David Herzog knew he wanted to star someday in Chip Deffaa's "George M. Cohan Tonight!" ever since he saw Jon Peterson in the show five years ago.
He made his public debut as Cohan in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2008. British producer Edmund Sutton was so impressed by Herzog's well-received performance there that he decided to present Herzog in the show in London.
Herzog opened in "George M. Cohan Tonight!" at the New Players Theatre on the West End in September of 2010. (For more info about that critcally acclaimed engagement, please see the page on this website titled "Cohan in London.") And he's looking forward to performing in the show, wherever opportunities may arise, for many years to come.
David Herzog (standing) with musical director Richard Danley
Herzog divides his time between England and the United States. He hopes to perform "George M. Cohan Tonight!," in years to come, in many different cities in both the United Kingdom and America.
The photos on this page were taken during Herzog's July 2010 engagement, starring in "GeorgeM. Cohan Tonight!" at the new Stage Door Canteen Theater (Victoria Reed, Director of Entertainment); the Stage Door Canteen is part of the National World War Two Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.
David Herzog points to the star bearing his name, on his dressing-room door in New Orleans
A native of Springfield, Ohio, David Herzog trained at Wittenberg University, Ohio, and the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, in England. He has studied extensively in the vaudeville era, and specializes in the origins of American musical theatre.
David Herzog has been involved in the workshopping, in New York City, of other shows of Deffaa's, including "Mad About the Boy" and "The Seven Little Foys." And he's performed in such shows as "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," "The Watercoolers," "Little Women," and "Working." Most recently, he's been touring the United Kingdom in "The Jungle Book." And he portrayed King Louis XIV in the recent British television production of "The Man in the Iron Mask."
David Herzog as George M. Cohan
Music Director Richard Danley, at left, with David Herzog
David enjoys working with Music Director Richard Danley, whether it's for an American booking of "George M. Cohan Tonight!" (as in their recent engagement in New Orleans, where this photo was taken) or for a recording session. With accompaniment by Danley, Herzog has sung on demo recordings for several of Deffaa's shows.
Richard Danley (shown in the photo at right with David Herzog and Chip Deffaa) has worked with Deffaa on numerous projects.
Danley has served, for example, as Musical Director on productions of "The Seven Little Foys" and "George M. Cohan Tonight!," and on demo recordings of "Theater Boys," "The Seven Little Foys," and "Mad About the Boy"; and he has helped prepare the music for many of Deffaa's projects, including "One Night with Fanny Brice," "The Family that Sings Together," "Song-and-Dance Kids," and so on. Danley works currently as the music director/pianist for Chip Deffaa's Off-Broadway hit, "One Night with Fanny Brice," now playing at St. Luke's Theater, 308 W. 46th Street, NYC.
He has also served as Musical Director/Arranger for Peter Duchin's Broadway revues, and for the recent New York revival of Ervin Drake's "What Makes Sammy Run," among other projects.
The script and score of "George M. Cohan Tonight!" remains the same, wherever the show is being done and whoever is playing Cohan. But the dance routines may vary, to showcase the different strengths of different dancers and to let them bring some of their own personality to the role. When Jon Peterson or Justin Boccitto play Cohan, for example, they each do their own choreography. David Herzog's performances have been choreographed by Derek Hartley, with additional choreography by Justin Boccitto. And all of our peformers, of course, reference Cohan's own mannerisms, to evoke a sense of his own jaunty style.
The New Orleans engagement was pure joy. We drew large, enthusiastic audiences. And what a wonderful surprise it was to find, among our audience members one night, two of the most distinguished members of the New Orleans entertainment community--jazz clarinetist/bandleader Orange Kellin (leader of the New Orleans Blues Serenaders) and playwright/song & dance master Vernel Bagneris (who was the author and star of such musical successes as "One Mo' Time" and "Jelly Roll").
They posed for a photo (below) with Chip Deffaa after the show.
Orange Kellin, Chip Deffaa, Vernel Bagneris
Of course a good show doesn't just happen. The audience may see just one dynamic performer onstage--but people behind-the-scenes are making contributions that are just as essential. We were fortunate when we were booked to play the Stage Door Canteen Theater at the National World War Two Museum. Conscientious Director-of-Entertainment Victoria Reed (seen at far left in the photo below) supervised a first-rate team; they stayed up until 11:30 p.m. working with us, the day before we opened, to make sure that everything--from set and prop pieces, to glow-tape, to sound and lighting--was just right. So that when we flew in to New Oleans from New York--carrying just our script, score, and Cohan costume (courtesy of Debbie Henderson)--everything would proceed smoothly, and we'd be able to open the next day. (We'd work with them again, any time!) It's a lot of fun for us, doing the show in all different cities. If you'd like us to bring the magic of Cohan to your city, give us a call!
Victoria Reed and crew, of the Stage Door Canteen Theater, flank Richard Danley, David Herzog & Chip Deffaa
If you would like information about the possibility of booking David Herzog in "George M. Cohan Tonight!"--or if you simply wish to license the play and cast a production yourself--please contact: CHIP DEFFAA PRODUCTIONS LLC 50 Quartz Lane Paterson, NJ 07501-3345 tel. (973) 684-3340 Email: OriginalCast1@aol.com
David Herzog, as Cohan, at the Stage Door Canteen Theater, New Orleans