By Beth Canterbury
“I’m wild again, beguiled again, a simpering, whimpering child again. . .”
I was introduced to the songs of Rodgers and Hart as a kid, listening to my parents’ jazz records. Bewitched, My Funny Valentine, and The Lady is a Tramp: these songs ARE the Great American Songbook! But when I became a singer and voice teacher, I felt that Rodgers and Hart songs were always eclipsed by the songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein, who had a much longer and more commercially successful partnership. That changed when I began working at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick. Teaching private voice lessons to aspiring musical theatre professionals who needed lots of repertoire, pushed me to dig deeper into songs of the 30s and 40s.
What a wealth of material I found! I uncovered This Can’t Be Love, I Wish I Were in Love Again, Where or When, all elegant, clever, and snappy tunes, speaking to the universal themes of the comedy of love, memory, and longing. Now, preparing for South Shore Conservatory’s Evenings Under the Stars performance of musical revue Beguiled Again: The Songs of Rodgers and Hart, I’ve discovered the aching ballad A Ship Without a Sail, the irresistible melody of I’ve Gotta Get Back to New York, and that Rodgers and Hart wrote Blue Moon! Their prolific musical collaboration spanned 24 years and provided scores for 30 musicals and nine films. Surely everyone must recognize at least one or two of their tunes. Craig Ames created thoughtful and charming arrangements of these songs and so many more for Beguiled Again (released in 1997); songs you have loved for years will sound new and even the most knowledgeable American Songbook fan will discover a new song.
Not only am I thrilled to perform these songs for the welcoming EUS audience, but it’s also a pleasure to be back at South Shore Conservatory (SSC) with old friends Beth MacLeod Largent, Holly Jennings and Devin Morin. The last time I sang with Neal Harrelson was when EUS presented Carmen in 2007, when I was on the faculty at SSC. And I’m very excited that some of my former students are singing in the chorus! I cannot wait to reunite with them. Of course, the amphitheater is such a unique space; it’s a treat to perform for audience members enjoying a beautiful evening out on the South Shore.
If you loved last year’s A Grand Night for Singing Rodgers and Hammerstein revue, or you’re looking for a beguiling evening under the stars, these songs will charm and delight you. To learn a little background about the production before it begins, join us for a cocktail reception at 6 pm the evening of the concert. See you there!
South Shore Conservatory’s Evenings Under the Stars concert series presents Beguiled Again: The Songs of Rodgers and Hart on Saturday, July 29, 7 pm at One Conservatory Drive. This performance, sponsored by Dorothy Palmer, is the final EUS concert of the summer. For tickets and more information, visit http://sscmusic.org/evenings_under_the_stars.html or call 781-749-7565, ext. 22. Find South Shore Conservatory on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SSConservatory/.