Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Are THESE Broadway's Most Romantic Love Songs?

Broadway is rich in romance -- and rich in lushly romantic love songs.
The very best of this genre invoke powerful images, cast a strong spell of seduction, create feelings of longing, arouse our senses, unmask desires and haunt us long after the show has ended.
So many of these songs become classics precisely for the reasons we've just listed. But inexplicably, others remain in the background and, if they're lucky, reach the status of cult favorites.
While this is hardly meant to be a definitive list (and is largely representational) here are, in no particularly order, 25 that come to mind:

Some Enchanted Evening, Rodgers & Hammerstein for South Pacific
Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber considers this possibly the most beautiful and near-perfect song ever written. It creates an unforgettable allure. It's pure magic!

So In Love, Cole Porter for Kiss Me, Kate
The top pick of Lin-Manuel Miranda, it casts a classic spell and proves that Porter, who was a master of patter songs and comedic ditties, could also write a great love song.

If Ever I Should Leave You, Lerner & Loewe for Camelot
The song teases about bidding adieu to a one and only love but it's message is nonetheless clear in a mostly sad musical about a fatal love triangle.

My Heart Is So Full Of You, Frank Loesser for The Most Happy Fella
Majestic and just-this-side of operatic, this soaring duet is overwhelming in its power and its sense of fully realized love.

I Got Love, Peter Udell for Purlie
Exuberant beyond belief, it joyously evokes first love. It's an absolute winner from its subtle beginning to its rousing conclusion.

The Music Of The Night, Andrew Lloyd Webber for The Phantom Of The Opera
One of the most seductive songs ever written, it's full of imagery and unabashedly proclaims its intent to release untapped desires. A sizzler!

Make Believe, Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein for Show Boat
Yes, they're just playing at love -- thinking about what it might be like. With this trick, Kern and Hammerstein  draw you in. And by the end of the song (which is delivered early in the show) the granddaddy of all musicals has already won your heart.

I Love My Wife, Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart for I Love My Wife
Sure, it's a big, hokey and some may consider it outdated. But, it's beautiful, heartfelt and honest in its own way. And Sinatra, of all people, had a hit with it. The song works,

Joanna, Stephen Sondheim for Sweeney Todd
A young man's heart aches with desire. The song weaves a web of longing tinged with pathos. Here, Sondheim turns melodic. Overwhelming!

Fifty Percent, Billy Goldenberg, Alan and Marilyn Bergman for Ballroom
Late-in-life love. She's the other woman. She doesn't possess or know all of him -- nor does she want to, apparently. Fifty percent is enough -- and also enough to call it "love".

One Hand, One Heart, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim for West Side Story
Star-crossed young lovers, fused and about to face their destiny. Need we say more?

They Say It's Wonderful, Irving Berlin for Annie Get Your Gun
Imagined love in all its many hues comes to life during the course of this sweet, evocative duet. One of Berlin's very best!

It Only Takes A Moment, Jerry Herman for Hello, Dolly!
Perhaps the ultimate in romanticized love songs, it unabashedly declares the instantaneousness and illogic of love. Egged on by Dolly herself, it blossoms into an irresistible love duet.

Miracle Of Miracles, Joseph Stein and Sheldon Harnick for Fiddler On The Roof
A short paean to the miracle of love, it remains vibrant, whimsical and thoroughly delightful! The song itself is a little miracle.

The Music That Makes Me Dance, Bob Merrill and June Stein for Funny Girl
It borders on love as obsession. Of course it became a staple of Streisand's repertoire -- and how could it not with lyrics like: In every way, everyday I need less of myself. I need more him.

If I Loved You and People Will Say We're In Love by Rodgers and Hammerstein for Carousel and Oklahoma, respectively.
In the same league as Make Believe, the lovers are visualizing what might be when it's clear to everyone that what might be really is. For R&H, this proved to be a surefire romantic device.

Till There Was You, Meredith Willson for The Music Man
The song celebrates the transformative power of love and shows us how love changes the look, the sound and the feeling of everything around us.

Helpless, Lin-Manuel Miranda for Hamilton
A catchy rap declaration of love at first sight where the gal takes one look at the guy and declares: "This one is mine!" And here it is in the musical that reinvented musicals -- again!

Love And Love Alone, Kander and Ebb for The Visit
While it seems to disavow love, it's actually a love song to love itself -- love, with all its disappointments, all its pain, all its shortcomings. What's left after all that? Love, and love alone.

Once Upon A Time, Lee Adams and Charles Strouse for All American
Young love remembered, and maybe (just maybe) awakened in this haunting ballad for two stars (Ray Bolger and Eileen Herlie) who pulled it off with the smoothness and vibrancy of a fine wine. Of course it became a standard.

Only Us, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul for Dear Evan Hansen
The updated love duet. A chatty, busy love song that captures the longing and the moment, millennial style. It brings Broadway right into the digital age with admirable tenderness and aplomb.

Hopelessly Devoted To You, Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey for Grease
Teenage crush love with all its capriciousness and heartache.  My head is saying, 'Fool, forget him' my heart is saying, 'Don't let go. Hold on till the end.' and that's what I intend to do. 

Whoever You Are, Burt Bacharach and Hal David for Promises, Promises
A deeply moving and enchanting plea for more than just a hookup kind of love, it captures a time and place and yet remains timeless in the inimitable Bacharach/David style.

Love Has Come Of Age, Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn for Jekyll & Hyde
It could just as easily have been titled Until Tonight because it celebrates the night and the moment when love blossoms in this chilling tale that showcases the struggle between good and evil. Neil Patrick Harris says this is Broadway's most romantic love song.

But one more now, just for good measure. Since we began with Rodgers & Hammerstein, let's end with them and Broadway's most lushly romantic moment ever -- Shall We Dance, from The King and I.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A True Broadway Milestone Moment!

You owe it to yourself to experience this!
Lin-Manuel Miranda & Ben Platt Found/Tonight 
Words and Music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul 
Published by 5000 Broadway Music (ASCAP) administered by WB Music Corp. / Pick in a Pinch Music (ASCAP) and breathelike music (ASCAP) 
All rights admin. by Kobalt Songs Music Publishing 
Produced, Arranged, and Orchestrated by Alex Lacamoire Associate Producer: Thomas Kail Recorded and Mixed by Derik Lee at Atlantic Studios, NYC Assistant Engineers: Ebonie Smith, Joseph Pomarico 
Mastered by Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound, NYC 
Piano: Alex Lacamoire 
Violin: Justin Smith 
Viola: Todd Low 
Cello: Adele Stein 
Video Credits: DP: Steven Salgado 
Edited by: Katia Spivakova 
Second Cam: Angie Bambii 
Produced by: Derec Dunn 
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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Among This Master's Works, Which Would YOU Pick?

If Leonard Bernstein had been your dad, which Broadway composition of his might be your favorite?
We asked that question of Bernstein's daughter, Nina Bernstein Simmons and she answered, quite diplomatically: "Usually the last one I heard." 
Well, think about it. How could you possibly pick among all the beautiful music the great composer and conductor created during his lifetime?
Still, of all the things he accomplished, his daughter told us that Bernstein took pride in one achievement above most others -- his series of Young People's Concerts and the work he did to introduce new generations to music and culture.
"He was very passionate about that," Nina said at the preview of Leonard Bernstein, The Power of Music at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. 
 The interactive exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of Bernstein's birth and is part of a year long celebration that his family has been planning for "about five years" according to Nina and her brother, Alexander. The show opens on Friday and continues through September 2 before traveling to other cities.
Here are some of the other things we learned from Nina and Alexander during their visit to Philadelphia:
--Leonard Bernstein was a devoted and attentive father who would periodically leave his three children love notes which were slipped under their bedroom doors at night.
--Bernstein's iconic musical, West Side Story was originally called EAST Side Story because it began as a story of Jewish and Catholic gangs fighting on New York's lower east side. But Bernstein and his collaborators decided that such a story too closely reflected their own experiences and the experiences of their parents so the tale was updated to a story of white and Puerto Rican gangs clashing on the west side of Manhattan.
--The family felt one of the most hurtful slaps at Bernstein and his commitment to liberal causes came in the 1970 essay by Tom Wolfe which proclaimed the maestro and other left-leaning elites part of "radical chic" movement. Though the phrase stuck, it never sat well with the Bernsteins.
--Bernstein did not like being pegged as a composer of Broadway music or classical music or any particular brand of music, for that matter. He loved all music. "He wanted to do it all and he wanted to do it all well, and that's exactly what he did," Nina Bernstein Simmons commented.
--Leonard Bernstein might not be entirely comfortable with today's technology. In fact, according to Alexander Bernstein, his father was not particularly tech-savvy and didn't really get along with technology. Might he be making music today on an iPad or similar instrument? "Not likely," Alexander said.
--All three of Leonard Bernstein's children took music lessons and all three attended Harvard, their father's alma mater. Of the three, only Jamie Anne Marie Bernstein pursued a career involving music.
--More than 2,000 events are planned all over the world to commemorate Leonard Bernstein's centennial year.

Photos (from top) 
Alexander Bernstein and Nina Bernstein Simmons at the opening in Philadelphia
One of Bernstein's first pianos, a Steinway 
Bernstein's traveling cases which held his musical compositions
The maestro's custom-tailored white tie and tails
Bernstein's reading glasses and one of his Grammy awards. 

All on display at the National Museum of American Jewish History.

Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music is the first large-scale museum exhibition to illustrate Leonard Bernstein’s life, Jewish identity, and social activism. Audiences may be familiar with many of Bernstein’s works, notably West Side Story, but not necessarily with how he responded to the political and social crises of his day. Visitors will find an individual who expressed the restlessness, anxiety, fear, and hope of an American Jew living through World War II and the Holocaust, Vietnam, and turbulent social change—what Bernstein referred to as his “search for a solution to the 20th‐century crisis of faith.”
The exhibition explores his Jewish identity and social activism in the context of his position as an American conductor and his works as a composer. It features interactive media and sound installations along approximately 100 historic artifacts, including Bernstein’s piano, marked-up scores, conducting suit, annotated copy of Romeo and Juliet used for the development of West Side Story, personal family Judaica, composing easel, and a number of objects from his studio.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

United Now, And Back Where They Belong!

Here they are, together at last -- the two greatest Dollys of all time.
What a joy it was to see each of them perform one of the greatest roles in musical theater history!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Broadway's Oldest AND Newest Theatre: Sneak Peek!

A behind the scenes tour of and a look at the history behind Broadway's oldest theatre, the newly renovated Hudson Theatre. This story is way cooler than it sounds.
We saw Sunday in the Park With George starring Jake Gyllenhaul at the Hudson and it was wonderful. We loved the show and the theatre -- very comfortable seats, stunning interior, remarkably intimate.  This is a great Broadway addition!

Friday, March 2, 2018

First Look At Tune From Long-Awaited Blockbuster!

Enjoy this first listen to "Monster"– a new song written for FROZEN on Broadway. Performed by Caissie Levy and the Broadway Company.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

C'mon, Take The Whole Family Along!

The Broadway League is pleased to announce that www.Families.Broadway is now live. This new area of the Broadway League’s consumer website will provide news and updates about special family offers, unique in-theatre experiences, giveaways and more at Broadway shows. Offers and events will change throughout the year, giving families many options to choose from when planning a trip to Broadway.
“Last season we saw a record attendance for kids and teens in the theatres and for good reason.  Broadway has never offered more for families with opportunities like Kids’ Night on Broadway, Broadway Week and Broadway Bridges.  Families.Broadway is our way of extending the spirit of these programs throughout the season,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “We’re excited to provide more opportunities for families to enjoy the magic of live theatre together and experience the wonderful variety of shows available on Broadway.”
Developed as a convenient resource to help all families expand their theatregoing experiences, Families.Broadway not only provides information about family pricing and offers but also lists the extra experiences that are available at select performances. These special programs are designed to complement each show and create lasting memories for those attending. Programs include talk backs, musical demonstrations with Broadway teaching artists, workshops, and more. Families.Broadway also features parking deals at Icon Parking.
In the 2016 – 2017 season, attendance by theatregoers under 18 years old was 1.65 million. There were another 1.62 million admissions by theatregoers aged 18–24. Together this represents 25 percent of the audience. To date 18 new productions have opened in the 2017-2018 season.  These productions join 17 long-running shows currently playing.  In the spring, 15 more shows are scheduled to open with more expected to announce.