First Song of the Millenium

by Peter Felichia, www.theatre.com


NEW YORK -- So, after a nice Ďn easy New Millenniumís Eve, I awoke refreshed -- until I realized I had a difficult question ahead of me. What would be the first song I would play in this new millennium?

This would be the only chance Iíve have in my lifetime to make this decision, so I wanted to do it right.

I looked at my CDs, LPs, and cassettes. Of course I have no idea how many songs live in my apartment, but I suspect there are at least 45,000 -- if we figure that there are at least 15 songs on each of my 3,000 or so CDs, LPs and cassettes.

What Iíve done on every birthday since 1969 finally influenced me. For on that long-ago day, I was given a tape of Claibe Richardson and Kenward Elmslie singing the score from their upcoming musical, The Grass Harp. Thus, "Dollyheartís Genuine Gypsy Dropsy Cure" is the first song Iíve heard every June 20 since the first Nixon administration.

So I was inclined to play another Richardson-Elmslie song to start the millennium. Alas, there arenít that many from which to choose, but there is Lola, newly re-released on CD on Harbinger Records.

I hadnít much heard Lola since I twice saw it at the York in 1982, though I enjoyed the studio LP that emerged the following year. So I took out the album, and saw that the first song was "Lola Montezís Mazurka."

Well, I didnít know that I wanted that to be the first-ever song in heard to start out this thousand years. Was there a more apt title?

In fact, yes. Cut 14: "Many Happy Returns" seemed like a good sentiment to start a millennium.

It didnít get off to too good a start, when I found that the vamp was identical to "Springtime for Hitler." And it sure didnít turn out to be an A-A-B-A, 32-bar song. Instead, it was an ambitious musical scene between Lola Montez (Judy Kaye) and King Ludwig (Jack Dabdoub), her former lover. Here, he had written a letter to her rueing that they had ever parted. They apparently had had quite a relationship. He sang, "You let me spank you," to which she replied, "You always said thank you."

I also liked that Elmslie rhymed "closer" with "mimosa." But then again, Iím from Boston, where people often say words ending in "r" as if they ended with "ah."

What was funny: King Ludwig remembered "when frenzied passion made us lose our witsóBiarritz!" That was followed by Lolaís singing in questioning voice, "Biarritz?" She then repeated the word, as if she was stunned that he had used a false accent. "Biar-RITZ?" Thatís all right. Though Iím an optimist by nature, I know itís not going to be a perfect millennium, either.

And after the song concluded, though I went to take it off, I found myself pushing "Repeat." And, for quite a bit of the day, I listened again and again. Itís really a lovely melody, and I hope that presages a lovely millennium. {:-)-:}

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