most people have probably heard Angela Landsbury’s rendition of this song, as she created the role of Mame and won a Tony for it. But I absolutely love what Marin Mazzie does with it. She has such finesse when necessary, and then a very sassy and brash chest voice when called for. How she never won a Tony award is beyond me, even though she was nominated 3 times and starred in the Broadway run of Next to Normal, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. She’s one of my favorite performers because of the passion and honesty she brought every time she was on stage, and it’s so sad that she died at only 58, with years of performing left ahead of her.