I Do Love a Good Show Tune (part 1)
When I was a young ‘un in the 60s, my parents were quite a bit older than many of the parents of my primary school friends. I grew up in a small farming community where most people married young and had a passel of children straightaway. Mum and Dad were older when they married (25 – wow, really on the shelf, snort!) and then waited to start a family.
That meant a slight generation gap when it came to the music we listened to at home. My friends’ parents were mainly Top 40 people and in the 60s, that meant some great music. Mum and Dad loved American musicals. So I grew up knowing all the words to songs from Carousel and My Fair Lady and Fiddler on the Roof. If I were a rich man yidee di dee….
My fondness for a good show tune has persisted. Yesterday I was taking a short break from polishing my next book and playing the piano (you’ve got to keep the neighbors on their toes!). And what was I playing? SHOW TUNES!
Yup, there I was pounding out “If Ever I Would Leave You” from Camelot and “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha. Both have that wonderful build to a climax that a classic show tune offers. As a romance writer, I like that bit for obvious reasons! Both share a theatrical but somehow deeply sincere profundity of emotion. Back in my primary school days full of Rodgers and Hammerstein, talent shows were very popular on TV. “The Impossible Dream” was a favorite for lines and lines of emoting baritones and it still gives me goosebumps! To reach the unreachable….STARS!!!! And as I thumped (I always thump on those two!), I thought great show tunes count among my favorite things!
I know I’m not alone in succumbing to the power of a GST. Do you remember the worldwide frenzy when Susan Boyle appeared on Britain’s Got Talent and sang the beautiful “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables? The simple, poignant power of that song (with its big climax) really touched people through Boyle’s performance. If you’re one of the four people on the planet who haven’t seen it, here it is on YouTube. This particular one has been viewed over 168 million times!
It still gives me goosebumps (like TID) to hear that beautiful voice float out as she starts to sing. And isn’t it interesting, by the way, that talent programs seem to be back in fashion? I’m getting a flashback to my distant youth!
Anyway, next month, please sing “Hello, Dolly!” as I “Climb Every Mountain” and offer up “A Song in my Heart”.