What with today being Valentine’s Day and all, I thought I’d turn over the programming to our Music Director. So, throughout the day – all day – we’re going to have wall-to-wall love songs.
These won’t be the typical love songs you’d likely expect to hear on Valentine’s Day, however, the love ballads we all know. Instead they’re a bunch of love songs that I think are terrific but which you’ve likely never heard, running a whole gamut of styles, from (yes) ballads to comedy. Most of from musicals but not all.
And to mix things up a bit, I also have a hilarious video from Conan O’Brien coming along later…
But for now, here’s the first sample of what I mean.
For many people, the novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is especially beloved. It was turned into a stage musical in 1951 with pretty high pedigree, though only having a modest run of 267 performances. The enjoyable score was by Howard Schwartz, and the oft-mentioned here lyricist Dorothy Fields. The legendary George Abbott directed, and he co-wrote the book with none-other than the novel's author Betty Fields.
In a supporting role as Aunt Sissy, the show co-starred Shirley Booth, who won two Tony Awards, an Oscar (for the searing drama Come Back, Little Sheba) and is probably best-known to most people as the Emmy-winning actress for the sitcom, Hazel. By all reports, she was tremendous in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn -- and was part of the reason for the show having success and its failure. Though not blessed with a great singing voice, she had a distinctive sound that overcompensated for any weakness. Because she was so wonderful in the show, however, it created a major imbalance -- the show,after all, was not about the aunt, but rather the world as seen by the young girl, Francie. But Booth changed the focus and importance of everything.
You can get a sense of that in her song where she explains what the meaning of love is all about. So, here's Shirley Booth singing the effervescent, "Love is the Reason."
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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