Posts Tagged ‘The Secret Garden’

We Love You Broadway, Part III

February 12th, 2013 Comments off

For today’s picks of the best Broadway love songs, I turned to Duncan Stewart and Company, one of Broadway’s hottest up and coming casting agencies. Duncan Stewart and Benton Whitley have a keen eye for talent and are responsible for all of those unexpected star turns in the revival of Chicago. Other projects include the Tony award-winning revival of La Cage aux Folles and the much-anticipated revival of Pippin directed by Diane Paulus.

Duncan Stewart and Company was profiled in the June 2012 issue of Passport Magazine. Their meteoric rise on the New York theater scene is no surprise given their introspective takes on what makes for a great Broadway ballad. Here’s what they have to say…

Duncan’s Picks

“I love complicated love songs — ones that pull at the heartstrings and move me, yes, but the ones that really induce heartache are the songs that deal with both love and loss.”

“Goodbye Old Girl,” Damn Yankees
“This song has moved me since when I was young. A man loves his wife, yes, but he also needs to leave her to discover and re-awaken something in himself that has been missing for years. As his wife sleeps upstairs, he pens her a note, ‘Goodbye, old girl. My old girl. When you awaken I’ll be gone. Can’t tell you where I go, It isn’t fair, I know but trust in me and carry on.’

At the end of the song he sings, ‘Our love will keep old girl, till then, my old girl, goodbye.’ While in complete distress, Meg seems to understand that her husband has gone to find ‘himself’ and holds the torch for his ultimate return. I believe Meg and Joe are soul mates and that this kind of love is true, messy, complicated and unconditional… and in the biggest sense of the word, isn’t that what ‘love’ is all about?”


“How Could I Ever Know,” The Secret Garden
“A perfect example of love’s eternal flame. Archibald, in despair, cries out to the universe (and to the spirit of his deceased love, Lily) ‘How in the world, tell me how in the world, can I live without your love?’ Just as he is about to utter the word ‘gone’ she appears in a vision to calm him. Coming back from the grave to comfort the love of her life, Lily sings a most beautiful melody — that both lovingly soothes and reassures him: ‘How could I know I would never hold you? Never again in this world, but oh – sure as you breathe I am there inside you…”

“True love that lasts is not about cards, candy, flowers or heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolate. True love transcends struggles and strife, uplifting, beholding and celebrating both parties (as individuals and as a coupled unit) and yes, carrying on in eternity.”

Take the jump for Benton’s picks…
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SHOW FOLK: Howard McGillin on “Phantom” and those “Damn Yankees”

March 15th, 2012 Comments off

Yesterday, I said that Show Folk this month was “getting epic;” you thought it was just a lame Homer joke. Truth is, we’re doubling up on great interviews with another leading man of the stage pulling up a chair to our cyber table and joining us for a little conversation. As usual, I’ve edited the transcripts (removing the truly libelous parts) and posted the results. If yesterday was all about Gods, today we’re going straight to the devil…

Howard McGillin in "Damn Yankees". Photo by Ken Jaques.

Tony-nominated actor Howard McGillin has exchanged a mask for a set of horns…and we ain’t talking a brass band. Having famously played The Phantom of the Opera for more than 2500 record breaking performances, he’s descending to new devious depths (and crossing the river to Jersey) to take on the devilish Applegate in Paper Mill Playhouse’s new production of the classic musical comedy Damn YankeesBusy with last Sunday’s opening night, the dashing star still found the time to chat with us about some favorite co-stars, making up lyrics to “Music of the Night” and his run-in with a bionic wardrobe malfunction.

The devil comes in so many different guises; what inspired your take on Applegate in Damn Yankees?

Well, he’s the classic comic villain. He’s vain, revels in all the mischief he causes, and is ultimately brought down in a satisfying tumble of self-inflicted grandiosity. It’s delicious. Of course I remember Ray Walston’s performance, and my friend Victor Garber’s wonderful take on the guy. But I just try to find a way to make it mine, and I think the key is his ridiculous vanity. It makes it so much fun to see him fall.

You famously hold the record for playing the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera  more times than anyone else. What are the benefits and challenges of doing a short run like the month of Damn Yankees at Paper Mill?

It’s a joy to tackle any part, no matter how long or short the run. Of course, when you sign on for something like Phantom you never imagine you could be doing it over 2500 times! It just happened that I loved performing it and the creative team seemed to like what I was doing and decided to keep me on. The process of performing a role remains the same. You always set foot on stage with the goal of making it a fresh performance. The only difference is that after many years of doing long runs in Broadway shows, four weeks seems unfairly short. I know I will miss doing this show. It’s just so much fun.

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