As you might have noticed, I spent a couple of weeks posting videos of the musical, Fiorello! This is not that. But it has a connection.
Videos from an NYU production of that musical formed the core of my postings. And the star of that production was a young actor named Kenny Francouer who played Fiorello LaGuardia. In my various searches for material, I came across another performance by Mr. Francoeur in what appears to be a college concert or recital -- and it's from another show by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock who wrote Fiorello! -- as well as Fiddler on the Roof, among others. So, there's a lot of kismet going around. (Except, no, this is not from the show Kismet, which is by Forrest and Wright.) This is the title song of their show She Loves Me -- which is the story that the film, You've Got Mail is based on.
The title song is a fun number, usually performed with great exuberance by the singer, coming at the point of the show when he knows that the young woman is his secret pen pal, but she doesn't know it yet. And he's gone over to her apartment when he learns she's under the weather. He leaves, sure he's on the right track and sings this song.
But while a fun exuberant number, it often gets overwhelmed by the performer's energy, dancing wildly around the stage, full of lively emotion. Kenny Francoeur takes it the other direction, and milks every bit of subtle nuance from the song, and it is probably the funniest interpretation of the song I've seen, finding every wonderful joke in the lyric. Rather than exploding around the stage in joy with what he's discovered, in Mr. Francoeur's hand he is utterly exhilarated but rightly stunned that it all came about. And for an audience at a recital seeing the song completely out of context, yet already laughing from the very beginning...that speaks volumes about his craft. To be clear, honestly I don't find it as "hilarious" as much of the audience -- but I like the performance. If some in that audience find it's hilarious, so be it. To me, it's just a really good performance that brings out the charm, affection and humor of the song so well.
One note: at a couple of points in the song, he makes funny noises. That's not him ad libbing and hamming it up, they're to a large degree written into the lyrics.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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