JERRY’S GIRLS, Drury Lane Theatre Evergreen Park. The packaging is as perfect as the product. Director-choreographer Marc Robin has pooled the perfections of four world-class Chicago divas: E. Faye Butler, Barbara E. Robertson, Kathy Santen, and Paula Scrofano. The result is a wry review of the musical marvels of songsmith Jerry Herman, creator of Mame and Hello, Dolly!
Dolled up in Jeff Hendry’s sumptuous eye-popping costumes and backed up by a second hard-charging female quartet, the fabulous four couldn’t have gotten a classier showcase. But the main attraction remains Herman’s eminently hummable, unashamedly sentimental ballads. Larry Alford’s supple revue groups them intriguingly into a vaudeville potpourri, a movies montage, a medley from La Cage aux Folles, an enticing scene from Dear World (Herman’s ill-fated musical version of The Madwoman of Chaillot), a series of show-stopping solos, and a first-act finale featuring dueling dollies–Streisand, Bailey, Channing, and Merman.
Never more present onstage than she is here, Scrofano digs the awe out of “It Only Takes a Moment.” Butler ranges from the hilarity of the inept stripper who sings “Put It Back On” to the hopeful heartbreak of “I Don’t Want to Know.” Santen brings her quicksilver charms to Auntie Mame’s yearning “If He Walked Into My Life.” And despite a muffling mike, Robertson found new urgency in “Before the Parade Passes By.” Jerry couldn’t have asked for any finer “girls.”