Saturday 29 June 2019


As millions know, Oklahoma! begins in light: a bright new morning, one never before seen. A woman described as "buxom" and "about 50" pauses over her butter churn to gaze out over the meadow, a "contented look" on her face. We in the audience are the meadow. Thus, I imagine, we're contented too. Expectant. Something good will come, soon.
It's a voice, a young man, from offstage. "There's a bright, golden haze on the meadow," he sings. He repeats the line, then, "The corn is as high as en elephant's eye, / An' it looks like it's climbin' clear up to the sky." 
Now the young man, Curly, saunters on. You know what comes next: 
     Oh, what a beautiful mornin', 
     Oh, what a beautiful day. 
     I got a beautiful feelin'
     Everythin's going my way.
(Here we might observe that one "beautiful" is enough, two are too many, but with the third we're back to enough. Furthermore, re rhyme, note that only the perfect rhyme works here. Try "Everythin's going to be fine.")
Maybe it will go Curly's way, maybe it won't. The play throws complications our way. But an opening like this one beguiles us, picks us up perfectly for the ride.
Here's Hugh Jackman as Curly in a 1998 London revival.

Monday 17 June 2019


Reading across from Carousel to Oak Floors!--surely words never before written in that order--I feel two reactions. In the case of the Rodgers & Hammerstein's play or, the other day, The Band's Visit, I marvel at the depth and subtlety of the book (by which I mean the story and all text except song lyrics).
In the case of Oak Floors!, I play easy-to-get with the holes in the book, saying, "well, so be it."
Speaking of subtlety, check "Do You Love Me," here from the movie version of Fiddler on the Roof.I
And look! My piece in its current form as "a heritage cabaret" has no Act One break, hence no exquisite conclusion like the last scene in Act One of Carousel, when Billy has become at once more genuine and more doomedWe go to Intermission with the stakes high: we care for his wife, even for him, and we know there's trouble ahead.

Monday 10 June 2019

Watching the Tonys

This I've done for the first time, though I'd viewed many a YouTube clip. The musicals drew me to the telecast last night.
Hadestown, a show I saw at Citadel in Edmonton two years ago, won for Best Musical, Oklahoma! (and there you see the exclamation mark borrowed by my Oak Floors!) for Best Revival. (Santino Fontana in Tootsie and Ali Stroker in Okla won the individual awards.) It was a fun show, mostly. Way more fun than any Oscar show I've seen lately. Of course, diversity was everywhere, to the point that Bryan Cranston quipped, upon winning in the male non-musical individual category, that "at last, an old, straight, white guy catches a break." That way myself, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or weep.