"Pippin's Finale" - When a Song Gets Inside Your Soul
Today I was driving home from work and I had the original cast recording of Pippin playing in my car. When it came to the "Finale," I jacked up the volume and belted it out with all my heart and all of my soul. I suddenly realized that I do this every time this song comes on. There is something so primal about the piece and yet so melodic and poetic. Composer Stephen Schwartz has captured the rabid frenzy of the leading player and his band of sadistic players, luring the title character towards suicide by making it seem like the logical progression of naturePippin is hypnotized by their promises of fame and glory, if he just consents to lighting himself on fire to become "one perfect flame." He has spent the entire show desperately trying to find his purpose in life, an obsession with glory, failing his way through politics, religion, sex, war, etc. In a trance-like state, the players make a bid for his soul. I now realize why this song gets inside of my soul: it does exactly what it is supposed to do. The rhythmic pulse of the music lures me in and the divine imagery of the lyrics make me feel close to something ethereal, something all-powerful. Of course it is all just smoke and mirrors, just like it is for Pippin. Too late, it has already captured me and manipulated my spirit. I want to dance with these demons, gyrate with their illusions, embrace their empty promises.
I am opening up the floor for your input. What Broadway showtune gets inside your soul in the same way? What song brings you so in contact with a character or situation that you forget who you are for a while and ride the music and lyrics? It is my belief that it rarely happens, but when you connect with a musical theatre song, it is like an out-of-body experience. Name your transformative song and tell me how it gets in your soul. "The angels of the morning are calling out your name."