All tagged Cy Coleman

Remembering I Love My Wife

Some musical are period pieces, written with the intention of telling a story in another and place. Other musicals are written as contemporary stories, starting out relevant and feeling edgy and new, only to become dated quickly. Their shelf-life is short for the reason that times change, attitudes change, vernacular changes, and what is relevant today could be irrelevant tomorrow. One musical that enjoyed popularity when it opened in the `1970s, but that hasn’t exactly held up against the test of time is I Love My Wife

Remembering Barnum

Long before there was a film called The Greatest Showman, Broadway had its own musical version of the life of P.T. Barnum. This show, simply called Barnum, featured a score with music by Cy Coleman (Sweet CharityCity of Angels), lyrics by Michael Stewart (I Love My Wife) and a book by Mark Bramble (42ndStreet). Using the three-ring circus as the conceit for telling Barnum’s rise to fame as the King of Flim-Flam, much in the way Cabaret was set within a cabaret and Chicago within the confines of a vaudeville show, Barnum utilized its setting as a metaphor the risks that come with becoming a success, walking that proverbial tightrope known as “life”. 

Remembering The Life

A musical that seems to have those who remember it divided, with some people having enjoyed it and others just absolutely disgusted by it, was the 1997 Broadway production of The Life. With music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Ira Gasman, and a book by Coleman, Gasman, and David Newman, The Life took a look at the underworld of New York City’s Times Square circa the 1980s. The seedy and unsavory world may have been hard for some people to get excited about, considering the show was populated with pimps and hookers, hustlers and drug dealers. Others easily connected to the piece, understanding that these characters were the product of a harsh world, runaways and forgotten people and that this was their way of making ends meet and to escape living on the streets. 

"Hey, Look Me Over" - Ranking the 10 Best Musicals of Cy Coleman

I have written with great awe about how amazed I am by the eclecticism of Cy Coleman as a Broadway composer. He always finds an original sound for each musical he writes, capturing the perfect tone for the material. Since I am an enormous fan of Coleman and his body of Broadway work, I decided to rank the ten best of his musicals, from my least favorite to my favorite, commenting on some of my favorite songs along the way. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.