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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 12/ 3/2010

2010 Kennedy Center Honors Watch: Herman

By Jacqueline Trescott
herman
Jerry Herman. (AP)

The Washington Post arts staff has been keeping a sharp eye on the doings of the 2010 Kennedy Center Honorees. This weekend Merle Haggard, Jerry Herman, Bill T. Jones, Paul McCartney and Oprah Winfrey will be saluted.

Full conversations with the five stars will be published in Sunday's Arts & Style.

When you sit down with composer and lyricist Herman, there's one musical you have to talk about: "Hello,Dolly!" Our colleague, Dan Zak, did just that and Herman said that Washington was a turning point in the show's evolution.

The out-of-town tryouts had been a nightmare, recalled Herman.

When the show got to the National Theatre, Herman thought it was time to test "Before the Parade Passes By."

With star Carol Channing doing her thing and the music increasing in intensity, the Act 1 finale worked. The audience loved it. "Everything changed dramatically in D.C.," Herman said.

On Dec. 20, 1963 The Washington Post deemed it "a sparking production" with "a fine foundation." Not every critic was as enthusiastic, but soon the public triumphed.

"Hello, Dolly!" played nearly seven years on Broadway and won 10 Tonys, the most by a musical until "The Producers" broke that record.

More on this story:

By Jacqueline Trescott  | December 3, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Jacqueline Trescott, Kennedy Center, Theater  | Tags:  Broadway musicals, Dolly!, Hello, Jerry Herman, kennedy center honors, lyricist  
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Comments

Well almost 24 hours before it starts...I'm excited to see Sir Paul...I'm a huge Beatles fan even though I was born about when Beatlemania was in its height!

Question: Do you think Sir Paul's entourage will be so heavy that an ordinary attendee like myself can't even get one picture with him? I hope for $1750...that won't be the case....would love your opinion!
Last time I went (2 years ago) I was able to shake Roger Daltry's hand and get a pic with Townsend!
See you there!

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