Week one of "Inspired By...," a series taking a look at the many sources of inspiration for musical theatre writers.
by David Brush, lyricist
All writers – whether they know it or not – are infinitely inspired by a wide variety of outside sources, media, people, and experiences. I love when I see a great piece of visual or performing art and can almost sense the author’s sphere of influence in the work. With that in mind, the next few weeks of Dean-Brush’s Crazytown blog will honor those people, artists, and experiences that have (and continue to) shape the our own artistry.
This week’s entry may seem too easy. Perhaps, that’s true, but it is difficult for any musical theatre artist to discuss their craft without mentioning Sondheim. Undoubtedly, the staggering body of work speaks for itself, but here during the creator’s 85th birthday week, I wanted to instead get specific and identify just a handful of the many major moments of Sondheim’s work that I specifically hold in high influential regard.
- THE LYRICS FOR “A BOY LIKE THAT/I HAVE LOVE” from WEST SIDE STORY – The intensity of Anita’s cutting accusations of Maria’s alleged naiveté in choosing Tony gives way to a surmising and all-encompassing ballad by Maria. Anita tells her, “A boy who kills cannot love/A boy who kills has no heart/And he's the boy who gets your love/And gets your heart/Very smart, Maria, very smart!” No conflict between two women in the musical theatre has ever been more effective. Maria is no wallflower here – she responds calling on Anita’s OWN emotional core telling her “you were in love once, or so you said/you should know better.” Checkmate, Maria. Not one word here is wasted.