Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Simple Answer

"Okay, so this part is one of my favorites," I explained as I paused track 6 on the Newsies CD currently playing in the car.  "When he says, 'Pulitzer may own the World but he don't own us,' it is a play on words. The actual newspaper that this guy, Pulitzer, owns is called The World.  But Pulitzer also acts like his is powerful enough to own the whole world.  So that lyric is really clever because it really means two things at once."

This is what the kids and I do on long drives; we pop in a musical they haven't heard before, and they listen to the music while I narrate.  Sometimes I have to generalize the plot a bit (as with this week's selection, Evita), while other times I am stopping between each track to tell the character's names, their backstories, and their motivations.  I like to think it is kind of like a literature lesson, but with music.  And my boys eat it up! 

Along with the actual plot, plenty of my history tends to seep through.  Maybe this week, I will tell them about my friend Becca who first introduced me to great musicals like Evita and Chess.  Maybe when they get older, I will tell them about how the first time I saw Newsies was on the bus to California for choir tour, and how a cute boy named Scott held my hand throughout the whole movie but then ignored me for the whole trip.  I'll draw the connections to the actors and actresses, too.  When we listen to Once on this Island, as we often do, I will tell them that Aunt Michelle once played TiMoune and how awesome she was. And that this was the origin of Dad's "happy tree, sad tree" schtick.

I know I don't just do this with my kids.  Ask me about Into the Woods, and then sit down for the run down I am sure to give.  And it isn't just musicals, either.  I promise: you do not want to get me started on Anne McCaffrey's books set on the fictional planet Pern.  I think it is basic human nature to want to share the things that shaped you.  To shout their lessons from the rooftops in hopes that maybe one person will see the world in the same way you see it.  If not human nature, it is definitely my nature. 

While I could continue on in the same vein, I've actually written these four paragraphs as an introduction to my current opportunity to be a part of the musical The Drowsy Chaperone.  I know it isn't a well-known show, and I have had many people ask me what it is about.  The complicated answer includes four weddings, some monkeys, a plane crash, a tap number, and an Aviatrix (that's me).  But the simple answer is paralleled by my long-winded introduction.

The Drowsy Chaperone is about that CD you always play when you're feeling a little sad.  The one you use to turn your mood around.  It is about the way you talk about it when you try to explain it to someone else.  The way you are forced to realize that Billy Joel's Stormfront isn't all chart toppers.  The disappointment when a scratch interrupts your favorite track, and you are left trying to explain that it really is great... I promise.  This show is about the memories that come flooding back when you hear a song that was popular when you were in high school, or when you realize that there are huge gaping holes in the plot to Miss Saigon that you're really just guessing at, because you will likely never get a chance to see it live.  The Drowsy Chaperone is about using music to escape, and I am fairly certain it is a theme that is universal.

For the record, it is also hilariously entertaining!  But that isn't why I want you to come see it.  Come be the passenger as Man in Chair narrates his favorite musical.  Let him stop and start the music to fill in bits of the plot and pieces of his own life.  Give him the opportunity to shout its virtue, to downplay its follies, and to let this piece of something that he loves so much find a place in your own heart. 

Oh, and I am on stage, too.

Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays - September 11 through Oct 3rd - Empress Theatre in Magna, UT.
If you would be interested in discount tickets, let me know.  There is usually a discount code the week before the show opens, and I will keep you posted.