All tagged Sherman Edwards
New York City Center Encores! celebrates the rarely heard works of America’s most important composers and lyricists. Conceived in 1994 as concert performances, Encores! gives three glorious scores the chance to be heard as their creators originally intended.” This is directly quoted from the City Center website as the explanation and purpose of the Encores! series. It’s a worthy mission and goal, and one most of us would embrace. Their most recent concert of Vernon Duke and John Latouche’s Cabin in the Sky is an excellent example of a show richly deserving of this treatment. It was also an electrifying production of a show that will most likely never receive a full-scale production after again. Amazing music combined with a dated, mediocre book, and Cabin in the Sky was the right fit for the criteria of “rarely heard works.”
You would have to be burrowed away in an artistic hibernation if you haven’t noticed a little musical quietly tip-toe to Broadway this season called Hamilton. Yes, I know that there hasn’t been much buzz around this show, so you are sure to have missed it. I am telling you though, it is there and this little sleeper is bound to catch on. To get you up to speed, Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also gave us the musical In the Heights, assembled this musical which tells the story of our forefather Alexander Hamilton (who is perhaps most-notable for his establishment of the US Banking system as Secretary of the Treasury). He took his inspiration from the biography written by Ron Chernow.
The Fourth of July is almost upon us and this weekend most of us will be celebrating with hot dogs, fireworks, and showtunes. Yes…you heard me, showtunes. Exploring musical theatre scores from over the last century, there are a handful of jubilant, patriotic tunes celebrating America, as well as a few unlikely songs that touch on the topic of what it means to be an American. Today’s blog is a celebration of those songs.
The bookwriter of a musical is probably the greatest unsung hero of Broadway. He or she gets very little recognition when a show works, but when a show fails, the book writer is often the first to be blamed. It is perhaps a thankless task, but their work is essential to designing the framework of the story for the composer and lyricist to hang their score on. Indeed, some of the book writer's best writing is often transformed into musical moments, stealing the best of their thunder. Many books of a Broadway musical are amazingly strong and today's top-ten list is an examination of some of the best. I made my choices by the criteria of originality, intelligently designed character voice, and the book needs to follow strong storytelling structure. I know I will be maligned for leaving certain titles out and I'm glad to justify why I left them off the list. Start the debate and maybe I'll agree. Or...maybe not.