Musical theatre workshops and productions

Summer – ahhhhhhhh

I love summer, and this summer in Chicago has been exceptional.  Very few days over 100 degrees, plenty of wind and, oooooh, the lake looked so beautiful.

Summers used to be the time when I did summer stock, where I performed in 5 or 6 musicals in just a couple of months.  I remember those times fondly – putting together HELLO DOLLY in just about 8 rehearsals, or KISS ME KATE in 7 rehearsals.     When you are young, you think you can do anything and fear was not really on my mind.

So, I want to spend the rest of my summer reflecting on great events.  Things that make my heart sing and my soul dance.  To get started, I thought I would share some of my favorite tunes from musicals that are related to summer.

“Summer Nights” from GREASE.  I loved the movie; and of the shows in which I’ve performed, this show is one of my favorites.  And….this song is my favorite from the show.  While it is a reflection about what happened during the summer, it is still so much fun.  Here is a clip of the song from the television show GLEE.

Let the Sunshine In” from HAIR.   (The formal title is “The Flesh Failures.”  But everyone knows it as “Let the Sunshine In.”) The song is a plea for peace in the world.  The young actors sing it at the end of the show.  But as the song builds and builds, they reach out to the audience.  And then – something miraculous happens – the audience joins the actors on the stage and they all sing together. The revival of HAIR on Broadway, directed by Diane Paulus, re-created the original idea of having the audience join the cast on the stage.  At first, Ms. Paulus was met with significant objections from the producers and the theatre owners – “The stage is not strong enough for all those people”, “What if an audience member falls and hurts themselves?”  and on and on.  Finally, Ms. Paulus said something like “If we don’t do the ending this way, we don’t do the show.”  The others gave in and the ending occurred.  It was amazing, I was there.  It became so popular that the producers started “live streaming” the ending so that they could use it as an advertisement for the show.

I want to end with “Summertime” from PORGY AND BESS.  Here is the great Audra McDonald singing it.

Summertime and the livin’ is easy…….

Enjoy the rest of the summer.
Larry Little

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