43 FRIDAY 8 AUGUST 2014
I Can’t Be Bothered Now – Kirby Ward – Top 10 Contender
I Can’t Be Bothered Now is another song, which I have no idea why I didn’t discover sooner. It was only in 2009 or 2010 that I came across it by accident. I was re-watching one of the Broadway Lost Treasures DVDs, and there it was, an abbreviated staging of the song at the 1992 Tony’s broadcast. It was the first time I paid attention to it. It is such a happy little tune; it accompanied me during some tough times between 2010 and 2012.
Fred Astaire introduced the song in the film “A Damsel In Distress”. It has been used in a few musicals, such as “Crazy For You”, which is where this version comes from. I Can’t Be Bothered Now is also one of those songs you fantasise with … okay; I fantasise with doing on a big stage with a chorus of beautiful girls dancing behind me.
Song Title: I Can’t Be Bothered Now – 1937 Genre: Soundtrack Artist: Kirby Ward Composer: George Gershwin Lyricist: Ira Gershwin Album: Crazy for You (Original London Cast Recording)
Favourite Lyrics: I’ll pay the piper / When times are riper. / Just now I shan’t – / Because you see I’m dancing and I can’t – / be bothered now!
Runners Up: Miss Celie’s Blues (Sister) • High Life/Proud Theme • Champagne Train • Cepillao • Maracucha • Company • You Could Drive a Person Crazy • Side By Side By Side • What Would We Do Without You? • Being Alive • Popule Meus • Shall We Dance • Slap That Bass • I Got Rhythm • I Can’t Be Bothered Now
44 SATURDAY 9 AUGUST 2014 I Got Rhythm – Jodi Benson
This entry, as well as the preceding one, “I Can’t Be Bothered Now” go hand in hand. I listened to them repeatedly between 2010 and 2012.
Remember the reasons I gave for including “I Got The Sun In The Morning”? (4 July 2014) I could copy and paste the same reasons here. Years from now I will look back and see the last months of 2010, all of 2011 and the top of 2012 as my lost years, they’re mostly a blur. I was in a bad place. Emotionally I was a mess and health wise I wasn’t in good shape; not to mention the mountain of debt I had, and some serious legal issues.
What drew me to this particular version of I Got Rhythm, and not La Garland’s or La Merman’s versions, is the length of it and its varied beats and rhythms. The song made me go places. I would plug in my headphones, play and repeat, and in my mind, I would escape the world around me. Nothing else existed just the music, helping me move from one place to the next.
Song Title: I Got Rhythm – 1930 Genre: Musical Artist: Jodi Benson Composer: George Gershwin Lyricist: Ira Gershwin Album: Crazy For You: 1992 Original Broadway Cast
Favourite Lyrics: Days can be sunny with never a sigh / Don’t need what money can buy / Birds in the trees sing their dayful of songs / Why shouldn’t we sing along? / I’m chipper all the day / Happy with my life / How do I get that way? / Look at what I’ve got.
Runner Up: The Real American Folk Song (Is A Rag)
45 SUNDAY 10 AUGUST 2014
Overture – Damn Yankees – Orchestra
This is the Overture of the first musical I ever saw on Broadway. Although I had been to New York City a few times since 1980, I didn’t manage to see a Broadway show until the summer of 1995. I had applied to the United Nations’ Junior Professional Program and had been selected to come to the UN’s Headquarters in New York to take a series of tests at the end of July. So, I booked tickets for two shows.
On Thursday night, I saw “Damn Yankees” with Jerry Lewis playing Mr Applegate, aka the Devil. If you’re not familiar with the show, it is the story of a baseball fan who sells his soul to the devil, in exchange for making him young again. By being young again, he can be a player for his beloved Washington Senators and beat the New York Yankees at the pennant.
I have seen many musicals since, but I will never forget that night, seating centre-stage, on the second row at the Marquis Theatre. First, I heard an organ playing the first notes of the Star-Spangle Banner, and after that, the Overture commenced. To listen to an overture with a live orchestra is one of the most beautiful sounds you’ll ever hear. It doesn’t matter how high-tech your sound system at home is, nothing will ever sound like the music coming out of a theatre’s orchestra pit.
Overtures serve a purpose, not only they introduce the audience to the songs they’re about to hear on the show, but they also have a logistical function. Theatre ushers can sit latecomers without interrupting the show’s first scene. However, the most important function is to ease the audience into the world they’re about to inhabit, a world I’ve talked about before. It is a place full of possibilities, where there’s no other way to tell a story, but through song and dance.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. On Friday night, I saw “Sunset Boulevard”. Yes, I know; Andrew Lloyd Webber. More on that later.
Song Title: Overture – Damn Yankees – 1955 Genre: Musical Artist: Orchestra Composer: Richard Adler Lyricist: Jerry Ross Album: Damn Yankees [1994 Original Broadway Cast Recording]
Runners Up: Show People • Thataway! • It’s a Business • A Tough Act to Follow • In the Same Boat Completed • Whatever Lola Wants • Who’s Got the PainHeart • Six Months Out Of Every Year
46 MONDAY 11 AUGUST 2014
Fate Happens/Death Of A Mad Son – Orchestra
“Dead Again” is one of my favourite movies from the early 1990s. I’m a sucker for those types of movies; flashbacks to the 1940s, mysteries, black and white scenes, reincarnation, and plot twists. If you haven’t seen it, stream it. It is a great watch. The soundtrack, by Patrick Doyle, is quite remarkable, it inspired one of the many little stories that have lived in my mind for years.
Right after I graduated from university in 1988, I came up with an idea for a “telenovela”. It was a story inspired by the years I spent studying Psychology. I can’t remember much about it, except that the name was “Ganadores” (Winners), which was an allegory to graduation date being the finish line that the students needed to reach. Throughout the story, some characters would be left behind or dropped out. However, a core group of characters was to remain until the very end of the telenovela, hence, becoming the eventual winners. Early on, I decided that one of the main characters had to die before graduation – again it was a telenovela, so drama was a key factor.
If you want to read treatment, please do so: Ganadores – Story Line Treatment
Fate Happens/Death Of A Mad Son inspired the last five minutes. If you read the treatment and listen to the track, I’m sure you can see what I’m talking about.
Song Title: Fate Happens/Death Of A Mad Son – 1991 Genre: Soundtrack Artist: Orchestra Composer: Patrick Doyle Album: Dead Again – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Patrick Doyle
Runners Up: Heart • A Little Brains, A Little Talent • Scene: The Locker Room 2 • Whatever Lola Wants (Lola Gets) • The Trial • Varsity Drag • Just Go to the Movies • It’s De-Lovely • Just One Of Those Things • Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye • In The Still Of The Night • The Headlines • Winter 1948 • The Door Is Closed • Dead Again • Thoroughly Modern Millie
47 TUESDAY 12 AUGUST 2014
Almost Martyrs – The Academy Studio Orchestra
I believe Almost Martyrs, from the movie “The Life of David Gale,” became popular when it started to be used in movie trailers, such as “Munich” and “The Artist.” I like it because it tells a story, whatever it is. When I hear it, I can see things happening, I can visualise a story from start to end. The composition is almost built in three acts; I guess that’s why it has been used in many trailers.
Almost Martyrs inspired a short story, which I wrote not too long ago for a writing workshop I attended and re-worked a year later. You can check it out here: The Reversal Effect – Short Story
Song Title: Almost Martyrs – 2003 Genre: Soundtrack Artist: The Academy Studio Orchestra Composer: Alex Parker, Jake Parker Album: The Director’s Choice: Alan Parker – Music from His Movies
Runners Up: Cornet Man • Harry Angel • Don’t Forget Me • I Love Lucy
48 WEDNESDAY 13 AUGUST 2014
Toledo Surprise – Garth Kravits, Jason Kravits, Lenny Wolpe, Jennifer Smith, Georgia Engel, and the company of The Drowsy Chaperone.
Remember “Sing Happy”? My pick from 1 August? That’s when I told you about iBreak, a playlist I created after a difficult breakup, remember? Toledo Surprise was part of that list.
When I first heard it, I pictured in my head my ex, Keith, and his new beau, Brian, planning how to break my heart. One weekend, four weeks after I introduced them both, (yes, I introduced them) he gave me the literal “it’s not you, it’s me,” talk. Although he denied it, I was sure he and his new man had planned, maybe even rehearsed, how to break the news to me that we were no longer a couple. In other words, I was convinced, at the time, they had planned together how to Toledo-Surprise me.
In Toledo Surprise, two gangsters, posing as bakers, give their recipe on how to make a dessert called Toledo Surprise, which in reality is code for their preferred method of killing. (First you beat it up / Then you sweet it up / When you heat it up / If it tries to rise / Don’t let it) I had bought the “Drowsy Chaperone” CD, where this song comes from, a week or two before the breakup, but I didn’t listen to it until later. When I did finally listen to it, I immediately saw those two jackasses (Keith and Brian) on my head, wearing pastry chef’s outfits, and tapping their way through Toledo Surprise while planning how to break my heart. From that moment on, I started telling people I had been Toledo-Surprised, instead of being dumped.
Song Title: Toledo Surprise – 2006 Genre: Musical Artist: Garth Kravits, Jason Kravits, Lenny Wolpe, Jennifer Smith, Georgia Engel, and the company of The Drowsy Chaperone Composers: Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison Lyricists: Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison Album: The Drowsy Chaperone
Favourite Lyrics: Chop the nuts / Pound the dough / Bake it up / Nice and slow / Then you got a Toledo / Toledo Surprise / Pit the peach / Peel the skin / Mush it up / Throw it in / That’s a tasty Toledo / Toledo Surprise
Runners Up: Show Off • As We Stumble Along (Reprise) • Little Me • Stuck With You – Ready To Play • I Know Him So Well
49 THURSDAY 14 AUGUST 2014
Come Fly With Me – Frank Sinatra and Luis Miguel
I’m old enough to have lived the last years of the glamour of flying. People my age, and older, will be familiar with how different flying was more than 40 years ago. Today, we fly to get from one point to another. Back then, we flew to have an experience.
I was born in an era where going to the airport to see planes take off, and land was a valid, and common way to entertain your family during the weekend. Occasionally, our parents would take us to the local airport in Maracaibo, Grano de Oro, on a Saturday or a Sunday. I remember being able to go almost to the tarmac and see the planes up close. They were mostly propellers, but now and then you could see a jet land and take off.
Flying was a community experience. It was usual for relatives and close friends to come to the airport to bid goodbye or welcome travellers, even if it was only a short trip. After the respective hugs and kisses, the passengers would go to the gate, which was just a small iron gate at the edge of the tarmac. The well-wishers would stay nearby on a large area, also on the edge of the tarmac. They’d wait not only until the travellers boarded the plane; they’d also wait for the plane to taxi and take off. It wasn’t until the plane was out of sight that they would leave the airport.
By the time 1970 rolled in, a new airport was built outside the city, so our trips to the airport looking to pass the time became only sporadic.
When the time came for me to fly for the first time, it was an event. I remember my mother organising what my older siblings and I would wear on the plane, we just couldn’t wear anything. She bought sport jackets for both my brother and me, and I guess she must have bought a nice dress for my sister. The year was 1976; we were going to Mexico City on an Aeromexico DC-8. We were not the only ones dressed to the nines; all the passengers looked the part. Stepping onto the plane felt like coming into a swanky and swellegant establishment where only la crème de la crème was admitted. If I went back in time, I’m sure I could hear myself using the word fabulous for the first time.
The trip was our first international vacation, a week in Mexico followed by a week in Florida. When it was time to return to Maracaibo, we also carefully chose what to wear on the plane.
The next time we flew internationally was in 1979, our parents took us to Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. This time around our flight departed from Caracas, and again my mother made sure that we were all well-dressed when it came time to board the Pan American 747 jumbo jet for our six-hour fly. However, our next international trip in 1980, to New York City, was more informal; we just wore jeans and t-shirts.
Flying today is not an event. I don’t give too much thought to what I wear, except that for safety reasons, I always make sure that I wear natural fibres, long pants, and long sleeves.
Song Title: Come Fly With Me – 1957 Genre: Pop Artist: Frank Sinatra and Luis Miguel Composer: Jimmy Van Heusen Lyricist: Sammy Cahn Album: Duets 2 – Frank Sinatra
Favourite Lyrics: Fly with me, float down to Peru / In llama land there’s a one-man band / And he’ll toot his flute for you / Fly with me, we’ll take off in the blue
Runners Up: Sisters – Ohio • Two’s Company • If We Never Meet Again • They Can’t Take Away From Me • I’ve Got You Under My Skin • Where Or When • Embraceable You