Local Night on the Town

So, after the excitement of our VIP Guest at Sister Act Thursday night, it was time to play catch up in the office on Friday as well as bid a fond farewell to our CM, who will be welcoming her baby boy sometime in the next month. She knows how to roll a send-off party – as she bought John’s Pizza for the entire office, as well as these amazing chocolate chip cookies from Ca Va. Definitely got my weekend started on the right foot.

After finishing up at the office, I headed to LIC for dinner with my Queens pal. We ate at LIC Market, which was so amazingly delicious, I could eat there every day. Does not hurt that I can jump on the E train right outside my office and be sipping my glass of wine at their relaxing bar in less than 15 minutes. My kind of restaurant. The waitstaff was friendly and helpful. The food was to die for. I even splurged on dessert, which I never do, but I could not turn down apples battered like donuts and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar served with a vanilla dipping sauce. Incredible. The waitress told us they have an amazing brunch as well, so I am definitely counting the hours until my return there.

After dinner, we headed to meet up with Nick and Em at Waltz Astoria to see my friend Anne Mironchik play with her jazz trio (check her out streaming live from RSU’s Radio Program on Sunday, July 10th at 10am!) . She was brilliant as always, and even played one of my very favorite old-school musical theatre songs, “My Romance” by Rodgers and Hart from Jumbo. [EDITED: Just after this blog posted, I got a text from none other than my Queens pal whose father was actually IN the production of Jumbo. How about that for full-circle blogging?] Ah yes, I don’t know anything about that musical either, but it is one of my very favorite songs. Sadly, I don’t have video of Anne singing this song, but as a close runner up, here’s my favorite Broadway star singing it as a medley with another beautiful song called “Danglin'” by the contemporary musical theatre composer Maury Yeston:

Sigh, so pretty! Maury Yeston, it should be known, wrote one of my very favorite musical theatre songs ever, and when I found myself in a room with him during a reading of a new musical he was working on earlier this spring, it took just about everything in me to keep from making a total fool of myself over how much I love it. Randomly, I probably never would have known about the song had it not been for my high school boyfriend’s mom telling me that she had just seen a different production of the telling of the Phantom of the Opera story that she enjoyed so much more than THE Phantom of the Opera. My Andrew Lloyd Webber worshipping was at an all time high during my sophomore to junior years of high school, so I simply could not believe her whatsoever and immediately put the thought out of my mind.

But of course, after moving to New York, I stumbled upon a cute little cd entitled The Maury Yeston Songbook during one of my trips through the Broadway wing of the Virgin Megastore in Times Square (seriously, doesn’t everyone have a story about seeing that giant musical theatre cd collection all in one space for the first time? It was so incredible, that you almost forgot you were about to pay $18.99 for a cd – oh days before iTunes) and I was hooked. Also, Do you like how I assume everyone has a story about that Broadway section at the Virgin Megastore? Like, no one ever went in there to buy any other kind of music? My worldview is warped.

In any case here are Kristin Chenoweth and Ron Baker singing “Home” from Phantom (sadly, I couldn’t find find my favorite recording of Laura Benanti and Robert Cuccioli singing from the cd, and I’m not fancy enough to be able to upload mp3s for the blog yet, so we will allI  I will just have to make do).

When I hear this song, it pains me that I cannot sing above an Eb. It doesn’t stop me from pretending I can though. In any case, the lyrics to this song make me want to cry they are so beautiful – and really express what I feel about theatre and music and LIFE (dramatic):

All my life I’ve been waiting
In my mind, in a rocking
For my fancy to take the air
I would know the time

Tick and tock went my childhood
Father said I would know the place
Skin would tingle and pulse would race
As they do…It’s here! I’m…

Home, where music fills the air, and I’m
Home, where a thousand lovers cry
Swoon and sigh, and I’m
Home, Where ev’ry violin
Plays a treat as sweet as a honeycomb
Wherever music plays I know I’m home.

Here, where fables come alive, year by year
We forget our troubled nights, under lights
And each tear becomes a gentle tune or duet
Kept straight by a metronome…
And if I’m singing, then I know, I’m home.

Where ev’ry English horn
Makes me feel glad I’m born
And any woodwind trill
Excites a thrill that’s new!

The giant contrabass…
The great soprano’s face
Combine to make a perfect world
Far better than what’s outside.

Dreams–I’ve lived within my dreams
Now it sems I’ve awakened and they’re real
Pinch and feel! If one day
I walk upon this stage from these wings
And play underneath this dome
And if I sing with all my heart…
I’ll be home.

Phantom:

All my life to be waiting
For an angel to one day speak
Mouth goes dry, and my knees grow weak
At each word–each sound–
That voice–that music in the air
Ev’ry choice, ev’ry syllable, each note
How they float–and her tone!
A miracle of silk, spun to gold, unfolded in polychrome…
And when I hear it how I know I’m home

Who is this prodigy, who sings to only me?
She is as innocent and natural as a rose.
I’ll do her so much good, we two, I know we could
Combine to make a perfect world
Far better than what’s outside

Together:

Dreams (My dreams)
I’ve lived within my dreams now it seems
I’ve awakened and they’re real, if they’re real
If one day I (she) walk (walks) upon this stage
And play (plays) underneath this dome
And if I (she) sings with all my (her) heart
I’ll be…home.

“Home” from Phantom music and lyrics by Maury Yeston

So hokey, right? I don’t care. I love, love, love it and I’m fairly certain this blog has already ascertained that I am a giant mushy dork when it comes to music, so I feel no need to apologize. Seriously though, how did this entry turned into such a lovefest for this song? Oops. Digressions are fun! Special thanks to Mrs. Treat for enlightening me back in 1995.

In any case, back to 2011, it was a lovely evening indeed. I love that all of these things exist right here in my little borough. You rock Queens. After sending G back to Woodside, Em, Nick, and I ended the night at another one of my friend’s apartment watching the end of Aliens. Shockingly, I do not share my love affair feelings of music with creepy gross aliens and their super creepy egg babies. I spent the last half hour with my eyes closed. Ugh, just thinking about those guys makes my skin crawl. Listen, I know it was 1986, but those were Academy Award winning visual effects. Terrifying.

So there you have it, a night in my life combined with a musical history lesson into my soul. You’re welcome, America.

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Musical Sneak Attacks

If you’ve read my “About Me” section of this blog, or really, if you know me at all, you know that maybe I’m not quite that familiar with any sort of popular music, or music that was popular within the last few years. I feel like I’m always telling people, “oh my gosh, I just heard the greatest song!” Only to discover that everyone else on the planet had discovered this same song four years ago.

This phenomena has only been made so much worse by watching Glee, in which I’ve never heard the original versions of songs, just the Glee version. What can you do? A few times, this has happened while watching a few of my other favorite tv shows. I fully believe this stems from listening to the two soundtracks from Dawson’s Creek on repeat throughout college. (To be fair, I really thought I was cutting edge back then – listening to music made popular by Joey and Pacey’s angst-ridden love scenes.)

Anyway, the first time in recent memory that a song in the background of a tv show happened during one of my severely-missed 8am reruns of The West Wing on Bravo. Ugh, doesn’t everyone miss this? Anyway, it was during an episode called “The Red Mass.” Which was season 4, episode 4. I have tried incredibly unsuccessfully to find a clip from this episode to add to this entry, so just imagine you’re in a cathedral. The music coming from my tv was a choral piece that was so pretty I to immediately find out what it was. After scanning a few episode recaps, I learned it was the first movement from Vivaldi’s “Gloria.” Too this day, it is still one of my favorite choral pieces.

This happened again just the other day when I was watching an episode of Friday Night Lights. This song was being used as an underscore to the final scene from the first episode of season four. It was so pretty and had a melody that seemed so familiar to me, but the words didn’t register at all. Upon listening to the song a few times, I recognized it as “Sing a New Church” which is a hymn we frequently sing as a closing song for Mass. Through the powers of Google, I learned that that song is based in an old Mormon hymn entitled, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and in this episode it was being sung beautifully by Sufjan Stevens.

Anyone out there in the interwebs found a favorite song when it was being used on a tv soundtrack? I will also admit to discovering “Come on Get Higher” by Matt Nathanson while buying magazines in an airport bookstore. I love when the music finds you!

Speaking of music, stay tuned for my 10k playlist for the NYRR Mini 10k tomorrow. It will have to be awesome to get me through those hills on a supremely early, possibly rainy Saturday morning.