Yesterday, I posted a song from Shakespeare that reminded us how “youth’s a stuff will not endure.” That’s a potent phrase for me, especially considering that the occasion for these retrospective blog posts is the prospect of my turning 60 in a few months. As it turns out, I tackled this theme myself in a song written for Gemini the Musical called “You’re Only Young Once.” The performance is by Anne DeSalvo in the 2004 Prince Music Theater production; the song got replaced by a new song in the 2007 remount of the show, but is lovely and very much on topic:
I was a looker back then.
I had my pick of the men.
My nights were full of dancing,
Pop chased the beaux from my door.
Not many princes, i’m sure,
But boys were my toys on lover’s lane.
I never had cause to complain.
Now I’m a widow and worn.
Remembering makes me forlorn.
You can’t imagine what i’d give
To live like I used to live.
Cara, you’re pretty and young
You still got songs to be sung
I know what it’s like to be nineteen
You’re only young once, bambin’
It’s only normal to hope
Kiss your toads,
I’ve kissed loads.
Kiss ’em but don’t be a dope.
I mean, you can’t make a prince by kissing a queen.
Fran’s not as hot as my first
Still he is hardly the worst.
Though he’s no knight in armor,
He’s a charmer.
He coughs and he scratches, like so,
He’s got the colitis you know.
He bets way too much,
It’s such a shame,
But he’s good people just the same.
I got no cause to gripe.
Fran is almost my type.
You, though, my dear, can take your pick.
Choose the right one —
Now, that’s the trick!
Cara, you’re pretty and young.
You still got songs to be sung.
Life is for love when you’re nineteen!
Someday you’ll know what I mean.
You’re only young once, bambin’!
In the musical, this song is sung by the Lucille, the middle-aged girlfriend of Fran Geminiani, Francis’s father. She’s singing to Judith, the WASP-y girl who came to Philadelphia to visit the boy she loves only to learn he’s gay. Lucille reminds Judith that there’s plenty of fish in the sea for a pretty young girl, and tries to offer a little advice about Francis: “You can’t make a prince by kissing a queen.”
In the small ensemble of seven characters that make up the cast of Gemini, Lucille is perhaps the least important, and yet she makes a big impression. Her famous line in the backyard dinner scene of Act One – “I’ll just pick” – starts one of the most hilarious and memorable moments in the play. Anne DeSalvo, who played Lucille in the play Gemini when it appeared on Broadway in the late 70’s, returned to recreate the character in our musical adaptation. A Philadelphia native, she had a pitch-perfect sense of the combination of eccentricity, scorn and charm that Lucille requires.
Use the “Gemini” tag in the right-hand column to hear other songs from Gemini the Musical, or use the “random posts” list to discover other hidden treasure in Project 194!