Unsung Carolyn Leigh at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook

Unsung Carolyn Leigh at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook


[APPLAUSE] CAROLYN LEIGH: Some of the
material we’ve promised you– some of it’s stuff that
you’ve heard more complete. Some of it’s new. Forgive the little
introductory remarks. But I hope you will
make some sense of this. [MUSIC – CAROLYN LEIGH, “ALL
WOMAN”] (SINGING) Hot-headed,
hard-hearted, unstoppable once started. A dangerous toy–
that much is true. But I’m all woman. (SINGING) All woman. Five fingers, six senses,
no hurdles and no fences. All set to destroy every taboo. So come, come, lover, make
hay where you began it. Now, stay with it. It’s your plaything,
so play with it, do. Do. Here’s heaven, flung at you,
and built like a Greek statue. Why stand like a boy stunned
by the view when I’m all woman? All woman. Not to change the
topic, charmer, but beneath that spick and span
cold facade you use for armor, want to bet that you’re a man? Be a rock from head to toe, sir. All it proves is
you’ve got spine. And the moves that
draw us closer– want to bet they’re
not all mine? So come, come, lover,
apply yourself. Now’s no time to deny yourself. You’ve been lonely all
by yourself, true, too. Here’s heaven for certain. Why wait for the last curtain? How long can you keep missing
your cue when I’m all woman? All woman– and all for you. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC PLAYING] Carolyn Leigh, Tony Award
nominee, Grammy Award nominee, Songwriter’s Hall
of Fame inductee– a truly brilliant lyricist
whose work was always smart, always well crafted,
and frequently infused with her own
unique brand of wit, sex, and sophistication. To many, she’s probably
best remembered for the Broadway hits
“Peter Pan” and “Little Me” and, of course, for her
remarkable pop catalog. We’re talking “The
Best is Yet to Come,” “Witchcraft,” “The
Rules of the Road”– the list goes on. But what few know is that all
of Carolyn’s major successes– the four Broadway musicals,
the television specials with comedy producer Max
Liebman, the movie hits– all of it happened
between 1954 and 1968. It’s a curious phenomenon,
because she was actually more active than ever in
the years that followed, but virtually all of
her work post-1968 remains shelved, with the
musicals Gatsby, Caesar’s Wife, Juliet, and Smile taking
up the most shelf space. She had, in fact,
over the course of a decade, written
full scores to each of these four unproduced shows. And there were other
stalled projects, as well– over a dozen in all. But as Carolyn herself has
said, “Nothing you write will ever go to waste if it
has a clear point of view, a beginning, a
middle, and an end.” Her work with legendary
composer Cy Coleman is a perfect example of that. Prior to hitting
Broadway in 1960 with the Lucille
Ball musical Wildcat, Coleman and Leigh wrote
a handful of songs on spec for the
developing stage musicals Gypsy and 13 Daughters, but
their proposed scores for both of those shows were rejected. Perhaps it was all
for the best, though, because two of
those songs quickly joined the pair’s
Grammy-nominated catalog of certified popular standards. [MUSIC – CY COLEMAN, “FIREFLY”] (SINGING) I call her
“Firefly” because oh, my, she radiates moon glow. Wants none of that noon glow– she starts to glitter when the
sun goes down about 8:00 PM. It’s mayhem. She switches the
brights up, lights up, and gives me a call– “Hey, take me to
the Fireflies Ball.” But when I get her
there, set her there– do I get to pet her there
and grab me some glow? No! She’s a gad about, mad about,
luring every lad about while leaving me moaning low. Oh, Firefly, why can’t I
latch on to you no how? Oh, how I love you, but gee,
while you set the night on– Firefly, shine a
little light on– I have a feeling that
beneath the little halo on your noble head there
lies a thought or two the devil might be
interested to know. You’d like to finish up
a novel that I’ll finally have to take to bed. You fascinate me so. I feel like Christopher
Columbus when I’m near enough to contemplate
the sweet geography descending from your eyebrows to your toe. The possibilities are more than
I could possibly enumerate. That’s why you fascinate me so. So sermon eyes and preach to me. Speak your sanctimonious
little speech to me. But oh, my darling, please
forgive my inability to concentrate. I think I’m dealing
with a powder keg that’s just about to blow. Firefly, why can’t I
latch on to you no how? Oh, how I love you, but gee,
while you set the night on– Firefly, shine a little light
on– shine a little light on– shine a little light on me. When on foreign shores I
am, very truly yours I am. But if inclined to
play I am, dear heart, that’s the way I am. In 1963, Carolyn
Leigh was hired to write the lyrics to a new
musical adaptation of the hit film Roman Holiday. As was her custom,
Carolyn put together a list of proposed
songs for the new show, including “When in Rome.” Carolyn, in fact, writes “‘When
in Rome,’ originally written with Cy Coleman, although the
music for the verse is mine, is now projected for inclusion
in Roman Holiday with music by Richard Adler.” Well, Roman Holiday
never got off the ground. But the song did get
recorded a year later, with Carolyn’s lyric returning
to its signature Cy Coleman melody. [MUSIC – CY COLEMAN, “WHEN IN
ROME”] (SINGING) When in Spain,
for reasons I don’t explain, I remain enjoying a brew. Don’t deplore my
fondness for Fundador. You know how a Fundador
can lead to a few. And baby, when in Rome,
I do as the Romans do. If, per chance, I’m
saying farewell to France, and romance drops in from the
blue, cher amour, I beg of you, please endure my taking a
brief detour with somebody new. It’s just that when in
Rome, I do as the Romans do. And if from Italy I
lie to you prettily, don’t think of me bitterly. You know that I’m true. But now, again, in Rome, I
get that old yen in Rome, and naturally, when in
Rome, I do as the Romans do. If I write happily, “Best
wishes from Napoli,” don’t cable me snappily
to tell me we’re through. Because once again, in Rome,
in somebody’s den in Rome– well, pussycat, when in
Rome, I do as the Romans– disregard the signs
and the omens– when in Rome I do
as the Romans do. Hoo, hoo. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC – LEE POCKRISS, “WALK ON
AIR”] (SINGING) I put in
100% when I was young. I fought back when life
repaid me with half. Eyes on the things I thought I’d
missed, I never looked around. Stubbornly, I would
clench my fist, foolishly stand my ground. I, like you, would never
relent when I was young. Planting wheat, I got
back nothing but chaff. And time grew fields that now,
I’m content to walk among. So if you will hold your tongue,
I will teach you to laugh. For I know he who goes wherever
the wind blows walks on air. Try my way and sail with
the vagrant breezes. Get off the treadmill. Once over, over the
doorsill, you’ll go. And there, on the next
hill, that’s clover. Tell me it’s not. How do you know? And just suppose you open
the windows of your mind. Trade old ruins in for
a view that pleases. Let the parade mark
time somewhere. Is there a rainbow? We’ll see. Fall out of step and
walk on air with me. A letter from Carolyn
Leigh to her lawyer, dated April 13, 1967. “Dear Bob, several weeks ago, I
conceived and developed an idea that I had for a new original
musical comedy, tentatively titled Caesar’s Wife. In view of the fact that I
have discussed it with others, I felt you should have an
outline on the development of this project. It is as follows. Caesar’s wife is
the central figure, the woman behind the man– in other words, Calpurnia. It seems to me nobody has
paid sufficient attention to the lady. She probably played
heavily in Caesar’s failure to marry Cleopatra. Furthermore, my intention is
to prove that the assassination was a fraud. I say that Calpurnia
was, in fact, tired of Caesar’s
infidelities, and was not having any more of it. She faced Caesar with the
fact that politically, he was finished, and he had no
alternative but to go along with her plans. So she and others– notably Brutus– cooked
up a plot to murder a double for Caesar. Then, she and Julius went off
to live presumably happy ever after. Further developments to follow.” Just suppose you open
the windows of your mind. Trade old ruins in for
a view that pleases. Let the parade mark
time somewhere. Is there a rainbow? We’ll see. Fall out of step and
walk on air with me. Let the parade mark
time somewhere. Is there a rainbow? We’ll see. Fall out of step and
walk on air with me. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC – LEE POCKRISS,
“AM I IN LOVE AGAIN?”] (SINGING) Am I in love again? Oh, no, I couldn’t be. I’m all too well aware that
I’ve been there before. And here’s a girl who’s clearly
everything she shouldn’t be. Oh, no, I couldn’t be that
kind of fool once more. Am I in love again? But that’s absurd to say. A lesser man than I could
cut her down to size. And after all those words of
wisdom I’ve been heard to say, there’s not a word to say
for drowning in her eyes. But there I go. Oh, there I go. Who is this adolescent
babbling on? That eager boy I used to know– he’s long since dead and gone. Or am I born again each
time she looks at me? Why do I find myself
believing such a lie? Why, when she’s near me,
do my resolutions die? If not in love again,
what, then, am I? Hey! Oh, there I go. Oh, there I go. Who is this adolescent
babbling on? That eager boy I used to know
is long since dead and gone. Or am I born again each
time she looks at me? Why do I find myself
believing such a lie? Why, when she’s near me,
do my resolutions die? If not in love again– if I’m not in love again– if I’m not in love
again, what, then, am I? If I’m not in love again,
tell me– what, then, am I? [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC PLAYING] That number was also
from Caesar’s Wife, which was one of
several projects Carolyn herself conceived. Which is to say that in
addition to writing lyrics, Carolyn began toiling
in other areas– drafting a novel, conceiving
storylines for musicals, and lecturing at the
92nd Street Y. Beyond that, Carolyn wrote “day and
night and Sundays,” as she herself described it. In fact, tucked away
in her private papers, she left a handwritten
list of helpful hints for tackling life, her own
sardonic brand of proverbs. [PIANO MUSIC] A word to the wise,
from Carolyn Leigh. “A penny saved is all
I have after taxes.” “A bird in the hand is
a messy proposition.” “He who laughs last
sounds stupid.” [MUSIC – MORTON GOULD, “NOTHING
IS FOREVER”] (SINGING) It’s not as depicted
in the Ladies’ Home Journal– life, I mean. And how did we end up with words
like “eternal” and “evergreen”? It’s comedy, it’s tragedy,
and it all goes by too fast– though I should have known
from that very first day, when the ice cream cone didn’t last. Joy only briefly thrills you. Passion rarely leaves a burn. Pain hardly ever kills you. As the seasons turn, funny how
you learn nothing is forever. Nothing is forever. Nothing is forever. All at once, you know that time
mustn’t catch you sleeping. Darling, time is running low. Love spoils with
too much keeping. When it wants to go,
time to let it go. Nothing is forever. Nothing is forever. Nothing is forever. In 1977, Carolyn was hired
to collaborate on a musical adaptation of the Fellini
film Juliet of the Spirits, the story of a middle-aged woman
who struggles to break free from her repressive
and faithless husband. It would be new and far darker
territory for the lyricist. Nothing is forever. Nothing is forever. Though Juliet never
came to fruition, Carolyn and Pulitzer Prize
winning composer Morton Gould wrote a full score
whose style and tone remain a stark contrast to any
of Carolyn’s previous works. Much of the score was written
for the title character, including an unused version of
the title song, “Enter Juliet,” which seemingly paints a
portrait of a liberated woman who, for the very first
time, finds herself at the grave of
her former husband. [MUSIC – MORTON GOULD, “ENTER
JULIET”] (SINGING) Do you know, Mr.
Palmer, who I am– who I was? In our long, happy
marriage, had we met? I’m that girl, Mr.
Palmer, whom you slept with before they had
even installed the bedroom set. You haven’t seen me since
the Chippendale and Chinskay. And the children
remember the sparrows. We watched them fly away. Do you know, Mr. Palmer, who
I am, this terrifying day? Not the many marks
of the soap dish. Not the colorless,
lusterless wife. Not the Virgin, entombed
in her hope chest– not on your life! And here, Juliet,
from the shadows, a delectable rose
of perfection– not a flaw in her complexion,
not a chink in her armor, this charmer just
made to beguile. And here, Juliet,
your enchantress who can handle the role
that’s assigned her with her left hand tied behind
her, not a hair out of place, not a quiver to
trace in her smile. Not to know her– what a pity. If you knew her, you’d hand
her the keys to the city. If you knew her. Darling Romeo,
while you slumber, let me add one more
dream to your number. May the vision that you once
light up and here, Juliet– and here, Juliet, as the
bride at your side once again, for a while. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC – MORTON GOULD, “I GET
MARRIED”] (SINGING) I don’t go to
Baden-Baden when my skin looks underfed. I get married. I don’t quit the
evening’s pleasures when I’m comfortably ahead. I get married. I stopped smoking 27
years ago, to be precise. But I cannot help indulging
in a more pernicious spice. And a lad who buys me Chinese
food need only mention rice– I get married. I don’t know how many times
I’ve heard the judge announce in court “el divor-so.” But instead of growing less
enthusiastic for the sport, I grow more so. If a lad is young
and willing and he’s learned to drive a car, or he’s
tall, and blond, and muscular, and handy at the
bar, not content to leave the balance of
the goodies in the jar– I get married. Oh, the crop may be poor,
and the blooms may be spotty, but they fall. Yes, they fall. At the flash of some
cash for a new Maserati, they will fall, one and all. When I’ve bid
goodbye to Mordecai and can’t rely on
Paul, Sam, or Trevor, I refuse to go to pieces. I go straight to City
Hall with whomever. When I cannot bear the prospect
of a weekend in the flat with a pair of mating goldfish
and a spotless welcome mat, I’m like any sober person
who’d go out and get a cat. I get married. So it’s here to the tears
and the wine by the gallon– let it pour. Hey, let it pour. For I’ve sworn, like that
Poe-bird of dear Edgar Allen, “nevermore, nevermore.” On the other hand, if I
unearth a natural resource, I’ll exhaust it. I have put my heart on ice,
but under threat of love, of course, I’ll defrost it. When the winds of time are
blowing, and the road of life is wet, and I
should have started getting smart and
getting out of debt, other people get a tuner
for their television set. I don’t care what they get. I get married. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC PLAYING] A word to the wise,
from Carolyn Leigh. “A rose by any other name
is probably Shirley.” “If at first you
don’t succeed, quit.” “It’s always darkest
when you blow a fuse.” [MUSIC – MARVIN HAMILISCH,
“HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU”] (SINGING) Here’s looking
at you, you with that wow look in your eye. Nobody would ever
guess the dragons you face the way you
effervesce all over the place. Here’s looking at you, making
life seem peachy as pie. I catch a corner of
the rainbow you chase. I get a piece of that high. You’re Peter Pan
and Robinson Crusoe, with all the best
adventures in view. So here’s castles in Spain,
fizzy champagne out of a shoe. Here’s cheers, watching you
fall into tears, tingles and all into it. Here’s looking at you. [MUSIC – MARVIN HAMILISCH,
“WALKING IN THE SUNSHINE”] And get a load of me–
gee, it’s great to be walking in the sunshine. And look at what you did. I’m a lucky kid, walking in the
sunshine, a song in my heart, my heart in a song. My days are no longer
lightning and thunder-ful. Isn’t that wonderful? Say “hello” again– there I go
again, dreaming up a rainbow, laughing up my sleeve at
the make-believe blizzard on the way. You’re roses and
you’re spring to me. Rub noses and come cling to me. Honeysuckle vine and wisteria– we could make them
grow in Siberia. Anywhere with you is a sun– sun– sunny day. You’ve got the magical spring
of a brand new elastic, all of the sing of a Viennese waltz. Do one spectacular thing, like
some enthusiastic somersaults. Do razzle-dazzle them
with all the delight of the kid playing
potsy, all of the might of a ship in full sail. If you’ll just
think of the sight of a whole hotsy-totsy world
by the tail, how can we fail? So here’s castles in Spain,
fizzy champagne out of a shoe. You’re play, baby,
and you know it. No way, baby, will we blow it. Here’s cheers, baby, and here’s
looking at you, looking at me, looking at you. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC – ELMER BERNSTEIN, “MUSIC
TO THEIR EARS”] (SINGING) Who’s that guy
in the big Mercedes custom tailored from Savile Row? He’s the guy who
controls the ladies. They’re the ones who
control the dough. Take a note of this in your own
book if on luxury you are bent. Make a note in your
trusty phone book. Then, proceed to your instrument
and to call them up to chatter. That’s using your brain matter. That’s music. That’s music. Every word you utter,
sweet as peanut butter– that’s music. That’s music. How Now, Dow Jones, 1967– Carolyn’s final new musical
to make it to Broadway, the story of a down-on-his-luck
orphan who makes it big selling stocks to widows. Just remember, brother–
it’s music to their ears. [MUSIC – ELMER BERNSTEIN, “STEP
TO THE REAR”] (SINGING) Will everyone
here kindly step to the rear and let a winner lead the way? Here’s where we
separate the notes from the noise, the
men from the boys, the rose from the poison ivy. Back in the bunch, I came
up with the hunch this was your up-and-at-them day. It’s one of those spells
when you hear the right bells and your horoscope tells
you to say, “Will everyone here kindly step to the rear
and let a winner lead the way?” I hear those trumpets
begin to blare, and now I’m Washington
up on the Delaware. Will everyone here
kindly step to the rear? Let Hubert Humphrey
lead the way. September 6, 1968. Western Union telegram
to the Hubert Humphrey for President Headquarters. Democratic National Committee,
2600 Virginia Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C. “Attention,
Lawrence O’Brien. Continued use by the
Humphrey campaign of the song written
by Elmer Bernstein and Carolyn Leigh entitled “Step
to the Rear” is unauthorized. We insist that you
immediately cease use of the song with the original
lyrics, or changed lyrics, or in any form. If you’ve been licensed to use
this song by theater producer David Merrick, please be advised
that he does not have the right to grant this license. If you wish any
further information, contact Ms. Leigh’s lawyer.” (SINGING) Here’s where
we separate the dun from the quack, the
ace from the pack, the pip from the Macintoshes. Back in the group, I
came up with the scoop this was the time to rise
and say, “I’ve got in my eyes such a jubilant sky that the
4th of July will seem gray.” Will everyone here
kindly step to the rear and let a winner lead the way? Will everyone here
kindly step to the rear and let a winner lead the way? Those are my ladies. Here’s where we split the real
McCoys from the coop, the hit from the fluke. The brass from the ukulele. Back in the bunch, I came
up with a hunch this was an up-and-at-them day. It’s one of those spells
when you hear the right bells and your horoscope tells
you to say, “Will everyone here kindly step to the rear
and let a winner lead the way?” [APPLAUSE] As I was walking down
the street one day, a voice inside my
head had this to say. [MUSIC – LEE POCKRISS, “GATSBY’S
SONG”] CAROLYN LEIGH: (SINGING)
Where flitters thou, and pardon how I smile. I mean, why splittest thou
in such pedestrian style? In other words, break
off clutching at straws. Shake off gravity’s laws. And when you take off,
hear that applause– because you can do spectacular
stunts, because you found out, miraculously, that people
who try anything once fly high, and wide, and free. That was a clip of Carolyn
singing a demo recording of “Gatsby’s Song,” one of a
handful of numbers that had been eliminated from her 1920s
jazz-infused Gatsby score. Based on the classic F
Scott Fitzgerald novel, the musical adaptation
of Gatsby was announced to begin
rehearsals in December 1969 toward a spring
Broadway opening. Tony Award winner Hugh Wheeler
had written the script, with Gene Frankel onboard
to direct the $600,000 Artie Shaw production. And yet, despite work on
the libretto and score having been completed, the
musical never came to fruition. Carolyn’s Gatsby score
was finally heard in 2011 in a world premiere
concert that re-conceived the musical material as
a song cycle of sorts. Interestingly, the majority
of the original Gatsby score was written for five of
its principal characters, and it is these
five individuals who inhabit the freshly
created concert adaptation of the score. They are Nick Carraway,
the Great Gatsby himself, Myrtle Wilson, Myrtle’s
sister Catherine, and the woman at the
center of it all, Daisy. Written circa 1969 with music
by Lee Pockriss and lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, these are
some of the songs from Gatsby. [MUSIC – LEE POCKRISS, “JAZZ
AGE”] (SINGING) Jazz Age. So this is the Jazz Age? Whee! That may be, so let me
go where the jazz is. Blues Age– well,
brother, if you ask me, damn near free, I tell
you, the whole world has it. Bad bootleg She is is
the scratch for my itch. Burns like a bitch, but
it loosens the clay. So pour me right
into a saxophone. Let me wail. Let me moan. As long as I go insane, numb
my brain, jazz the pain away. Jazz man, get off that melody. Why don’t you set me free? I want to go where– I want to go– –the jazz is. Jazz in the 20th
Century is so off-key. I tell you, the whole world
has this fabulous history up on a toot. There’ll be a beaut of a
piper to pay, so slide me right into a slide trombone. I’m so frail all alone. I’ve got to have
razzmatazz, night and day. Jazz man, jazz away. Jazz away. Jazz away. Jazz away. [MUSIC – LEE POCKRISS, “OTHER
PEOPLE’S MONEY”] (SINGING) Got out of
Yale summa cum laude. Mommy was proud. Daddy was prouder. Haven’t a dime, but
I’ve got a wager I’ll be glad I took that major. Now, with my friends
at the tennis and bath, I can continue
with graduate math. And it’s called
other people’s money. Other people’s money. Other people’s money–
let it pay my way. Hey! Other people’s money does
the things it should. Other people’s money,
honey, feels so good. Haven’t a pot. But if one is pleasant,
one eats pheasant a lot. Shoes all shine, a handkerchief
tidy, knickers impeccably cut– what am I doing on Friday? Making the knot, singing a pot. If you think that’s not
the soul of industry, what the hell does Morgan
do from 9:00 to 3:00? He plays with other
people’s money. Other people’s money. Other people’s money–
let it pay my way. Hey! What if Adolf Spreckles
says what’s in his mind? Other people shekels,
Freckles, suits me fine. Jazz Age. So this is the Jazz Age. Whee! That may be, so let me
go where the jazz is. Booze Age– well, brother, if
you ask me, damn near free– I tell you, the
whole world has it. That bootleg bitch is
the scratch for my itch. It burns like a bitch,
but it looses the play, so pour me right
into a saxophone. Let me wail. Let me moan– as long
as I jazz the pain away. Jazz away. Jazz my pain away. Jazz away. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC – LEE POCKRISS, “SOONER
OR LATER”] (SINGING) Living my life,
this is the first thing– holding my head
up, holding my own. Being his wife isn’t
the worst thing. Marriages can be accident prone. I have his name– Mrs. Buchanan,
rich and respected, stylish and gay as a girl
on her way to a ball. And if it’s all not
one big bet of roses, what’s the matter with living my
life, blessed or cursed thing? She gets the dregs,
but I get the wine. Living my life, this
is the first thing– Mrs. Buchanan can keep any
men in her life in line. Overlook it when
he plays around. Have your hair done twice a day. Just ignore it,
should he gaze around. Buy a brand-new negligee. Husbands, when
they’re problematical, indicate a brief sabbatical– which, in short, means
baby, let him roam. Harry, Dick, or Tom
turned traitor– they’ve all got one denominator. And sooner or later,
they all come home. If his secretary lies a lot,
wifey, learn to look away. Don’t just sit there
and surmise a lot– take it out on Cartier. No sense acting suicidally if
his shirts come back untidily and you’re sure it’s
not mercurochrome. Why set out to
sink his schooner. Made do with your piano tuner. And sooner or later,
they all come– Buy her a new dress. Go on a diet. Start a flirtation. [INAUDIBLE] Buy a new car. Get a good lawyer. Nobody knows how far it’ll go. But why the need to
light a fuse to him? Wait until she sets
the screws to him down in that Manhattan catacomb. Maybe she had something
cuter, but every man’s a born commuter. And sooner or later– back on the scooter– sooner or later,
they all come home. [APPLAUSE] (SINGING) Is there
something that you long for that you lack? Do you need my car and
chauffeur, or the shirt off my back? That’s my strong suit. I reply toot sweet, old sport. Just name your treat,
old sport, and I’ll be fleet, old sport,
that treat to extend. Any services you command
I’m quick to render. When a gentleman takes my
hand, that’s legal tender. Perhaps, old sport, your vice is
craps, old sport, or a delicacy that’s off the female gender. Well, entre nous, if
that’s what pleases you, there’s just no limit
to the effort I’ll bend. Because you never
know what might be in store for a gentleman
with a favor for– a gentleman with a
favor for a friend. And, mon ami, to
float a loan on me, you’ve just to phone,
ami, and money’s to lend. Why, for little
or no reward, I’d float a cruiser with a barrel of
gin aboard if you’re a boozer. And how, old skate, have
I till now, old skate, filled so many a cup
and not come up a loser? Well, here’s the gist. I’m what you may have missed– the perfect altruist
with plenty to spend. And the way to say
thanks will come to mind for a gentleman
who respects in kind– a high-type, grateful friend. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC – LEE POCKRISS,
“THE FELLOW IN THE YELLOW DUESENBERG”] (SINGING) Ain’t we just
the most piss-elegant, going for a spin in a hunk of
tin worth umpteen-thousand real samolians? Neck and neck with
Mrs. Vanderbilt, passing all the forts– from our running
boards up, we’re all men and all Napoleons,
driving a wife who’s nagging, a kid who’s bawling. You’re Warren Harding
with your pink posterior planted in that posh interior. That is why the
roadster next to you damn near kneels and
genuflects to you. You’re the fellow in
the yellow Duesenberg. Rapier wit comes to the fore in
you, gives you things to say– witty repartee like, “Holy
Christ, we need petroleum.” Ms. Peroxide sitting next to
you, drifting in her dream, doesn’t think to
scream, “The kitchen floor needs new linoleum.” Driving past people both
staring, and then, arriving– could there be bill collectors
there to threaten you? Julius Caesar and his retinue? Gabriel can blow his
horn again if he’ll say, the day I’m born again,
“You’re the fellow in the yellow Duesenberg.” [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC – LEE POCKRISS, “WATCH
YOUR STEP”] (SINGING) Watch your step– it’s not permanent. Watch your step, girl at play. Watch your step every
step of the way. Any smart girl of 30 knows–
in her heart, with her girdle, knows– she’s just in for one more
of those sleigh rides. 6 foot 2, uninsurable– looks
at you and you’re lurable. That’s your cue, poor
incurable romantic. Lose your head at
the sight of him. Fall down dead right away. Watch your step. Don’t let love come your way. (SINGING) Do you think
he’ll think we’re ladies? Do you think he’ll be impressed? Do you think, at
least, he’ll flirt with me before I get undressed? Do you think? Do you think? Do you think? Oh, Myrtle, maybe this
could be my Mr. Right! (SINGING) Stop. I don’t think that’s with whom
we have the pleasure tonight. In my head, there’s
this little old Victrola which, when I go
to bed with Tom, doesn’t play “Dardanella”
or “Nola,” but plays, instead, Myrtle Wilson’s
orgy-going song. Hallelujah. (SINGING) Watch your step. It’s not permanent. Watch your step, girl at play. Watch your step every
step of the way. Any smart girl of 30 knows–
in her heart, with her girdle, knows– she’s just in for one more
of those sleigh rides. 6 foot 2, uninsurable– looks
at you and you’re lurable. That’s your cue, poor
incurable romantic. (SINGING) Lose your
head at the sight of him. Fall down dead right away. Watch your step. Don’t let love come your way. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC – LEE POCKRISS, “DAISY”] (SINGING) When Gatsby
says the mountain moves, the mountain moves. When Gatsby says
the waters rise, look out for the flood tide. Never underestimate
the heavyweight who might conceal his drive. I don’t sit around and wait
for a friend of fate or favor to arrive– not Gatsby, not with
this dream alive. When Gatsby says he wants the
moon, the moon’s for sale. If Gatsby wants the sun as
well, to hell with the prices. Gatsby wants the moon. Gatsby wants the sun. Gatsby wants the girl. Gatsby wants the one
girl– he wants Daisy. That’s what it’s all about– Daisy, starting to blossom out. That golden girl, so
bright she hurts my eyes. Mirages shimmer in the sun and,
one by one, desert my eyes– but never Daisy, fresh
as the day we met, dancing out of my reach– and yet we met. And just one image focused
into frame forever– Daisy. All I wanted then, all I want
again, answers to her name. I didn’t come into this
world on a pass, buddy– I fought it. I didn’t arrive here with
reading and class- buddy, I bought it. Whenever I reach for
that ring made of brass– buddy, I caught it. So don’t undersell me. Don’t stand there and tell
me that Gatsby damn well won’t get to Daisy somehow. When Gatsby says he wants the
moon, the moon’s for sale. If Gatsby wants the sun as
well, to hell with the prices. Gatsby wants the moon. Gatsby wants the sun. Gatsby wants the girl. Gatsby wants the
one girl he wants– that means Daisy, that means
buddy, that means here and now. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC – LEE POCKRISS,
“HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE?”] (SINGING) Let’s go get
contaminated with the hoi polloi. Nowadays, that’s
what’s being done. People say that
class is date, and we have to go get integrated. Honey, it’s the trend, so
let’s pretend it’s fun. However, one can’t be a snob,
hobnobbing with the Loweker. No sirree, you’ve got to
wade right in democratically and win them with a
word, as follows– Didn’t I meet you down
at Kelly’s Saloon? We’re like a pair of cigars,
sort of simultaneously landed in the same spittoon. Haven’t we met before? Didn’t I meet you with
the mopping-up broom? I mean, I know you arrived
as Mrs. Vin White Harrison, but that’s an alias, I presume? Haven’t we before? Don’t let this old
Chanel I’m wearing phase you–it’s a simple rag. It’s really expensive. As for you, you’re simply
daring in that garment bag. And no matter what they tell
you, don’t remove the tag. And though I hear you
married a critic, dear, is that lifted pinky arthritic? Well, can’t you put down
before a girl I knew well? She was a marvelous maid
and there’s no comparison. But somewhere,
something rings a bell– fancy us meeting
at the Astor Hotel! I could have sworn I
saw you riding the L, heading for the
Coney Island shore. Pardon me, pet, but haven’t
we met before, Mrs. Astor? Pardon me, pet, but
haven’t we met before? [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC – LEE POCKRISS, “MYRTLE’S
PARADE”] (SINGING) Someone salute me,
because I feel like a flag– high-fly and flaunty with
a jaunty tail to wag. Because I stopped really caring
what the neighbors would say– woke up declaring this
is Independence Day, and I may 4th of July until
the whole world is mine. Friend, if you buy it, you
can fall right into line. I used to stand on
the sidelines sipping pink lemonade– but not today. Get out of my way. It’s Myrtle’s parade. Someone applaud me,
because I feel like a ham– short, fat, and sassy,
but as brassy as a band. And you can come and arrest
me for disturbing the peace. Fear once possessed me, but
I’m out, to say the least. And if I sing kind of corny
and I swing kind of free, I’m twice as horny
as a B-P-O of E. So if you’re built kind
of prudish, brother, pull down the shade. Tonight, we scrub
the Rotary Club. It’s Myrtle’s parade. They’re following Myrtle,
Miss Liberty Bell. She’s ringing that ding-dong– I ain’t going out
to play ping pong. I’m General Custer. I’m making a stand. This is the bust-out, buster. Who’s got the fire hose handy? I’m Abraham Lincoln. Slaves, rise and rebel. Stars shut in that
cupboard, strutting out– the natural lover. Fate You can make a stand. For God’s sake, don’t
play the “Wedding March”– it’s Myrtle’s parade. Three cheers to Myrtle, because
she’s something to cheer, big, bright, and body
like a gaudy chandelier. And though my dogs may be
barking every step of the way, I’m going sparking like
a firework display. And I’m may 4th of July-it
till the whole world is mine. Friend, if you buy it, you
can fall right into line. Why don’t we cut the discussion
and let’s all go get laid. If hell breaks loose,
we’ve got an excuse– it’s Myrtle’s parade. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC – LEE POCKRISS, “WISH
ME”] (SINGING) Here I am
again, undisputed queen, treated like His Highness,
like a porcelain figurine. Dear departing guests
wishing me good nights– don’t wish me the usual things,
though wish me well you might. Wish me happy birthday, Merry
Christmas, something new. Wish me some occasion I
can still look forward to. Wish me something rare in his
“good morning”s every day. Must we put away all
our lovely playthings? Happy? Oh, I’m happy. No remorse, and no regret. Longings? Have I longings? I forget. But now and again, I ask of
you, burning bright of luck, wish me back to when
I wished for love. So now and again, I ask the
moon, burning bright above, “wish me back to when
I wished for love.” [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC – LEE POCKRISS, “WISH
ME”] (SINGING) Fragments of my
hopes, remnants of our dreams, I cannot accept these as
a token of your esteem. If you walk away as your
parting thrust, don’t wish me the usual things, if
wish me well you must. Wish me happy birthday, Merry
Christmas, something new. Wish me some occasion I
can still look forward to. Wish me one “good morning” for
the mornings when you’re gone. Give me, when you’re gone,
something to go on for. Leave me. Leave me alone. Leave. Leave me wondering why we met. Leave me. Say you owe me no regret. But long as you once
wished me the moon, this much you can do– wish me one
hereafter, after you. Leave me. Leave me lonely. Only grant me one request– don’t just wish me
luck like all the rest. As long as you once
wished me the moon, this much you can do– wish me one hereafter, after– [MUSIC – LEE POCKRISS,
“FINALE (‘KADOKAH HIGH’)”] (SINGING) Jazz Age. So this is the Jazz Age. Whee! That may be– so let me
go where the jazz is. Blues Age– well, brother, if
you ask me, damn near free, I’d tell you the
whole world has it. Bad bootleg. She is is a scratch for my itch. Burns like a bitch, but
it loosens the play, so pour me right
into a saxophone. Let me wail. Let me moan. As long as I go insane, numb
my brain, jazz the pain away. You taught us
well, Kadokah High, to see the glory that life
contains, to build cathedrals beyond the plains, to realize
the great American dream. Pursue that dream– we mean
to try, with all our hearts, to do or die and to
remember, wherever we dwell, you taught
us well, Kadokah High. Jazz man– get off
of that melody. Why don’t you set me free? I want to go where– I want to go. –the jazz is. Jazz man– the 20th
Century is so off-key. I tell you, the
whole world has it. Sanity seems to
be off on a toot. There’ll be a beaut of a
piper to pay, so slide me right into a slide trombone. Let me wail. Let me moan. As long as I jazz the pain away. Jazz away. Jazz my pain away. Jazz away. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC – MORTON GOULD, “WHAT
BEAUTIFUL IS”] (SINGING) What beautiful
is, is most undemocratic. What beautiful is, is really
quite unfair when beautiful is a teenaged acrobatic
who never has kept a house or slept with
curlers in her hair. Oh, let me escape to
some delightful planet where everyone’s
past the age of 23, and beautiful is what I’d adore,
like fair, and fat, and 44– in other words, something
sort of more like me. [MUSIC – JOHNNY RICHARDS, “YOUNG
AT HEART”] (SINGING) Fairy
tales can come true. It can happen to you if
you’re young at heart. For it’s hard, you will
find, to be narrow of mind if you’re young at heart. You can go to extremes
with impossible schemes. You can laugh as your dreams
fall apart at the seams. And life gets more exciting
with each passing day, and love is either in
your heart or on the way. Don’t you know that it’s worth
with every treasure on Earth to be young at heart? For as rich as you are,
it’s much better, by far, to be young at heart. And if you should
survive to 105, look at all you’ll derive
out of being alive. And here is the best part– you have a head start if you are
among the very young at heart. [APPLAUSE] [PIANO MUSIC] Before our final song, we
want to offer one final word to the wise. “East is east, and west
is west, and that’s what started the trouble.” [LAUGHTER] [MUSIC – LEE POCKNISS, “YOU’RE
ON YOUR OWN”] (SINGING) Somebody
always gave you the answer, smiled while you stood
there sucking your thumb, taught you to do
a few imitation– nothing that you’d
learned anything from. Wasn’t it you who was
privately raising hell, seeking a role you could play
to a fair-thee-well? Well, stand up and cheer. You’re on your own,
no one to steer you. You’re on your own. No more the sound of a voice
to prompt from the wings. What if your heart
doesn’t make it? Go on. Fake it. Take it from here– you said you could. Go stand the world on its
ear, now, if you’re so good. It’s all so painfully clear,
now, that you’re alone. Here’s where the
orchestra stops, and they remove all the props,
and all your pain-painted drops are flown. You’re on, and
you’re on your own. “It really started,”
Carolyn explains, “when I was just nine
years old in school. I was madly in love with
a 15-year-old boy who was having trouble
passing an English course, so I wrote the
assignment for him. When the teacher accused him
of stealing the compositions from a book, I had
the option of letting her think the
material was lifted or confessing that
I wrote everything. So at the tender age of nine, I
made my first female decision. I decided to say
nothing to the teacher, give up the boy for another,
and start writing on my own.” Carolyn Leigh died in
1983 at the age of 57, leaving behind a
celebrated canon and an extraordinary trunk
filled with, most notably, four complete scores to
which she had devoted more than 15 years
of her life, each with an individual texture,
each one personal to Carolyn, each one left unsung. (SINGING) Stand up and cheer. You’re on your own,
no one to steer you. You’re on your own, no
more the sound of a voice to prompt from the wings. What if your heart
doesn’t make it? Go on. Fake it. Take it from here. You said you could. Go stand the world on its
ear, now, if you are so good. It’s all so painfully
clear, now, out here alone. Here’s where the
orchestra stops, and they remove all the props,
and all your pain-painted drops are flown. You’re on, and
you’re on your own. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC PLAYING] [MUSIC – LEE POCKNISS, “JAZZ
AGE”] (SINGING) Jazz Age. So this is the Jazz Age. Whee! That may be– so let me
go where the jazz is. Blues Age– well,
brother, if you ask me, damn near free, I tell
you, the whole world has it. Bad bootleg, she is the
scratch for my itch. Burns like a bitch,
but it looses the play, so pour me right
into a saxophone. Let me wail. Let me moan. As long as I go insane, numb
my brain, jazz the pain away.

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