Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Yes, this is a Rambling on Contrapuntal Goodness • CURTAINS

Okay, so here's a bona fide rambling -- but I can't help it.  It's about counterpoint!  You guys know I love this stuff.

Contrapuntal moments are something I get chills over.  There's a beauty in a show called CURTAINS that I've been listening to lately.  

I saw this show in April of 2007.  Just a word of advice to anyone seeing a show in the Big Apple -- after checking out the theatre discount websites (my favorite -- broadwaybox.com), also try to check out the box office in person.  I went by the box office for CURTAINS and the first words out of my mouth were, "what discounted seats do you have?".  I ended up with a seat in the first row, just left of center for 57 bucks.  The seat was discounted because it was considered "partial view" -- a couple of times during the show, the conductor was elevated on a little platform to have a little dialogue with the actors onstage.  I swear I could have reached over and tapped him on the shoulder -- it was great!  The stage was a little high though…

Anyway, this Kander and Ebb musical centers around, among other things, a show within the show (Robbin' Hood of the Old West).  A NYC company is having out-of-town previews in Boston when the headlining actress -- short on stage chops but big on star quality -- passes out dead at the curtain call after the first preview.  A police detective (David Hyde Pierce) is called in for a murder investigation, and all sorts of backstage drama and hilarity ensue.  There's a synopsis of the show here.

CURTAINS stars Karen Ziemba, center left,
and Debra Monk, center right.

One of the songs of the show within the show is called, "In the Same Boat".  We're given bits and pieces of this "tune in progress" all during the performance, but it hasn't been able to click until near the end.  The detective gets an idea to combine all of the snippets together and before you know it, it's happened --  a lovely contrapuntal moment (there are a few of these in this puppy).  Kander and Ebb are kinda old school (think CABARET and CHICAGO) and this song reflects that, but it's got a juicy orchestra, tympani, and a banjo.  Yay!!  I'm telling you, seeing it live, by the time the riverboat comes in at the end, my mouth was hangin' open.  I might have been drooling a little bit too...  You have to understand, there was like the whole ensemble onstage.  I couldn't help it...

Each of the individual pieces of the song are introduced, and then they're all put together, with of course, the mandatory key change or two.  It's a basic, and in my opinion, catchy example of counterpoint, and I love it.  WHAT?!?!
The introductions start around 42 seconds in, and it comes together at around 2min. 37sec. in.

Enjoy!

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