The late David Merrick, one of the most influential producers in Broadway history, will be honored with a memorial tribute on Tuesday, July 18 at 11am at the St. James Theatre, home of two of Merrick's longest running hit shows: Hello, Dolly! and 42nd Street.
The event, titled A Celebration in Words and Music, will feature songs from Merrick-produced musicals performed by Brent Barrett, Andrea McArdle, Howard McGillin, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Karen Ziemba, with Judy Brown as music director.
Merrick, who died on April 25 at the age of 88, brought nearly 100 productions to Broadway during a career that spanned 60 years. He won countless awards for his shows, including eight Tonys. In addition, the non-profit David Merrick Arts Foundation introduced such playwrights as John Osborne, Tom Stoppard, and Brian Friel to Broadway, as well as sponsoring productions of Shakespeare, Moliere, Brecht, and the later plays of Tennessee Williams. In 1977, the foundation was restructured to focus on the development of traditional, book-and-character-driven American musicals and to cultivate aspiring musical artists; the foundation endowed the David Merrick prizes in drama, dance, and music at The Juilliard School that year.
Among those scheduled to speak at the memorial are Clive Barnes, Mary Rodgers Guettel, Howard Kissel, Rocco Landesman, Samuel "Biff" Liff, and Jerry Orbach. Soprano Melissa Brezinsky will present a special tribute on behalf of Juilliard. The St. James Theatre is located at 246 West 44th Street.