Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cockeyed Optimist

Shockingly, I have a big crush on our President. I just watched a program I had saved on my DVR that was called something like, "Broadway at the White House." (Some great numbers, but yet another reminder that I just don't get it about Elaine Stritch. She does nothing for me. Brian D'Arcy James, on the other hand...I'm a fan.)

Anyway, the President started off with an introduction, in which he said,

There’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of a Broadway musical. At its heart, it’s the power of a story, of love, and of heartbreak, joy and sorrow, singing witches and dancing ogres. Musicals carry us to a different time and place, but in the end they also teach us a little something about ourselves. It’s one of the few genres of music that can inspire the same passion in an 8 year old as an 80 year old, making them both want to get up and dance. It transcends musical tastes, from opera and classical to rock, hip hop, and whether we want to admit it or not, we all have the lyrics to a few Broadway songs stuck in our heads. In many ways, the story of Broadway is also intertwined with the story of America. Some of the greatest singers and songwriters Broadway and this country has ever known came to this country on a boat with an idea in their head and a song in their heart. They succeeded in the same way so many immirgrants have succeeded, through talent, hard work, and sheer determination. Over the years, musicals have also been at the forefront of our social consciousness, challenging stereotypes, and shaping our opinions about race and religion, death and disease, power and politics. Perhaps the most American part of this truly American art form is its optimism. Broadway music calls us to see the best in ourselves, and in the world around us, to believe that no matter how hopeless things might seem, the nice guy can still get the girl, the hero can still triumph over evil, and a brighter day can be waiting just around the bend. As the great Mel Brooks once said, “Musicals blow the dust off your soul.”

I love that I get this. And I get to live this, and teach it.

That's kind of all I have to say about that. Nice work if you can get it.

Nathan Lane is the emcee. He just said, "We are here to sing showtunes for the most powerful man in the free world. And God help anyone who gets in our way." Haaaa.

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