Sunday, August 16, 2009

Music of the Night

Genre: Broadway Musical
Artist: Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics by Charles Hart
Album: Phantom of the Opera

I can't believe I haven't done a song from Phantom yet. It was hard to pick which song to do. But I ultimately chose Music of the Night because it is one of my absolute favorites. It is the song where the Phantom beckons Christine to join him, to sing for him, to believe him. It is essentially a marriage proposal. Throughout the song he shows her around his lair, extending his hand out towards her and she takes it. Not the hand of a monster, but the hand of someone who loves her with a very tender love.

I saw Phantom on stage on my fifteenth birthday. I fell in love with it. Everybody who knows me will say that I fell in love with it too much. I must admit, perhaps they are right. But never before has a play delved so deeply inside me and stirred my emotions so passionately. I think the main reason it struck me so deeply was because of the time of my life, a time of change and when I felt misunderstood by everyone around me. I could understand the Phantom's yearnings to belong, to be accepted. I could understand his fear of cruel treatment from others. Although I cannot agree with all of his actions, I can understand the emotions behind them, emotions which he let control him. I ached with him and shared his loneliness. The imperfections I have that people were so quick to point out to me at that time I felt were as ugly as the face behind the Phantom's mask. Was I obsessed? Yes. But at that time of my life, Phantom was what I could relate to more than anything else.

There were many good things that came from it, though. For one, it got me into acting. For another, it also gave me confidence in my writing. I asked Eldon, one of my most favorite teachers, if we could perform Phantom at the school. The royalties were too high, so I asked him if I could write my own version. He helped me and encouraged me and I ended up writing a script for the show. Eldon praised it. Reading it now, it is awful. I am almost embarrassed that I ever let anybody else see it, let alone perform it. But Eldon gave me that boost I needed. He helped me have confidence in myself and my abilities. Performing Phantom was one of my biggest highlights from high school.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Genre: Broadway Musical
Artist: Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein
Album: Sound of Music

This song is a very special song on so many levels. For one thing, it was the last song that Rodgers and Hammerstein composed together. While they wrote this song, Oscar Hammerstein was suffering from stomach cancer. He died nine months later. This song is a memorial to him. Indeed, in more ways than one, it is a song to say farewell.

I love the connotation that this song has. Captain von Trapp is about to leave Austria, a country that he deeply loves. He sings this song as a last farewell to his country. I love the scene in the movie where he begins to cry and can't finish the song. His country means that much to him. He knows it is time to say goodbye to a wonderful era, but it is so hard to make that change.

Even though the lyrics don't really mean much to me, the emotion of the song really touches me. I have also experienced such moments of having to leave an era that was so beautiful to me that I could hardly bear leaving. Many experiences on my mission fit this experience. Whenever I had to leave certain areas or certain friends, it was really hard knowing that things would never be the same again. The best thing that can be done to honor those eras is to remember them.