This first song is a joy, performed by Rita Moreno, called "It's an Art," sung by a waitress who is a rarity in the show, someone in love with her job. The show's song are written by a mix of writers, and this one is by the show's creator, Stephen Schwartz (who wrote Godspell, Pippin and Wicked). The TV production does a nice job interpolating Studs Terkel into the musical, and that's him at the beginning. The only thing I hate about this video is the idiot who posted it calls it a "non-tune" in his heading, so we're stuck with that. Happily, a LOT of people slammed him for that, noting what a great song it is, but musically and lyrically. It's a lovely Viennese waltz with phenomenally clever rhymes throughout -- for one example:
Though my chef
May be deaf
I stay diplomatic,
I don't give him static.
He might burn the haddock --
Or put too much salt on the tart.
Even that is an art.
You give 'em what they like.
You carry your tray like
It's almost ballet- like.
Don't worry, I'm not giving away the full song. It's full of these.
(By the way, about five years ago, there was a waitress at an Italian restaurant outside Chicago that I would go to a lot which had wonderful food and an awful owner -- and a waitress who was so joyous that she reminded me of this song. So, on another trip into town, I made a CD of it from the original cast album and gave it to her. I didn't see her until my next trip into town, six months later -- but when I went back to the restaurant she remembered and it said how moved she was by the song and that she listened to it a lot.)
This other song come at the end of the first act. It's gorgeous, touching and heartbreaking, a montage of the workers we've seen thus far in show, singing, "If I Could Have Been." It's written by Micki Grant. (An actress and songwriter, she wrote the successful Broadway musicals Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope and Your Arms Too Short to Box With God.) You should recognize many of the performers, though 36 years younger. The only problem with this video is that it cuts off before the song is over, but all that you miss is people repeating the line, "...What I Could Have Been." That repetition is very movingly done, but you'll get the point well enough. There are other versions online that are complete, but this is so nicely done that I decided it was the best one to include here.
I won't say who many of the performers are -- some of the fun is discovering them when they sing their few lines. After the video, I'll post the names of some that I remember.
SInce the performers are all in costume -- and much younger -- you might recognize some of them but can't quite put a name to them all. Though you probably will be able to. But among them that I recall are --