At the University of Alabama, seniors majoring in musical theatre get to perform a recital. It can be however they’d like. Most simply go to the Allen Bales Theatre with sheet music and a pianist and sing several songs. Sometimes they sing duets with others, sometimes only solos. Others, like my friend Russell Stephens, go full out and find a venue separate from the university, creating an entire suite of music that includes several musicians and vocalists.
While many in the UA theatre department plan for years to do their senior Guerrilla, as many are in Alpha Psi Omega, my big desire the last three years of college was to do a recital. I was getting attention for my voice after some performances for class and in Guerrilla, and I desperately want to sing some more. I love to sing and didn’t get enough of a chance to do so, I don’t think. There are so many things I want to sing. But I didn’t really know how to go about it, and my senior year was the year of the Tuscaloosa tornado, which ruined the chances of anyone wanting to perform a recital.
But I’m still in Tuscaloosa and I still want to sing. Fortunately, this city is actually very loving toward the arts, so I still have a chance to pull it off. I’ve been trying to plan out a set list of songs, as well as people I want to sing with before they disappear to do greater things… but it’s hard. Hard to limit myself, that is. No one wants to stick around for a recital that’s longer than an hour. Culling the list has been difficult. Ergo, I’ve asked the aforementioned Russell to be my musical director and help me plan things, as he’s far better at it than I. And knows more people that can help get this rolling.
When talking to him, he said culling his list was troublesome, too. But he went through and thought of the reasons he had picked the songs. If it was something like, “I’m still pissed I wasn’t cast in this role,” he’d cut it. Now, I don’t think I have any songs that fit that category, but I have many that are simply “Because I’d like to.” There are others on my list, however, that I simply cannot do without. “Finishing the Hat” from “Sunday in the Park with George,” “If I Can’t Love Her” from “Beauty and the Beast” and “No More” from “Into the Woods” are three that are at the top of my cannot be done without list. The first is one I worked on for literal years in voice lessons with two separate teachers, but I never got to perform it. The second is another I worked on in voice lessons that has become a standard of mine I auditioned with in New York with some success. The third, the one I’m talking about today, is special.
A friend of mine once watched the film made of the original stage production of “Into the Woods.” That performance had Chip Zein playing as the Baker. After she watched it, she told me that she thought I should play the Baker, and that I’d be better at it.
I don’t think I’d be better. But I want to give it a shot. And this song is a song of torment and emotion, a subject that is very popular with me and with many of the songs on my list. The Baker meets his estranged father in the woods after years of thinking him dead, and confronts him. They sing together in this duet that I will be singing in the spring, provided the Mayans don’t ruin things for me.
I hope beyond hope that I will be able to do this recital. I’ve just got 17 songs to choose from… Oye.
No more questions, please.
No more tests.
Comes the day you say, “What for?”
Please… no more.
We disappoint, we disappear, we die, but we don’t.
They disappoint in turn, I fear,
Forgive, though, they won’t.
No more riddles.
No more jests.
No more curses you can’t undo, left by fathers you never knew.
No more quests.
No more feelings. Time to shut the door.
Just… No more.
Running away, let’s do it.
Free from the ties that bind.
No more despair, or burdens to bear,
Out there in the yonder.
Running away, go to it.
Where did you have in mind?
Have to take care.. unless there’s a ‘where’,
You’ll only be wandering blind.
Just more questions… different kind.
Where are we to go?
Where are we ever to go?
Running away, we’ll do it.
Why sit around, resigned?
Trouble is, son, the farther you run,
The more you’ll feel undefined.
For what you have left undone, and more,
What you’ve left behind.
We disappoint, we leave a mess, we die, but we don’t.
We disappoint in turn, I guess. Forget, though, we won’t.
Like father, like son.
No more giants waging war!
Can’t we just pursue our lives, with our children and our wives,
‘Til that happy day arrives, how do you ignore
All the witches, all the curses,
All the wolves, all the lies, the false hopes, the good-bye’s,
All the wondering what even worse is still in store!
All the children.
All the giants…