Saturday, September 20, 2008

South Pacific

I have decided to be a little self-indulgent and blog about my "musical career". I have been inspired by a segment on the morning classic breakfast program to which I listen, which usually runs through an opera or operetta each week telling the story and playing some pieces. Last week was a little down market when they chose Rodger & Hammerstein's South Pacific but set me reminiscing.

This was the second show in which I participated with the Blue Mountains Musical Society way back in 1986. As always, I was just one of the chorus, a sailor, and can be seen on the left in the two photos below. The second with Bloody Mary in the front.The program shows me as playing the part of Seaman Tom O'Brien and I think I had a few lines of dialogue, I was always too nervous to take even a small singing part.

I always thought it was a rather sexist show 'There is nothing like a dame' but should take into account that it was first staged in 1949 and apparently it was ahead of its time in dealing with racism 'Carefully Taught'.
Of course, it is not unusual for a gay man to love musicals but to my knowledge none of those on stage with me were gay but then I was not out at the time. I was a bit bemused that the young men, mostly married, were keen to vaunt their heterosexuality despite obviously enjoying taking part in musical theatre.
Listening to the score, there are several songs in which the word 'gay' is used but not in its modern connotation. "I'm as trite and as gay as a daisy" in 'A Wonderful Guy' and 'gayer than laughter' in 'Younger than Springtime' which I love but could not find a good version on Youtube without all the lead up so instead have found this rendition of everyone's favourite 'Some Enchanted Evening' apparently by members of a current Broadway cast. Enjoy.

Playing the CD today and thinking how wonderful the songs are, I have been wondering why I do not remember enjoying my participation as much as some of the other shows I did. I think it is because the men's chorus is not involved in any of the great songs. They only sing 'There is nothing like a dame' which did not inspire me, 'Bloody Mary' which was OK and 'Honey Bun' also only okay. I will continue with this in future weeks.


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I'm not a gay man but I have been mistaken for one, and I LOVE Broadway musicals. My favorite is South Pacific. I'm glad to know this part of your life. Looking forward to hearing more.

Fran said...

I really love South Pacific... thanks for sharing your story and this video with us!!

June Butler said...

Brian, you're the best-looking guy in the chorus. Reading the old lyrics with the use of the word "gay" is actually quite funny now. I almost concluded that some sort of double entendre was in play even then, but, of course, that's not the case.

Brian R said...

Ooh, Grandmere, I am blushing.