Several years ago, after appearing in a few Osher Theater World plays, I decided to try to produce and direct something new at Osher: a Broadway musical. I chose my favorite musical, "South Pacific."My suggestion was greeted with much skepticism. Did we have enough members of Osher who could sing? Who would play the music to accompany the singers? Where would we get the sets for such a musical?
A few days later I noticed Osher member Jay Berman sitting behind me in an Osher class. I knew Jay was a professional musician who played the piano and sang popular songs in various venues in San Diego. My wife Marsha suggested I ask Jay if he would be willing to be the musical director for my production of South Pacific. Although I love musicals, I cannot sing or play a musical instrument and have no idea how to direct singers or musicians. We doubted Jay would be willing to devote the time necessary for such a project because he was accustomed to being paid for his musical performances. Osher members are never paid for services contributed to Osher. Much to my surprise, Jay responded immediately that he would be happy to serve as musical director for our first musical, "South Pacific." The rest, as they say, is history.&
During our auditions, Jay and I discovered that we did indeed have enough Osher members who could sing extremely well. Fellow Osher member Katie Keller joined me as co-director, served as set designer, and also played the role of Blood Mary. Tickets to "South Pacific"“sold out” quickly, and we had to schedule a second performance, also a sellout. All Osher musicals are now performed twice, usually on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.
Musical shows of all kinds are now a regular part of Theater World every year, and more and more members are joining the family of Osher singers. But make no mistake—none of this could have happened without the time and talent of Jay Berman. Jay is the musical superstar who brings out the best in all of us in Theater World, and brings an untold number of hours of joy to all who attend these wonderful musical programs. Jay has literally changed the lives of all of us in Theater World, and we cannot thank him enough for all he has done for us.