Sunday, January 13, 2008

Little Tin Box

Will this song (from the musical Fiorello!) ever go out of fashion? It's a song from the '50s about politics in the '20s, but it always works perfectly. I and others were thinking about it because of recent hearings here in Canada, but really it's applicable to any situation anywhere in the world.

Incidentally, this was a song that was added on the road; needing a new comedy song to lighten the mood of the second act, lyricist Sheldon Harnick remembered a previously-unused melody by composer Jerry Bock and started to write a song where characters make fun of the testimony at the hearings on Tammany Hall corruption.

One of the reasons Fiorello! is one of my favorite musicals (it beat Gypsy for the Tony and the Pulitzer, and deserved to) is that it's the ultimate "serious musical comedy." Instead of the book being relatively lightweight and the songs adding weight, it's almost the opposite approach: the book deals with very serious issues and the music adds comedy.


Anonymous said...

I keep crediting you with coming up with the term Serious Musical Comedy (rightly?), and, a few months ago, with Such Good Friends, I achieved my long-held dream of writing one and seeing it produced. Won critical raves and awards (Talkin' Broadway Summer Theatre Festival Citation as Best Musical, NYMF Award for Lyrics), and now I'm rewriting. Wish you could have seen it. - Noel Katz

Jaime J. Weinman said...

I keep crediting you with coming up with the term Serious Musical Comedy (rightly?),

I don't know. I seem to recall Ethan Mordden using a similar term to describe the original Cabaret.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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