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[personal profile] rhu
Saw PoP with the kids at MIT G&SP today. Wonderful production: most of the singers were great, and the direction was traditional with enough new ideas to keep it engaging. The kids had a blast, and I think the other family who joined us also enjoyed it.

A few thoughts -- and after all, any good production of an old favorite show should prompt some new thoughts about how I understand the show.

* "Sighing Softly to the River" has never really worked for me, except for the performance that Heather and I saw back in June, and I finally understand why. The patter baritone is singing a ballad about unrequited love, but meanwhile you've got the police and the pirates dealing with the whole no-place-to-hide problem. So the scene is played for slapstick, usually, and the song suffers. But what if we take Gilbert at his word: "Hush hush, not a word, I see a light inside. The Major-General comes, so quickly -- hide!" and then the pirates take cover, and the Major General comes to the window of the castle, holding a candle, sits by the window, and sings the song beautifully and movingly, while pondering how life has left him a single man at this stage of life.

* Similarly, what if "Ah Leave Me Not to Pine" were staged with Mabel downstage left, and Frederick having already exited. She sings with a tight spot on her. Then at his vocal entrance, he's discovered by a tight spot upstage right, already on the road, for his verse. Then they rush to each other, meeting center stage for the end of the number.

* In general, I'd love to see a version of Pirates where all of the songs are arranged in various modern pop styles. The Kings Singers did a great version of "Ah Leave Me Not to Pine" as a piano ballad; "Go Ye Heroes" should be belted like "And I Am Telling You (I Am Not Going)"; etc. I bet it would work.
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Andrew M. Greene

January 2013


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