Featured Five, Vol. 4 – So in Love

This blog is a part of The Directory of Contemporary Musical Theatre Writers, found online at www.contemporarymusicaltheatre.com

Let’s face it: whether or not you like Valentine’s Day, musical theatre simply wouldn’t exist unless someone was singin’ about love.  In many ways, it’s the reason we do… well, just about everything!

Here are five songs you simply must get to know.  They are beautifully written and display five distinct characters who use a song to articulate their feelings, however complicated or concise.

Our hats off to these writers, who have reminded us that there’s much to mine when we explore all the different places love can take us.

It Is My Love
Music & Lyrics: Stuart McMeans

Perfect for: Belt Tenor

Stuart McMeans
Stuart McMeans

I would say ninety percent of the songs that I’ve written are of the sweaty-brow and crossed-out-words type, you get an inspiring idea and then it’s work. “It is My Love” is one of those rare songs that just kind of wrote itself in an evening. Luckily Shakespeare had done most of the work for me. I was thinking about that beautiful moment, as Romeo stands below the balcony and first sees the light coming from Juliet’s room; how overcome he is with his feelings: Oh my God I’m in love! I thought that moment could be a great song, so I tried to capture that overwhelming feeling in the music and then use the phrase, “it is my love,” as the anchor and hook of that feeling, mixing exact phrases from the scene and my own lyrics.  Sing it on Valentine’s and hopefully it will make your girlfriend cry.

For more information on the song, click here.

The Lady Must Be Mad
from Ilyria
Music & Lyrics: Peter Mills

Perfect for: Belt Tenor

Peter Mills
Peter Mills

“The Lady Must Be Mad” is from Illyria, a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.  After surviving a shipwreck, Sebastian has returned to the shores of Illyria, near where he believes his twin sister Viola drowned.  Little does Sebastian know, Viola is alive and well in Illyria—and has disguised herself as a boy, taking on Sebastian’s identity for her protection.  As Sebastian sets out to make a new life for himself, he is baffled to find that everyone he meets seems already to know him.  Some of these strangers are hostile to him, while others are unaccountably fond of him.  In particular, the Countess Olivia seems to be in love with him, though he has only just met her.  This leaves Sebastian questioning her sanity… or his own.

For more information on the song, click here.

Love Walks In
from Ceremony
Music by: Donny Codden
Lyrics by: Leah Miles

Perfect for: Broadway Baritone

Leah Miles & Donny Codden
Leah Miles & Donny Codden

“Love Walks In” is the opening number of our musical, Ceremony, which is actually an exploration of the disintegration of the marriage of our main couple. The show opens with the woman singing this piece on the day of their 15th wedding anniversary.  The husband looks on, unbeknownst to her. “Love Walks In” was actually sung at their wedding. And her singing it now adds a new level of emotion and poignancy as they face the possibility of the relationship falling apart. Not the uplifting Valentine’s story you were probably looking for, but there it is!

As a side note, we performed it at a friends wedding a little over a year ago and it went over really well. The couple was so honored to have one of our pieces “premier” at their wedding!

For more information on the song, click here.

The Way He Held My Hand
from Pride & Prejudice – The Musical
Music & Lyrics: Lawrence Rush

Perfect for: Legit Soprano

Lawrence Rush
Lawrence Rush

From “Pride & Prejudice – the Musical”, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel, “The Way He Held My Hand” is sung by the character of Jane, the beautiful, eldest daughter of the Bennets. She had just met the well-off, young and handsome Mr. Bingley at a ball, and there was an obvious attraction between them. That same night, back at home, though Jane won’t at first admit it, she finally discloses her fondness for Mr. Bingley to her sister Elizabeth. When Elizabeth asks what, in particular, was the thing that made Jane like him, she answers with this song, reminiscent of a romantic waltz.

A Richard Rodgers Award finalist, “Pride & Prejudice – the Musical” was written through the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.

For more information on the song, click here.

You Will Be Inside My Heart
from Sara Crew
Music & Lyrics by: Miriam Raiken-Kolb

Perfect for: Legit Mezzo

Miriam Raiken-Kolb
Miriam Raiken-Kolb

The song “You Will Be Inside My Heart” is from my musical Sara Crewe, adapted from the novel “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  In this song, Sara is saying goodbye to her father, Captain Crewe who is leaving his daughter at a boarding school in London so he can search for diamonds in India.  Sara has never known her mother and is extremely fond of her father from whom she has never separated.  “A Little Princess” was my favorite book growing up and after seeing the 1939 Shirley Temple movie I knew I had to turn this compelling story into a musical.  Sara Crewe (the musical) is published by Dramatic Publishing:  www.dramaticpublishing.com.

For more information on the song, click here.


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