“Words and Music” World Premier in Damariscotta

Posted:  Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 11:30pm
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    What's the Buzz" covers what's happening, what might be happening, and what should be happening in the opinion of the author.

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“Words and Music-A New Musical Revue” written  by old friends Aaron Robinson and Suzy Hallett will make its debut on the world stage on October 6th at the Parker  Meeting Hall, located at Skidompha Library in Damariscotta.

This exciting new revue features 21 original songs celebrating love, life and laughter In the styles of Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim, Burt Bacharach, and Comden and Green, these songs are a refreshing change in the sometimes stale recent theater world of revival and reprise. This show is new, fresh, and crisp as the fall days we long for in the long days of summer.

How does collaboration like this this happen? It must have taken months and months of arduous work. Well, no. Effort, yes. Talent, absolutely. Probably some agony but mostly these pieces were written for the sheer joy of … words and music.

Sometimes a leap of faith takes us where we never thought to go. Sometimes it is just a “bee in a bonnet” that simply won’t let go. The critter buzzes and bites and annoys until you have to pay attention. It was a bee that bit Suzy Hallett on April 5th of this year. She sent an email to her old friend, Aaron Robinson.  “ … a bee in my bonnet,” she said, “ let’s write a song together! You write the music; I write the lyrics.”  She continued, “If this idea doesn’t make you want to throw up let’s talk about it.”

Hallett send Robinson a lyric. She expected to hear back in a week maybe, but not the next day with a completed song. She sent another, et voila!  Another completed song.  Less than six weeks later the two had a folio of 23 songs.

Collaborations of friends have produced some of our most beloved musicals. Like the renowned team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Hallett and Robinson found an absence of new material on the current scene, felt the bite of the creative bee, and began creating their own. They discovered an unexpected ability to write librettos and lyrics and music together.They certainly never intended to write a revue or to be planning the next work together even before the debut of the first one.

There’s nothing like the first time you hear your words and music given life by talented performers. For Robinson and Hallett that day was the rehearsal on Sunday, Sept 10.  As Robinson sat at the keyboards, Hallett watched from a wing-backed chair, with her libretto in her hands.

Ellen Whalley, Kristen Robinson, Kyle Aarons and Jeffrey Caron, the performers, met for the first time and began the process of bringing the new show to the stage. The songs cover everything from a Christmas tune, to a wistful love ballad, to a comedy number or two.

The perpetual “ why won’t you  dance with me” that  many people face when confronted  with a partner who just won’t, the fun of  a boat ride, the memory of a first moonlit kiss, all are here in lively new  forms.

Only one song caused a bit of consternation between the friends.   When Suzy wrote the lyrics for “Final Wish,” she had a sassy, in-your-face kind of number in mind. When Aaron received the emailed lyrics (they did not plan any of these songs in advance), he ‘heard’ a whispered wish for that first (and last) great passion. The result is a heart-wrenching song which will be sung by Ellen Whalley. A taste of the lyrics: “My time upon this earth has been marked with mixed reviews, first act romance has escaped me, now I long for my debut” and “I refuse to turn the page until I’ve truly loved someone.”

There is much good-natured ribbing and a lot of fun in store for those who attend the debut.  People may well claim that they were “there” the first time these songs, many of which may become our new classics, were performed. The penultimate number in “Words and Music” is such a song. “Wondering Why” evokes a combination of emotions that are a cross between “Let There Be Peace on Earth” and “ You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Yes, bring your Kleenex, but that is a good thing.

Join in the fun of a World Première in your own back yard. Get your seats early as these are very limited and will surely sell-out. “WORDS & MUSIC - A New Musical Revue: The Songs of Hallett & Robinson" is an exciting new show written by the songwriting team of Aaron Robinson and Suzy Hallett. It debuts Friday & Saturday, October 6th & 7th at 7:30pm. There is one matinee: Sunday Oct 8th at 2pm. For Reservations call 207-882-6335 - Tickets are $15.