After the unexpected arrival of Judith Hastings and her brother Randy, Francis’s waspy friends from college, Fran can’t help noticing that Judith seems to be sweet on Francis, a fact that his son seems oblivious to. In this song, he endeavors to school his son in the ways of the fairer sex, but Francis is scornful of his father and rejects his advice. I imagined Fran’s music to be romantic and expansive in the style of Al Martino, a South Philly crooner of renown, perhaps a song like “That’s Amore.” It amused me to think that Fran imagined himself to be not only a ladies’ man but a song stylist in his own private Atlantic City floor show.
This seems like a perfect song for Fathers Day.
For me, the heart of Gemini the Musical is the relationship between Francis and his father, Fran. It is a story about many things, of course, but the aspect of it that I connected with most personally was the father-son bond. The discovery that his son Francis is gay rocks Fran’s world, that’s for sure, but only momentarily; he quickly discovers that, whatever happens, a father’s love for his son is forever.
“Tu Padre E Per Sempre.”
Tu padre e per sempre!
Your papa will always be here.
Your world may shatter,
It kinda don’ matter.
Though you’re alone and in despair,
Just call your pops and he’ll be there.
Il mondo e pazzo
Ragazzo, senti mi ben.
Don’t ever be afraid to call your father,
No matter why, no matter where, no matter when!
Your friends may leave you,
Your chicks may deceive you,
Your bills may all be overdue,
But Babbo’s here to see you through.
Tu padre e per sempre,
Cabisce, kid? I’ll say it again!
Don’t ever be afraid to tell your father:
That’s the code of us Geminiani men.
We’re kinda crazy!
It’s the code of us Geminiani men.
That’s the code of us Geminiani men.
A lovely song, this, though it came and went rather quickly in the summer of 2013. Seth and I figured that mother-in-law Maggie would have some words of wisdom to offer Mae after her relationship with Frank went haywire, and this was the result. The middle section is reprises music from You’re A Callahan – the “queen of Paris, France” section – and the phrase “divil the man” was inspired by George M. Cohan himself, who used it in his song “Harrigan.” All I’ve got is a composer’s demo to offer, but I recall D’Arcy and Clare singing this and finding it quite lovely indeed.
After a brief detour to celebrate the birthday of my grandson Miles, I’m back to Act II of Leading Lady. Given the multiple versions of the show, it’s a little tricky to figure out what order to present these songs in or how to contextualize them. In the song Things My Father Taught Me, you heard Georgie Callahan (the brother of Mary, also known as Mae Desmond) eulogize his father, Michael, and the death of Mae’s father was part of the story for several versions of Leading Lady. In time, though, the character of Michael grew on us, and his ornery charm seemed too endearing to pass up, so we let him live so he help raise a grandson or two and flirt with his daughter’s mother-in-law, the widowed Maggie Fielder. This is Jim Bergwall as the ornery Michael Callahan and D’Arcy Webb as mother Fielder.
Another Act Two song from Leading Lady, from the 2012 version: While Mae is out of town on tour, Frank gets word that the rent is being raised on their Philadelphia theater. Impulsively, he breaks the lease on the company’s old place in Kensington and signs a contract to rent the Metropolitan Opera House, a much larger theater on North Broad Street in Center City. The tango-rhythm of the song is meant to suggest Frank in a macho mode, and Bryan Black is on hand to deliver the testosterone.