A Spoonful of Sherman was a real meeting of minds. Colin Billing, a musical director with whom I’ve worked with on a number of different projects, had always wanted to do a Sherman compilation piece. And just as he’d been thinking about it for a while, so had I, but from a different, more personal purview.
In the early 1980s in California, a production of an Al Sherman/ Sherman Brothers revue was put on at the Variety Arts Center and I always thought a show like that could have legs. The songs were not just familiar, they were excellent, each and every one of them. I thought it would be a great thing to be a part of in the future.
The real catalyst came about with the posthumous publication of my dad’s autobiography Moose: Chapters From My Life, which I edited. For the UK launch of the book, there was some discussion about holding a book signing. It occurred to me that, with my name being so similar to my father’s, people might come to the event and be disappointed, or possibly angry, that they had expected to meet a famous Academy Award-winning songwriter and instead it was his son signing the books.
I wanted to avoid people feeling like they weren’t getting the full shebang. I also wanted to do something that was positive and celebratory rather than depressing in any way. Another newsworthy hook to this was that the book was released in the same month that the movie Saving Mr Banks, telling the story of Disney’s Mary Poppins (including my father’s part in it), came out.
So the full shebang became this idea of a musical tribute to Dad’s life, which is exactly what A Spoonful of Sherman was when we first did it in early 2014. And after each performance, I was also there to sign copies of Moose, as the book’s editor.
I created A Spoonful of Sherman to tell the story of my father’s life, accented through the music that surrounded him in his life. As many people are aware, the Sherman Brothers’ father was Al Sherman, a very well-known songwriter in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. The music that my grandfather wrote makes up the first third of the show.
We then spend the bulk of the show focusing on the Sherman Brothers songs, which people of my generation know and love so well, including classics from Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. We also touch on some of my own music as the third generation of Sherman songwriters. The finishes though with some very well known and loved Sherman Brothers songs.
A Spoonful of Sherman runs 7-20 August 2017 at London’s Live at Zedel. Click here for tickets.