Ain't Got No Grass" in Hair, "You're the Top" in Anything Goes, "The Museum Song" and "The Prince of Humbug" in Barnum, "La Vie Bohème" in Rent, and the king of them all, "Tchaikowsky" from Lady in the Dark. They're impossible to memorize because they're just lists, with no real logic to take you from one line to the next. All you've got to depend on is structure and rhyme. And sometimes the rhyme isn't coming for another ten or twelve words...
But other kinds of lists (the ones you don't have to memorize) are much less traumatic.
Por ejemplo... Over the last few years, I've created a bunch of lists for this blog. They're really fun to make and I hope you, Dear Readers, find them interesting/useful/fun. But there have been a few times recently, when I wanted to link to one of them and it was really hard to find it -- as you may have noticed, my post titles are often more whimsical than informational.
So for my own sake, but also for folks who are new to my blog, here's a list of the lists.
"I Got the Musical Right Here" is a list of fifteen really cool, really original shows that New Line has produced over the years and that we'd love other companies and artists to produce, like High Fidelity, Love Kills, bare, The Cradle Will Rock, Cry-Baby, Bukowsical, and others, all accompanied by video clips from our productions. Nothing would make us happier than to see these shows get produced more often.
"Songs for a New World" is a list of really wonderful, lesser known stage musicals (there's some overlap here with the list above) that every musical theatre fan should know. I created this list for people who love musicals but are only aware of the more famous shows. But people working in the musical theatre might also find one or two surprises here...
"Top Ten Desert Island Musical Theatre Books" is the first list I made, of my favorite books about the art form, everything from behind-the-scenes, tell-all books, to history and analysis, to books about the business of the art form. All really cool books for people who want to dig a little deeper. And for even more cool books, stop by the New Line Bookstore sometime.
"Another National Anthem" is a list I made right before Election Day, of my favorite political musicals, everything from Assassins and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson to Of Thee I Sing and Fiorello. It's so interesting to think about these shows in terms of the politics of when they're set and also when they were written. All of them have a lot of say about American politics today, even the older shows.
"Musicals the GOP Needs to See" is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek list of five musicals that celebrate the diversity of American life. After so many GOP gaffes in 2012 (and since) that insulted Americans in minority communities, this was my (not very sincere) attempt to crack open some conservative minds a bit... Then again, I can be pretty sure that the people who say those things will never buy a ticket to In the Heights...
"Magic Shows and Miracles" is a list of commercially released video recordings of live stage performances of musicals, including Pippin, Sweeney Todd, and Into the Woods, but also lesser known shows like Poe, Alice at the Palace, Tintypes,, and Taboo, among others.
"A Trip to the Library" is a list of novels that musicals are based on. One of my favorite pastimes is reading these novels, to see how they've been adapted for the musical stage, how the story or characters have changed, how a narrative is transformed into a fundamentally different kind of storytelling for a different art form. It's fun to explore that adaptation process, but it's also just fun to read these books -- they're all so great -- including Scenes de la Vie de Boheme (the source for Rent), and the amazing original novel 42nd Street, among others.
"My Husband Makes Movies" is a list of really great, but lesser known movie musicals that I encourage everyone to check out, cool films like Colma, Absolute Beginners, Pennies from Heaven, Mack the Knife (a film version of the 1970s Threepenny Opera revival), and others.
"Fellini, Fosse, Woody, Sondheim, and Stew" may be my favorite list. Kinda sounds like a really artsy law firm, doesn't it? While working on Passing Strange, I realized that it shares a lot with some other really wonderful works of what I'll call "existential autobiographical fiction," all of which explore the complex relationship between an artist's life and his work. So I created this list, a "film festival" of these great works by Federico Fellini, Bob Fosse, Woody Allen, Steve Sondheim, Stew, and John Waters. The parallels among them are really interesting...
And there are some other lists you might enjoy, too... The New Line website has a list of my background and analysis essays exploring individual shows (essays that eventually become chapters in my books). Our YouTube channel hosts something that is truly one of a kind -- a YouTube History of Musical Theatre, chronicling our art form through more than 250 YouTube videos (there are so many, we had to split it into two playlists) of original casts, original choreography, and lots more. (One caveat about this list -- we added notes to some of the videos, and many of those notes somehow got moved to other videos, and as I write this, there is no way to move them back or delete them. So some of the videos will have incorrect notes on them...)
New Line's past shows over the last twenty-two years (and links to our show webpages), and we also have an online History of New Line, with cast, staff, and band lists, director's notes, reviews quotes, photos, etc., for every show New Line has produced. Feel free to leave comments on the show entries about your experiences doing or seeing these shows. You can also look at all our past shows on AboutTheArtists.com -- the cool thing on this site is you can click on actor and staff names, and see all the shows they've done.
As I've written about in other posts, our work goes beyond just producing shows. It's important to us to engage our community in exploring the art form, especially now at this amazing moment in the evolution of the musical theatre. This blog is just one part of that. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you'll tell all your musical theatre friends about it. The adventure continues.
Long Live the Musical!