Author Archives: Mitchell Hansen

Queer, From Gemini (Day 177)

Here’s a collector’s item, though I’m not sure who besides me would collect such a thing – a song that I wrote for Gemini the Musical “on spec” that never made it into the show.

When the Prince Music Theater announced they were producing Albert Innaurato’s Gemini as a musical, there was no songwriter attached to the project. I decided to pursue the opportunity, and wrote several “spec” songs to demonstrate to the Prince and Innaurato that I was the guy for the project.

I later learned that there had been a writing team working on a musical version of Gemini, and that Albert and Marjorie Samoff (producing director at the Prince) had seen it, but they weren’t convinced they wanted to work with those writers. They pursued other starrier writers, but without avail, and my patience and persistence was eventually rewarded. As for that earlier version, those writers were pretty much screwed, since it appears they had gone forward with their adaptation without entering into any sort of agreement with Albert giving them exclusive rights to the material.

In my campaign to demonstrate that I was up to the task of writing songs for Gemini, one of the scenes I decided to tackle was the moment where Francis confesses to Judith for the first time, “I think I’m queer.” Here’s what I wrote, as recorded by Leah Salamon in this demo:

I guess I should have seen it, but you’ve caught me by surprise.
Oh Francis, you can’t mean it! Yes, I see it in your eyes.
You force a grin, and tell me in a manner most sincere:
“I think I’m queer.”

This tender moment calls for some romantic repartee,
But instead, you go and wreck it with an idiot cliche.
It’s not the kind of dialog a girlfriend wants to hear.

Francis: But Judith, I think I’m queer!

Judith: What about that walk along the Charles?
We talked all through the night.
You cried and held me tight.
Wasn’t that real?
Wasn’t that a genuine connection when our bodies intertwined?

Francis: Judith, we fucked. Big deal!

Judith: I’m not the kind of girl who likes to carry on this way,
But your sudden revelation has left me in dismay.
To think I was deceived by your pathetic masquerade!
Well, you may think you’re queer, my dear,
But I think you’re afraid!

You want to keep your distance.
To live a safe existence, that seems to be your goal.
I know, commitment makes you wary,
But it isn’t very scary if you play a fairy’s role!

You’ve got to make the effort to break through your sorry shell,
Or you’re doomed to live forever in the vestibule of hell.
You may be gay, or so you say, but me, I see it clear.
You’re just a man who can’t connect, and that’s what’s really queer!

Somehow, I managed to book the gig, even though I got this moment spectacularly wrong. Eventually, I wrote another song for Judith to sing in this scene, “The Boy I Thought I Knew,” and in 2007 yet another song, called “Somebody’s Knocking,” as I continued to grope for a way to dramatize the essence of the scene. But this one is definitely wide of the target in both tone and diction. I managed to do a good deal better with my other spec song, “Trolley,” which remained virtually unchanged from the moment I first wrote it through all the various iterations of the show.

For the record, today’s the day that the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in America. Gemini is a story in which a gay character finds himself accepted and loved by his family and friends, despite his fears to the contrary, and I’m pleased and proud to see our nation take such a major step in the same direction!

Women, Wonderful Women, from Gemini the Musical (Day 175)

After the unexpected arrival of Judith Hastings and her brother Randy, Francis’s waspy friends from college, Fran can’t help noticing that Judith seems to be sweet on Francis, a fact that his son seems oblivious to. In this song, he endeavors to school his son in the ways of the fairer sex, but Francis is scornful of his father and rejects his advice. I imagined Fran’s music to be romantic and expansive in the style of Al Martino, a South Philly crooner of renown, perhaps a song like “That’s Amore.” It amused me to think that Fran imagined himself to be not only a ladies’ man but a song stylist in his own private Atlantic City floor show.

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Lo Cantero Per Te, from Gemini the Musical (Day 174)

Gemini the play began with the sound of garbage trucks rudely awakening Francis Geminiani in his South Philly bedroom. Gemini the Musical, in its first iteration, began similarly, but in his vexation, Francis summons the spirit of his beloved Maria Callas to come to his aid. To his great surprise, she appears, and she coaches him on how to curse the garbagemen with operatic fervor. This doesn’t go over very well with Francis’s neighbor, Bunny Weinberger. The singers are Barry James Horbal as Francis, Anne DeSalvo as Maria and Linda Hart as Bunny.

Spirit of Melody, your enchantment is divine!
Our hearts are healed, our dreams revealed —
Ah, what magic is thine!
With your song, you weave a spell
That will release me from this hell.
To you we raise our song of praise!
Lo cantero per te!

Overture to Gemini the Musical (Day 173)

The word “Overture’ fills me with excitement. I haven’t gotten to write too many of them – mostly the shows I’ve written didn’t have them because they weren’t called for; in most cases, a short musical “prologue” sufficed. But here’s a bonafide overture, one that was heard in the auditorium of the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia in the fall of 2004. The tunes featured are “Tu Padre E Per Sempre” (heard in my reent Father’s Day post), “Let’s Find Out” and “Lo Cantero Per Te,” which is interrupted by the voice of Fran Geminiani, Francis’s father; turns out he’s been dreaming this music in his South Philly bedroom. The orchestrations are by Lars Halle, and the conductor is Eric Ebbenga. On with the show!

Nightmare at the Edge, From Realities (Day 171)

Today’s post is short and sweet after the previous post, which seems epic, and brings this sequence from Realities to a close. To hear how the show ends, follow this link to listen to This World, the ballad that closes the show and reconciles Alex and Anna.

Cybil: Take a look at the bottom line.
We can do without Alex Inman.
Want results from your R and D?
Then give those B.L. bucks to me!

Darlene, Victor, Arnold: Your idea has real possibilities!
Real possibilities!

Miles: I set a bad example,
A black man on the make
And here is just a sample
Of what I’m going to take
Gonna take your car…

Cybil: We can take his code…

Miles: Gonna take your cash…

Cybil: We can take his concept…

Miles: Gonna take your woman!

Darlene, Victor, Arnold: Think of what it means to the bottom line!

Miles: I know you think I tricked him
But I am not a crook
He’s always been a victim
Just waiting to be took.

He thinks that he’s a hero
Because of what he’s done
But Alex is a zero
And Miles is still the one!

Edgers: One, one, zero, zero (etc.)

Arnold: One million in seed money.

Cybil: (upping the ante) One point one.

Anna: What have I gotten myself into?
What have I gotten myself into?