Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First Song - (Stated in no particular order)

I've been inspired by LL&L and I have decided to make a list of favorites.  Only I'm going to list one per posting and I'm going to to start with music (although I reserve the right to switch to movies or books or whatever at anytime . . . lol.)

First song - "Lament" sung by Bernadette Peters from the show "Into The Woods."  

I think I first became fond of Bernadette Peters when I saw her in Steve Martin's "The Jerk." I fell in love with the "You Belong to Me" sung acapella by Peters and Martin and it has been on every MP3 player I've ever owned.

I stumbled into "Into The Woods" kinda backwards . . . .  I worked at an independent bookstore as the "returns department."  It was a dangerous job for a book reader-books being returned could frequently be purchased by employees at the discount at which they had been sold to the store and I was exposed to many deals.  One day an illustrated version of "Into the Woods" crossed my desk.  I've always loved fairy tales and after glancing at just a page or two, I knew I would have to read this book.  By the end of the day, I knew it had to come home with me.  I had no idea it was also a Broadway show.  I found that out when PBS broadcasted it one Christmas.  I immediately laughed and enjoyed "The Steps of The Palace;" "Hello, Little Girl;" and "Agony;" but the songs that stuck with me . . that picked at my subconscious were "Stay With Me" and "Lament."

Both songs are told from the point of view of the witch who kidnaps Rapunzel.  

In case you're not familiar with "Into The Woods," let me backtrack . . . in the story a group of different fairy tale characters - Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack (from Jack and the Beanstalk,) among others - meet up and their individual tales intertwine and become something new.  Beleaguered by the wife of Jack's giant, the characters are forced to perform a unique scavenger hunt so that Rapunzel's witch can set the world right again.  

Now my favorite fairy tale as a child was "Rumplestiltskin" (who isn't included in "Into The Woods,") but essentially "Rumplestiltskin" and "Rapunzel" could almost be portions of the same story.  (A) Magical creature (Rumplestiltskin/the witch) is irritated by non-magical commoner.  (B) Angered, the magical creature exacts revenge by taking the non-magical commoner's first born child.  

Until "Into The Woods," I think I always looked at the stories as a karmic phenomenon.  The revenge is directed at the core of the original dilemma and hits the commoners essentially where they live.  But if it is revenge, what do Rumplestiltskin and the witch really get out of the deal?  What happens next?  You can't exactly sing "I got yer baby" for the next 20 years.  

The emotional and powerful delivery of Bernadette Peters in the song "Lament" is that of a mother caring and agonizing about her child, not a witch punishing the neighbors.  It turned my notion of who was the bad guy and who was the good guy in the fairy tales forever on its ear.  

Without the rights to "Lament," I can't present the song to you here (it isn't even on the list of things that are "blip"able,) but I wrote this short story,  "Witch", with that song playing as an earworm.  

1 comment:

LLnL said...

I love Bernadette Peters, her voice is magical and her acting is memorizing. I'm sure she is any musical directors dream. I a clip from the play in my theater class and was really intrigued. My sister-in-law saw the play with her choir and really liked it so I know its a winner but still don't know that much about it.

I love finding new music and I love musicals. I have a few songs on my Blip playlist from musical, but not nearly enough.

Thank you so much for the mention, your the coolest. I will have to return the favor. Take care.