Midge Woolsey, WQXR Host
Midge Woolsey's grounding in opera and musical theater led her to become a producer and host for public television and radio, proudly serving the tristate community with her soothing presence for over 30 years.
Hey, musical theater fans! I know, I know -- WQXR is a classical music station. But this morning I had the sound of Broadway on my mind, and I came into the office singing a song from a classic piece of American musical theater: Brigadoon, the 1947 Lerner and Lowe show about the enchanted Scottish village that appears every hundred years for only one day.
The song I was singing, "Come to me, Bend to me," is really for Charlie, one of the guys in the show. He sings it to Jean as he tries to lure her out of the house on her wedding day. Knowing full well that it's bad luck to see the groom on your wedding day, Jean will have nothing to do with it. I've always wanted to be able to sing that song because it's so beautiful. And it’s romantic. And it’s almost Valentine’s Day. So there!
When I stop to think about it, there are probably hundreds of wonderful, romantic moments in musical theater. And most of those moments date from the golden age of Broadway. Carousel (1945), Kismet (1953), The King and I (1951), West Side Story (1957), Fiorello! (1959), South Pacific (1949), The Sound of Music (1959) and My Fair Lady (1956) are just a few shows with romantic plots that come to mind. And what about The Fantasticks? It hit the Great White Way in 1960 and it’s still running, right? I think you could even see it on Valentine's Day here in New York if you wanted to. What a timeless love story that is! When Luisa and Matt finally figure out that their love is meant to be and they sing "They Were You," that very simple song goes straight to your heart.
So, even though we're supposed to be talking about classical music on this blog, I just know that you’ll have some great ideas here. When you have a minute or two, please tell me: what are your favorite romantic moments in American musical theater?
And, pardon me if I’m sounding too old fashioned here, if you want to reach beyond the Golden Age and think about A Little Night Music (1973), The Phantom of the Opera (1988) or more recent musicals, that's ok, too.
And Happy Valentine’s Day to you!