Who Am I?
You can read the "About the Editor" section of Rational Magic for the technical details, but what I am, for the purposes of Bursting with Song, is an enthusiastic and opinionated devotee of Broadway musicals. I don't have any showbiz or musical background, though I wish I did. (Well, I did get a standing ovation for a performance of "Hey, Look Me Over" in high school voice training class, but that's where it ends.) I've seen a decent number of productions in my life, most of them within the last ten years, but not nearly as many as I would have liked. Most I saw in Colorado, but I did manage to see two shows on Broadway (Urinetown and Follies) before I got laid off. As of right now (03/15/03) I have some 430 musicals, as well as a handful of movie soundtracks and cabaret/concert/jazz versions of scores. I also have a few musicals and concerts on tape and DVD.
Sondheim is my major love, but I hold great fondness for most Broadway composers and lyricists. Conversely, I despise the imported spectacle musicals that have all but destroyed Broadway, and I feel that most rock music (especially soft and hard rock) has no place in the musical theatre. Overall I prefer the more modern musicals (1940s and beyond); older musicals don't usually have the kind of musical variety and story coherency that I like, though there are exceptions. As I listen to more shows, however, I've started to better appreciate the older composers, especially Kern, Weill, and Porter.
I've been reading as many Broadway-related books as I've been able to obtain. I've read biographies and autobiographies of Sondheim, Lerner, Laurents, Comden, Harrison, Tune, and others; general histories of Broadway; books on flop musicals (Not Since Carrie) and the 1968-1969 season (The Season); the gay take on musicals (Something for the Boys); and so forth. I've also started to collect movie versions of stage productions, though I dislike the way movie versions often trash the music and blow off the leads for more "Hollywood"-type performers. (Shirley MacLaine instead of Gwen Verdon? Topol over Zero Mostel? Audrey Hepburn over Julie Andrews? They did what to the score of On the Town? Give me a break!)
Someday I'll find a composer and write my own musical. Well, we all ought to have dreams, right?
Let me know your opinion of this page.
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