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What Is the Stars?

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This week I am allowed to select my own topic, and my choice comes out of recent experience. I just finished watching 11 performances of Alan Jay Lerner and John Barry’s 1971 musical Lolita, My Love, based on Vladimir Nabokov’s classic novel, in a book-in-hand concert staging presented as part of the York Theatre Company’s Musicals in Mufti series honoring Lerner’s centenary. I saw all 11 shows because I edited together the script that was used, taking it from six different scripts in the Lerner archives at the Library of Congress.

Just a Cole Porter Song

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I became a Cole Porter aficionado while still a teenager in high school.

Favorites by Decade – The 1940s

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How do I pick just five favorite Broadway musicals from the 1940s? Four slots are immediately taken by the four Rodgers and Hammerstein collaborations. That leaves only one other show, a selection I simply couldn’t make.

Isn’t It a Pity You’re a Seal?

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Unusual love songs shouldn’t really be all that unusual. After all, any good lyricist will look to avoid clichés and try to find a way to write about this basic human need that is somehow fresh. A theatrical lyricist generally mines situation and character in order to arrive at an approach that doesn’t seem threadbare and sentimental. Here are 15 examples of what I would call unusual love songs.

Favorites by Decade – The 1970s

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So now it’s my five favorite Broadway musicals of the 1970s? That’s easy: the five collaborations of director Harold Prince and composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim. They also get a sixth title included, as I am once again also choosing five off-Broadway tuners. Unlike for the recent 1950s column, though, I don’t have a lot of shows that I regret having to leave off the list.

Toujours la Soupe

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The year-end holidays, from Thanksgiving to Hanukah to Christmas to Kwanzaa to New Year’s, are all intimately connected with food. So we are starting off the new year with a look at musical theatre songs that have an epicurean inclination. In salute to 2019, here are 19 of my choosing.

There’s Something About a War

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This week my intentionally vague charge from editor Andy Propst is to write “something seasonal.” I think that’s his way of letting me off the hook this year about writing a Christmas music column. In any event, I’m availing myself of the opportunity. My blog goes live on Dec. 7, which just happens to be Pearl Harbor Day. So I decided to look at musicals that take place during wartime.

Favorites by Decade – The 1950s

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I have to pick only five favorite musicals from this incredibly fruitful decade? Really?! Well, it can’t be done. I winnowed it down to six indispensable Broadway titles, but I just couldn’t get to five. Then, to spice it up a bit, I added five off-Broadway shows, as I did for the 1990s column back in April. As off-Broadway was born in the 1950s, I wondered if I could find five titles, but it wasn’t hard at all.

Twixt Twelve and Twenty

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This week’s topic is teenagers in musicals, in salute of next week’s Broadway opening of The Prom, about an adolescent girl in small-town Indiana who is forbidden to bring her girlfriend to the titular event.

Threnodies for the Season

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For my Halloween column I decided to take my hubby’s suggestion to select a list of songs from musicals sung by characters who are dead. But before doing so, I want to say something about a show I just saw that, entirely coincidentally, fits my theme like a glove.


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