Friday, July 13, 2007

There are milestones, there are millstones...

All you geeks no doubt recognized the title of yesterday's post as a line from "Rose's Turn," the big eleven o'clock number in Gypsy. But geeks who make it to City Center will likely notice that Rose/Patti doesn't sing that line in this production. In its place, she sings, "Momma's singin' out."

Some background for the non-geeky among us: "Rose's Turn" is composed largely of references to other songs from the show, and the line "Momma's talkin' loud" is a reference to a song written for June and Louise, "Momma's Talkin' Soft." That song was cut from the original production (according to this Wikipedia article -- which hasn't managed to settle on a spelling of "Momma" -- it was later recorded by Petula Clark, which is something I must hear). But the "talkin' loud" lyric stayed, until now... I guess Sondheim finally got around to fixing something that's been bothering him for the past 47 years. It certainly makes more sense now, but, as with most Sondheim revisions, I liked it better the old way. Standing alone, "Momma's talkin' loud" was so appealingly oblique. And now that "Sing out, Louise!" has attained such iconic status, "Momma's singin' out" feels a little too self-parodic; it makes me think of Ruthless! So I find myself suspended between "It's about time" and "Leave well enough alone." What do you think?

Either way, I can't hear "Rose's Turn" without thinking of Jessica Walter and Arrested Development. The scene where Lucille turns up the Merman OCR and gets hammered after Buster moves out was ample payoff for all my years of musical-theatre geekdom. And speaking of parody: some time ago, Forbidden Broadway spoofed Patti LuPone with a pair of Cole Porter songs, one of which was memorably titled "I Get a Kick Out of Me." The other was called "Patti LuPone" and sung (of course) to the tune of "Anything Goes," and it has lodged itself in my brain to such an extent that now, whenever I say "Patti LuPone" out loud, I have the urge to belt it nasally, Forbidden Broadway style: "Patti La Poooooone!" As often as not, I give in to that urge. I just thought you should know.

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