Thursday, August 28, 2008

20 Great Broadway Songs of the Past 10 Years: “I’ll Forget You”

Like a couple of other songs on my list, “I’ll Forget You” is a new song that was written within the ten-year time period for a show that was originally written prior. The show was The Scarlet Pimpernel, which opened in 1997 and faced some significant alterations in 1998 and 1999, one of the alterations being the addition of “I’ll Forget You.”

In “I’ll Forget You,” composer Frank Wildhorn gives us another passionate, deeply emotional song worthy of both the Broadway stage and radio airwaves. It’s a song perfectly suited to the character and moment—Marguerite longing to break herself of her love for her husband—but it has that Wildhorn pop appeal in its grand emotional peaks (not to mention, on recording, in Rachel York’s powerful belt). Just like “Hey There,” “If Ever I Would Leave You,” and countless other hits from shows past, “I’ll Forget You” functions beautifully within the plot and without as well.

There is, however, a measure of depth to the lyric, in which Marguerite is promising herself one thing, clearly unable to follow through despite her intentions. She finally admits this to herself in a nice turn of the lyric, ending with, “I’ll forget you . . . / When I die . . .”

And although the rest of the score was written in 1997, there is a bevy of great songs in The Scarlet Pimpernel worth noting here, with Wildhorn’s music being greatly aided by Nan Knighton’s literate and poetic lyrics. Their work on “Madame Guillotine” is particularly brilliant, though “The Riddle,” “Into the Fire,” “You are My Home,” and “The Creation of Man” are all priceless gems from the show.

the Broadway Mouth
August 28, 2008

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