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MADam LUCY, deceased

MADam LUCY, deceased

Two hundred years or so ago… before I was a young history student at William & Mary and first heard the tale about a haunted home on Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg, Virginia, Lucy Ludwell Paradise breathed the gentrified air of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in the capital cities of Williamsburg and London.

Who was Lucy Ludwell Paradise? The short answer is that she was born into one of Virginia’s most prominent families in 1752 and died as a patient in Williamsburg’s Public Hospital for the Insane in 1814. (The Hospital was the first institution for mental health in America.) In between, Madam Lucy spent a large part of her life in London society where she interacted and corresponded with such prominent names as Benjamin Franklin, John and Abigail Adams, Samuel Johnson and Thomas Jefferson. She is, vaguely, remembered today as one of Virginia’s most famous ghosts and currently “resides” in the Ludwell-Paradise House in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg’s historic area.

But, her story is much more than a simple ghost story.

This is a spirited woman of flesh and blood who, like many people and literary creations, led a life that was both fascinating and complex. Throughout the span of sixty-two years, she would be both praised and ridiculed, often by the same individual and in the same breath. In her words and actions (and fashion) lay a rich mine of material for dramatic interpretation.

A labor of love and research over the past 18 months, I’ve written (and rewritten) the book & lyrics; the music is by the wondrous New York composer and recording artist Elise Morris. As we embark on the first staged workshop in the historic Sir Christopher Wren building on the campus of William & Mary – just a plate’s throw away from where Lucy Ludwell Paradise lived and died – it is a pleasure to be in the company of an ever-inspiring production team under the helm of director Dr. Laurie J. Wolf, professor of theatre and managing editor, “Theatre Annual: A Journal of Theatre and Performance of the Americas.”

I like to believe that Madam Lucy is pleased.

William Schermerhorn
May 5, 2023



CHARACTERS (in order of appearance)
The Gossips: Mr. Canard, Mr. Tittlebriar & Mrs. Chatworth
The Girl at Play
Madam Lucy Ludwell Paradise

The action takes place in a mid-nineteenth century Virginian salon & on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean in locations associated with the life of Madam Lucy Ludwell Paradise (1752-1814).

MUSICAL NUMBERS (as of 5.5.23)
“Ode to Lucy” (instrumental) Piano & Cello
“Have You Heard?” The Gossips
“Mad Lucy, Part One” The Girl at Play
“Before” Lucy Ludwell Paradise
“Drip Drop, Drip Drop” (excerpt) Lucy Ludwell Paradise
“Cress’s Lullaby” Lucy Ludwell Paradise
“Mad Lucy, Part Two” The Girl at Play
“London” Lucy Ludwell Paradise, The Gossips
“London” (reprise) Lucy Ludwell Paradise
“The Lady Moves On” Lucy Ludwell Paradise
“Eulogy for The Levée Paradisiac” The Gossips
“Mad Lucy, Part Three” The Girl at Play
“Words” / “You” Lucy Ludwell Paradise
“Mine” Lucy Ludwell Paradise
“Observation” The Gossips
“Lady Paradise” Lucy Ludwell Paradise
“Drip Drop, Drip Drop” Lucy Ludwell Paradise, The Girl at Play
“Daughter’s Prayer” (instrumental) Cello
“Mad Lucy, Part Four” Voice of The Girl at Play
“Cress’s Lullaby” (reprise) Lucy Ludwell Paradise
“Before” (reprise) Lucy Ludwell Paradise
“The Lady Moves On” (instrumental) Piano & Cello
“Remembrance” Lucy Ludwell Paradise
“Have You Heard?” (reprise) The Gossips
“Mad Lucy, Part Five” The Girl at Play
“Bows & Play Off” Piano & Cello


The Hope of Christmas

Featured artists include
and its mission to preserve, present and promote Jazz.

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THE HOPE OF CHRISTMAS is a new collection of Christmas songs interpreted by multiplatinum- selling singer, Tony nominated actress, pianist and leading champion of the American songbook, Ann Hampton Callaway, with lyrics by two-time Emmy® Award winner William Schermerhorn, and featuring twenty-nine of the world’s best jazz musicians, including Five Play, New York Voices, Hubert Laws, Claudio Roditi, Gerald Albright, The Ted Rosenthal Trio and more. The recording will be released on Friday, October 9 by the MCG Jazz record label (Marty Ashby, producer).

Composers for the twelve songs on the recording are Ann Hampton Callaway; Milton Delugg (Orange Colored Sky, Just Another Polka); Mary Ehlinger; two-time Emmy® and five-time Grammy® Award- nominated entertainer Michael Feinstein; Stephen Fox; Emmy® & Tony® Award-nominated composer Matthew Sklar (Elf, The Wedding Singer); and Emmy® Award-winning composer Wesley Whatley (Yes, Virginia, There’s A Santa Claus).

Featured tracks to include the title song The Hope of Christmas with music by Ann Hampton Callaway and lyrics by William Schermerhorn. Performed by Ann Hampton Callaway and New York Voices.

All proceeds from the sale of this CD to go directly to support the MCG Jazz program and its mission to preserve, present and promote jazz. MCG Jazz,, is a social enterprise of Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, a subsidiary of Manchester Bidwell Corporation, a non-profit arts and learning center.

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Background Info

The eighteen-month collaboration between singer, lyricist and record producer to bring THE HOPE OF CHRISTMAS to the public has kept the holiday season and its inspiring message at the forefront for the many artists involved. Starting with a list of approximately thirty songs, the Ashby-Callaway- Schermerhorn team ultimately came up with the dozen songs (including two brand-new compositions by Callaway/Schermerhorn) that make up the playlist.

With the exception of the Emmy® nominated song I BELIEVE, which was first performed by Kermit the Frog and released as a single with Kermit the Frog and Disney star Tiffany Thornton, the songs on THE HOPE OF CHRISTMAS recording will be available to the public for the first time in these dynamic, all- new jazz arrangements by Jay Ashby, Marty Ashby, Callaway and Mike Tomaro.

“Christmas music, in all its styles, touches the heart like no other music I know,” says William Schermerhorn. “For over two decades, I have been blessed to have the opportunity to tell new Christmas stories for a wide variety of events through the lyrics of my songs. It’s a gift to now hear these songs interpreted by Ann Hampton Callaway and the extraordinary jazz musicians that Marty Ashby has assembled for this recording. Knowing that proceeds from the sale of this recording benefit MCG Jazz to carry out its mission is like having extra tinsel to make the holiday season shine even brighter.”

“MCG Jazz is honored to be a part of this important project,” says Marty Ashby. “Bill Schermerhorn’s lyrics are such a powerful representation of the spirit of the holiday season and there is no one more elegant than Ann Hampton Callaway to deliver the message in a most profound way.”

Reflecting on this collaboration, Ann Hampton Callaway comments that “Singing and composing music for this collection of Bill Schermerhorn’s new holiday songs has been a joy and an honor. Since music has the power to open hearts and unite us, may the spirit of this record inspire each listening heart to bring more love to each day, so that the season of love can last all year round!”



“Sung with her impeccable intonation and perfect pitch, Ann takes each song to untold heights”

“It’s classic Ann Hampton Callaway, sung in a voice that just gains in substance the deeper she digs into a phrase. Those vocals and her definitive phrasing on every note, along with a quickening vibrato on drawn-out notes as she expresses emotion as only she can, make her the one-of-a-kind artist she remains.”

“Ann Hampton Callaway has given followers a special gift. Order it before it sells out.”


“The album is jazzy, hopeful, modern, and infused with the dark golden honey of one of the finest voices in jazz today. The pure heart and the hope that Christmas feelings will last all year.”


“From the title track to “One Star” to “I Believe,” the musical selections will kick off the season on just the right note.”


There’s fun songs, there’s straight songs, there’s serious songs and there’s a killer crew of jazzbos bringing up the rear. A totally new album from top to bottom, Killer stuff that’s going to become part of the ages.”

Downbeat Review


Cabaret Scenes

All About Jazz

Chicago Tribune

The Jazz Page

New York Arts

Swing Wings

Book and lyrics by William Schermerhorn
Music by Milton Delugg and Mary Ehlinger

SWING WINGS, a new American musical, is inspired by the World War II experiences of songwriter and band leader Milton Delugg and the fresh-faced Army Air Corps musicians who created the era’s signature radio broadcasts. In a time of patriotic sacrifice, they forged a bond that could not be broken. The military marches to a beat. These boys made it swing.


SWING WINGS is an original book musical that pays tribute to the men and women of the Radio Production Unit of the Army Air Corps based in Santa Ana, California during WWII.

“The show strives to honestly capture the can-do, energetic spirit of an amazing time in our nation’s history with a story that will touch the hearts of a modern day audience,” says William Schermerhorn. “It’s a tribute to the tens of thousands of men and women who served this nation, not “over there”, but over here. Their story deserves to be told.

In June of 2004, I sat down with Milton Delugg in a recording studio, and we proceeded to have a conversation reflecting on his days of military service at the Radio Production Unit of the Army Air Corps during World War II. This permanent record was made, first and foremost, to be submitted as an entry into the Library of Congress Veteran’s Project. But the conversation also served to help satisfy my own curiosity. What was it like to be part of a military unit that included such illustrious members as Frank Loesser, William Holden, Mario Lanza and so many others?

There were many questions; the answers did not disappoint. As this project developed into a musical, facts about life on base, both the serious and the amusing, became a line or two of dialogue. Passing comments about so-and-so being a so-and-so became plot points.

Later, when I sent a lyric to Milton and then it came back to me with a terrific melody, I was humbled to be one of the first to hear a brand new song written by one of “the fellas” who had helped create that musical style the first time around!

Finally, I want to share the optimism that I believe was such strength in the WWII era. Despite the dark events that went on in the world around them, members of that generation never lost a remarkable sense of humor. That spirit is reflected in the music they created and in the jokes they told. They were certain good would triumph over evil; that the light would shine again. And with that knowledge, they fulfilled their duty to their nation, their loved ones and themselves.”

Yes, Virginia


Music by Wesley Whatley
Book & Lyrics by William Schermerhorn
Adapted from the animated special & storybook by Chris Plehal

First came the animated special on CBS-TV….

And an Emmy Award-winning song…

Followed by The Macy’s Puppet Theater musical adaptation…

The award-winning elementary and middle school productions…

An orchestral concert version…

And a community theater premiere.

Stay tuned for the latest exciting news on Virginia’s dramatic journey!


Playbill: Macy’s Inspires Kids to Create Theatre With Yes, Virginia Musical Around the Country

Free To Dream Revue

Book and Lyrics by William Schermerhorn
Music by Doug Katsaros

Beneath a Summer sky. The 4th of July. Evening. Take a musical road trip across the country with a score featuring the songs of the Emmy Award-winning team of Doug Katsaros and William Schermerhorn.  From country, rock and pop to swing and the blues, this two-act musical revue showcases the people and places that make up the fabric of America. In addition to the title song, highlights include “It’s All About Tonight,” “Gift of Light,” “Independence Day Swing,” “It’s About Us,” and “Sing Another Day.”


Percy The Poor Little Penguin

The Coolest Show on the Planet

Music by Mary Ehlinger
Book & Lyrics by William Schermerhorn

Once upon a time… not quite so long ago.. a penguin named Percy lived in the frozen Antarctic community of South Pole Square. While all of the other penguins enjoyed sliding and sledding through the ice and snow, poor little Percy stayed at home, tucked in his little bed, sneezing and wheezing. “Ah-choo!” he would sneeze. “Ahhh-chooo!” he would wheeze. Sad, but true, Percy the penguin was allergic to snow!

The title song was first heard in a Macy’s Holiday Revue in 1992. PERCY, THE POOR LITTLE PENGUIN: The Musical made its premiere as a twenty-two minute marionette show for Macy’s Puppet Theater in 1996 and went on to have successful runs through 2002. Stay tuned for the latest incarnation of The Coolest Show on the Planet!

Beyond The Dream

Book & Lyrics by William Schermerhorn
Music by Brian Besterman

The timeless tale of a god’s wrath… a parent’s bond… and the pursuit of a dream. I’d like to thank the original demo cast including Roger Bart, Liz Callaway, Alix Korey, Jeremy Kushnier, Norm Lewis and Steven Skybell. Orchestrations & vocal arrangements by Brian Besterman.