Tag Archives: masculinity

Be A Man, from Assassins (Day 119)

Following up on yesterday’s post, here’s another song from Assassins that addresses the issue of manhood. The poem is by John Schrank, the man who attempted to assassinate Theodore Roosevelt. Schrank didn’t make the team for Sondheim’s Assassins, but he is another member of that bizarre band of would-be murderers, and like Charles Guiteau, he suffered from delusions of grandeur. Also like Guiteau, he turned out to be a poet, and posterity has saved some of his writings.

The singer here is Christopher Cooke, from the 1979 Theater Express production.


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Assassin’s Lullaby, from Assassins (Day 118)

Well, it was fun to visit a kindergarten in Chester County yesterday, but the grim business of Presidential assassination remains unfinished. Today’s clip is called Assassin’s Lullaby, and the singer is Catherine “Casey” Roberts, from the 1979 Theater Express production.

Sleep well, my pet,
You’ll get yours yet.
You’ll make your mommy proud.
You’ll be a hero
Instead of a zero,
You’ll stand out from the crowd.
When you get bigger,
You’ll pull on that trigger,
An act they won’t forget.
Sleep well, my pet.
Don’t fuss, don’t fret,
We’ll see if we can’t make a man of you yet.

It takes a man
To kill a man,
Your mommy knows it’s true.
You need your rest
To do your best.
You’ve got a job to do.
When you get bigger,
You’ll pull on that trigger.
You’ll be a man-sized threat.
Sleep well, my pet.
Don’t fuss, don’t fret,
We’ll see if we can’t make a man of you yet.
We’ll see if we can’t make a man of you yet.

The idea of manhood and manliness figures prominently in the psychology of Assassins, and today’s song is one of several that explores that territory. This particular song is sung by a chanteuse in a dive bar called the Neptune Cafe, where the fictional assassin “G” has been summoned for a mysterious meeting. More on the outcome of that rendezvous tomorrow! In the meantime, if you’ve got the time, check out one of the links to a random post on the right – there’s lots of songs there from the past 117 days just waiting to be discovered!

The Boy My Father Thinks He Knows, from Gemini the Musical (Day 83)

This melody, as I mentioned a few days ago, was incorporated into Harold as part of the rocket ship ride music, but began its life in New York City as a song for Francis in Gemini the Musical. Dan Micciche sings it on the track below; after you’ve had a chance to listen, you can go back and hear it in Harold and be eligible for a Ph.D. in Musicology (or Chazzy-ology), especially after reading the analytical commentary that follows the lyric.


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How Do You Know, from Watch the Birdie (Day 56)

Father and songRaising my two boys was fairly drama-free, I have to say, but even so, there were moments when I worried. You don’t get any training before being tossed into the fray as a dad, and so you make up some stuff based on what you saw your dad do, and maybe what you wish he had done, and there’s plenty of times I’m pretty sure I made a mess of the job. Even so, it’s been a rich and remarkable experience. Raising my sons, I discovered a capacity for tenderness and selfless behavior that I never knew existed. I think about all that when I hear Jason Michael singing the song How Do You Know, from Watch the Birdie.

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Re: Birth, from Watch the Birdie (Day 51)

If I was proceeding strictly according to the running order of Watch the Birdie, the next song would be Hit Me, but I refer you to one of my first Project 194 posts where I showcased this song and the superlative rock stylings of Alex Keiper.

Re: Birth, like Baby Talk, was created for the AMTF Festival Cabaret in 1985, the year I became a father, and those songs became the seeds that this show grew from. I imagined Re: Birth as a lullaby invaded by a rap song, a tender moment with an infant son who will inevitably have to “toughen up” to withstand the demands of growing up. Stearns Matthews delivers the tender part and Mike Doherty is on the mic for the tough part in the 2008 PMTW production.


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