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Sherman keeps the spirit of his father and grandfather alive in a new family-friendly show.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Craig Glenday  -  Musical Theatre Review

LEGACY

INTRODUCTION

Robbie Sherman is the latest in a long line of Sherman Family music-makers. Famously, his father and uncle - ROBERT B. SHERMAN and RICHARD M. SHERMAN (respectively) - were and are the Disney songwriting legends known to the world as "THE SHERMAN BROTHERS".

The Brothers started writing together on a dare from their father, Tin Pan Alley songwriter AL SHERMAN (pictured above, with his sons), who inherited his ear for music from his father SAMUEL SHERMAN, who was the court composer and conductor for Emperor Franz Josef II of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Explore this section to find out more about previous Sherman generations, and what Robbie, as a trustee of the estates of Al Sherman and the Sherman Brothers, is doing to keep their work alive in the 21st century.

FAMILY TREE 

SHERMAN FAMILY TREE

Music has run through the Sherman family tree for many generations. Here's a brief overview of the past four generations. In the next tab, you can see a more detailed timeline of the joint careers of the most famous generation to date: the Sherman Brothers.

SAMUEL SHERMAN

Samuel Sherman (1871-1948) was the court composer and conductor for Emperor Franz Josef II of the Austro-Hungarian Empire between 1903 and 1909. Born in the small fishing village of Stepinetz near Kiev, Ukraine in 1871, Samuel hailed from a musical family. His father Otto Sherman played the clarinet while Samuel and his younger brothers studied the violin as youths.  

In 1903, to avoid conscription into Russian Czar Nicholas II's army, Samuel fled Stepinetz, leaving his wife Lena and their four children. He made his way to Prague (which was at that time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), where his fortunes were to suddenly change for the better. Within a year of his arrival, Samuel was appointed concertmaster, first violinist and intermittent court composer in the Royal Court of Emperor Franz Josef.

Samuel's wife Lena and their children, Olga, Avrum (Al), Edith and Regina would later join Samuel in Prague. In 1909, Samuel and Lena emigrated once again, this time moving to America and settling in New York City. Again fortune changed for the Sherman family; this time for the worse. In America, Samuel found it difficult to find the sort of work he felt was worthy of his talent.  

By 1911, Samuel's increasing frustration proved too much for his marriage to bear and he and Lena separated. Lena was left to take care of their, by then, five children. Their youngest, Harold, having only been born a year earlier, in 1910.

Thirteen-year-old Al was forced to quit school to find work so that he could earn enough money to provide for his mother and siblings. Eventually, Al would enter the music business, against Samuel's direct orders. Samuel spent the last thirty-six years of his life working as a violinist in a small, indistinct Italian restaurant in Brooklyn where he died in 1948.  



AL SHERMAN

Samuel's son, Al Sherman (1897-1973), was a popular songwriter active during the Tin Pan Alley era. Some of his most recognizable song titles include: "You Gotta Be A Football Hero", "Now's The Time To Fall In Love" and "Lindbergh (The Eagle of the U.S.A.)".

Al was born "Avrum" to Samuel and Lena Sherman on 7 September 1897 in Kiev, now part of modern-day Ukraine. When the Shermans moved to New York in 1909, adolescent Al taught himself how to play piano. Despite youth and scant knowledge of the English language, natural talent soon earned Al a reputation as a top “mood music” pianist in silent movie and movie theatres.

Al’s songwriting career began in 1918 while working as a staff pianist at the Remick Music Company. At Remick, he worked alongside future songwriting greats including George Gershwin and Vincent Youmans. During this time, he also organised and directed a small orchestra that played in New York and Miami Beach.

In 1921, Al met silent film actress, Rosa Dancis. They were married in 1923.

During the last days of vaudeville, Al and several of his fellow hitmakers formed the revue “Songwriters on Parade”, performing on the Loews and Keith circuits. Throughout the 1920s, 30s and 40s, Al was one of the most sought-after songwriters on Tin Pan Alley.

Some of Al Sherman’s other  well-known songs include: “Wanita”, “Save Your Sorrow”, “Pretending”, “On the Beach at Bali-Bali”, “Over Somebody Else’s Shoulder”, “No! No! A Thousand Times No!”, “For Sentimental Reasons”, “(What Do We Do On a) Dew Dew Dewey Day”, “Nine Little Miles from Ten-Ten-Tennessee”, “Ninety-Nine Out Of a Hundred (Wanna Be Loved)”, “On a Little Bamboo Bridge”, “Livin’ In the Sunlight, Lovin’ In the Moonlight” and “Got the Bench, Got the Park”.

Artists who recorded Al Sherman songs include: Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, Al Jolson, Bing Crosby, Eddie Cantor, Rudy Vallee, Ozzie Nelson, Lawrence Welk, Peggy Lee, Patti Page and Duke Ellington’s Cotton Club Orchestra among others.

Al also wrote songs for the major Broadway revues including: The Ziegfeld Follies, George White’s Scandals, The Passing Show and Earl Carroll’s Vanities. And he wrote songs that were included in motion picture scores including:Sweetie, The Sky’s the Limit, The Big Pond andSensations of 1945.

Al’s 1952 chart topper song “Come’s A-Long A-Love” (sung by Kay Starr) would prove to be his last big hit. When he died in 1973, the Associated Press wrote, “Al Sherman helped raise the spirits of a Depression-era generation”.

Al and Rosa Sherman’s older son, Robert B. Sherman was born in 1925. Their younger son, Richard M. Sherman was born in 1928. Forming and guiding the Sherman Brothers songwriting team would prove to be Al’s greatest songwriting achievement.

SHERMAN BROTHERS

Al's sons, Robert B. Sherman (1925 -2012) and Richard M. Sherman (1928-), a.k.a "The Sherman Brothers, were one of the most formidable and well-loved songwriting partnerships in American music history, specializing in family entertainment. They wrote more motion-picture musical song scores than any other songwriting team in film history. The Sherman Brothers film scores include: Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Charlotte's Web, The Slipper and the Rose and The Aristocats. View the Sherman Brothers' timeline on the next tab in this section.

ROBBIE SHERMAN

Robert B. Sherman's son, Robert J. ("Robbie) Sherman (1968-) has inherited the family talent genes in triplicate. He is a composer (like his uncle) and a lyricist (like his father) as well as a book and scriptwriter, whose musical credits onstage and screen to date include the critically acclaimed Love Birds.

Read Robbie's full bio on the About page.

SHERMAN BROTHERS 

SHERMAN BROTHERS

The Sherman Brothers were not only one of the best-loved songwriting duos in American music history, but also one of the most enduring. They collaborated for more than 60 years, from 1951 until the time of Robert B. Sherman's death in 2012. Here's a brief timeline of their careers together.

1950's

Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman began writing songs together in 1951 on a challenge from their father, Tin Pan Alley songwriter Al Sherman.

In 1958, the Sherman Brothers had their first top-ten hit with "Tall Paul”. The success of this song yielded the attention of Walt Disney, who eventually hired the Sherman Brothers as staff songwriters for Walt Disney Studios. While at Disney, the Sherman Brothers wrote more motion-picture musical scores than any other songwriters in the history of film.

1960's

The Sherman Brothers wrote what is perhaps their best-known song, the Disney theme “It’s A Small World (After All)”, for the 1964 New York World's Fair. That song has subsequently become the most translated and performed song on Earth.

In 1965, the Sherman Brothers won two Academy Awards® for Mary Poppins. Since that film's premiere, the Shermans have subsequently earned a total of nine Academy Award nominations, two Grammy Awards®, four Grammy Award® nominations, and 23 gold and platinum albums.

In 1968, the Brothers began working freelance. Their first non-Disney assignment came with Albert R. Broccoli's motion picture production Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for United Artists in 1968, which secured them their third Academy Award nomination.

Other notable film credits from the 1960s included: The Parent Trap (1961) A Synposium on Popular Songs (1962) Summer Magic (1963) The Sword and the Stone (1963) That Darn Cat (1965) The Happiest Millionaire (1967) The Jungle Book (1967) and Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968). 

They also wrote numerous top-selling songs during this time, including 1960’s “You’re Sixteen”, which reached Billboard's Hot 100 top 10 twice, first with Johnny Burnette and then at No. 1 with Ringo Starr fourteen years later. The song also featured in the 1973 film soundtrack for American Graffiti.

1970's

In 1970, the Shermans returned to Disney for a brief period, during which they completed work on The Aristocats and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. The latter garnered the pair their fourth and fifth Oscar nominations. 

1972 saw the release of Snoopy Come Home, the animated film based on Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts cartoons, for which the Brothers received a Grammy® nomination.

In 1973, the Sherman Brothers made history by becoming the only Americans ever to win First Prize at the Moscow Film Festival for Tom Sawyer, for which they also authored the screenplay.

In 1976, the Sherman Brothers' family fantasy film, The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella, was chosen as the Royal Command Film Performance of the year and was attended by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. The film earned the Shermans two further Academy Award nominations. 

That same year the Brothers received their star on the Hollywood "Walk of Fame" opposite Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Other notable film credits from the 1970s included: Charlotte's Web (1973), Huckleberry Finn (1974), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) and The Magic of Lassie (1978).

Outside the motion-picture realm, their Tony Award® nominated smash hit Over Here! (1974) was the biggest-grossing original Broadway musical of that year.

1980's

[1980s coming soon]

1990's

The 1990s saw a resurgence in interest in the Sherman Brothers’ work with the animated musicals: Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1992), The Mighty Kong (1998) and Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving (1999). In 1994-95 their stage musical Busker Alley, starring Tommy Tune, toured the United States.

2000's

In 2000, the Sherman Brothers wrote the song score for the Disney blockbuster The Tigger Movie, marking the pair’s first major new film for Disney in over 28 years. 

In 2002, the world premiere stage adaptation Chitty Chitty Bang Bang opened at the West End's London Palladium, starring Michael Ball. To date, Chitty is the most successful stage show ever produced at the Palladium, boasting the longest run in that theatre’s century-long history. 

Also in London's West End, 2004 saw the premiere of Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s adaptation of Mary Poppins: The Musical. Broadway productions of both musicals followed, with Mary Poppins becoming the 22nd longest-running show in Broadway history.  

Lifetime recognition accolades came thick and fast at this time. In 2005 the Sherman Brothers were inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. In 2008, they were awarded the National Medal of Arts by President George W. Bush. In 2010, they were presented with their very own window on Main Street Disneyland. In 2011, they were awarded honorary doctorates from their alma mater, Bard College.  

In 2002, Robert moved from Los Angeles to London, where he continued to write and paint until his death in 2012. Richard continues to write and perform. He lives in Beverly Hills, California.

ARCHIVES 

ARCHIVES

The Sherman Family Archives will be a fully searchable, interactive, online library.  It will include over one hundred years of historical documents, virtually housing tens of thousands of distinct items including: 
  • Sherman authored sound recordings
  • sheet music
  • conductor scores/orchestrations
  • screenplays
  • original stories
  • poems
  • handwritten lyrics and other manuscripts
  • paintings, drawings, photographs and more.
The aim is to preserve these items for future generations to study and enjoy.  

The online archives will also provide accessibility to thousands of business documents (contracts, memos, etc.) pertaining to the Robert B. Sherman, Al Sherman and the Sherman Brothers Estates respectively. Other members of the Sherman family who choose to have their creative work memorialized as a part of the archival project may also have their work made accessible here.   The first phase of the Sherman Family Archives is expected to be online in late 2016.   

FACEBOOK GROUP 

FACEBOOK GROUP

The Sherman Brothers Facebook Group was started in 2008 by Robbie Sherman and is the hub of the Sherman Brothers' community of enthusiasts online. 

Robbie continues to administer the group, and posts frequent updates on Sherman Brothers events and developments.

Please come and join the conversation. Click here to log in to Facebook and access the Sherman Brothers' latest.
WALKING TOUR 

WALKING TOUR

Working closely with the Disneyana Fan Club (DFC), Robbie conceived, scripted and annually hosts WALKING WITH GIANTS, a sentimental tour of Beverly Hills, California, the Sherman Family's home town since 1937.  This trip down memory lane stops at local sites of personal and historical interest with Robbie providing his unique perspective about his legendary musical family.

First mounted in 2014, (and "sold out" in a matter of minutes) WALKING WITH GIANTS returned in 2015 as a special three day series of events celebrating what would have been Robert B. Sherman’s 90th birthday.  WWG 2016 will take place in Orlando Florida this December, this year focusing on the Sherman's musical history (and future!) specifically as it relates to the Sunshine State.  WWG will return to California in 2017.

Each year the DFC creates a programme of unique events celebrating the Sherman Family musical legacy. 2016 and 2017 promise to be the most exciting years yet for WWG.  For more information on upcoming WWG events, please visit the Disneyana Fan Club website. For more information about WWG 2016 click here:  


GALLERY 

GALLERY

Here are a selection of photographs from the Sherman family album.
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