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VIDEO: Watch Josh Young, Erin Mackey, and Eddie Cooper Sing Sheldon Harnick's 'The Man With the Sign'

The song is to the melody of John Philip Sousa’s "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

Broadway performers Josh Young, Erin Mackey, and Eddie Cooper star in a new music/video rendition of Sheldon Harnick and John Philip Sousa's "The Man with the Sign." In 1977, legendary lyricist Harnick, best known for Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fiorello!, was asked to write a lyric to Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes Forever." He chose to write about the right to freedom of speech, which in Harnick's words, "always needs to be defended."

In this new music video, produced by Joseph Church (The Lion King, Tommy) and with video created and directed by Church and Dan Pardo (Amazing Grace), the power of Harnick's brilliant words set to Sousa's memorable music is in full display, with striking imagery and performance clips providing a rich background. Harnick himself introduces the short film, and the trio of virtuoso vocalists masterfully navigates Sousa's melodic counterpoint.

Joe church says, "I've had the pleasure and privilege of knowing and making music with Sheldon Harnick since my childhood, more than 50 years. As his sometime accompanist, I've gathered a large collection of his lesser-known songs, many of which are absolute gems. "The Man with the Sign" is a perfect example. I first heard it in concert in the late 1970s at Guild Hall in East Hampton, NY, sung by Sheldon, his wife Margery, and a third person I simply cannot remember. The sentiment and sincerity of the song struck me then, and it strikes just as hard today, if not harder. A few years ago, I discovered the original hand-copied manuscript of the song, and was immediately determined to make sure it was performed in some way, somewhere. The entertainment hiatus brought on by the COVID pandemic has afforded producers and writers a new opportunity to create musical theatre-based videos, and I thought that would be an ideal setting in which to present "The Man with the Sign." I hope it means as much to you as it does to me."

Dan Pardo says, "Our first amendment freedoms are chief among the defining characteristics of American Democracy, and epitomized in the Vietnam War era, just before Sheldon Harnick was charged to write this topical parody. Being a generation removed from those infamous years, I assumed that the rancor and divisiveness in America were at an all-time high. To my surprise, however, Sheldon's lyric seemed almost quaint against the backdrop of today's harsh political climate. I found it difficult to create a video that didn't look at our nation through rose-colored glasses, or undermine the principled message by promoting my own point of view. In short, Sheldon's thesis has never been more important. If we fail in defending the right to protest - a right shared by those across our vast ideological spectrum - Democracy itself may slip through our fingers."

"To be part of a new recording of the legendary Sheldon Harnick's lyrics set to John Philip Sousa's iconic Stars and Stripes Forever is a great honor," said Young. "Having the lyrics reflect free speech and the symbolism of our flag during the times we find ourselves in seems all too relevant. The song also strikes a familiar cord presenting the idea that one seemingly innocuous person can inspire great change through the use of their singular voice and self-expression."

Watch the video below!



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