Category Archives: Musical Theater

Making It Up As We Go Along (Day 193)

On the next to last day of Project 194, another song that’s very close to my heart. I wrote this for a revue that D’Arcy and I created called Happily Ever After, a collection of songs about married life, mostly by other composers. We had big fun performing it here and there, most memorably in the conservatory at Longwood Gardens one summer evening on our wedding anniversary. We got asked to perform it on a few special occasions, including a tribute to Bob Doss, the minister at the First Unitarian Church in Wilmington, and at the wedding of our dear friends Stretch Wesolowski and Lucy Siegel. And then we incorporated it into the cabaret version of Watch The Birdie, the one we did at Don’t Tell Mama in NYC and The Bourse in Philly, with Harvey Price on drums and some very fancy sequencing on my trusty DX-7 to fill out the arrangement. That’s the version you’ll hear on this track.

The idea of married life as an improvisation seems to be a really powerful metaphor, and the lyric “following the changes” has multiple layers of meaning for someone who’s both a musician and a traveler on life’s journey. D’Arcy and I have been married now for 35 years, and I’ve been married for considerably more years than not. The decision to marry was one of the biggest we ever made, and I’ve returned to the subject again and again in my songs to re-examine that decision, but I always come to the same conclusion: it was the smartest and best thing I ever did, and it’s one of the most important reasons that I grew up and became the person I am now.

Although I’d had it in my head for weeks that I wanted this to be my penultimate post, somehow I forgot that I’d already posted this song months ago, back on Day 90! This is what happens with a project of this scope, I suppose – sometimes, you get mixed up. I fixed it, though, by replacing my Day 90 offering with another marriage song, Talk It Through, featuring D’Arcy and Gregg Edelman back in 1984 in my musical BGDF. By all means, check it out!

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MacGregor’s Garden, from Peter Rabbit Tales (Day 191)

TaleofPeterRabbit8Counting down the days on Project 194, we’ve reached the Final Four! Today, a bit of music from my current work-in-progress, Peter Rabbit Tales. This is an excerpt from the score for the newest Enchantment Theatre production, slated to begin performances late in September and to hop in to Philly for three weeks at the Arts Bank at Christmastime.

This particular bit of music accompanies one of the most iconic moments in Peter Rabbit – the moment when Peter gorges himself on the vegetables in Mister MacGregor’s garden. When he gets caught in the act, he has to flee for his life, leaving his jacket behind him. The music begins with Peter’s arrival in the garden, and there’s a minute or so of cheerful music as he stuffs his face. When the music turns minor, the birds are warning him of Mr. McGregor’s approach, and then you’ll hear an agitated chase section as Peter flees. Then there’s a bit of an epilogue that occurs months later, as Peter is recounting the incident for his cousin, Benjamin Bunny.

The music is output directly from Finale, so the sounds are MIDI cheesy, but the score will eventually feature a chamber ensemble of seven instruments. The score will be recorded in late August, so as you can imagine, I’ve got my shoulder to the wheel trying to get this finished in the next six weeks. I’ll post more here in the coming weeks, though it’ll be after Day 194!

Music for MacGregors Garden

Finale Ultimo, from Gemini the Musical (Day 189)

I love the funny quirky terminology of the musical, and “Finale Ultimo” is right at the top of my list of beloved musical theater jargon. The ultimate end, the last music you hear before the applause begins and the actors take their bows. The “Finale Ultimo” of Project 194 is just a few days away, and I’m wrapping up Gemini the Musical by posting this track from 2004. There’s no real singing, so no lyrics to transcribe, just a spirited reprise of “Happy Birthday, Francis” to underscore the final moments of the play. Listen close and you’ll hear Linda Hart on the phone calling “Uncle Albert and Uncle Charlie” – a bit of spontaneous editing that she did in this scene. Final words: “I think they’re gonna make it!”

The Proper Atty-Tood, from Gemini the Musical (Day 190)

This recording is a Project 194 exclusive, featuring the South Philly vocal stylings of the Speech Diva herself! I wrote this song for Gemini the Musical and it survived the first reading before getting cut. Later, D’Arcy used it in her show, “Just One Step: Songs From The Edge.” Pay attention, yo, this song has good advice for yiz!

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It’s Been A Long, Long Time, from Gemini the Musical (Day 187)

This song from Gemini the Musical always seemed to please the crowds. It was composed very casually, almost tossed off, but the chemistry between the two performers (Linda Hart and Robert Picardo on this track) made it shine. If you haven’t seen it, you should look at the video that was created to promote the NYMF production in 2007; it opens with Linda singing this song with Joel Blum, who played Fran in New York.

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