Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Second Time Around

As you can tell by reading my blog entries, I am an enormous fan of the singer-songwriter. I've been writing about my favorites since I began this blog a couple of years ago. It has struck me that I've yet to write about the two giants in my esteem: Randy Newman and Paul Simon.

Perhaps I figure that there's not much to say. They practically created this musical category. Their music will endure because any future practitioners of the craft must study their work.

I was pleased to read in The New York Times today that Paul Simon's musical The Capeman is being performed again in Central Park this weekend. How clearly I recall his struggle to get the financing and get this work on Broadway in 1998! (He began the project in the early '90s. Basically, he spent almost a decade on it!) I made a trip to New York to see the show and loved it. I was crestfallen to then learn that it had been cancelled after only 68 performances.

Boy, Paul Simon must have felt so stung after that! I'm sure that he sunk some of his own personal fortune in it, along with his creative capital. In the years since, I've seen practically no discussion of this work in the press about the singer. Who knows? Maybe the topic is out-of-bounds!

Anyway, it is a typically terrific Paul Simon record, filled with sinuous rhythms and top-notch lyrics. The article in the Times suggests that perhaps this weekend-long revival is an opening step towards a re-introduction of the work on Broadway. (The argument is that audiences are now more open to it, given the success of shows like Fela! and In the Heights.)

I'm hoping that happens. As I also hope to one day again see Faust, Randy Newman's stab at a musical. I saw it at the Goodman Theater in Chicago and adored it. I was disappointed that it never made it to New York.

Both works definitely deserve a second look. If you've never heard them before, get listening!

Click here to watch Paul Simon sing "Bernadette" from The Capeman. Dueting with him is one of the stars from the 1998 show, Marc Antony.

Clikc here to watch Bonnie Raitt perform "Feels Like Home" accompanied by Randy Newman. It's from Faust.

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