My Show Tune Recollections

Liz Chirico

  • OnStage Massachusetts Columnist

It's amazing how songs can evoke really specific emotions or how they are tied to specific people. And I don’t mean the actor you watched sing the song for the first time. No matter when I first heard these songs, they are now forever tied with a particular moment or person in my life.

“I Have Dreamed” from The King and I

This was part of my husband and my first dance. I say part because the other part was a tap number (his idea!) to Andy Grammer’s “Good to Be Alive”. You all know my love of The King and I, how long I’ve loved the show and what this show means to me. Now this song will forever be linked with the best day (so far- I’m only 34) of my life.

“Gaston” from Beauty & the Beast

This song flashes me right back to the age of 13 at the Lunt Fontaine Theater watching Beauty & the Beast for the first time. The dancing, the costumes, the music, the beer classes clinking- it all came together in one magical “aha” moment. That I loved the theater. That it needed to be a part of my life some way, somehow. Music, theater, dancing has been a part of my life since then in different ways and I’m reminded of its power every time Gaston starts his strut.

 “For Good” from Wicked

I've always had mixed feelings with this song and the whole show frankly. I was blessed to see Idina and Kristen way back in 2004 they were, obviously, fantastic. But shortly after the show hit the mainstream hard, it took on this other life and I started hating on it hard. Everyone, including little kids, started singing the songs. They sang about how they were defying gravity, how to dance through life, how they were changed for good. IMHO, you can't sing that song till you have some amount of life behind you. I’m proudly 34, with a good amount of life in those years and this song is now forever linked to the relationship I have with my best friend. Much like Glinda and Elphaba we have our differences, we have our misunderstandings but we have each other. At the very least, I know my life wouldn’t contain nearly as many shenanigans without her.

“Anything You Can Do” from Annie Get Your Gun

I have seen this show. Not unfortunately with Bernadette Peters but I’ve got her cast album so I can pretend. Rather this song flashes me back to one of the first times I performed on stage as an adult. During mic check, one of the guys decided to be cheeky and sing the line, “anything you can do, I can do better.” In my head I replied with, “I can do anything better than you.” To my surprise and delight the entire company on stage sang that line and a couple more than followed until our poor sound guy reigned us in. That feeling of being around people like me, who knew the next line to a musical theater song, who sang that line loud and proud and who thought nothing wrong with it- it’s a feeling I had never had before a feeling of belonging. It’s that feeling that keeps pulling me back into the world of theater and dance no matter how many times I say, “I’m just gonna take a little break.”

Photo: Matt Farcher as Gaston and the cast of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Photo by Joan Marcus