Mon, Apr 9, 2012 3:36 PM by Hannah Arkelin
The Ordway’s upcoming Broadway Songbook features the masterpieces of music legend, Johnny Mercer. The man from Savannah, Georgia who had never dreamed of being a songwriter became a “great” among “greats” with a repertoire of over 1,000 songs that are still getting stuck in the heads of music enthusiasts today. Mercer was the master of versatility and poetry. He understood that the recipe for a hit needed the effortless blend of a catchy melody and eloquent lyrics. His love of jazz and his ability to flow with a progressive music culture are what made him both unique and remarkably successful.
Johnny Mercer started working in Hollywood in 1935 and turned to songwriting after getting fired from a singing job. The transition was smooth for Mercer and he was soon socializing with the likes of Bing Crosby who performed his first Hollywood hit, “I’m an Old Cowhand from the Rio Grande” and writing Oscar nominated songs like “Jeepers Creepers”. Mercer’s valiant efforts to co-found Capitol Records brought about a whirlwind of hits, artists and friendships. In his lifetime Mercer worked with the likes of Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Judy Garland. Through his love of music and his unbelievable ambition a legend was born.
Mercer’s “On the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe” won him his first Oscar for Best Original Song and three more followed. Chart-toppers like “Something’s Gotta Give”, “Days of Wine and Roses” and “Come Rain or Come Shine” are just a handful of the songs that are still requested today. And what would Breakfast at Tiffany’s be without Audrey Hepburn perched on the fire escape serenading the night with “Moon River”?
Mercer said that, “Songs always fascinated me more than anything,” and for that we are eternally grateful. For what would the world be like without our treasured Mercer masterpieces?
Get your tickets here before they run out! Broadway Songbook: The Words and Music of Johnny Mercer opens Friday, April 13th!
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