When Adam Riemer asks you to write about your favorite broadway song you want to fill up his page with absolutely everything you know and dream to know about show tunes. As a professional singer raised in the Philippines (a country which hones very strong broadway singer competition for the world) I went down the list and grew drunk and giddy off of chorus after chorus in my head and out my mouth without regrard for the rest of the passengers (unknowing audience) at the boarding gate where I fortunately was at the time I encountered his request.
“Oh Adam! There are so many!” The man asks me to pick just one I can relate to. GREAT! Everyone in show, stage, presentation etcetera has the lucky inevitable advantage of experiencing a myriad of emotions through their art, and for people who have music in their repertoire be it a singer, instrumentalist or good ol’ music lover with no mention of professional or studious background, each song is a reflection of a different expression of said emotions, a different depth that they are able to tap into. So maybe I’ll slightly defy the request and mention just a few songs that I did start singing here at the boring boarding gate, and tag my thoughts on each.
Take Me Or Leave Me; Rent: The One Two Knock Out Punch every self respecting woman out there would want to sing. For those who are both career oriented women or relationship driven, this song speaks to both. It is a dialogue between two lovers, where one considers the other her “person”, the center of her universe, while the other defines the object of her affection as more multidirectional. It’s Sassy, energetic and above all strong!
Nothing A Chorus Line: This song is half singing half speaking. Here the singer gets a chance to talk her way through a verse, rest and get ready for the belts coming shortly after. Kind of like a flume ride. The performer here is an auditionee who complains her way through the song because the antagonist in her story questions her sense of meaning. The song is both playful and expressive.
This is Shana singing it:
He Was My Boyyyfriend Young Frankenstein: Oh Shush! don’t laugh… On second thought, you probably won’t stop laughing after experiencing this song number/dance break. It’s about a creepy looking landlady of Dr. Frankenstein’s mansion who retells her love affair with the reinamination scientist. It’s hilarious and I love it because it is so.
Defying Gravity Wicked: The first two songs were from musicals based on real life. This song is from the prequel to the story of The Wizard Of Oz. The symphony here mirrors the magic in the tale and by the time you start your first line in the song you already feel enchanted, fueled by some green glowy elixir that can only exist in fairy tales but then the volume of the song increases and turns so fierce that the fiction becomes real life.
My flight is about to board (finally!) but before I go I do remember one more song. It starts out, singing “Perhaps I had a wicked childhood, perhaps I had a miserable youth, but somewhere in my wicked miserable past I must have done Something Good…” Sung by Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. It is a song about love and happiness. To me it says life becomes meaningful… and the magic in that meaning is because of the one “person” around for you. That one person could be anybody, family member, friend, boyyyyfriend;) an existential being, or yourself. As I draw this to a close I realize that this song is THE song. It is the first song I ever heard sung to me by my favorite woman in the world, my mom. I invite you all to listen, sing and use Something Good and explore the many heights it could take you to.
That’s my final boarding call.