Trolley, from Gemini the Musical (Day 36)

Trolley: Herschel and JudithI do requests! Yes, Day 36 of Project 194 is posted in response to a request from a dear friend who wanted to hear “Trolley” from Gemini the Musical. I worked with playwright Albert Innaurato over a period of several years adapting his hit comedy Gemini into a musical; the premiere was presented at the (late, great) Prince Music Theater in October of 2004, and that’s where this recording with Todd Buonapane and Jillian Louis was made. A few years later, the show was accepted for NYMF, the New York Musical Theater Festival, and a revised version was presented at the Acorn Theater on Theater Row in the fall of 2007. This song was one of the very first to be written for the show, and it arrived complete and perfect; there was barely a change made to it from the moment it was composed, and it feels like it was lifted right off the page of Albert’s play.

The trolleys
They are very beautiful.
There’s a trolley graveyard about two blocks from here…
(spoken)
I was thinking like maybe Randy would like to see that, you know?
(singing)
Rusted steel, weeds and grass,
Piles of trash and broken glass,
And yet, somehow, they’re beautiful.
Faded paint, busted doors,
Almost like they were dinosaurs,
Old creatures someone has forgotten.
Some of them rusted out,
Some of them on their sides,
And then there’s the old thirty-two,
Who’s standing straight up,
As if she was saying to me,
“I’m gonna stand here and be myself,
No matter what.
No matter what.”
(spoken) I talk to them. Oh, i shouldn’t have said that. Don’t tell my mother, please? But it’s true, and they talk to me too.
(He sings as if he were the trolley, a different voice.)
“Herschel, don’t you think I’m beautiful?
Come and ride the trolley
To the land of your dreams.
Climb aboard, pay your fare
I can take you anywhere
See how I shine?
I’m beautiful!”

JUDITH
Hear the call…

HERSCHEL
Ritner, ding!

JUDITH
From the past…

HERSCHEL
Snyder, ding!

JUDITH
Beauty matters,

HERSCHEL
Dickinson, ding!

JUDITH
Good things last,

JUDITH AND HERSCHEL
Old values someone has forgotten.
Some of them rusted out
Some of them on their sides
And then there’s the old thirty-two,
Who’s standing straight up,
As if she was saying to me,
“I’m gonna stand here and be myself,
No matter what.
No matter what.”
At the trolley graveyard,
Everything is beautiful.

The declaration “I’m gonna stand here and be myself, no matter what” resonates powerfully for me, and it applies not just to the rusted, obsolete trolleys that Herschel is obsessed with but to Herschel himself, a grotesque but charming misfit in Gemini’s South Philly world, and to anyone (including me) who tries to believe in our beauty and our worth even though we may not be perfect and new any more.

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!

2 thoughts on “Trolley, from Gemini the Musical (Day 36)

  1. Harvey Price

    Wow, I only heard this from the pit and did not realize how powerful it was. Thanks Charlie Your old friend

  2. Pingback: Queer, From Gemini (Day 177) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

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