One of the things I love most about Audra McDonald’s new album (my copy of which arrived today before it hits stores on the 21st) is a return on her part to promoting emerging music theater writers. In this case, Adam Gwon. She also includes numbers by Adam Guettel and Michael John LaChiusa, whose work she featured on her first albums when they were “emerging” as well.
Somehow I’ve been petrified to see what’s been kept inside these chests and drawers. It’s so very strange finding stuff from a lifetime ago, even when the life you find is yours. ‘Cause there are things that make you feel that you need this proof your past was real, and you can’t let them go, so back into boxes they go.
It’s songs like this one that make me frustrated when people are like, “I love musicals! My favorite is "insert big name show here.” …and then in the conversation following, it quickly becomes clear that they have only seen the movie versions of RENT and Phantom, save the time they were Cowgirl #3 in the high school version of Oklahoma. I think I’ve been particularly bothered by it recently given the release of Les Mis, the movie version, which has caused 1000’s to suddenly be musical theater experts and proudly assert that Les Mis is there favorite show ever, etc etc.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having any of the above shows being representative of your favorite musical. In fact, I agree the movie version of Les Mis was wonderfully done for a movie adaptation, and I think movies of these shows help to bring a few people deeper into theater as a whole. But it makes me sad that most of those people and other people who “love musicals” have never heard of Stephen Sondheim, can’t name one off-Broadway show, or haven’t seen beautiful songs like the one above. There is such a wonderful breadth of beautifully written stuff out there (JRB, Kerrigan-Lowdermilk, Adam Gown) and I wish I could introduce more people to these wonderful shows, song writers, and performers.
I’ve been listening to this song (performed by the beyond talented Lisa Brescia, one of my absolute favorites in the field) and the Ordinary Days soundtrack for the past few days at work and I wanted to start to share some of these songs with others. I may post a few more of these… This isn’t really a themed Tumblr/blog but for the next couple months it might just be one. :)
This is it? This is your pick, out of hundreds of paintings, your favorite painting is this piece of--
Hey! What's wrong with it?
Well. It's a little bit...boring.
Then you must be ignoring the most important bit.
I don't see it. Warren! We've been walking around, passing statues of angels and portraits of kings.
So? It's beautiful, right?
No, it isn't. It's plain.
Well part of our trip to the Met is I get to explain.
Here we go.
So! This is a painting of what?
It's a painting of apples.
That's right, that's right. And the artist has us looking at what?
Boring everyday things.
And the point?
The point is that things aren't beautiful all on their own, beautiful comes from reflection. Beautiful takes a person who makes a connection....you know what I mean? For beautiful to happen, the beautiful has got to be seen.
Okay.. I like that shade red right there. The spot where the apple is peeling. It's deep as an ocean but lighter than air.