I’ll Be Near, from Leading Lady (Day 137)

Today’s song from Leading Lady is a tender tune, a lullaby called I’ll Be Near, and today’s post (May 17) is dedicated to Bill Fennelly, who is celebrating his birthday today! Bill is an uber-talented director of musicals and plays who teaches on the faculty at Drexel University; take a second and read his credits here and I know you’ll be impressed. Seth and I recruited him shortly after he arrived here in Philly as a collaborator on Leading Lady, and we feel lucky that he said yes!

I’ll Be Near appeared in different locations in the various versions of the show, but it’s always been there, and Seth and I are both very fond of it. Our idea was to write a lullaby that Mae could sing onstage playing the part of a mother; meanwhile, her mother-in-law sings a version of the same song to her real-life child (or children, depending on which draft you’re referring to). Hearing the same song sung as a duet in two different contexts (one real, one theatrical) is especially poignant and dramatically effective. The version I’ve posted is from the 2012 reading, which features Shannon Remley as Mae and Chanel Karimkhani as Maggie, with Tom Baust at the piano.

I’ll kiss you now,
Turn out the light,
But I’ll be near.
You may get lonely
In the night
But I’ll be near
The stars above
Fill the sky with love.
Their light is bright and clear.
Yes, everything will be all right
Cause I’ll be near.

Mama’s here for you, darling
Never will she stray
Granny’s here for you, darling
Never far away
What could be more precious?
What could be more fair?
Rest tonight in mama’s tender care.

Be quiet now
Just close your eyes
And I’ll be near
Your dreams await you
Hush your cries
Cause I’ll be near
The stars above
Fill the sky with love.
Their light is bright and clear.
Yes everything will be all right
‘Cause I’ll be near
I’ll be near.

What parent hasn’t had to go off to work leaving his or her child in the care of a relative or babysitter? Of course it’s necessary and unavoidable, and yet it can leave the parent wracked with guilty feelings. Nowadays, I see parents saying good night to their little ones via Facetime, and I got especially good at parenting-by-cell-phone when my work schedule required it, but Mae’s children were worlds away, it seemed.

One thought on “I’ll Be Near, from Leading Lady (Day 137)

  1. Pingback: Your Place Is Here, from Leading Lady (Day 138) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

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