Saturday, March 31, 2007

Stephen Schwartz!!!!!

I had to choose an obvious title, because I never want to have trouble finding this post. Tonight was a night to remember and revisit!

We continued our Tin Pan South journey tonight by attending a show at the Bluebird Cafe. As soon as I saw the TPS schedule, I knew I had to see this show: "Nights on Broadway: The New York - Nashville Connection". Because it's the Bluebird, I needed to make a reservation weeks ago, but I couldn't get a reservation, so I was put on a waiting list, and finally got a call this Tuesday to say we could get seats, and we still had to show up an hour before curtain! And it was all worth it...

Tonight's show, held in the round, was hosted by singer, Lari White, and featured music theatre composers Amanda Green, Marcus Hummon, Mike Reid, and the completely amazing Stephen Schwartz!

Stephen Schwartz has been in my life for a long time. I grew up listening to a record of Godspell, and very early in my career, I was thrilled to play "Peggy" in a Toronto production. Most recently, I, like half of North America, fell in love with Wicked. I couldn't have been more excited for tonight's show. I've been singing "Beautiful City" and "Day by Day" all week!

I don't even know if I can find the words to tell you how amazing this show was! (yes, bad sentence structure!) Each and every song was brilliant. The songs were dynamic and funny and painful and fascinating.

Amanda has a recent Broadway hit with the musical, "High Fidelity", based on the John Cusack film. She did 2 songs from the show, plus 2 others, and they were all funny and wickedly entertaining.

Marcus did songs from "American Duet", which he's hoping will hit Broadway in the fall. One of the biggest surprises of the night (at least for me) was when he silently sat at the keyboard, and with very little introduction, started to play his non-theatre song, "God Bless the Broken Road". I love that song! I couldn't believe this was the man who created it!

Mike did some never-before-performed material, which was pretty awesome. And again, he pulled it out of the music theatre realm for a minute with his song, "I Can't Make You Love Me", as recorded by Faith Hill. Unbelievable!

Lari would sing harmonies, and tell a few stories about the Broadway scene, and she did some solos as well. She has a real ability to communicate a song.

But, of course, my favourite moments all came from Stephen. I'd never heard of his first song, which was a delightful and witty interpretation of trying to fall in love in New York City.

Next, he said he didn't want to sing a theatre piece. Instead, he wanted to do a medley of a few songs, and I knew the first tune within a few notes: "Colours of the Wind". Amazing! I'm sitting there, not six feet from Stephen Schwartz, listening to him sing his song, "Colours of the Wind". But then he switched into the second song of the medley: "When You Believe", from Disney's Prince of Egypt. Last October, when Gerald and I had our Nashville Bound concert, Esther and Monika sang this song for us, as a blessing for our adventures. I couldn't believe he sang it. I just started to cry!

Next, he did a newer cabaret song that I'd never heard of. I can't even tell you the title of it. But the song talks about having parents that hurt you and didn't love you. And it says the best way to heal that pain is to wrap you parents in love and forgiveness. It was powerful, and received the only standing ovation of the night (except for the end of the show). Looking around the audience, the tears showed that this song touched many hearts.

Stephen, of course, got the final song of the night. I was really hoping for something from Godspell, but he chose to sing something from Wicked. Couldn't really complain about that. And what did he choose? "For Good". At Dad's retirement in January, we were all brought to tears when 3 teenagers from church stood up and sang this song. The entire lyric is moving, and the chorus ends with "But because I knew you, I have been changed for good". This song would be powerful on any day, but to have people sing this to my Dad was amazing. And then tonight, with that memory still fresh in my mind, to sit 6 feet away from the writer himself, and hear him sing it...well, it was just too much. I couldn't help but burst into tears all over again.

Who knew Tin Pan South would be so emotional?

After the show, I just had to introduce myself to Stephen and say "Thank you for your songs". Gerald and I both agreed it was our favourite show this week, and we couldn't imagine any of the other shows topping it.

The whole thing was just so complete. I just feel so satisfied in every way. I don't even need a late night snack. I'm all filled up with good stuff!


Unknown said...

Hi Allison,
I was hoping to get a Nashville concert report from someone. I really appreciate the beautiful description on the evening that you've written. If it's ok with you, I'll link to your blog post in The Schwartz Scene newsletter spring issue from the official Stephen Schwartz fan site

I wanted to let you know about the songs you mentioned, based on your descriptions. The funny one was no doubt "Crowded Island," recorded on Reluctant Pilgrim. Here's a link to the lyrics so you can check if that's it.

The one about parents and forgiveness is "Forgiveness' Embrace" recorded on Uncharted Territory

Allison Lynn said...

Hi Carol,

Yes, please feel free to link the blog. And thank you for the extra info on the songs. It was such an amazing night! I'm sure Stephen felt well-loved by everyone there :)