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Tony Awards to honor Jerry Herman

Composer will be feted at annual event

The 63rd annual Tony Awards event honors one theater company and three legiters. Virginia’s Signature Theater is the former; the latter include publicist Shirley Herz, actress-humanitarian Phyllis Newman and composer Jerry Herman.

With two Tonys (“La Cage aux Folles,” “Hello, Dolly!”) already on his mantel, Herman doesn’t really need a third. But his deserved honor on June 7 points up a major omission. The man who also wrote the scores for “Mame” and “Mack and Mable” has never received a Kennedy Center Honor.

Not to take anything away from Andrew Lloyd Webber, a 2006 Kennedy Center honoree, but arts and entertainment is one arena in which the D.C. org might indulge in a little chauvinism. Just as the British songwriter owns the longest-running title in Broadway history, “The Phantom of the Opera,” that distinction used to belong to Herman with his “Hello, Dolly!” And speaking of records, Herman remains the only composer in Broadway history to have had three shows that played more than 1,500 consecutive perfs.

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