Featured Five, Vol. 6 – Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

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

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Any way you cut it, relationships are hard. Once the luster of newness wears off, it often becomes clear every relationship requires work. But what if you haven’t even gotten there? Or are past it? What then?

What better way to explore those feelings than to sing about it? Here are five songs you should know about characters who are working through their feelings about relationships. Enjoy!

I’m Not
from Little by Little
Music: Brad Ross
Lyrics: Ellen Greenfield
Brad Ross
Brad Ross
Ellen Greenfield
Ellen Greenfield

Perfect for: High Belt/Mix

“I’m Not” is from the musical Little by Little, an iconic story about 3 people — 2 girls and a guy — who have been friends since childhood.   Of course, as adolescence blooms, so do love, attraction and all the attendant anxieties, hopes, joys, and miseries.  In “I’m Not,”  “Woman 2”  discovers and despairs that “Man” has a crush on “Woman 1.”  She sings about her feelings — those of every girl who is struggling with what it’s like when the boy you love prefers a girl who is hotter — and cooler!

For more information, click here.

Perfect
from The Entropy Songs
Music & Lyrics: Joshua H. Cohen
Joshua H. Cohen
Joshua H. Cohen

Perfect for: High Belt/Mix

I was catching up with an old friend, and I made some remark about words that are difficult to rhyme (as you do, if you’re a lyricist). There was a thoughtful pause, and he said, “You know what someone should do? Write a song about oranges.” Not one to let a good challenge go to waste, I started thinking about my unappeasable envy of a college friend with a particular talent, and I was off to the races. I put the song in a featured spot in my song cycle The Entropy Songs, and it’s since become one of my most popular songs. It’s been performed many times by many wonderful singers, although my favorite performance was the one by my friend Brooke Ferris at my wedding.

I originally wrote the song in my own voice, before rewriting it for a woman, and every detail in the song is true, except that John doesn’t drink.

For more information, click here.

Spring Cleaning
from Fugitive Songs
Music: Chris Miller
Lyrics: Nathan Tysen
Nathan Tysen & Chris Miller
Nathan Tysen & Chris Miller

Perfect for: High Belt/Mix

“Spring Cleaning” was written one afternoon when I was house sitting for a friend with a to-die-for apartment near Washington Square Park.  Chris came over to take advantage of the Steinway Grand Piano in their living room and we set out to write a song.  The living room had large windows that looked down on a shared courtyard, as well as directly into the back windows of neighboring apartments.  Taking in the view, we spotted her: a stunning young woman, dressed to the nines, feverishly cleaning her apartment. She was really going at it.  We couldn’t stop watching.  At one point she contorted her body to slip out the bottom of a window and clean the outside of the glass—with a squeegee.  Who puts on a cocktail dress to clean?  Who EVER wipes the outside pane of glass? Who owns a squeegee? Dreaming up answers to these questions led us to “Spring Cleaning.”

For more information, click here.

That Right There
from Sleepless in Seattle (Demo)
Music: Jeff Harris
Lyrics: David Spencer
David Spencer
David Spencer
Jeff Harris
Jeff Harris

Perfect for: Bass-Baritone

Early in the story: Greg and Suzy are trying to comfort the still-grieving widower Sam, and get into a minor squabble over how best to do it. Sam interrupts them — because in its silly way, the squabble represents everything he’s lost…

For more information, click here.

You Don’t Know Love
from Falling to Earth
Music: David Sisco
Lyrics: Tom Gualtieri
David Sisco & Tom Gualtieri
David Sisco & Tom Gualtieri

Perfect for: Legit Mezzo

Falling to Earth is a contemporary adaptation of the Pygmalion myth.  In our version of the myth, we were interested in how the character’s perception of themselves is greatly altered by love.  After fighting with her lover, Paphos, Venus reflects on their relationship and her own limits and fears. We were thrilled to have Mamie Parris sing this song on The Directory’s launch concert.  If you’re a subscriber, you can listen to it here.

For more information, click here.

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Visit www.contemporarymusicaltheatre.com for more information on over 180 contemporary musical theatre writers and 550+ songs, all searchable by voice and song type.

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