Tag Archives: Gemini

Good People, from Gemini the Musical (2007) (Day 184)

Bethe Austin and Kirsten BrackenThis was the last song to be written for the 2007 NYMF production of Gemini the Musical, and it was written to showcase the unique charms of Bethe Austin, who played Lucille in that production. (She’s seated on the right next to Kirsten Bracken – now Kirsten Scott – in the photo on the left.) There had been an Act II song for Lucille in the 2004 version of Gemini, called You’re Only Young Once, but we cut the song from the draft we prepared for the 2007 rehearsals. Once we got underway, we realized we had gotten lucky casting Bethe (a classmate of D’Arcy’s from Point Park days, as it turns out), and I had an idea about how to refashion that song (like this one, a jazz waltz, one of my favorite musical idioms) with a new “hook” and title. Both versions of the song included the line, “You can’t make a prince by kissing a queen,” and it’s gratifying to hear the audience reaction to that line on the track.

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The Boy I Thought I Knew, from Gemini the Musical (2004) (Day 183)

Jillian Barry 2004This should have gotten posted earlier, if we’re talking about the chronology of the show. This was the other song I wrote (along with the spec song “Queer” and the 2007 “Somebody’s Knocking“) for the scene in Act One where Francis and Judith are alone in his bedroom for their first private conversation. In 2004, I had the notion that Judith was a guitar-playing troubadour (hence the mention of the “twelve string” in “Happy Birthday, Francis“), a kind of Joni Mitchell wannabe. (There was even a direct reference to Joni in a draft second verse of this song that didn’t make it into rehearsal, and the phrase “cafe confidantes” feels like something she would have written.) You may recognize the “walk along the Charles” refrain as something that originally appeared in “Queer,” the one part of that song that seemed like it could work in this more tender mood. Jillian Louis does a simply lovely job with the vocal, Lars Halle did a great arrangement, and I love the little Jaco-style electric bass figures that Kevin McConnell plays in the “You and me” bridge.

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I’m Gonna Jump, from Gemini the Musical (Day 182)

She's gonna jump!

Albert mentioned once that Leonard Bernstein came to see Gemini during its Broadway run and remarked that it was like a comic opera. Here’s the spot where we really seized that idea and ran with it. The hysterical emotionalism of South Philly life seemed to translate perfectly into this bit of comic opera pastiche. The opening of Act II was unchanged from 2004 to 2007; the photo above is from NYMF in 2004, but the track is from the Prince in 2004. It’s clearly Linda Hart leading the insanity.

Bunny: I’m gonna jump!
I’ll tell you why:
My life is shit ,
I want to die!
I’m going to take a flying leap.
My uncle Jerry’s a mortician
And he’ll bury me for cheap.
I’m gonna jump!
Look out below!
One tiny step and down I go.
And once I fall,
You’ll have to haul
My carcass to the dump!
Don’t try to stop me!
I’m going to jump!

[Dialog: Bunny and her son Herschel.]

Bunny: I’m gonna jump!
No, look away!
To see me fall would wreck your day!
I’m old and fat, too big to fly.
I guarantee it won’t be pretty
It’s a shitty way to die
Try not to scream,
Try not to cry,
Just blow a kiss and say goodbye.
It’s suicide,
So go inside,
Don’t stand there like a lump!
Sweet fucking Jesus,
I’m going to jump!

[Dialog.]

Herschel: I’ll be good, I promise, mom
I’ll brush my teeth and change my sweater.
I’ll remember my inhaler
So my asthma will get better.
No more grass! I won’t pass gas
Or pick my ass, I swear!
I’ll even burn my subway transfers
If you just come down from there!

Bunny: Jesus Christ in heaven,
Can’t I die in peace?

Others: Jesus Christ in heaven,
Call for the police!

Herschel: Another couple minutes and my mother will be dead!

Others: Call for the police…

Francis: No, wait! Call Lucille instead! DE 6-1567.

Judith: DE 6-1567.

Bunny: It’s all for attention!
Choke and cough, throw a fit
Listen, everybody, it is all for attention
I read them books by all the shrinks
I know what everybody thinks.
I got no attention when I was a kid,
And look at me! Am I weird?
Not a bit!
Jesus Christ, turn it off! Leave him be!

[Herschel and Bunny sing their themes in counterpoint, as Judith and Francis sing simultaneously:]

Judith (phone in hand): I get a busy signal.

Francis: Busy? This time of day?
Did you get the number right?

Judith: DE 6-1567.

Francis: Jesus! That’s our number! DE 6-1568.

Judith (dialing): DE 6-1568.

Francis: Never mind, they’re here.

Fran: Yo, Bun!

Bunny: Yo, Fran!

Fran: What the hell is going on here?
Bunny (singing): I’m gonna jump!

Others (echoing): She’s gonna jump! (etc.)

Bunny: I’ll tell you why
My life is shit
I want to die
It’s time to drain the bitter cup.

Lucille: Che disgraziat’!
Who’s gonna clean it up?

Bunny: I’m gonna jump
Look out below
One tiny step and down I go.
This ain’t a trick,
I’m really sick!
I’ve had it up to here!

Randy: This crazy chick’s a lunatic,
We’d better not go near!

Bunny: That arsenic will kill me quick,
Don’t try to interfere!
No more goodbyes!
Time for my demise!
Herschel, hide your eyes!

Others (voices building to choral climax): She’s gonna jump, she’s gonna jump.

Fran (interrupting the music): Come on, Bun, it’s Francis’s twenty-first birthday today.

Bunny: You mean there’s gonna be a party?

Fran: A big one!

Bunny: Why didn’t you say so, hanh? Get that friggin’ ladder, I’m coming down!

All (jubilantly): She’s (I’m) coming down, she’s coming down,
She’s coming down!

A Life Alone, from Gemini the Musical (2007) (Day 181)

Dan Micciche in GeminiThe first act finale of Gemini the Musical in 2007 is a striking contrast to the 2004 version I posted yesterday, and the comparison tells you a lot about the differing approaches we took in the two iterations of the piece. The 2004 Prince Music Theater version was wilder, more fantastical, as the presence of the fantasy figure of Maria Callas amply illustrates. In 2007, Albert wanted to tone down the camp and the opera-queeny hysteria, as part of an endeavor to dig more deeply into the characters. This, in turn, produced the moody, introspective soliloquy for Francis that ended the act at NYMF. Its introductory verse quote the music from the bridge of an earlier song, The Boy My Father Thinks He Knows. Dan Micciche delivers a heartfelt rendition of the song, with fabulous support from music director Christine Riley.

That wine, that weed…
We got too wasted
And tasted all the fruits of knowledge
But here, I fear, some fruits are forbidden
Some discoveries are best kept hidden.
It’s as I feared
He thinks I’m weird
Who can blame him for running away?

A life alone:
Is this what awaits me now?
A touch, a kiss
A moment of secret bliss
Too brief
An instant of relief
And then a life alone.

A love unknown:
Is this what lies in store?
Always unsure,
Always wanting more.
If I could say,
I’d tell you stay,
My life would be brand new
A life to share with you
But unless I do, you’ll only go away.

If I told a shrink
He would call me sick
If I told my dad
He would shit a brick
But if I told you, randy
What would you do?

Love enters through the eyes, that’s Dante
But becomes something more, something great
Loving Randy, knowing Randy, being Randy
Is that what I want?
To be in love?
Somehow that’s worse!
To desire is bad,
To love a guy’s a curse!
That’s makes you into a fag,
Forever in need,
Tied up in chains,
Never to be freed
To age alone into a slobbering wreck!

No! That can’t be me, I can see something better…
Love. To find a smile in that special face,
A special kind of smile
That takes you to a special place,
Close, adoring, wanting him,
Letting him be enough…

Could I feel that for Randy?
Could he feel that for me?

It’s nuts, okay?
My gut’s tied in a knot.
I may be gay
But happy? No way!
It’s clear
Unless I face my fear
I face a life alone.

Welcome To My Life, from Gemini the Musical (2004) (Day 180)

It’s Day 180 of Project 194, and you don’t have to be a mathematical genius to realize that means we’re entering the final two weeks of my blogathon. If you’ve been following this mad endeavor or even just checking in from time to time, thanks for your interest! It’s meant a lot to me to know that a steady stream of visitors has come across the threshold since I started blogging songs back on January 1.

Welcome To My Life was written for the 2004 version of Gemini the Musical, and in the draft we began rehearsals with, it was heard midway through the first act (after The Hunk With The Funk and before Time For An Aria). Later, it was moved to the end of the first act, after the previous finale (a nightmare in which all the members of the company besides Francis appeared as garbagemen from hell) got cut.

Barry James Horbal delivers an exciting performance, capturing the grotesque self-mockery that is such a key part of Francis’s personality, and the band rocks out under Maestro Eric Ebbenga.

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