Can we stand one more SHOWSTOPPERS???
Last one…I promise, but there was so much in this great book Showstoppers!: The Surprising Backstage Stories of Broadways Most Memorable Songs by Gerald Nachman, I just had to share a few more of his stories.
- Irving Berlin (ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, CALL ME MADAM, LOUISIANA PURCHASE) wrote 451 hit songs, 82 of those songs made it to the top ten and 35 of those songs rose to number 1! He not only wrote Broadway musicals, but wrote extensively for Hollywood. (Later, the movie “White Christmas” was turned into a Broadway musical.)
- Faith Prince talked about “Adelaide’s Lament” the great comic song from GUYS AND DOLLS. She asked herself, if I was a girl who was engaged for 14 years and was still not married, in that time period, I would be desperate and confused and the stakes would be incredibly high. That is how her version of the song made her a Broadway star.
- “Comedy is really about tragedy.” When I read this, I took a deep breath. I had often said something very similar. When I was in college, I was taught that comedy comes from tragic situations. Comedy has its roots in what are really tragic events, experiences, or environments. The circumstances might be odd and peculiar, but the event is truly tragic in the character’s eyes. (“Getting Married Today” from COMPANY is a great example.)
- Meredith Willson’s THE MUSIC MAN is used again and again by many as a great example of wonderful musical theatre. Willson worked for six years on the show (and 30 rewrites later!) and two of the great songs in the show are “Goodnight, My Someone” and “Seventy-Six Trombones” – and they are the same tune! Same melody in opposite tempos – quite common in opera, but rare in musicals.
- THE MUSIC MAN and WEST SIDE STORY opened in the same Broadway season – WOW….just weeks apart. THE MUSIC MAN beat out WEST SIDE STORY for best musical by just one Tony vote. Two great musicals but very different in tone, music and styles.
- Jerry Herman (HELLO DOLLY, MAME, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES) writes for big, warm, brassy women. His music “Shimmers with vibrant DayGlo colors.” Herman first studied design at the famous Parsons School of Design in Manhattan and also had a profitable second career as an interior decorator. (Imagine what his homes look like!)
Well, that is it for now. Enjoy