Friday, June 18, 2010

Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly ---

The Broadway Show I chose to do this morning at the radio station was Showboat. As I was listening to the lyrics I thought it would be an excellent theme song for the Gulf rescue operation. "Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly,
I gotta do my best so they won't die, Can't help trying to save our Gulf. --
Crabs gotta crawl, Dolphins gotta play, They need clean salt water every night and day. Can't help trying to save our Gulf. I'm here to stay, 'til the oil's gone away, ---" well I can't think of any more words but you get the idea.

SHOWBOAT is a wonderful American story. It was adapted from the book by Edna Ferber in 1921 by Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern. The opening night of the show, the audience was seemingly unresponsive. The applause was scattered, laugh lines barely got a chuckles. At intermission, when the producers, directors, and other interested people usually keep an ear open for comments, the patrons were largely silent as they mingled in the lobby. Quite naturally everyone connected with the show was downhearted. Commonly after shows people go to late dinners, to bars and private parties where they discuss and critique the performance and performers. Amazingly, the papers the following day had rave revues. The audience was so overwhelmed by the social statement, the open dialog, as well as the music, they were fairly speechless until they had time to assimilate it. The plans went into high gear to make movie - a silent movie, of course, which would have the performers live to the voice-over. They spent a whopping $25,000 to put the wheel in motion. Then - "talkies" happened and the plans had to be remade. NOw the cost was going to $125,000 plus percentages for everyone involved. Music was rewritten, songs that didn't seem to work were deleted, new songs were composed to pick up the pace. Backtracking a bit, Ms. Ferber did not think it would work because her book spans 60 years. She felt it could not be far too long, and of course, she was right. So they adapted the story line to compact it. That was all in the 1920's. It was remade in 1951 and starred Katherine Grayson, Howard Keel, Ava Gardner. Marge and Gower Champion were the dance team. I think it is time to remake this colorful story with today's enhanced sound and color capabilities. Who would you cast in the leading roles?

Dennis Awe, or maybe his sister DyAnne, made a medley of SHowboat music. It is fun to play as the mood of the music changes. There are a lot of songs in the movie version that are not in that arrangement, and still it is quite lengthy. I personally do not play those "showcase" pieces because there are a number of people eager to play and I don't want to take up too much time.
O'lyn Callahan also has a showboat medley. Hal Leonard has EZ Play versions of the separate selections. NO matter which might chose to play, you will have fun with them Jerome Kern got the music just right to convey the moods.

Remember the words - "...I can be happy, I can be sad ..." Chose you music to fit your feelings, but keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.


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