Thursday, February 11, 2010

Give My Regards to Broadway

For my recent birthday, my brother sent me the soundtracks for "Gyspy" and "My Fair Lady". I knew why, even before I read his note. Our childhood was full of music, and Broadway shows ranked high on the list of our favorites. I guessed, correctly, that he was indulging in a bout of characteristic nostalgia.

My mother used to play "Gypsy" a lot (I think she identified with Rose--certainly she encouraged us to go into show biz...). I knew all the lyrics, and can still sing them now:

Let me entertain you.
Let me see you smile.
Let me do a few kicks,
Some old and then some new tricks,
I'm very versatile.

Hmm. Might be my theme song as a writer!

Anyway, I've always loved musicals. I didn't grow up reading romance, but perhaps the Broadway shows from my early years taught me about love and happy endings.

I could have danced all night,
I could have danced all night,
And still have begged for more...

I have often walked
Down this street before
But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before.
All at once am I
Several stories high
Knowing I'm on the street where you live.

I enjoy singing, and have a moderately good voice, but I never learned to sight-read music. Still, one of my long-time fantasies is to perform in a musical. Which one would I pick? That's a difficult choice. "West Side Story" has always tugged at my heartstrings, but I'm not sure that I'm the serious heroine type--and after all it is a tragedy, almost an opera. Certainly not a "musical comedy". I'm a huge fan of Gilbert and Sullivan with their topsy-turvy logic. I don't know how familiar readers are with their repertoire, but I'd adore the chance to play the part of Mad Margaret in "Ruddigore", a woman driven insane by thwarted love, or Katisha in "The Mikado", the brash older noblewoman who sits at the right hand of the Emperor and tries to win the love of his son. Then there's the glamorous actress Desirée in "A Little Night Music":

Just when I'd stopped
Opening doors,
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours,
Making my entrance again with my usual flair,
Sure of my lines--
No one is there.

Or I could play Mary Magdalene in "Jesus Christ Super Star", perhaps an appropriate role for an erotic author:

I don't know how to take this.
I don't see why he moves me.
He's a man.
He's just a man.
And I've had so many men before,
In very many ways
He's just one more.

Considering my personality and my appearance, however, I just might opt to play Shirley Maclaine's role in "Sweet Charity". I love her eternal hope as well as her sassy attitude:

The minute you walked in the joint
I could tell you were a man of distinction,
A real big spender.
Good looking,
So refined.
Hey wouldn't you like to know what's going on in my mind?
Let me get right to the point.
I don't pop my cork
For every guy I see.
Hey, big spender,
Spend a little time with me.

I love the old Broadway classics, silly as some of them were, and the newer musicals, too. A measure of my addiction: I generated all the lyrics in this post from memory. Since receiving my brother's package, I've been indulging myself, singing in the shower and while I'm doing the dishes. Soon I'll be working out to "You've Got to Have a Gimmick" and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face".

Life is good!

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