Saturday, June 21, 2008

20 Great Broadway Songs of the Past 10 Years: “Show Off”

The Drowsy Chaperone has a very interesting score, particularly when you consider how the show is constructed. A number of the songs are of a declarative nature, where characters have the opportunity to sing about themselves. These are not typically the best songs in any particular show. For example, two of the songs that always get skipped on my Damn Yankees CD are “A Little Brains, A Little Talent” and “Those Were the Good Old Days.”

Why declarative songs tend to be less interesting is probably due to the flat dramatic nature of the song and situation. In a declarative song, the reliance has to be on humor because, after one verse, the information communicated just gets repeated, but if the humor is of clever rhymes and funny situations being told, that alone usually isn’t enough to garner repeat laughs.

Listen to Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison’s score of The Drowsy Chaperone, however, which is happily repeatable even though its short score contains three significant declarative songs, all of which remain hilarious and/or charming upon repeating listening.

My favorite in the show is “Show Off,” Janet Van De Graaff’s declaration of her desire to give up the stage for married life, all the while basking in the glow of that which she insists she doesn’t want. What tremendously fun lyrics and music (and creative staging) executed with perfection by Sutton Foster.

When I finally saw the show on Broadway, I had seen the number performed on the Tony Awards repeatedly, and not only was it still as exciting as if I had never seen it before, it was beautifully topped with Kitty’s, “Yeah, I’m surprised she didn’t do an encore,” followed by, of course, Miss Van De Graaff’s entrance with, “I don’t wanna encore no more.”


the Broadway Mouth
June 21, 2008

No comments: