Saturday, September 26, 2009

Musical Interlude

Today I went to the theater at South Coast Repertory theater. It is true that I probably should not have taken time out to do this, given that I still have 15 papers left to grade although I have spent every second I can grading since I got the papers on Thursday, and still have not planned classes for the week, with a holiday coming up tomorrow night and the responsibility of taking care of my parents tomorrow for part of the day. But I had inadvertently gotten tickets for last Saturday, Rosh Ha Shanah, and had to change for this week because it was apparently the only Saturday still available for this show.
Although it was a stretch, given how busy I am, I really enjoyed the show, which was actually more like a review, composed of songs from several Sondheim musicals, some of which I knew quite well. Sondheim is such a genius that listening to his lyrics is an education in itself. They are so clever, but also profound. He is a poet of song lyrics, as most people who write them are not.
I especially admire this skill because in another life, I might have been a lyricist. I have always loved writing song parodies, and have learned something from messing with Sondheim's lyrics to West Side Story.
I have read critics talking about this show, grousing that it just patches things together, willy nilly, from other musicals, but I think it actually does more than that, capturing themes present throughout his work. And the conceit of a group of people at a party was interesting and provided ample room for us to wonder about the relationships among these people--two young men, the maid, and an older, wealthy couple sick of each other and themselves, perhaps, as well.

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