A Note About the Songs in A Night Out on Times Square: An Original Music Revue

A Night Out on Times Square celebrates the musical variety on offer in Times Square. Our imaginary journey takes us to Broadway—new shows, revivals, and shows on tour—as well as clubs and cabarets. Here we sample a smorgasbord of musical genres—show tunes, pop and rap, jazz and folk. Of course, our selections are only the tip of the iceberg. If you would like to know more about our selections and their sources, we present a short guide for your information. The guide follows the order of the selections in our program.

Empire State of Mind

Music and Lyrics: Alicia Keys, Shawn Carter

Originally released in 2009, the song is about New York City. The title takes its name from Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.” Keys released a second version of the song in 2010.

King of New York

Newsies: The Musical
Music: Alan Menken
Lyrics: Jack Feldman
Book: Harvey Fierstein
Broadway premiere: March 2012

Newsies was inspired by the true story of the Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City. When mega-publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices, Jack Kelly rallies his fellow newsies to strike.

All I Ask of You

Phantom of the Opera
Book and Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics: Charles Hart
Broadway premiere: January 1988

The longest-running show in Broadway history, Phantom of the Opera first opened on London’s West End in 1986. The brainchild of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Phantom is based on Gaston Leroux’s horror novel, which tells the story of the Phantom who haunts the stage of the Paris Opera and falls in love with a beautiful soprano.

Razzle Dazzle

Chicago
Music: John Kander
Lyrics: Fred Ebb
Book: Fred Ebb, Bob Fosse
Broadway premiere: June 1975

In the 1920s, the press and public were riveted by the subject of homicides committed by women. Chicago, set in jazz-age Chicago, is based on a 1926 play by reporter and playwright Maurine Dallas Watkins, who covered the 1924 trials of two women accused of murder.

The musical is a satire on corruption in the administration of criminal justice and “celebrity criminals.”  Following its first run on Broadway, Chicago was revived in 1996, and this production holds the record as the longest-running musical revival and the longest-running American musical in Broadway history.

I’m Not That Girl

Wicked
Music and Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz
Book: Winnie Holzman
Broadway premiere: October 2003

Building on characters and settings from L. Frank Baum’s classic 1900 novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, Wicked is told from the perspective of two witches in the Land of Oz—Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good Witch). The story traces their complicated relationship—opposing personalities, viewpoints, and love for the same man—as well as their reactions to the Wizard’s corrupt government.

I Just Can’t Wait to Be King

The Lion King
Music: Elton John
Lyrics: Tim Rice
Book: Roger Allers, Irene Mecchi
Broadway premiere: October 1997

Based on the 1994 Walt Disney animated feature film, The Lion King tells the tale of young Simba who overcomes adversity to become king of the pride. The musical features actors in animal costumes and giant hollow puppets.

Rock Island

The Music Man
Music, Lyrics, Book: Meredith Wilson
Broadway premiere: December 1957

The Music Man, the story of “Professor” Harold Hill, a con artist selling musical Instruments and uniforms to unsuspecting Iowa country folk, is Meredith Wilson’s love letter to turn-of-the-century midwestern America. Premiering in 1957, it has rarely been out of production, and is, in fact, enjoying a rousing revival on Broadway this year.

True Love

Frozen
Music and Lyrics: Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
Book: Jennifer Lee
Broadway premiere: March 2018

Based on the 2013 film of the same name, Frozen centers on the relationship between two sisters who are princesses. Elsa has an uncontrollable power to freeze objects and people, and, after inheriting the throne, inadvertently causes the kingdom to become permanently frozen, nearly killing her sister, Anna. To save the day, Elsa must sacrifice and show true love.

Stupid with Love

Mean Girls
Music: Jeff Richmond
Lyrics: Neal Benjamin
Book: Tina Fey
Broadway premiere: April 2018

A coming-of-age story, based on a book by Tina Fey, Mean Girls takes us through the minefield that is high school for just about everyone—cliques, thwarted love, power struggles, wholesale meanness, and, finally, reconciliation and acceptance.

Don’t Tell Mama Piano Bar Segment

A fixture on the New York club circuit since 1982, Don’t Tell Mama has played host to cabaret singers, Broadway stars, and lovers of show, pop, and folk music. The name of the club comes from a song from Kander and Ebb’s musical Cabaret: “Don’t Tell Mama.” In our show, we are using the piano bar setting to feature some of the singers and songwriters that we lost to COVID—Armando  Manzanero, K.T. Oslin, Charley Pride, and John Prine.

You Learn

Jagged Little Pill
Music: Alanis Morissette, Glen Ballard
Lyrics: Alanis Morissette
Book: Diablo Cody
Broadway premiere: December 2019

Inspired by Alanis Morissette’s 1995 album, Jagged Little Pill deals with pain, healing, and empowerment. Running on Broadway from December 2019 to December 2021, the show won two Tony awards, as well as the Grammy Award for best musical theater album.

Nature Boy
Chandelier

Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Music and Lyrics: Various
Book: Josh Logan
Broadway premiere: June 2019

Based on the 2001 film Moulin Rouge, this jukebox musical is set in the Montmartre Quarter of Paris at the turn of the 20th century and tells the story of Christian, a young composer, who falls in love with Satine, the star of the Moulin Rouge. The score is a combination of original songs and popular music. “Nature Boy” was written in 1947 by eben ahbez and recorded by Nat King Cole in 1948. In “Chandelier,” written by Australian songwriter Sia in 2014, Christian, distraught over his separation from Satine, vows to get drunk on absinthe, forget everything, and “swing from the chandelier.” The musical won the Tony for Best Musical in 2019.

Burn
The Schuyler Sisters

Hamilton: An American Musical
Music, Lyrics, Book: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Broadway premiere: February 2015

Hamilton tells the story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. The show’s score draws from hip-hop, R&B, pop, soul, rap, and traditional style show tunes, and casts non-white actors. Miranda described Hamilton as being about “American then, as told by America now.” Hamilton opened on Broadway in August 2015 and took home 11 awards, including Best Musical, at the 70th Tony Awards. “Burn,” sung by Eliza, Hamilton’s wife, is her response to the revelation about Hamilton’s extramarital affair and the heartbreak and public humiliation that drive her to burn his love letters to her. “The Schuyler Sisters” introduces Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy who are excited to be in a new age “amidst the powder keg of the early days of the revolution.”

Welcome to the Rock
Me and the Sky

Come from Away
Music, Lyrics, Book: Irene Sankoff, David Hein
Broadway premiere: March 2017

Set in a small town in Newfoundland during the week following the September 11 attack, Come from Away tells the true story of what happened when 38 planes were ordered to land unexpectedly at Gander International Airport. The characters in the musical are based on real Gander residents and some of the stranded travelers they housed and fed. “Me and the Sky” is based on the experience of Beverly Bass, the first female captain for American Airlines, who was forced to land in Gander during the September 11 attacks. Come from Away is the longest-running Canadian musical on Broadway.

You and Me (But Mostly Me)

The Book of Mormon
Music, Lyrics, Book: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone
Broadway premiere: March 2011

A satirical examination of the beliefs and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the musical traces the adventure of two missionaries as they attempt to preach the faith of the Church to the inhabitants of a remote Ugandan village. Written by the creators of South Park, the musical ultimately endorses the power of love and service.

What’s Love Got to Do with It

Tina Turner: The Musical
Music and Lyrics: Various
Book: Katori Hall
Broadway premiere: November 2019

A jukebox musical featuring the songs of Tina Turner, this musical depicts her life from her humble beginnings in Tennessee to her transformation into a rock and roll star. “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” was composed by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle.

Birdland Jazz Club Segment

The famous Birdland jazz club opened its doors in 1949 on Broadway and West 52nd Street—the heart of Manhattan’s theatre district. Home to some of the greatest names in bebop, the club was named after famed sax player Charlie “Yardbird” Parker. Other star attractions included trumpeters “Maxie” Kaminsky and Miles Davis, drummer Art Blakey, and saxophonists Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane. “Birdland,” with music by Josef Erich Zawinul and lyrics by Jon Hendricks, was written in 1977. Zawinul, an Austrian jazz keyboardist, was one of the creators of jazz fusion, a musical genre that combined jazz with rock. “Nocturne for the Blues (Harlem Nocturne)” is a jazz standard from 1939, with music by Earle Hagen and lyrics by Dick Rogers.

The Music That Makes Me Dance

Funny Girl
Music: Jule Styne
Lyrics: Bob Merrill
Book: Isobel Lennert
Broadway premiere: March 1964

Based loosely on the life and career of Broadway star, film actress, and comedian Fanny Brice, Funny Girl charts Brice’s rise to fame and the rocky relationship between her and entrepreneur and gambler Nick Arnstein. The show’s producer, Ray Stark, was Brice’s son-in-law via his marriage to her daughter Frances. A showcase for Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl was revived in April 2022, with a new book by Harvey Fierstein.

Wedding Song

Hadestown
Music, Lyrics, Book: Anaïs Mitchell
Broadway premiere: March 2019

The Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, celebrating the power of music, has inspired composers from Monteverdi, to Glück to Offenbach. Hadestown offers a modern twist to the myth. Eurydice, attempting to escape poverty induced by climate change, goes to a hellish industrial underworld. Her lover, Orpheus, a poor singer-songwriter, comes to rescue her and to show others how to escape. Like the myth, Hadestown does not have a happy ending. But, as Hermes sings at the end: “Someone’s got to tell the tale, whether or not it turns out well.”

Make You Feel My Love

Girl from the North Country
Music and Lyrics: Bob Dylan
Book: Conor McPherson
Broadway premiere: March 2020

Using Bob Dylan’s songs as background and dramatic color, Conor McPherson’s script highlights small-town middle American life in the depths of the Great Depression, embodied by the drifters and fugitives who end up in a boarding house in Duluth, Minnesota.

You Could Drive a Person Crazy

Company
Music and Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
Book: George Furth
Broadway premiere: April 1970

Among the first book musicals to deal with contemporary dating, marriage, and divorce, Company tells the story of Bobby, a perpetually single man living in New York City, who seeks advice from and shares bachelor stories with his married friends who want him to “grow up” and get married. In a revival of Company in London in 2018, the character of Bobby was changed to Bobbie, a female role, with Sondheim’s approval. The West End production moved to Broadway in 2020 and was slated to open on Sondheim’s 90th birthday. However, the production came to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic. The revival finally opened in December 2021.

Zazz

The Prom
Music: Matthew Sklar
Lyrics: Chad Beguelin
Book: Chad Beguelin, Bob Martin
Broadway premiere: November 2018

Four Broadway actors, down on their luck and looking for a cause, travel to the conservative town of Edgewater, Indiana, to help a lesbian student banned from bringing her girlfriend to the high school prom. With the help of like-minded students, the school puts on a more inclusive prom, including both LGBTQIA+ and straight couples.

She Used to Be Mine

Waitress
Music and Lyrics: Sara Bareilles
Book: Jessie Nelson (adapted from the book by Adrienne Shelly)
Broadway premiere: September 2016

Based on the 2007 film of the same name, Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a baker and waitress in an abusive relationship with her husband. Unexpectedly pregnant, she begins an affair with her doctor. She sees a pie baking contest and its grand prize as a way out of her troubles. Waitress made history on Broadway with the top creative spots filled by women—composer and lyricist Sara Bareilles, Jessie Nelson as book adaptor, Diane Paulus as director, and Lorin Latarro as choreographer.

What Becomes of the Brokenhearted

Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
Music and Lyrics: The Temptations
Book: Dominique Morisseau
Broadway premiere: March 2019

This jukebox musical is based on the story and music of The Temptations—an American vocal group from Detroit, who released a series of successful singles and albums during the 1960s and 1970s. The Temptations and are among the most successful groups in popular music.

Six

SIX: The Musical
Lyrics, Music, Book: Toby Marlow, Lucy Moss
Broadway premiere: October 2021

A British import, SIX is a modern re-telling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII, presented as a pop concert. The six Queens take turns singing and telling their story to see who suffered the most with Henry, and who should therefore become the group’s lead singer. SIX started life at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017, a presentation by Cambridge University students, followed by professional productions on London’s West End, Broadway, and internationally. SIX was the first new musical to open on Broadway since the beginning of the pandemic.

You Will Be Found

Dear Evan Hansen
Music and Lyrics: Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
Broadway premiere: November 2018

Evan Hansen, a high school senior suffering with social anxiety, is assigned by his therapist to write letters to himself. One of his letters is mistakenly made public, inadvertently leading to the suicide of a fellow student. Evan invents an important role for himself in the tragedy, which leads to unhappiness and disruption in the community. After confessing to his role, Evan mentally writes himself one last letter, taking responsibility for the impact he has had on his community. Dear Evan Hansen had its world premiere at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, before moving to Broadway in 2018. At the 71st Tony Awards, it won six awards, including Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Score.

Get Inside “A Night Out on Times Square”

Bethesda Little Theatre presents an original musical revue featuring songs from all the Broadway shows you’ve been wishing you could see in one night but couldn’t… until now. Come From Away, Six, Dear Evan Hansen, Chicago, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Company, Hadestown, Hamilton, and more. We even have some side trips to some of the wonderful music clubs Times Square has to offer. Don’t miss your chance to see numbers from some of the hottest shows on Times Square! A Night Out on Times Square, runs June 10, 11, 12 and 17, 18, 19 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center. (For tickets and more information click here: blt-online.org or call 202-796-3431.)

In our blog series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers to discuss a sampling of the songs they’ll be presenting; today we’re going to explore a number from “Six,” a modern retelling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII presented as a pop concert, as the Queens take turns singing and telling their story to see who suffered the most due to Henry and should, therefore, become the group’s lead singer.

Question to the Choreographer: What are you hoping to accomplish/convey with this number and where are you drawing your inspiration?

Lauren: My hope is that the ladies in this number look like they are having a ton of fun on stage! I got inspiration from watching videos of professional performances of this song, and also just from the music–it is an upbeat, pop song!

There seems to be more original musicals developed today that are rooted in history – do we love or hate this trend?

Editor’s Note: Seems to be a clear consensus here! What say you, dear audience? Tell us in the lobby after the show!

Cathy: Personally, I love it! I have always loved history. While the musicals might not be 100% accurate, I hope they spark an interest in history with people who might not have liked history before.

Alicia: I’m very into this trend and so far it’s been done really well (e.g., Hamilton, Six). The way the stories are told are interesting and fun and also tell a part of the story that many of us weren’t taught in school.  I think it’s also a way to attract new audience members to the theatre; look at what a success Hamilton was and continues to be. 

Marissa: LOVE IT! WANT MORE OF THIS! As a double major – political science and music – I used to joke about how a combined senior project would have to be a musical about politics but that I wasn’t a composer so I’d have to just do two separate projects (one thesis and recitals).

Jessica: I love it! There’s a reason we still talk about these historical moments in the present day. These stories endure because they’re interesting and entertaining, why wouldn’t they make good musicals?

What do you love most about doing this song? What is the most challenging?

Alicia: What I love most about this song is that I get to sing with a group of 5 other incredibly talented woman and the message is to own our own story.  It’s a powerful message and to sing alongside these ladies has really been a privilege. 

Marissa: Well, if you read our Inside the Numbers on “You Learn,” my answer is the same here – the people! So great to sing such an empowering song with five other tremendous women!

Editor’s Note: Of COURSE you read our other Inside the Number features, right? Because you’re so excited to see the show that you need to eat up all you can in advance!

Jessica: I love how empowering it is. I tear up when I hit this song on the album. Challenging—hitting the countdown right! You’d think counting down from 5 would be easy and yet somehow my brain cannot seem to remember that 3 comes after 4.

Cathy: I love doing it with these five talented ladies! The song has such a great rock beat and makes you just want to dance.

Now all I do is sing!

Does this song resonate on a personal level at all? Are there parts of it that are relatable to today? (Hopefully nothing about beheading.)

Jessica: I personally think we should bring beheadings back (jk jk). The fact that this song still resonates today in terms of seeing women as individuals rather than just the love interest section of a man’s story means we still have a way to go as a society (if that makes any sense). 

Marissa: Nothing about beheading! But in general, this song is such a great reminder that you can own the narrative and the ability to reframe things and shift your perspective can be so powerful.

There are some fun lines in this song – how do you make sure to emphasize them and make them land?

Marissa: They are fun lines! And they come quick so they can be hard to hit but I think it just comes down to every singer’s favorite thing – enunciate. enunciate. enunciate.

Jessica: The British accent helps.

Cathy: You’re right there are some great lines in this song. I am hoping the choreography will help emphasize the fun lines. Of course, we all have to think about the intonation, facial expressions, and timing. That helps too.

Alicia: The choreography gives us quite a bit of creative freedom on our specific solo lines to emphasize them. In the sections where we sing in unison, we are making sure that we hit those consonants, which is so important because there are a lot of words. And we only have one song to tell the story (not a whole show!).

Anything else to add?

Cathy: I first heard about the show, Six, in 2019 before it came to Broadway. I instantly fell in love with all the music! I am so excited to finally get to perform one song from the show!

Editor’s Note: Six is coming back to DC if you’re looking for a new show to catch! But come see us first :-).

Jessica: As RuPaul would say, “let’s make herstory!”

Get Inside “A Night Out on Times Square”

Bethesda Little Theatre presents an original musical revue featuring songs from all the Broadway shows you’ve been wishing you could see in one night but couldn’t… until now. Come From Away, Six, Dear Evan Hansen, Chicago, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Company, Hadestown, Hamilton, and more. We even have some side trips to some of the wonderful music clubs Times Square has to offer. Don’t miss your chance to see numbers from some of the hottest shows on Times Square! A Night Out on Times Square, runs June 10, 11, 12 and 17, 18, 19 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center. (For tickets and more information click here: blt-online.org or call 202-796-3431.)

In our blog series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers to discuss a sampling of the songs they’ll be presenting; today we’re going to explore the opening number to “The Music Man,” a crowd favorite that very few people know is titled “Rock Island.”

Alright gents, there’s a lot of rhythm and a lot of words here – how’s it going?

Justin: It’s coming. We are getting it up to speed and it gets better every time we do it. Getting off book will be the fun part. 

Aref: Number of words: no problem. Rhythm: no problem. Choreo/staging: no problem. Hardest part is tempo, which we are conquering, courtesy of Leslie Blaha in the beginning with her blasted metronome.

Gordon: I’m lucky I only have a few lines so the rhythm and words don’t pose a problem for me personally. It’s the other guys who need to be concerned.

Arthur: Personally, I think it’s going well. I do hope that I don’t end up running out of breath during my spiels. If so, let’s hope there’s an O2 tank back stage.

Eric: Going as well as it could be. There’s still practice to be done to get it closer to ready.

Aref Dajani and Arthur Glover first learning the words.

What did you think when Cathy first handed you this song?

Aref: WOAH/WHOA! When I heard “Music Man”, I thought, “Ya Got Trouble” which is so much fun!

Editor’s Note: And might have even MORE words in it!

Gordon: I knew it was a difficult piece to do. A few years ago I was in a production of “The Music Man,” and I remember that the folks in “Rock Island” never did quite get it right!

Editor’s Note: Our guys are on the case though and it’s going to be a great rendition!

Arthur: I really didn’t think about it, my mind went blank and the first thing that popped in my head was, “What is this?” 

Eric: Oh no. How are we going to do this?

Editor’s Note: Sounds like they’re figuring it out! Can’t wait for you all to see how it’s come together!

Justin: I thought it was an interesting choice.  But trying to find an all-male group number that works for a cast as varied as ours is not as easy as it sounds.  

Jeff Hayes, Justin Cunningham, and Darren Midkiff

Music Man – love it, hate it, or something in between?

Editor’s Note: Sounds like lots of folks have some favorite tunes from this show; seems appropriately named.

Gordon: I really like it. Although I played the mayor (non-singing role) in the show referenced above, it was fun playing a character who always had a lot to say even when he didn’t know what he was talking about, which was most of the time!

Arthur: I always liked the musical Music Man. When I was in my school choir, I really enjoyed the song 76 Trombones.

Eric: It’s a classic for a reason. I don’t like too many classic shows, but everyone likes “The Music Man”.

Justin: I like the show. Not my favorite ever. Though Marian the Librarian is a great song!

Aref: Love love love it!! Or as Arthur exclaims, “He’s a what? He’s a WHAT?!!

Putting words and choreography together

How do you mentally prepare for a song like this before you walk on stage?

Eric: Don’t panic and forget everything!

Aref: There is only one way to mentally prepare for a song like this: Lots of faith in the other six guys! 

Gordon: The two things I try to remember are (1) timing is crucial, and (2) the words must be understandable, even though they are spoken very rapidly.

Justin: FOCUS. FOCUS. FOCUS.

Arthur: Practice, practice, practice, take a shot of oxygen and have FUN. 

Practice makes perfect!

Anything else to add?

Aref: My grandfather was a traveling salesman for hardware with exclusive rights for a super popular product at the time. His territory was the entire states of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska and he traveled exclusively by train, so the opening “River City, next stop!” would have totally resonated with him, though more like Kansas City, Dubuque, or Omaha.

Arthur: Since our show is about Times Square, it seems we could change the name of the train station from River City Junction to Pennsylvania Station, which is near the heart of Times Square – I know the territory. 

Editor’s Note: That’s an inside joke – come see the show to understand it!!

The Usual Suspects

Get Inside “A Night Out on Times Square”

Bethesda Little Theatre presents an original musical revue featuring songs from all the Broadway shows you’ve been wishing you could see in one night but couldn’t… until now. Come From Away, Six, Dear Evan Hansen, Chicago, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Company, Hadestown, Hamilton, and more. We even have some side trips to some of the wonderful music clubs Times Square has to offer. Don’t miss your chance to see numbers from some of the hottest shows on Times Square! A Night Out on Times Square, runs June 10, 11, 12 and 17, 18, 19 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center. (For tickets and more information click here: blt-online.org or call 202-796-3431.)

In our blog series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers to discuss a sampling of the songs they’ll be presenting; today we’re going to explore how the ladies are doing with their take on “You Learn” from Jagged Little Pill featuring the songs of Grammy winner Alanis Morissette.

Tickets at blt-online.org!

You Learn

To what extent was this song or Alanis Morissette in general a part of your childhood / teenage angst years?

Editor’s Note: Everyone had some teenage angst, right? Seems like Alanis Morissette didn’t make it into our cast’s teenage angst CD collection – what was in yours??

Kathleen: This song in particular was not a part of my teenage years, but I loved Alanis’ sound growing up. My favorite song was always “You Oughta Know” as I felt her pain and angst. 

Brett: I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard this song until we started learning it for the show! Alanis was not part of my angsty listening rotation.

Marissa: I definitely listened to Alanis Morissette and knew this was her song but I don’t remember having her on repeat at any point, though I did end up learning a lot of her lyrics.

Casting the number

This song covers a lot of how we experience life (love, laugh, cry, choke, bleed) – how does it do this so effectively? Or doesn’t it?

Alicia: The choreography is where a lot of this comes through.  Lauren has done a great job of illustrating the “angsty-ness” through the dance and uses the dance to interpret the love, laugh, cry, choke, bleed. 

Lauren: I think this song really captures how it feels to be human; we’ve all experienced those emotions and you do learn. For me, this song feels more poignant after the last couple of years with the pandemic. So much life happened–and didn’t happen– and I think this song captures those feelings well. 

Marissa: I think one of the things that’s so interesting about this song musically is that laundry list of emotions / verbs are all sung the same way. That repetition really hammers home the fact that through it all – good, bad, even down to the choices you make – the one constant is that you learn from everything.

Kathleen: I feel it takes you through the highs and lows of life. It portrays the hardships yet reminds you that there is a lesson somewhere in all the chaos. 

Brett: This song has such simple lyrics, but they really do capture a lot of the beauty and pain of life. We learn from each experience we have and the music brings out the bittersweetness of that.

Kathleen, Marissa, and Lauren

How does the choreography play into the story this song is telling?

Editor’s Note: Lucky for us, we get to hear from the choreographer herself! Not only to we get the benefit of her insights here, you will get a chance to see her bring her own choreography to life in the show!

Lauren: Well, I tried to choreograph moves that show life is a group event and that the emotions the song talks about are ones that we can all relate to. You’re not alone when you feel like you’re living and learning–even when life gets hard and isn’t going the way you want it to. I hope the choreography enhances the raw emotions discussed in the song.

Marissa: Oh man. Lauren has done such a tremendous job with the choreography. She has made such fluid and beautiful sequences that the depth of the message really comes through. I just hope we can do it justice!

Alicia: The modern dance choreography that Lauren developed helps to tell the story. At times we’re dancing together and at times we’re dancing separate, but it comes together beautifully to tell the story. 

Kathleen: The choreography is set up so that not only do you hear the story telling but you feel it. It aligns with the build up and takes you on the journey. 

Brett: Lauren’s choreography is so beautiful and evocative. She’s captured the emotions behind every line with grace and subtlety.

Brett and Alicia

What’s the hardest part about learning this number?

Brett: The lyrics are repetitive but a little different every time, which can be a challenge to memorize! 

Marissa: Remembering who is singing when and which chairs to move!

Kathleen: I found the hardest part to be learning the song in parts. I’ve come to love this song and I have to stop myself from singing lines that are not assigned to me. 

Alicia: The hardest part about learning this number for me is the music.  It’s such a recognizable song – everyone knows the words and the melody so we all want to make sure we do it justice.  Nailing the harmonies and our respective solo lines is where I’m focusing as we get down to the wire.

Lauren: I think the music has been a hard part to learn for this number. This is such a well-known song so we have how we think it should sound in our head, which isn’t quite what this arrangement is calling for! Also, as the choreographer, I really hope the moves aren’t too hard to learn!

Editor’s Note: Sounds like the verdict is really that it’s the music so Lauren is off the hook!

Kathleen, Lauren, Alicia, and Marissa

Anything else to add?

Kathleen: I’ve enjoyed working with this team of lovely women and look forward to seeing it all come together. 

Brett: I love working on this song with these incredible women. They make it easy to play old friends, even though some of us just met a few months ago!

Marissa: The people! Such a wonderful group of strong women to make great music and dance together!!

You Could Drive a Person Crazy

Bethesda Little Theatre presents an original musical revue featuring songs from all the Broadway shows you’ve been wishing you could see in one night but couldn’t… until now. Come From Away, Six, Dear Evan Hansen, Chicago, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Company, Hadestown, Hamilton, and more. We even have some side trips to some of the wonderful music clubs Times Square has to offer. Don’t miss your chance to see numbers from some of the hottest shows on Times Square! A Night Out on Times Square, our new original production running June 10, 11, 12 and 17, 18, 19 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center. (For tickets and more information click here: blt-online.org or call 202-796-3431.) In our blog series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers to discuss a sampling of the songs they’ll be presenting; today we’re going to explore how the guys are doing with their take on “You Could Drive a Person Crazy” from Company by Stephen Sondheim.

As a song that was originally sung by women but flipped in the revival, how fun is it to sing this Andrews sisters-style song?

Aref: Hilarious. Most funny of all if folks in the audience don’t even get that it’s gender bender, IF we sing with conviction! Women drive men crazy all the time: the whole premise behind “I Love Lucy”.

Note from the editor: except now you all know because you’ve gotten a sneak peak!

Justin: I love Sondheim and The Andrews Sisters, so it’s a perfect combination. And, it is really fun to sing this with Martin and Aref.

Martin: If you’re accustomed to hearing songs a specific way, gender swapping can make learning lyrics more difficult.  But, it can also add a whole other level with different, and sometimes more provocative, interpretations.

This song is quintessential Sondheim with a lot of words that come quickly, coupled with tight harmonies that are relentless, what’s the hardest part of learning it?

Note from the editor: thankfully these guys all have previous experience with Sondheim!

Martin: The close harmonies are very difficult. When you couple that with choreography and the Andrews Sisters, it becomes challenging. But Sondheim frequently is challenging.

Aref: Zero problem for me as I performed in a production of “Company” many years ago, where Musical Director Jeff Hayes actually watched to cheer me on. In this song, I have the melody line, so I find it super easy to learn, something all sopranos take for granted. 😉 I feel sympathy for the other guys in the trio; it’s Sondheim!!

Justin: The words aren’t that hard. I sang “Putting It Together” from Sunday in the Park with George a few years back (which I have never recovered from), so this will be far easier.  For me, the hard part will be the harmonies. I’ll get it, eventually.  The other two singers and Jeff will need to be patient.

These boyfriends have a lot to say about their girlfriend, Bobbi. Does this song remind you of any previous relationships?

Justin: Oy!

Note from the editor: maybe if you get lucky, Justin will share more of his experiences after a show if you can catch him in the lobby!

Martin:  Although the song doesn’t really remind me of any of my relationships, I am similar to the main character Bobby in that I am a single person who has navigated the dating arena.  

Aref: Um, um, the song reminds me of a lot of  relationships where, um, um, I was the Bobby. I have driven my share of women crazy…when I was living my life as a straight man. (Sorry, ladies!)

Have you seen the revival? How fun is the gender swapping and does it help make the show more relevant today?

Justin: I have not seen the revival. I don’t think the gender swap makes it any more or less relevant. 

Aref: I have not seen the revival but what I think would be a really fun gender bender would be my other song in the production – the heavy testosterone song “All I Ask of You” from “Phantom.” I would be the tormented opera singer, where I seek comfort in the arms of…Laura.

Martin: My final year of college, I actually played Bobby in Company.  I have also seen the original production as well as the revival.  To be honest, I think the show works better with the lead being a male.  The songs and the message ring truer for me that way. That said, I love to gender swap songs. It gives an artist so much more material and awards them with new possibilities and limitless interpretations.

You could drive a person crazy

You could drive a person mad

First you make a person hazy

So a person could be had

Anything else you’d like to add?

Aref: This song is an interesting choice for gender bender as it is so Andrews Sisters. Wouldn’t it be fun to add some boy band style choreography?

Note from the editor: we can’t give away *all* our secrets…guess you’ll have to come see for yourself if the choreographer for this number worked in any boy band moves!

Justin: It will be fun to do.  Hopefully, the blocking will not be difficult!

Auditions for A Night Out on Times Square

Join us for A Night Out on Times Square! Bethesda Little Theatre is auditioning all voice parts for an original new musical revue featuring songs from all the Broadway shows you’ve been wishing you could see in one night but couldn’t… until now. Come From Away, Six, Dear Evan Hansen, Chicago, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Company, Waitress…. we’ve got them all and more. With opportunities for solos, small group numbers, and even some jazzy side trips to Birdland, you don’t want to miss your chance to shine.

Auditions will be held at Palisades Hub, 5200 Cathedral Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20016 No reservations are required and people auditioning will be taken on a first come basis.

Proof of full COVID vaccination per CDC guidelines required at time of audition.

Audition dates: Sunday, February 20: 7 – 9 and Tuesday, February 22: 7 – 9

Audition requirements:
• Sing one song, ballad or up-tempo, that fits your voice. An accompanist will be provided. Be sure to bring music in the key you will be performing the song. No recorded tracks please.
• Be prepared to move for a simple dance combination.
• You will be asked to read a short portion from the script.
• You will be asked to complete an audition form. You may bring a resume to attach.
• You will be asked to complete a conflict calendar, so please have your conflicts available.

You must be 18 or older by the first rehearsal.

Big Spender/Gotta Get a Gimmick

So you think you know music? Maybe so, but we are pretty sure you’ve never heard the hits the way Bethesda Little Theatre’s going to serve them up in Songs I Never Get to Sing, our new original production running May 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, and 12 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center. (For tickets and more information click here: http://www.blt-online.org/html_bltg/html/index/PayPal.html or call 202-796-3431.) A woman singing “The Impossible Dream” and “Mr. Cellophane”? Yes! A man crooning “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “Ladies Who Lunch”? You’ve got the idea! In our blog series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers to discuss a sampling of the songs they’ll be presenting; today we’re going to explore how the guys are doing with their mashup of “Big Spender” from the musical Sweet Charity and “Gotta Get a Gimmick” from Gypsy.

Q: Is this your first foray into burlesque performance?
Justin: Well, um, yes, to be honest. Once we get to use the boas and our respective props, I think it will come together!
John: Yes.  I’ll let you know how it went after I’ve counted my earnings.
Arthur: Technically, no!  When I was with the Charleston Stars performing group, the ladies in our group decided to do a take-off of the Budweiser Commercial “Ladies Night.” It was a complete role reversal with one of the ladies playing the bartender and the guys playing the ladies (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEa42JqBbnM). We opened our show with the Kool and the Gang song “Ladies Night.”

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Q: Taking on these two together is not at all… intimidating, is it?  
Justin: Not at all.

John: I am always game for an adventure, but there are some colleagues I would prefer not to see in the audience.

Arthur: It’s not intimidating… it’s hilarious! I think it will get a lot of laughs. It reminds me of when we used to do Kamikaze Karaoke. Guys had to sing girls songs and girls had to sing guys songs. Whatever song was picked for you, you had to sing it with all the gusto of the original artist. I remember doing the song, “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” by En Vogue (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2RKb1R7jM0)

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Q: What are you enjoying most and what are you finding most challenging?
Justin:
I can be a vamp and a stripper in the same number.  So what’s not to like?

John: (Are they different questions?) Walking with a sexy sway tops my list.

Arthur: The challenging part is not laughing during the rehearsal. I’m also having a challenge hitting one of the notes in “Gotta Have a Gimmick.”

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Q:  What diva will you be channeling on opening night?  

Justin: Yikes!  Depends on the song!

John: Julie Andrews.

Arthur: Lady Day – Billie Holliday

Luck Be a Lady

So you think you know music? Maybe so, but we are pretty sure you’ve never heard the hits the way Bethesda Little Theatre’s going to serve them up in Songs I Never Get to Sing, our new original production running May 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, and 12 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center. (For tickets and more information click here: http://www.blt-online.org/html_bltg/html/index/PayPal.html or call 202-796-3431.) A woman singing “The Impossible Dream” and “Mr. Cellophane”? Yes! A man crooning “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “Ladies Who Lunch”? You’ve got the idea! In our blog series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers to discuss a sampling of the songs they’ll be presenting; today we’re going inside the song, “Luck Be A Lady” from the musical Guys and Dolls.

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Q: Karen, can you describe what you’re trying to do with the choreography for this one and where you drew your inspiration for the choreography? 

Karen: To keep with the theme of singing songs we never get to sing, I wanted the female cast to perform this as if we were the gamblers straight out of Guys and Dolls.  We are actually doing the same choreography I created for a production of Guys and Dolls back in 2008.  I’m not sure if I should be revealing my secrets, but I draw inspiration for my choreography by watching YouTube videos from community plays and show choirs.  Sometimes it gets me nowhere, but often times it gives me a great starting point!

Q: Frank Sinatra just seemed to own this song – but have you come across other versions you’d recommend? (and why?)

Cathy: I’d say, Jessica’s! She is singing the Sky part and she has taken it and made it her own. I think the audience will love it!

Sandy: I think that Jessica, who is singing the lead in our production, is fabulous and I can’t wait to hear the audience’s reaction to her interpretation and to the entire ensemble number.

Leslie: I’ve only ever heard the Frank Sinatra version, but Seth MacFarlane did it in concert and I love his voice!

Melissa: I know of the Barbra Streisand version! I enjoy her change in the word play. If you listen carefully to her version she changes some of the words (“sister,” etc.). I really enjoy her sound and this version makes you see this song in a different point of view.

Karen:  I actually like the Broadway/movie version better [than Sinatra’s].  I think it has more energy and I like the ensemble backup.

Jessica: I like the 1992 Broadway revival version. Sky (Peter Gallagher) manages to pay homage to Sinatra while still making the song all his own.

Luck Selfie

Q:  Is this truly a song you never get to sing?

Karen:  No, not really.  After all, Barbara Streisand recorded it.  I’d say it is more of a song I never get to perform as a group number.

Sandy: I always thought this was a fabulous group number and it never occurred to me to ever be a part of it because it’s such a male-oriented song, especially with reference to gangsters.

Melissa: I don’t think so. Gender doesn’t matter. Anyone can make this song a masterpiece, within a masterpiece that is (since this song is already a goodie!)

Cathy: Actually, I have sung the crapshooters part before with another group I perform with, so no, not really. What can I say, I’ve never been known to be one to worry about if the gender is correct for me when I choose a song.

Leslie: I would never have thought to choose “Luck Be a Lady” as a song I never get to sing, but it is the most memorable song from Guys and Dolls, so I’m glad we get to do it!  I like the hats we wear.

Jessica:  To be honest, I’m not really sure. “Luck be a Lady” has been covered by more than a few female artists (most notably Barbra Streisand in her 1993 Back to Broadway album), so it’s had its fair share of gender-bending. It’s definitely a song I personally have never sung before though, so maybe that counts?

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Q:  What associations does this song have for you?

Sandy: I have been in two productions of Guys and Dolls, one where I was in the ensemble and another where I played Adelaide.

Leslie: The high school I teach at did Guys and Dolls for the annual musical about eight years ago.  The students did a really good job with the dancing and singing!

Melissa: When I think of this song I think of my time back in high school because my high school did Guys and Dolls and I was in it. I really enjoyed being in that show!

Karen:  In addition to us reusing my choreography from 2008, I also reused it in 2013 with another community theater company.  I’d say I’m getting a lot of mileage out of this routine!

 

Q: Who can forget Robin Williams transforming into an elderly British nanny to this song – is it too late to work Mrs Doubtfire into this somehow?!

Cathy: Wow! That’s right! I had forgotten that! Can you imagine a bunch of Mrs. Doubtfires dancing to Luck Be A Lady?!

Leslie: I had forgotten that!  I looked up the video clip and it’s still funny.

Jessica: You know, with a few tweaks Mrs. Doubtfire would have made an excellent horror film. Potential for a remake?

Melissa: That scene is a classic! Maybe if we convince Karen we can still fit that in! If we were to do that we would have to do the opposite, have a women transform into an elderly British man!

Karen: I’m saving that for the roadshows!

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Someone In the Crowd

Have you heard? Bethesda Little Theatre (BLT) is putting on “A Swellegant, Elegant Party” June 29 and 30 and July 1 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center! For tickets and more information call 202-796-3431, email bethesdalittletheatre@gmail.com, or go to the website www.blt-online.org.  In our series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers for their take on some of the songs they’ll be presenting in their original musical revue and a peek at how they’re preparing for showtime!  Today we’re going inside the song, “Someone in the Crowd” from the Oscar-winning movie musical La La Land.

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Q: What similar personal experiences does this song recall for you? 

Marissa: I think just living in DC, this song is applicable to everyone. Networking is everything in this city and literally anywhere you go, you could run into someone who works where you work, or works where you want to work. It’s a small world and this city makes it seem even smaller.

Michelle:  I’ve definitely had nights where I didn’t really feel up to going to a party, but knowing my friends were going was a good motivator.  So I would throw on a dress and go to see them.

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Q: Briefly describe any gig you ever got through a romantic connection? From someone you met at a party?

Lauren:  I don’t think I’ve gotten a gig from someone I’ve met at a party (so far!). I have definitely received opportunities from people I’ve met though previous organizations or groups. That’s how I heard about this production with Bethesda Little Theatre, after all!

 

Q: How will the swirl of the party be recreated in this production? 

Marissa:  Laura has done a great job of keeping us moving in between numbers and mingling with different people throughout the party. She’s also created some really neat little story lines among different people that leave the audience wanting more :-).:

Michelle: Stephanie picked some cute moves that mix freezing and slow motion and Lauren’s ballet training.

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Q: What’s the most fun part of being in/learning this number?

Marissa: It’s with a great group of girls who each bring something unique to the number.

Michelle:  It’s a great group! Vanna and I have been in BLT shows together, and getting to work with Lauren and Marissa for the first time is a lot of fun.  And of course, Stephanie is a great choreographer and great to work with.

Lauren: I really enjoy singing this song. In addition to singing it, I’ve found it fun learning the choreography with the other girls in the number.

 

Q:  Would you ever live in LA (again)? Why or why not? 

Michelle: I think living in LA could be fun in the short term.  The beaches and weather are beautiful and I love sushi.

Lauren:  I’ve never lived in L.A., and at this point in my life, I don’t see myself living there. I want to live in an environment that has all four weather seasons! Also, I hear traffic is even worse there than it is here, so I’m fine without that.

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Q: What’s the hardest thing to pull off in this number?

Michelle: The piece is a lot of fun and remembering all the dance moves and the harmonies is the challenge.

 

Q: Scientific polls of random friends seems to indicate that people either love or hate La La Land.  Is La La Land a great musical/movie?

Marissa: I haven’t actually seen it! I know that’s crazy but the snippets I’ve seen, I’ve loved 🙂

Michelle: Hmmm, I had mixed feelings.  I definitely liked the dance numbers and thought the acting was really good.

Lauren:  To put it lightly, I wouldn’t say I was a huge fan of the movie after seeing it in theaters. After singing and dancing to “Someone In The Crowd”, though, I can safely say I’ve grown to appreciate and enjoy this particular song from the movie. So maybe with repeated exposure, I could grow to like the rest of the movie, too!

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Let’s Be Bad!

Have you heard? Bethesda Little Theatre (BLT) is putting on “A Swellegant, Elegant Party” June 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 and July 1 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center! For tickets and more information call 202-796-3431, email bethesdalittletheatre@gmail.com, or go to the website www.blt-online.org.  In our series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers for their take on some of the songs they’ll be presenting in their original musical revue and a peek at how they’re preparing for showtime!  Today we’re going inside the song, “Let’s Be Bad” from the TV show Smash.

Bad 1

Q: This is a big, bad, brassy number from a TV show I’d never heard of – had you heard of it? What additional preparations are you undertaking on your own, apart from rehearsal time? 

Karen: I absolutely loved Smash and washed it faithfully.  Not only did I love the premise of the plot—Marilyn Monroe from the glory movie days—but I loved the musical numbers…especially the dancing.

Michelle:  I adored Smash.  Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee are beyond talented, and it’s fun to do a 1920s-style number from the TV show.  There’s a lot to remember in this dance, so I’ve been practicing with the video and Karen’s dance notes.

Sandy: I absolutely was hooked on the show Smash. It told the story of putting together a Broadway musical with all the juicy backstage stories and the characters of the actors. I usually rehearse all my dance numbers at home after rehearsal nights with BLT.  Although it’s late, I’m wound up and ready to go, plus then I’m really ready to sleep.  So far for the dance numbers Karen has been generous to have a rehearsal at her house and two rehearsals at a dance studio with mirrors – very helpful.

Lauren:  This is from a TV show?! I didn’t know that either. I thought Smash was a movie! Needless to say then, no, I had not heard of it before this. Other than our usual rehearsal time, I’ve definitely been singing this song on my own and running through the choreography in my head. We did also add a few extra dance rehearsals with the ladies in this number to make sure we all get it before showtime!

Cathy:  I loved this show!  I still miss it!  It had wonderful music and dancing. It ended far too soon.  As far as additional preparation, we have spent time outside of our regular rehearsals together to work on the dance. I have also spent a lot of time in front of a rehearsal video in my living room.

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Q:  How do you get yourself in the “bad” frame of mind before walking on stage? 

Karen: I pulled from the many other numbers I have performed in this genre, such as Chicago and Thoroughly Modern Millie.  The ‘20s seems to have been quite an exciting time!

Michelle: Well the costumes certainly help!  Wearing red sequins and fringe is perfect for the “bad” frame of mind, and I love that Karen’s choreography includes classic 1920s moves like the Charleston.

Sandy:  Since Smash was the story of Marilyn Monroe and this is just a cutesy roaring ‘20s number, I just think of those aspects. Of course, the costumes will help a lot.  We’re all wearing sparkly red costumes.  Best of all the choreography puts us in the “bad’ state of mind.

Cathy:  It’s got be the red flapper dresses we are wearing! They are enough to put you in the mood!

Bad 3

Q:  What’s the most fun part of being in/learning this number?

Karen: I love the genre…a bit of Charleston, and a bit of ‘20s posing, shoulder shrugging, and flirtatious eye rolling.

Michelle:  Working with the show’s main dancers!  I learn a lot from them and I love Karen’s fun combinations, especially the Bob Fosse-style poses.

Sandy: Personally I love dancing jazzy numbers and getting to kick my legs. Being the oldest dancer, I feel such joy still being able to do it.

Lauren:  I love dancing, so the most fun part to me of being in this number is being able to dance!

Cathy:  It has to be that I get to dance with these wonderful ladies! We are all working hard and enjoying the reward of getting it “right.”

 

 

Q:  What’s the hardest thing to pull off in this number?

Karen: Remembering the words of the song at the same time as remembering the dance moves.

Michelle: There are a lot of details to remember, and we gotta put a lot of energy into it so the audience is excited about Act Two!

Sandy:  All the different hand circles.

Bad 4

Q:  What’s the audience going to love most about this number?

Karen: This number is such a “feel good” number and we’re having a LOT of fun!!!  And that is contagious!  What’s not to love?

Michelle:  Our Director Laura picked a bunch of different songs from different times and different styles.  I love this song from Smash because it’s from a recent TV show, but has a lot of the elements I love from the 1920s.

Sandy:  It’s fast and fun and from another era.

Lauren:  The flapper dresses we get to wear! At least, that’s one of the things I like most about this number.

Cathy:  What’s not to love!? It’s fun, sassy, and has the red dresses!

 

Q:  What’s the silliest blooper that’s happened so far while rehearsing this number?

Karen: When I was teaching the number, I repeatedly kept saying “Let’s Be Friends” instead of “Let’s Be Bad.”

Michelle: Too many for me to count.  This is my first time learning choreography in two years, so I’ve made plenty of mistakes in rehearsal.

Sandy:  With my dyslexia I sometimes go the opposite way until it’s pointed out – oops!

Lauren:  There was a low-hanging chandelier in the room we often rehearsed this dance in. Even though it was always there, we seemed to forget that it was there each time we rehearsed and constantly smacked our hands against this fixture. We will feel like we have so much space performing without it onstage!