This cabaret-style musical brings Mercer’s timeless songs to the stage with fascinating narration woven throughout.
Mercer was inspired by the music and language of southern African Americans. Beginning in his youth, popular music had begun to infuse black musical culture in the world of blues and jazz. Johnny Mercer absorbed the influences of his Lowcountry region and its people, merging music to create an entirely new sound.
Considered one of the greatest songwriters to ever live, Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics to more than 1,700 songs from the 1930s to the 1970s. Many would say he crafted the soundtrack of a generation. Mercer also co-founded Capitol Records in 1942 and was nominated for 19 Academy Awards during his lifetime.
This original work by playwright Calvin Ramsey spotlights some of Mercer’s most memorable songs including “Moon River,” “That Old Black Magic,” “Hurray for Hollywood,” “Accentuate the Positive,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” and so many more.
Johnny grew up in Savannah in the early 20th century, a time when racial segregation affected many areas of life. But Johnny had playmates who were often the children of black servants employed by his family.
In the summers, the Mercer family would escape the heat of Savannah for their home Vernon View on Burnside Island. A community of African Americans lived on the island, where their ancestors had been enslaved before the Civil War. This group of people spoke an African-American dialect called Geechee, which was unique to the Lowcountry of Georgia.