Monday, February 02, 2009

Music, Food for the Soul

"If music be the food of love, play on..." - William Shakespeare

One of my favorite scenes in the movie, Groundhog Day by Harold Ramis, is when Bill Murray decides to learn to play the piano, and because he has all this time (due to a glitch in time), he turns into a consummate pianist and ends up giggin' with a band at the end of the movie. He easily switches from jazz to a more classical sound when the woman he loves walks into the room. And she falls in love with him - just as we the audience have - because he's taken the journey and the time to nurture himself and to realize his potential to really live each day.

What does this have to do with music? Well, music is the language that bridges all gaps - languages, limitation, emotional blockages. It moves us and inspires us.

I was wondering how I'd feel about music since I've been focusing so strongly on non-musical theatre lately (in Karen Kohlhaas' monologue class at The Atlantic Theatre School). But what I've discovered is that the "pull of the tide" is just as strong. I can feel the music of language in plays - from contemporaries like Theresa Rebeck, Adam Bock, and Don Nigro to more classical writers like Henrik Ibsen. And since Karen has been teaching us to create interesting tempos within our monologues, each piece with each student seems to blossom with exuberence and spontaneity and unexpected rhythms.

I know that what I'm learning in this acting class is also something I can apply to my musical theatre repretoire. And I'm reminded keenly of something I'd heard not too long ago about how a pretty voice is nice but if there's great acting behind it, it's even better!

I noticed this with the clip I saw of Liza Minelli on NY1. Liza is a miracle to behold, and boy, can she sell a song. Every inch of her seemed to pulsate with vibrant energy, and while her voice is not what it was in her glory days, she STILL was incredible! I wish I would've seen her recent show, Liza's at the Palace, because it's not every day you get to see a living legend onstage.

I learned so much from watching just that clip of Liza - that utter joyous commitment to her performance.

Music takes us places if we let us.

I've been listening to Snoopy the Musical, because I have a callback for it tomorrow, to play Charlie Brown's little sister, Sally. The music is SO GOOD, and I've heard that the recent London production included even more songs, so I'll definitely check that out. I'll be learning some of the music tomorrow at the callback, and I tell you, I can't wait to sing it! The songs range from absolute FUN to wonderfully moving. Just getting to sing this music at the callback is going to be a very fulfilling experience. Looking forward to it.

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