Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Circle of Life (and the Love of Song)

Seen the clip making the rounds of Facebook of the cast of The Lion King singing on a flight to Sydney?  If you haven't seen it, go check it out.  We'll wait!

Well, dang. It is such a powerful song (even without the lead vocal) that it still brings tears to my eyes. I'm sure that if you, like me, had a chance to see it in the theatre you will never forget that opening number, ever. Wow...

After watching that, I had to post the two following clips. They are both so good!! 
Playbill cover for The Lion King.
New Amsterdam Theatre
The Circle of Life at the 1998 Tony Awards

Then, from London: The Circle of Life at the 2012 Olivier Awards

So, why do I love this song so much? There are a few reasons. Obviously it brings back memories of seeing the show live. The Lion King is such a change from "regular theatre." Yes, it has been called "the show with puppets and masks" but it is so much more. There is a pure theatricality to this work, and so much imagination went into the show that it fills me with great joy, and awe at the art. That joy and awe are what make me cry, cry at the beauty, the simplicity, the theatricality, the magic, the art. 

Kristin ChenowethBUT, it is also the full-throated singing that goes along with it. Like the closing number of the shows "Hair", or "Spring Awakening", or even some of the songs in "War Horse." It is a single voice, joined by others in a great melody that grows, and takes you with it. Simplicity, beauty, theatricality.

Here is probably one of my favorite examples. Sure, it is the brilliance of Bernstein, and the great lyrics but just listen to that build, and the release. dang!!! I can barely even hear the opening strains of the orchestra without getting emotional. (Maybe I need to be on medication...hmmm...)

Candide: Make Our Garden Grow

And one more example of what I love. One single voice, starting out, others joining, almost sounding acapella but it isn't. So stunning.

Spring Awakening Wins 2008 Best Musical Show Album Grammy; Krieger and Dale Also Win
Spring Awakening: Song of Purple Summer

Happy listening and enjoy the rabbit hole of Broadway clips online.  See you in a few days!

Hair - "The Flesh Failures / Let The Sunshine In"
Spring Awakening - "Song of Purple Summer"
War Horse - "Only Remembered"
Candide - "Make Our Garden Grow"