‘Johnny Mercer and Me!’ to come to Emma Kelly Theater

Laurianna Cull

The Emma Kelly Theater will host a musical based on the life of four-time Academy Award winner, singer, songwriter and one of Emma Kelly’s personal friends, Johnny Mercer.

“Johnny Mercer and Me!” will premiere in downtown Statesboro tomorrow and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Ticket prices for “Johnny Mercer and Me!” range from $18 – $25 depending on seating.

“The show tells the personal side of Johnny Mercer, not just the songwriter side of him,” Jeffrey Hall, cast member playing Johnny Mercer, said.

The show follows the life of Johnny Mercer and his longtime friend, Maxine. It gives an insight into Johnny’s personal life, his relationships, his consuming alcoholism and his career with his music.

The show will include some of Mercer’s biggest hits such as “Something’s Gotta Give,” “Jeepers Creepers,” “Moon River,” “One More For The Road” and 13 others.

The show also introduces a new number called “A Merry Christmas to You All,” which was written by Mercer and the show’s musical director, Chris Chandler.

“His music is everlasting,” writer and producer Miriam Center said.

“Johnny Mercer and Me!” is different from other musicals because the character of Maxine in the show, which plays one of Johnny’s closest friends, is actually based off of the writer and producer of the show, Miriam Center, who wrote about their memories together.

“It’s really challenging because there’s people at the show who actually knew Johnny. The biggest honor I’ve ever gotten was when Johnny Mercer’s friends came up to me after the show and said, ‘we knew Johnny, and he’d be proud,’” Hall said.

Not only does “Johnny Mercer and Me!” draw a crowd from people who knew him or knew his music, but also the younger generation has begun to discover Johnny Mercer’s talents for themselves thanks to this show, Coleman said.

Director and Editor Tom Coleman said, “Six girls from Armstrong (Atlantic State University) who came to the show in Savannah didn’t know the music, but they were really excited by it and wanted to buy the album by the end of the show.”