Open all the doors aaaand leeeet you out iiiiinto the wooooooorld….
(Really, I don’t have this song on my iPod??? Go figure).
It’s closing week at the Ohio Light Opera. Yesterday we closed The Gypsy Baron, tonight was our last performance of The King and I, and tomorrow is the last Silk Stockings. Closing a show is bittersweet - bitter, because we’ve lived with these shows for the past two and a half months (for the singers, it’s been three) and it’s strange to think that we won’t be playing them again. And sweet, because good God, we’ve been playing these shows for the past two and a half months (or three) and we are rather sick of them at this point.
Still, there were certain parts of every show that I always enjoyed playing/watching, no matter how tired I was of the rest of them. I thought I would share my favorite parts with you.
The Gypsy Baron
I always enjoy Barinkay’s first song, the one that starts “An orphan since my early days…” In this song, he describes all of his adventures and where he’s been while in exile - as he says, almost everywhere. I sit there listening to it, thinking, this is what I want my life to be! I want to go everywhere, and do everything.
Another part I found very interesting is the first song in Act III, in which Arsena is describing how difficult it is to be a girl. I feel like it must have been a very progressive song - she talks about how unfair it is that women are treated differently than men, having to do all the housework and basically being their husbands’ property. She sings, “As soon as she has said "I do,” she’s signed away her life.“ I always wonder how the audiences of 1885 reacted to this.
I also loved all of the pig farmer’s songs, and the scene where the gypsies trick him out of his money.
The King and I
Although I enjoyed many parts of this show, "Shall We Dance” always stood out to me. I know, it’s everyone’s favorite, but there is a reason that it’s such an iconic scene. It always makes me smile (read: grin like an idiot), and the audience always goes nuts. It’s just an exhilarating thing to play and experience. And then, of course, what comes right after it - when Tuptim is caught, and the King is unable to beat her with Anna standing there watching him. It’s the darkest scene in the show, such a stark contrast to the happiness of the dance right before it. It always makes me cry.
I also loved the kids in the show, especially the smallest girl (who is, in real life, the daughter of the actor who plays the King). She always seems completely unafraid of being onstage with hundreds of people watching her. She runs and skips across the stage with a huge smile on her face - like she knows exactly how cute she is.
Some of the songs I always enjoy playing are “Too Bad (in which the Russian characters are sarcastically lamenting the fact that they can’t go back to Moscow),” “Paris Loves Lovers,” “Stereophonic Sound (I always cheer silently when they mention Eastman Color),” the Hotel Sequence, and “Hail Bibinski.” There are just so many good songs in this show, and they’re so much fun to play.
I always enjoy scenes with the three Russians - Ivanov, Brankov, and Bibinski. They’re so funny, especially the song “Siberia,” in which they’re trying to convince themselves that getting sent to Siberia might actually be a good thing - there will be no shortage of ice for cocktails, they can go ice skating anytime they like, and there will always be snow for Christmas! It makes me laugh out loud, even while I’m playing.
Well, that’s that - I have one more show to play and then I am done here. It was a long summer, and yet I also feel like it’s gone by in a flash. I am looking forward to the next adventure!
I also am writing a piece on The Gypsy Baron - hopefully I can finish it next week.