MUSICALS. A PERSONAL VIEW AND EXPERIENCE.

 

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As a child, I always remember being taken to the cinema to see various musicals, it was also with the appearance of a new channel in the form of BBC 2, on the telly box, that these musicals would be on the small screen normally on a Saturday afternoon, which I would sit and watch with my Grandparents. During the festive season there have been so many musical movies on the TV, either on terrestrial or satellite channels, which when you think about it was quite fortunate as there was nothing else on, or was that just me being picky. Old, new, good, not so good and some not hitting the mark at all were all shown from early morning to late at night and beyond. Which made me think as a collector of film music that maybe I had not given the musical a fair chance. I do remember when I was younger and people asking me what music I liked, I would say film music, they would then invariably say “Oh, so you like musicals then”. Well No not really, but yes if that’s what you think film music is.

 

Musicals

 

As I have matured, and my musical tastes have widened I find that I can listen to many genres of music and find something within these genres that I do like, maybe I am not as passionate about STORMZY or his like as I am about John Barry, Ennio Morricone and John Williams, but I do however give it a chance, even if that chance is fleeting before I invariably dismiss it. But, saying that It is a case of horses for courses, and the Stormzy or Clean Bandit of today, could end up being the revered classical Masters of tomorrow, just a thought to ponder (images of STORMY’S 15th Symphony being released on a recording format that has not yet been invented).

best-musicals

Anyway, back to musicals, now this genre is to me a little odd, because no matter what, I still cannot get it when suddenly a character who is walking down the road suddenly bursts into song, if we did that we would probably get sectioned in today’s society. But, there is no doubt whatsoever that the musical whether it be a movie, a TV series or a stage show has endured and has become more and more popular with audiences of all ages, take GLEE and HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL as examples (please take them). The younger age groups being entertained by the likes of songs from movies such as FROZEN, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST etc, and now that the Disney studio are re-making many of the classic animated movies as live action affairs, we can look forward to ALADDIN, THE LITTLE MERMAID, THE LION KING, POCAHONTAS and others coming to a screen near you, in the not too distant future.

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So, the younger generation are already being prepared for the Musical and hopefully when they become adults they will discover the wonders and great musical numbers from movies and stage shows such as LES MISERABLES, WICKED, WEST SIDE STORY, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, PAINT YOUR WAGON, OLIVER etc, as they say the list is endless, and trust me it certainly is. Now, I don’t know about you, but, when I watch a musical as a movie I do tend to listen to the musical score as well as the actual songs being performed, this could be the music that is backing the lyrics or even the underscore for the non-singing moments within the movie.

For example, OLIVER, by Lionel Bart has a soundtrack that we are all familiar with, but when you next sit down to watch Bart’s musical homage to Dickens, listen to the actual score, the music that is supporting and enhancing many of the moments within the movie, where there are no vocals from the cast. it is dramatic, poignant and emotive, in fact it is film music in the true sense because it is supporting and enhancing the scenarios and images on screen. But, listening to the music as well as watching the story unfold and listening to the vocals is not all, when in the theatre watching a musical live I also watch the orchestra if they are visible, it is all part of the mechanics of the show, scenery, acting, songs and music combine to bring us what is the musical. Another example of the score being interesting in a musical is INTO THE WOODS, yes, the songs are brilliant, but composer Stephen Sondheim also provides a dramatic and alluring score for many of the non-singing moments in the show/movie, such as, THE CLOAK AS RED AS BLOOD.

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But, saying this the entire soundtrack or show is underscored by such a strong collection of themes, that are lush, lavish and highly melodic. The same can be said for LES MISERABLES, this ever-popular operetta has a dramatic and rousing score, which makes one want to leap up to defend the barricades. But let’s go a little further back shall we. Back to the days of the Hollywood musical as interpreted by artists such as Gene Kelly, Maurice Chevalier, James Cagney, Gingers Rogers, William Powell, Shirley Temple, Mae West and not forgetting Fred Astaire, TOP HAT, SWING TIME, EASTER PARADE, SINGING IN THE RAIN, 42 ND STREET, FOOTLIGHT PARADE, LOVE ME TONIGHT, ALEXANDERS RAGTIME BAND, GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 and 1937, the titles are endless. Plus, Disney was there even then with SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS.

These seem a little tame compared with the more contemporary musical movies and shows these days. Back in the 1930,s they did not have the luxury of such sophisticated special effects and hi-tech recording techniques, But, they still managed in 99 percent of cases to turn out enthralling, blockbusting dance and song numbers that became part movie and musical history, and still today make people think “How did they do that”. Would a movie for example such as 42nd Street be made today to the same standard? not sure. Even movies such as OLIVER which was released in 1968, I do not think would be able to be produced these days and create the amount of interest it did back then. The sets, the extras, the amount of sheer talent assembled for one production etc. Nowadays productions seem to rely on one or two big names that cannot necessarily sing and then fill the cast with lesser known actors or performers but doing this has at times returned some surprising results as in LES MISERABLES and in other movies such as MOULIN ROUGUE and also INTO THE WOODS.

Let us not forget about MAMMA MIA,(although I have tried, believe I have really tried) now the cast in this movie version of the stage show were hard pressed to string together a tune that was in tune, if you know what I mean. But, the movie still did well at the box office, but I think that had more to do with the musical content rather than any performance, after all not even Meryl Streep can muck up ABBA classics, can she? If we come Right up to date, or at least to last year, with LA LA LAND that was successful and won best score too, and then this year enter THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, not necessarily the best film in the world, well let’s face it people, it’s not the best film in the world is it! but its creating a real big stir with cinema audiences young and old, because of the musical content ie the songs, and now we are experiencing THE GREATEST SHOWMAN sing a long, and its given the film a new lease of life, audiences are flocking to see it and sing along with it, I suppose it is a bit like THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW phenomenon, where devotees turn up to screenings dressed up as their favorite characters to do the TIME WARP again and again and again. I don’t think I know enough about the musical to go into great detail about its history, but, I feel now that I unfairly dismissed the genre in the past, and will now try to make amends, and have set myself a task to re-visit movies such as CAMELOT, OKLAHOMA, HIGH SOCIETY and their like and maybe this time round I won’t hide from those pesky flying monkeys in THE WIZARD OF OZ, and also will not be so dismissive of the musical as a whole.

 

After all who cannot fail to be entertained by the likes of Tommy Steele in HALF A SIXPENCE, TOPOL in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, those charming kiddy winks in THE SOUND OF MUSIC, the Ompah Lumpahs in WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and the uncouth character Ben Rumson portrayed by Lee Marvin in PAINT YOUR WAGON. So, join me if you will as I go through a few brief biographies of the main composers, lyricists and conductors who were responsible for creating so many evergreen numbers that will live with us forever.

 

 

LERNER AND LOEWE.

Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, met in 1942 at the Lambs Club in New York City where, according to Loewe, he mistakenly took a wrong turn to the men’s room and walked past Lerner’s table. Having recognized him, he asked if Lerner wrote lyrics and Lerner confirmed he did. Lerner claimed to be the more dominant member of the partnership, which is something that is confirmed by many of their close friends, he would often say that he would throw out the first two melodies that Loewe would write to any song even if they were both perfect.
He said he always knew, with a little coaxing and pushing, Loewe was capable of much greater work, and one only has to listen to the Overture from, say, CAMELOT to appreciate Loewe’s gift and talent in creating melodic and rich sounding tunes. Loewe worked perfectly in tune with Lerner, who would agonize for weeks over a lyric. Unlike other collaborators Lerner would work with, Loewe was the most understanding of the time Lerner needed to create his lyrics and would never pressure him to complete the work quickly. Their last collaboration came with the 1974 movie THE LITTLE PRINCE, which received a mixed bag of reviews from the critics, but at the same time was hailed as as one of the team’s most intelligent scores. Regardless of their professional relationship, Lerner and Loewe were close friends and remained so until the end of their lives. On October 21, 1956, Lerner and Loewe appeared together as contestants on the panel quiz show WHATS MY LINE. Their final public appearance was in December 1985, when they received a Kennedy centre honour, which was awarded just six months before Lerner passed away.

HOW TO HANDLE A WOMAN.
FROM THE MUSICAL CAMELOT.
“How to handle a woman?
There’s a way,” said the wise old man,
“A way known by ev’ry woman
Since the whole rigmarole began.”
“Do I flatter her?” I begged him answer.
“Do I threaten or cajole or plead?
Do I brood or play the gay romancer?”
Said he, smiling: “No indeed.
How to handle a woman?
Mark me well, I will tell you, sir:
The way to handle a woman
Is to love her…simply love her…
Merely love her…love her…love her.”

 

RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN.

The names Rodgers and Hammerstein are synonymous with the big movie musicals that were produced in Hollywood during the 1950.s through to the 1960’s. Together they were responsible for creating some of the most popular musicals ever made.
Composer Richard Rodgers 1902-1979 and lyricist-dramatist Oscar Hammerstein 1895-1960, who together were an influential, innovative and successful American musical writing team. They created a string of popular musicals which were on Broadway during the 1940s and 1950s and are credited with beginning what is referred to as the GOLDEN AGE of the musical. No less than five of their Broadway shows, CAROUSEL, THE KING AND I, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, SOUTH PACIFIC and OKLAHOMA became successes, as was the little know television broadcast of CINDERELLA in 1957. Of the other four that the team produced on Broadway during their lifetimes, THE FLOWER DRUM SONG was well-received, none being an outright flop. Most of their shows have received frequent revivals around the world, both professional and amateur. In their career the duo received Thirty-four Tony Awards, fifteen Academy Awards, The Pulitzer Award and two Grammys. It is probably true to say that ROGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN were the most successful writing partnership in musical theatre, and many of today’s musicals have their roots in the writings of this prolific duo.

 

SHALL WE DANCE.
FROM THE KING AND I.

 

We’ve just been introduced
I do not know you well
But when the music started
Something drew me to your side

So many men and girls
Are in each others arms
It made me think we might be
Similarly occupied

Shall we dance?
On a bright cloud of music shall we fly?
Shall we dance?
Shall we then say, goodnight and mean goodbye

Oh perchance
When the last little star has left the sky
Shall we still be together?
With our arms around each other
And shall you be my new romance?

On the clear understanding
That this kind of thing can happen
Shall we dance?
Shall we dance?
Shall we dance?

Shall we dance?
On a bright cloud of music shall we fly?
Shall we dance?
Shall we then say, goodnight and mean goodbye?

Oh perchance
When the last little star has leave the sky
Shall we still be together?
With our arms around each other
And shall you be my new romance?

On the clear understanding
That this kind of thing can happen
Shall we dance?
Shall we dance?
Shall we dance?

 

 

BARTY

 

LIONEL BART.

Born into a Jewish family, Lionel Begletier was the youngest of seven children who were brought up in Stepney in the East End of London, His Father was a tailor. Lionel Bart as he was to become known as received no real formal musical education apart from a few violin lessons, but he soon became disinterested in these and his Mother very quickly literally threw out the violin he was practicing upon. However because of the young Lionel’s interest and aptitude for music his teacher declared that he was a genius and at the age of 16 he won a scholarship to St Martins school of art and began to become involved not just in music but in set decoration painting sets for plays etc. Whilst at the school he saw a notice advertising for song writers and it was this decision to make a career change that altered his life forever, it was during this period that he also decided to change his surname name to Bart, apparently this was inspired by a bus journey that took the young lyricist and composer past ST BARTHOLOMEWS church every day, the Church which was known by locals as St Bart’s attracted Lionel’s attention and he decided to become Lionel Bart.

Bart’s first foray into writing a musical came in 1958 when he came up with WALLY PONE OF SOHO, this was not that successful and although it did attract some attention it was not a runaway hit for Bart. It was at this time in his career that he wrote songs for a number of British rock and roll artists of the day, Marty Wilde, Billy Fury, Cliff Richard and Tommy Steele among them. Many of these such as LITTLE WHITE BULL, ROCK WITH THE CAVEMAN, LIVING DOLL etc becoming iconic and enduring favourites worldwide. The latter reaching number one in the hit parade of 1959 and staying there for 6 weeks. His first success in the world of musicals came in 1958/59 with FINGS AI’NT WOT THEY USED TO BE and after this he teamed up with composer Laurie Johnson to bring LOCK UP YOUR DAUGHTERS TO London’s West End. It was also at this time that Bart began to develop more fully an idea he had for a musical which was based upon a classic tale written by Charles Dickens, OLIVER which Bart decided to set to music after seeing the David Lean film version of the story eventually came to the stage in the June of 1960, this was after numerous promoters and companies turned it down, resulting in Bart financing the production himself. Bart was convinced that the show would be a flop and apparently did not stay in the theatre on the first night instead taking himself off elsewhere with actress Barbara Windsor only to return at the end of the musical to receive no less than 16 curtain calls, and soon the show had advance sales of 30,000 in its first week. Based on the success of OLIVER Bart became much in demand and soon had two other musicals to his name in the form of MAGGIE MAY and BLITZ which although did not have the same appeal as OLIVER were still nonetheless lucrative ventures for the composer. It was also at this time that he wrote the title song for the Bond movie FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE as well as co-writing with and for Anthony Newley, it seemed that Bart was unstoppable and at the age of just 30, he was rumoured to be earning £16.00 an hour which in the 1960’s was more than impressive. Bart’s next musical TWANG (1965) was based on the story of Robin Hood but on this occasion it was not such a rosy tale for him, especially as to finance its production he sold off all the rights to OLIVER.

TWANG failed miserably and ran for less than a month, its disastrous opening night saw scenery and sets collapsing and “boos” and shouts of “GET OFF” coming from the audience. Bart estimated that the ill-fated TWANG lost him over a million pounds and also lost him the rights to his most successful venture OLIVER. In 1968, Columbia pictures produced a film version of the musical OLIVER, Directed by Carol Reed and starring the wonderful Ron Moody as Fagin, with Oliver Reed as Bill Sykes and Shani Wallis as Nancy, it also featured young actors Jack Wild as the artful dodger and the angel faced Mark Lester in the title role. The movie was a runaway success being nominated for 11 Academy Awards and winning in 6 categories including best original score, but this must have been a bittersweet success for Bart as he had relinquished all rights to do with the musical. In 1972 he became a bankrupt with debts of over £73.000. Bart had also began to drink heavily which resulted in him contracting diabetes, he did manage to win his battle with alcohol and drug addiction but had done irreparable damage to his liver and his career hit rock bottom, he did however still carry on working and in 1977 penned the musical LIONEL, but compared with his success from previous years it paled in comparison. Bart did however manage to return to the public eye when OLIVER was revitalised for the west end by Cameron Mitchell during the early to mid 1990‘s, Cameron who had secured the rights had written into the deal that some of the royalties would be paid to Bart. The lyricist took on a supervisory role for the comeback production and once again was his old flamboyant and larger than life self. He also penned HAPPY ENDINGS for a commercial that was run by a building society which reached number 65 in the UK charts and wrote numerous other jingle type compositions for advertisements on both radio and television. After OLIVER was revived it gave Bart more drive and he began to work on a number of projects that had for many years been gathering dust, i.e. QUASIMODO, which was based upon THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAMME. Lionel Bart died of cancer on April 3rd, 1999 at Hammersmith Hospital London aged 68.

REVIEWING THE SITUATION.
FROM OLIVER.

A man’s got a heart, hasn’t he?
Joking apart — hasn’t he?
And tho’ I’d be the first one to say that I wasn’t a saint…

I’m finding it hard to be really as black as they paint…

I’m reviewing the situation
Can a fellow be a villain all his life?
All the trials and tribulations!
Better settle down and get myself a wife.
And a wife would cook and sew for me,
And come for me, and go for me,
The fingers, she will wag at me.
The money she will take me.
A misery, she’ll make from me…

…I think I’d better thing it out again!

A wife you can keep, anyway
I’d rather sleep, anyway.
Left without anyone in the world,
And I’m starting from now
So “how to win friends and to influence people”
–So how?

I’m reviewing the situation,
I must quickly look up ev’ryone I know.
Titled people — with a station —
Who can help me make a real impressive show!
I will own a suite at Claridges,
And run a fleet of carriages,
And wave at all the duchesses
With friendliness, as much as is
Befitting of my new estate…

“Good morrow to you, magistrate!” Oh gawd!

…I think I’d better think it out again.

So where shall I go — somebody?
Who do I know? Nobody!
All my dearest companions
Have always been villains and thieves…
So at my time of life
I should start turning over new leaves…?

I’m reviewing the situation.
If you want to eat — you’ve got to earn a bob!
Is it such a humiliation
For a robber to perform an honest job?
So a job I’m getting, possibly,
I wonder who my boss’ll be?
I wonder if he’ll take to me…?
What bonuses he’l make to me…?
I’ll start at eight and finish late,
At normal rate, and all..but wait!

…I think I’d better think it out again.

What happens when I’m seventy?
Must come a time…seventy.
When you’re old, and it’s cold
And who cares if you live or you die,
Your one consolation’s the money
You may have put by…

I’m reviewing the situation.
I’m a bad ‘un and a bad ‘un I shall stay!
You’ll be seeing no transformation,
But it’s wrong to be a rogue in ev’ry way.

I don’t want nobody hurt for me,
Or made to do the dirt for me.
This rotten life is not for me.
It’s getting far too hot for me.
Don’t want no one to rob for me.
But who will find a job for me,
There is no in between for me
But who will change the scene for me?

…I think I’d better think it out again!

Hey!

 

ALAN MENKEN.

Born in NEW YORK on July 22nd, 1949, Alan Menken’s musical scores for many of the Disney animated features were said to revitalise the Disney magic for many both young and old. He was responsible for creating along with lyricist Howard Ashman, the haunting music for films such as THE LITTLE MERMAID and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. He and Ashman began work on ALADDIN but sadly Ashman passed away and Menken teamed up with Tim Rice to finish the project. Menken is not only known for his music in Disney animated movies, such as HERCULES and the Award-winning POCAHONTAS. He also worked on numerous Broadway shows including LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS and provided the score for a number of motion pictures as a dramatic music composer in his own right. In recent years the composer has been working on adapting many of his scores for the Disney animated musicals for Broadway and West End performances and also rekindling interest in the music via Disney’s programme of converting classic animated features into live action movies. Hopefully this coming year ALADDIN, directed by Guy Ritchie will return to the big screen after the success of the movie version of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

 

UNDER THE SEA
FROM THE LITTLE MERMAID.

Ariel, listen to me
The human world, it’s a mess
Life under the sea is better than anything they got up there

(sung)
The seaweed is always greener
In someone else’s lake
You dream about going up there
But that is a big mistake
Just look at the world around you
Right here on the ocean floor
Such wonderful things surround you
What more is you looking for?

Under the sea, under the sea
Darling its better down where its wetter
Take it from me
Up on the shore they work all day
Out in the sun they slave away
While we’re devoting full time to floating
Under the sea

Down here all the fish is happy
As after the waves they roll
The fish on the land ain’t happy
They sad cause they’re in the bowl
The fish in the bowl is lucky
They’re in for a worser fate
One day when the boss get hungry
Guess who goin’ be on the plate?

Wo-no, under the sea
Under the sea
Nobody beat us, fry us and eat us
In frickazee
We what the land folks loves to cook
Under the sea we off the hook
We’ve got no troubles, life is the bubbles

Under the sea (under the sea)
Under the sea (under the sea)
Since life is sweet here, we got the beat here
Naturally (naturally-ee-ee-ee)
Even the sturgeon and the ray
They get the urge and start to play
We’ve got the spirit, you’ve got to hear it
Under the sea

The lute play the flute
The carp play the harp
The plaice play the bass and they soundin’ sharp
The bass play the brass
The chub play the tub
The fluke is the duke of soul (yeah)
The ray, he can play the lings on the strings
The trout acting out
The blackfish he sings
The smelt and the sprat
They know where it’s at
And oh, that blowfish blow!

(instrumental)

Yeah, under the sea (under the sea)
Under the sea (under the sea)
When the sardine begin the beguine
It’s music to me (music is to me)
What do they got, a lot of sand?
We’ve got a hot crustacean band
Each little clam here know how to jam here
Under the sea
Each little slug here cutting a rug here
Under the sea
Each little snail here know how to wail here
That’s why it’s hotter under the water
Yeah, we’re in luck here down under the muck here
Under the sea

 

ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER.

Born in Kensington London on March 22nd, 1948, Andrew Lloyd Webber or Baron Lloyd Webber to give him his correct title, is probably the name that is discussed more than any other when talking about Musical theatre and in recent years movie adaptations of those shows. He has been the most successful composer in musical theatre many of his shows running on Broadway and London’s West End for more than a decade. College of music in London, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, CATS, EVITA, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR all titles that are now a part of Musical theatre history and iconic examples of the Musical. He came from a musical family, his Father was the director of the College of music in London, his Mother was a pianist and his Brother Julian is a renowned Cellist. He began early in life and was able to play, piano, violin and French Horn at the age of three, by his 6th Birthday Lloyd Webber was writing his own music. He began to study music in 1965 at the Royal College of Music. It was here that he began to become interested in musical theatre. At 17 he met Tim Rice and together they penned their first musical called, THE LIKES OF US, which sadly did not reach any stage at that time. They were then asked to write a pop cantata which was a religious piece that would end up becoming JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICLOUR DREAMCOAT. Then came the musical that most associate with both Lloyd Webber and Rice, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. The rest as they say is history, many musicals followed and Lloyd Webber, is arguably the best loved composer in the history of musicals.

ALL I ASK OF YOU.
FROM THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.

RAOUL
No more talk
of darkness,
Forget these
wide-eyed fears.

I’m here,
nothing can harm you –
my words will
warm and calm you.

Let me be
your freedom,
let daylight
dry -your tears.
I’m here,
with you, beside you,
to guard you
and to guide you . . .

CHRISTINE
Say you love me
every
waking moment,
turn my head
with talk of summertime . . .

Say you need me
with you,
now and always . . .
promise me that all
you say is true –
that’s all I ask
of you . . .

RAOUL
Let me be
your shelter,
let me
be your light.
You’re safe:
No-one will find you
your fears are
far behind you . . .

CHRISTINE
All I want
is freedom,
a world with
no more night . . .
and you
always beside me
to hold me
and to hide me . . .

RAOUL
Then say you’ll share with
me one
love, one lifetime . . .
Iet me lead you
from your solitude . . .

Say you need me
with you
here, beside you . . .
anywhere you go,
let me go too –
Christine,
that’s all I ask
of you . . .

CHRISTINE
Say you’ll share with
me one
love, one lifetime . . .
say the word
and I will follow you . . .

BOTH
Share each day with
me, each
night, each morning . . .

CHRISTINE
Say you love me . . .

RAOUL
You know I do . . .

BOTH
Love me –
that’s all I ask
of you . . .

 

Anywhere you go
let me go too . . .
Love me –
that’s all I ask
of you . .

 

 

STEPHEN SONDHEIM.

American composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim was born in New York City on March 22nd,1930. Influenced heavily by Oscar Hammerstein, of Rodgers and Hammerstein, who acted as a mentor to Sondheim. The composers contributions to both GYPSY and WEST SIDE STORY in the 1950’s brought recognition to the young Sondheim, he became much sought after and created witty and complex music and lyrics for productions such as A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, SWEENY TODD and INTO THE WOODS.

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COMEDY TONIGHT.
FROM A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM.

 

Something familiar,
Something peculiar,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

Something appealing,
Something appalling,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

Nothing with kings, nothing with crowns;
Bring on the lovers, liars and clowns!

Old situations,
New complications,
Nothing portentous or polite;
Tragedy tomorrow,
Comedy tonight!

Something convulsive,
Something repulsive,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

Something aesthetic,
Something frenetic,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

Nothing with gods, nothing with fate;
Weighty affairs will just have to wait!

Nothing that’s formal,
Nothing that’s normal,
No recitations to recite;
Open up the curtain:
Comedy Tonight!

Something erratic,
Something dramatic,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

Frenzy and frolic,
Strictly symbolic,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

Something familiar,
Something peculiar,
Something for everybody:
Comedy tonight!
Something that’s gaudy,
Something that’s bawdy–

Something for everybawdy!

Comedy tonight!

Nothing that’s grim.

Nothing that’s Greek.

She plays Medea later this week.

Stunning surprises!
Cunning disguises!
Hundreds of actors out of sight!

Pantaloons and tunics!
Courtesans and eunuchs!
Funerals and chases!
Baritones and basses!
Panderers!
Philanderers!
Cupidity!
Timidity!
Mistakes!
Fakes!
Rhymes!
Crimes!
Tumblers!
Grumblers!
Bumblers!
Fumblers!

SH

 

CLAUDE-MICHEL SCHONBERG.

French composer Claude-Michel Schonberg was the Maestro behind the infectious and haunting music for the musical Les Miserables. The idea was presented to the composer by young lyricist Alain Boublil who had an idea to adapt Victor Hugo’s classic novel into a musical. After much work and knocking on doors, the musical opened in September 1980 at the Palais des Sports in Paris. In, 1982, the English producer Cameron Mackintosh decided that he would like to bring the musical to London and began work on an English language version, with lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. The first English production, produced by Mackintosh and directed by Trevor Nunn, opened on October 28, 1985, in the Barbican Theatre in London before moving first to the Palace Theatre and later to the Queen’s Theatre. It is one of the best loved musicals worldwide and continues its run to packed houses to this day in London. The Broadway production opened on March 12, 1987 and was nominated for twelve Tony Awards, winning eight, including Best Musical and Best Original Score, and ran until 2003. It is still the third longest-running Broadway show in history. Shonberg and Boublil are also behind the popular musical MISS SAIGON.

 
BRING HIM HOME.
FROM LES MISERABLES.

God on high
Hear my prayer
In my need
You have always been there

He is young
He’s afraid
Let him rest
Heaven blessed.
Bring him home
Bring him home
Bring him home.

He’s like the son I might have known
If God had granted me a son.
The summers die
One by one
How soon they fly
On and on
And I am old
And will be gone.

Bring him peace
Bring him joy
He is young
He is only a boy

You can take
You can give
Let him be
Let him live
If I die, let me die
Let him live
Bring him home
Bring him home
Bring him home.

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Of course there are many composers and lyricists that deserve more than a fleeting mention, these include, ELTON JOHN, IRVING BERLIN, JOHN KANDER, STEPHEN SCHWARTZ, JEROME KERN, CY COLEMAN, GEORGE GERSHWIN, JERRY BROCK, SHELDON HARNICK, RICHARD M SHERMAN, ROBERT SHERMAN, JUSTIN HURWITZ, JULIE SYNE etc etc etc……..

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One thought on “MUSICALS. A PERSONAL VIEW AND EXPERIENCE.”

  1. I love musicals for so many reasons: the combination of singing, dancing and acting is special. I prefer live theatre over movies. The thrill of the orchestra, the excitement of the dance and the emotions are more powerful live

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