How Judi, Judy, Patti, Glenn, Frank, Carol & others reminded me about a little night music…
When I was a junior in High School, my mom took me to London, England for Spring Break. We saw 8 musicals in 7 days.
New to Millburn High School, NJ in 9th grade, having grown up in Louisiana and Ontario, Canada, I landed the lead in Oliver! My voice changed the weekend of the big performance, and I still remember today to check my fly whenever I stand in front of a large crowd…(ask me to tell the story another time!)
When I travelled for work to Basingstoke, England, 30 minutes outside of London, I saw more musicals than I can recall – though my favorite was Into the Woods, in a “theater in the round.” Heaven.
My best friend, Terry Woods, is an arranger, director and performer in the local musical theater community. I have seen him play Into the Woods and countless other shows; listened to him arrange in his home; and watched him create numerous “tribute shows” to legends like Cole Porter, born and raised here in Indiana!
I’ve seen Les Miserables numerous times, on the stage and on the big screen. I missed opening day for Into The Woods on the big screen, but will see it this month.
I’ve listened to renditions by drag queens, burlesque queens, and other performers on cruise ships and in cocktail bars.
I’ve been memorized watching Neil Patrick Harris bless the Tony Awards with his creative performance genius.
I have a tradition of driving friends to / from the airport as they fly off to New York for their annual family vacation to experience “the City,” with its musicals, theater and comedians.
And today, I watched an HBO special on Sondheim. I laughed, I cried. I learned that he spent part of his formative years (10 year old+) in the same town as my grandparents (Doylestown, PA). I learned so much about an art form with its birth rights in America…the American Musical.
And I’ve been reminded again how each performer can bring his or her own unique style and diversity to a song’s arrangement; case in point, watching Judy Collins and Patti Labelle (and many others) sing “Send in the Clowns” as if each was their own, new song.
So yes – I love musical theater, in all its forms. Straight, gay, bi, thai – this is an art form to which everyone should be exposed at least once in their life. Like my mom used to tell her grandkids:
“I just want you to try [….insert vegetable…]; you don’t have to like it or eat it again. But please try it this once.”
Which vegetable are we going to try today?