Song-writing greats Robert and Richard Sherman are in their eighties, but their music continue to be heard constantly — what with “Mary Poppins” on Broadway, touring companies around the globe presenting musicals of their “Jungle Book” and “Winnie the Pooh” songs, “It’s a Small World After All” playing on endless loops at the Disney theme parks, and solid prospects for their “Over Here” and “Busker Alley” shows to be revived on the Great White Way.
There’s also been talk of turning “The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story” into a musical.
It’s too soon to talk about that idea, Richard stresses. Still, one can easily see the possibilities for a show based on the documentary unveiled earlier this year, that is getting a special showing at the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival Monday (11/15) at Laemmle’s Music Hall.
Those who sit down to watch expecting a slick, run-of-the-mill feel-good documentary are in for a surprise. Instead, filmmakers Jeffrey and Gregory Sherman — sons of Robert and Richard – weave a saga of brothers who, yes, created magic together, but who were different as day and night, did not get along — and who suffered such a deep schism their families didn’t even speak to one another for decades.
“When my son and my nephew started it, I said, ‘This is ridiculous. There is nothing to talk about,” admits Richard, who chats away with an energy that belies his age. As for his reaction to the revealing film, he says, “On the whole, I think it’s very good, very honest. It’s kind of touching, two brothers
who didn’t jell as buddy-buddies. But we certainly stuck together, didn’t double cross each other, nothing like that.”
Older brother Robert, who was literally scarred for life by his wartime experiences – helping liberate the Dachau concentration camp, being shot — is the introspective, sardonic half of the team. He lives in London, and according to Richard, “As a more private individual, he’s not as happy with having his personal life out there. I say good for the boys — good for Greg and Jeff, they had a chance to show their talent and they did. That was my great motivation for doing it,” he says of the film that also features names from Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke to Angela Lansbury, John Lasseter and Alan Menken.
“The Boys” will be out on DVD in a few weeks.