Day 107: The Brave Little Tailor travels to the Palace

After his encounter with the two Giants, the Tailor is more than happy to get back on the road to the palace. As he travels, however, he can’t stop thinking about the Princess he met in the marketplace. Eventually, his journey brings him to the palace where she lives.

The Princess Dance emerged out of a fun interaction between choreographer Scott McPheeters, director Leslie Reidel, the performers and me. We used the theme that had been introduced back in the marketplace, but then I dropped in a couple club beats and asked guitarist Chris Farrell to give me some sixteenth note action. The fact that Josh, who plays the Tailor, is no great dancer doesn’t matter a bit; his slightly goofy quality is a perfect fit for this quirky moment. I love it when I can reuse thematic material with some sort of transformation, and the same thing happens when the Tailor returns to the road: I bring back the shuffle-beat blues that opened the show, adding a ritard to suggest his growing exhaustion.

Tomorrow, an encounter with two villagers makes a big difference in how the Tailor is received at the palace!

Meanwhile, how about checking out another Project 194 song at random? Use the links on the right, or try this one.

Day 106: The Brave Little Tailor meets a Giant

I spent a rewarding day preparing a lecture on Bernstein’s Mass and a class on songs in contemporary musicals, but my work was so absorbing that I’m a little past midnight getting these posts up on the blog. If anyone is keeping track, you’re welcome to give me a demerit for today’s performance. I think, however, that it’s probably the case that I’m accountable to no-one but myself on this one, and so I’ll pretend that everything is in order here at Project 194.

We left off the story of the Brave Little Tailor after he killed seven flies with a single stroke and made himself a banner proclaiming that fact. He set off to tell the kingdom about his accomplishment, pausing along the way to take on a little bird as a passenger. Now, we pick up the tale as he meets a Giant who seems unimpressed by his accomplishment. Let’s listen to what happens next.

Tomorrow – well, later today, that is – I’ll post the next episode, as the Tailor daydreams about the Princess on his way to the Palace. Meanwhile, I’m turning in for a bit of night dreaming. Tomorrow is my lecture on Mass, a work which rocked my world when I saw it the first week of my freshman year at UDel. I’m eagerly looking forward to introducing a new generation of undergrads to this mind-blowing music theater work!

Day 105: Brave Little Tailor continued

Brave Little TailorDear reader, I’m pooped. Meeting my delivery deadline for today’s presentation of The Brave Little Tailor meant burning some midnight oil. I got these tracks ready for the rehearsal, and they were enthusiastically received, but I don’t have much to say about them tonight on the blog, so the work will have to speak for itself, at least for now.

If you missed them, these are the songs already posted on Project 194; the links on the right are songs chosen at random from previous posts. Want to contribute to my interactive composition, “Hear My Song?” Read more here. Want to receive daily songs delivered direct to your inbox? Sign up here!

We Can Shoot You, from Assassins (Day 104)

A little bird reminded me that tomorrow was the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and said it wouldn’t be amiss to post something from Assassins. This clip was sung by a chorus of assassins in the Theater Express production in 1979, including John Wilkes Booth, the brooding fellow in the photo below..

John Wilkes BoothWe can shoot you, if you please.
We can shoot you, if you don’t please.
We can shoot you, now and then, for a laugh.
We can shoot you in half.
We can spook you for a jolt,
And we’d like to shock you too.
There’s a multitude of things that we can’t do,
But we can shoot you!

In an age of improbabilities,
We are probable.
We are actual, factual,
Potent and potential and almost inevitable.
We get more incredible every day.
We get more predictable every day.
We get everyday and predictably passe.

But we can shoot you, if you please.
We can shoot you, if you don’t please.
We can shoot you, now and then, for a laugh.
We can shoot you in half.
We can spook you for a jolt,
And we’d like to shock you too.
There’s a multitude of things that we can’t do,
But we can shoot you!

Those curious about the inspiration for this song might be well advised to check out Stanley Silverman and Richard Foreman’s Elephant Steps, which features a song called Shoot Them. I discovered Richard-and-Stanley thanks to Bill Turner, founder and artistic director of Theater Express and director of Assassins. Stanley had a particular knack for the fractured showtune, nostalgic and weird at the same time. I also detect a whiff of Disney in “if you please/if you don’t please,” which is from the Cats’ song in Lady and the Tramp, and a quotation from Tea for Two for good measure. This was me at age 24, in the thrall of what Jonathan Lethem would surely call the ecstacy of influence.

Day 103: Further fresh beats from the Cave of Wonders

Spent the day recording voice-overs and sounds and editing The Brave Little Tailor, which is, like all the Enchantment projects, the sort of mosaic of music and other auditory materials that Garageband is perfect for fabricating. Consider, for instance, the following:

These are the first two cues for the show, and in them you’ll hear narrator Scott Greer, vocalist Carl Clemons-Hopkins, guitarist Chris Farrell and yours truly presiding over the MIDI orchestra. The next few days I’ve got about two dozen short cues like this to wrangle into their final form. It’s work that I enjoy, but requires time and focus, both of which are fading fast as midnight approaches on Day 103.

By the way, Brave Little Tailor has scheduled several public performances, including The Free Library of Philadelphia, Main Branch, on Sunday, May 10 at 2pm, Smith Memorial Playground on Sunday, May 31 at 11am, and Morris Arboretum on Saturday, June 6 at 2pm. Plan to check it out, and bring a kid!

If you missed them, these are the songs already posted on Project 194; the links on the right are songs chosen at random from previous posts. Want to contribute to my interactive composition, “Hear My Song?” Read more here. Want to receive daily songs delivered direct to your inbox? Sign up here!