In honor of Jerry Herman’s 80th birthday (which is as good an excuse as any to sing Jerry’s tuneful songs) Jason Graae appeared at Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s on January 23rd and gave us a whole evening of Jerry Herman songs. When he wasn’t busy being the voice of “Lucky The Leprechaun” for Lucky Charms Cereal (which he did for five years), Jason has had an extensive career on stage in A Grand Night For Singing, Falsettos, Stardust, Snoopy, Grand Tour, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Guys and Dolls to name a few. He has been a guest soloist with in Twyla Tharp’s Everlast for the American Ballet Theatre, appeared with the Boston Pops, with Martin Hamlisch. with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, and recently in Words and Music by Jerry Herman. Jason is known basically for two things, his madcap stage personae, and his association with Jerry Herman.
Mr. Graae did not disappoint. He was funny as always, sometimes over the top. But he even found time to move us with those Herman ballads. Included in his selection were Mame, Dear World, Grand Tour, La Cage aux Folles, Mack and Mabel, and of course, Hello Dolly. It would be almost silly to try and single out any particular number because Jason stamped them with his own individual take. However, having said that, I do want to single out my favorite comic moment, when Jason changed into tap shoes, placed a small wooden square on the stage where we thought he would tap, and then didn’t tap at all, just moved his feet a little and then declared that he was exhausted from the number.
On the other end of the spectrum he sang a rousing and heartfelt “I am What I Am” from La Cage. We had a group sing of “Hello Dolly,” and a mash-up of “It Only Takes A Moment” and “Loving You.” At the end he promised “I Won’t Send Roses” but did give us a “Happy Ending.” What a joyous evening and a joyous performer. Jason Graae sang at Sterling’s Upstairs At Vitello’s on Jan 23rd. Whoopee!