HERE'S WHAT'S NEW ON THE SITE:

CLICK/TAP THE TABS ABOVE TO ACCESS OUR ARCHIVE OF SHOW AND MEDIA REVIEWS, AS WELL AS FEATURES LIKE BROADWAY WHO'S WHO AND ONE THAT GOT AWAY. COLLECTORS WILL BE INTERESTED IN OUR LIGHTS OF BROADWAY CARDS AND PLAYBILLS FOR SALE!

BROADWAY RETURNS:The Book of Mormon - Resumes 11.5.21 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Resumes 11.12.21 Dear Evan Hansen - Resumes 12.11.21 Beetlejuice - Resumes 4.8.22

NEW ON BROADWAY: Caroline, or Change -Opens 10.27.21 Diana - Previews 11.1.21 Opens 11.17.21 Trouble in Mind - Previews 10.29.21 Opens 11.18.21 Clyde's - Previews 11.3.21 Opens 11.22.21 Mrs. Doubtfire - Opens 12.5.21 Flying Over Sunset - Previews 11.11.21 Opens 12.13.21 Company - Previews 11.15.21 Opens 12.9.21 Skeleton Crew - Previews 12.21.21 Opens 1.12.22 MJ: The Musical - Previews 12.6.21 Opens 2.1.22 The Music Man - Previews 12.20.21 Opens 2.10.22 Paradise Square - Previews 2.22.22 Opens 3.20.22 Take Me Out - Previews 3.9.22 Opens 4.4.22 Birthday Candles - Previews 3.18.22 Opens 4.10.22 The Minutes - TBA Plaza Suite - Previews 2.25.22 Opens 3.28.22 American Buffalo - Previews 3.22.22 Opens 4.14.22 1776 - TBA Sing Street - TBA Our Town - TBA

COMING UP THIS WEEK: Broadway Play Show Art Tournament: Region 1! - Performers We Can't Wait to See More Of - Broadway in a Box: Guys and Dolls (1992) - One That Got Away: Neil Simon's Rumors - Broadway Games!

Contact us: jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com (Email); @jkstheatrescene (Twitter); jkstheatrescene (Instagram)

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

"Hit Songs" From Broadway Misfires: Promising Opening Numbers

Picture it. You are settled into your seat in a Broadway theater, the room abuzz, the energy is one of great expectation. You are at a "highly anticipated" new musical, written by an accomplished team. You are sure you'll be among the first to discover the newest smash hit. The lights dim, the orchestra starts as the curtain rises. You get goose bumps, hold your breath and lean forward. The opening number is everything you had hoped it would be. And then the rest of the show happened...

Over the years, this has happened to me several times. I'll admit that there are very few shows that I absolutely find nonredeemable, and sometimes it's the opening number that is my only really positive take away.

"Hit Songs" From Broadway Misfires:
Promising Opening Numbers 

The three shows represented below are all ones which were clearly "misfires," but I truly enjoyed each of them all the way through. That said, each of their curtain raisers were way up there in my list of what I loved about each. They deserve to be "hit songs."

Anne Marie Bobby and
Jodi Benson in Smile


"Typical High School Senior" from Smile
Music by Marvin Hamlisch     Lyrics by Howard Ashman
Sung by The Pageant Contestants

Favorite Lyrics:

SHE'S A TYPICAL HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR

SHE IS THOUGHTFUL AND BRIGHT AND CLEAN

SHE IS CARING AND KIND

SHE READS BOOKS TO THE BLIND

SHE'S NO OLDER THAN SEVENTEEN

AND SHE USUALLY WORKS ON YEARBOOK

WHILE MAINTAINING A THREE POINT O

SHE'S ATTRACTIVE AND SMART,

WITH AN OUTGOING HEART

AND A VISIBLE YOUTHFUL GLOW

SHE IS EAGER TO PLEASE,

YES IN SUMMARY SHE'S

THE MOST TYPICAL GIRL YOU KNOW


SHE'S A MEMBER OF STUDENT COUNCIL

SHE'S A MEMBER OF F.T.A.

AND YA CAN'T HELP BUT FEEL

IN A MONTH OR TWO SHE'LL

GET THE LEAD IN THE SENIOR PLAY.


JUST A TYPICAL HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR

IN THE LAND OF THE BRAVE AND FREE

AND YOU'LL KNOW HER AS SOON AS YOU'VE SEEN HER

SHE'S SORT OF A LOT LIKE ME


JUST A TYPICAL HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR

WHO PUTS RUM IN HER COKES

AND FREQUENTLY SMOKES

BUT NOT IN FRONT OF HER FOLKS

LIKE ME


AND SHE'S GOIN' TO SANTA ROSA,

WHERE THEY GATHER TO PICK THE BEST

YES, SHE'S GOIN' TO SANTA ROSA

TO COMPETE AGAINST THE WHOLE DARN WEST

WHEN I GET THERE TO SANTA ROSA

GONNA GIVE 'EM A GREAT BIG GRIN

GONNA GIGGLE AND POSE

GONNA SHOW OFF M'CLOTHES

GONNA TRY AND WHO KNOWS?

I MIGHT WIN.


Why It Should Be a "Hit Song":
Catchy. Check. Builds to a thrilling conclusion. Check. What sets it apart? I love the duality of meaning here. It starts with a list of exemplary "All-American Girl" qualities - what society expects, and what pageant contestants throughout history have been trained to exude. But really, can anyone live up to that impossible standard? Of course not. Just look at the penultimate stanza above. While it gets a laugh from the audience, it is also the most honest. And even though they immediately go back the big smiles and cheesy expected promises, we now know that these girls have more to them beneath those pageant sashes.

The Freaks from the 2014 revival of Side Show


"Come Look at the Freaks" from Side Show
Music by Henry Krieger     Lyrics by Bill Russell
Sung by The Boss and the Attractions

Favorite Lyrics:
Come look at the freaks

Come gape at the geeks

Come examine these aberrations

Their malformations

Grotesque physiques

Only pennies for peeks

Come look at the freaks

Come look at the freaks

They'll haunt you for weeks

Come explore why they fascinate you

Exasperate you

And flush your cheeks

Come hear how love speaks

Come look at the freaks


Why It Should Be a "Hit Song":
It is creepy, seductive, and completely fascinating. In the original  production, the cast sat on a large set of bleachers in street clothes staring at us, and in maddeningly calm, breathy tones dared us to look for more. Slowly, these every day people like us transformed into side show attractions. The message is clear: these freaks are us. They just look different. 

Aaron Tveit & Company in Catch Me If You Can

"Live in Living Color" from Catch Me If You Can
Music by Marc Shaiman     Lyrics by Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman
Sung by Frank Jr. and Company

Favorite Lyrics:

I've got a story that's strange but true

So come fly with me for a bird's-eye view 

I've got the world at my command 

And I'll be your one-man Disneyland 

Don't wanna wait for the cops arrive

I wanna tell my story,


Live and in living color (live in living color)

Tune me in and turn me on

Yes I'm live in living color

Blink your eyes and I'll be gone


Yes I'm live in living color

Tune me in and turn me on

Yes I'm live in living color


Blink your eyes

Blink your eyes

And I'll be gone!


Why It Should Be a "Hit Song":
This is perhaps the most "typical" Broadway opening number, staging-wise. Big and splashy, chorus guys and gals dancing their asses off, and a grand introduction of the main character. But it also nails the time period of the piece and the TV variety show concept. And those lyrics really tell us the whole story - no surprises here. Many of us came in knowing how it ends. But they let us know that it is the journey, not the outcome that makes this story. (Aaron Tveit didn't hurt, either.)

#2494

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...