Visualizing the Songs and Dances: Act II
Song 13: Rosie
In nearly every respect, “Rosie” takes it cues from “Jolly Holiday” in Mary Poppins (music and lyrics by the Sherman brothers):
Song 14: Helina
“Helina” is modeled after the lush ballad “Johanna” from Stephen Sondheim’s dark 1979 opera, Sweeney Todd. Here, “Johanna” is sung by Davis Gaines in the 2001 concert version:
Song 15: Rather Like You
Here is “Rather Like You” as it was performed (after a single rehearsal session) in 2007 before the Action Committee for Transit. The actress, Gracie Jones, reprised the role of Melanie for the vocal mix:
Its closest parallel is “You Must Meet My Wife” from Stephen Sondheim’s 1973 musical A Little Night Music, brilliantly performed here in 2009 by Mark A. Harmon and Kimberly Xavier Martins of the Broward Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs, Florida.
Since “Rather Like You” is sung in three-quarter time, Melanie and Mike will be waltzing, as the former lovers did for “You Must Meet My Wife” in this 2010 production of at Birmingham Conservatoire:
Song 16: Use What Ya Got
This song finds its closest analog in “I’m Going to Make You Beautiful” from Richard Maltby and David Shire’s 1976 musical revue Starting Here, Starting Now, performed below by Mina Kaye:
Song 17: On Craigslist
When lovelorn Melanie resolves to broaden her options, she may have been channeling the mayor’s secretary Marie from Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock’s 1959 musical, Fiorello! Here, the talented Emily Senn as Marie sings “The Very Next Man” in a 2007 musical theater class:
Song 18: Paper Roulette
I’m still searching for an existing showtune like “Paper Roulette,” where characters from different persuasions express their clashing loyalties. If you know of one, let me know.
Song 19: Helina / He Needs Me
I’m still searching for a similar showtune, where a man and a woman, unseen by each other, sing of their yearning for each other in staggered counterpoint. If you know of one, let me know.
Song 20: We’ll Remember
I’m still searching for a similar showtune to illustrate how it might look when one character enlists the others’ voices to achieve his dream. If you know of one, let me know. The closest example that comes to mind is “Goodnight Ladies” from Meredith Willson’s 1957 smash hit, The Music Man:
Song 21: Hey, Pretty Girl II
To illustrate the Act II reprise of “Hey, Pretty Girl,” I couldn’t ask for a more fitting exemplar than the finale from She Loves Me, the 1963 musical with music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Here is the 1978 BBC version, with Gemma Craven as Amalia Balash and Robin Ellis as Georg Nowack. I might add that She Loves Me is one of my three favorite musicals of all time, joining West Side Story and Les Misérables.
Song 22: Family Tree
The quintessential 11 o’clock number is “Make Our Garden Grow,” the finale from Leonard Bernstein’s 1927 operetta, Candide. In most productions, be they amateur or professional, the intimacy between Candide and Cunégonde yields to a resounding ensemble chorus (think “Sunday” from Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George), in which all the villagers resolve to make their gardens grow. In “Family Tree,” however, the focus remains on the couple. Here is the Internet most Tracks-like rendition of “Make Our Garden Grow,” performed in Fall 2009 by the Queens College Classical Singers Career Development Club:
Family Tree also evokes an 11 o’clock song from Follies: “For Too Many Mornings.” Here are Nathan Gunn and Audra McDonald delivering a ravishing performance:
Song 23: End of the Line
Tracks will end in a swelling chorus that evokes the conclusion of “Till We Reach That Day,” which closes Act I of Ragtime (music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens):