Monday, October 03, 2011

 
I think three weeks is the longest hiatus this blog has had other than one vacation when I was without any connection to the internet at all.  After returning from our Alaska/Salem, Oregon/Las Vegas trip, I plunged directly into the final preparations and production week for the most recent premiere our opera company has given.  

Rocket's Red Blare is a political satire in the guise of a children's story with elements of  The Emperor's New Clothes.  The libretto was written in the 1970s during the Nixon Administration (LOTS to skewer there) and totally overhauled with a brand new score in 2008.  The final dress rehearsal was last Friday with the premiere on Saturday and last performance Sunday afternoon. 

The production team was the same superb group who worked with us last May on the opera for which Fritz and I wrote the libretto and everything went smooth as silk.  Still, the constant commuting to Cambridge, MA was time consuming and I hadn't the time to keep things up here.

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I love this story from the New York Times: 
October 3, 2011, 2:45 pm

Miracle of Miracles: ‘Sunrise, Sunset’ Gets a Gay Makeover

Rev. Joshua Ellis officiates at the wedding of Daniel Sherman, left, and Richard Skipper on Oct. 1. 

Rev. Joshua Ellis officiates at the Oct. 1 wedding of Daniel Sherman, left, and Richard Skipper.  Photo: Christopher Johnson
One of the songs Most Likely to Be Played at a Wedding, at least for theater fans, is "Sunrise, Sunset," a ballad from the 1964 musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” a melancholy look back at how time flies:

Tevye:
Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?

Golde
I don’t remember growing older
When did they?


But New York in 2011 is not a Russian shtetel in 1905. What if your boy is marrying a boy, or your girl is marrying a girl? That question was answered on Saturday when gay-friendly lyrics to “Sunrise, Sunset,” approved by Sheldon Harnick, the “Fiddler on the Roof” lyricist, were sung officially for the first time at the nuptials of Richard Skipper and Daniel Sherman, in Tappan, N.Y.

Mr. Harnick wrote two gay-friendly versions of the song, one for gay men and one for lesbians:
For male couples:

Is that the little boy I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older.
When did they?

When did they get to be so handsome?
When did they grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?


For female couples:
Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little girl at play?
I don’t remember growing older.
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?
[Alternative: When did she get to be so handsome?]
When did she grow to be this tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?


In an interview on Monday Mr. Harnick said it took him “about a day or two” to figure out the right way to adjust the lyrics. Since the wedding he’s received positive feedback from wedding guests and total strangers.  “I’ve already had some very touching emails from gay guys,” he said. “I was very surprised at how emotional they were. I got an email from a friend saying, ‘Thank you. Now I know what I want sung at my wedding to my partner.’ ”

The change was made at the request of Joshua Ellis, an interfaith minister who officiated at the wedding. A few weeks ago Mr. Ellis, who was a theatrical press agent for 30 years before entering the ministry, approached Mr. Harnick about writing lyrics specifically for gay couples. Mr. Ellis had already officiated at a number of same-sex weddings.  “Why would a same-sex couple want to use the original lyrics?” Mr. Ellis said. “Even if they love the song, we can’t use it at same-sex weddings.”

Mr. Ellis said Mr. Harnick conferred with Richard Ticktin, who represents the late Jerry Bock, the “Fiddler on the Roof” composer.   Mr. Ellis said Mr. Ticktin told him that Mr. Bock “would have been delighted” to make the changes.

But why not change the lyrics under the radar? Who would find out? As a man of the cloth, Mr. Ellis said it was out of the question to do so without getting permission from the show’s creators.
“I wanted them them to be sanctioned,” said Mr. Ellis, who was a press agent for the original productions of “Into the Woods,” “Nicholas Nickleby” and many other shows. “It’s the professional thing to do, the ethical thing to do and the classy thing to do.”  He continued: “If the marriage is now equal, the copyrights should be equal too.”

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Quite obviously, they don't make Republicans like this any more:

I remember as a very small child during the cold war that all the men (it was all men in those days) in the Eisenhower Administration wore gray or black suits mostly with crashingly dull ties, all wearing either a fedora or homburg hat, all looking, sounding and acting as if half mummified.  Dwight Eisenhower himself didn't buck the prevailing fashion, but he did speak out with a strongly individual voice against what he saw as the menace of a looming, all consuming "military/industrial complex."  And although he had been the Supreme Commander in World War II, he was no war monger as president.  Would that he were around to slap some sense into today's members of his Republican Party.

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On a lighter note, there have been calendars with hunky fire fighters and police, athletes, suburban ladies in various states of undress hiding their private bits behind the cakes they just baked, and even one that purported to be unfrocked Catholic priests; now there's Men of the Stacks . . . . .

. . . . or, who knew your local male librarian could be so hot?  Thumbnails of the other eleven guys turned out not to be as undressed as this engaging fellow, unfortunately.




Comments:
I too just came back from a lengthy hiatus. Seems there's just not enough time to write.

Hmmm, got to check out the library!
 
Welcome back, Will. Seeing that flurry of comments form you served to remind me that I hadn't seen much from you lately! :-) Thanks for the Eisenhower poster. I might borrow that!
 
Hi, Martin--please do!
 
Welcome back, Will. Seeing that flurry of comments form you served to remind me that I hadn't seen much from you lately! :-)

website design
 
If only we still had Republicans like Ike. I'm sure they exist, but they're drowned out by the extremists. And the people running for office cater to the extremists. So sad.

Regarding the calendar, I saw that somewhere, and I believe you picked my favorite. He's hot, but he also has the look of someone who'd be fun in more places than a library!
 
Thank you for catching your readers up with your comings & goings.

I would be willing to bring in my over-due books to that Library!
 
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