But I’ll set down the pegs that make this music… – OTHELLO, II i

othello poster

The third and final opening night of the 2018 Kentucky Shakespeare season is here at last. As is the third and final opening night mix.

There was a running gag between the actor playing Othello & myself that after Iago’s line, “The Moor – I know his trumpet” Chuck Mangione’s “Feels So Good” should play (I know, I know, it’s a flugelhorn), but it just didn’t fit the mix. We tried to get it to happen for his entrance to parley with the Percy gang as Blunt in 1 HENRY IV as well, but them’s the breaks.

Speaking of which, break legs, O cast, O crew – here it is:

(And no, don’t even try Spotify with some of these. What fun is that?)

The Playlist

  1. “Jealous Man” – Hoyt Axton: This seems like a clear enough statement of purpose;
  2. “Tush” – ZZ Top: I mean, it IS the first word of the play. How often this opportunity come?;
  3. “On the Street Where You Live” – Holly Cole Trio: This is her father’s house – I’ll call aloud;
  4. “What About Your Daughter” – J.B. Lenoir: Would YOU had had her;
  5. “More” – Tom Jones: I know, it’s spelled wrong, but still. And I think this expresses well Othello’s marital feelings for…
  6. “Badass With a Heart of Gold” – Jason Morphew: …Desdemona, the only real reason beyond its catchiness for this song to be here (it’s just not a common name in popular song);
  7. “Duke of Earl” – Gene Chandler: My wife is playing the Duke in this one (quite unlike my turn in Errors), so she gets to pick the Duke song;
  8. Blue Rondo à la Turk – Dave Brubeck Quartet: We must not think the Turk is so unskillful/ To leave that latest which concerns him first…;
  9. “Warriors” – Thin Lizzy: Again, this seems to speak for itself and yet fit the mix better than the “We’re Going to War” song from Duck Soup;
  10. “These Arms of Mine” – Otis Redding: For since these arms of mine had seven years pith…’
  11. “Raspberry Beret” – Hindu Love Gods: The modern military setting we’ve chosen makes for some fine soldierly headgear;
  12. “Green Eyes” – Gene Krupa Orchestra with Roy Eldridge & Anita O’Day: Also probably self-explanatory;
  13. Casio VL Tone demo: O my dear Cassio!/ My sweet Cassio! O Cassio, Cassio, Cassio!
  14. “Let’s Make Love Not War” – Charles Watts & the 103rd St. Rhythm Band: The profit’s yet to come ‘tween me and you;
  15. “Jealousy” – Liz Phair: I can’t believe you had a life before me/ I can’t believe they let you run around free/ Just putting your body wherever it seemed like a good idea/ What a good idea;
  16. “Hanky Panky” – Los Hitters: This may do something. (Tommy James is all well and good, but I have a soft spot for this version);
  17. “It’s Your Thing” – Isley Brothers: I credit the inclusion of this one to the weird little filthy exchange Iago & Emilia have in the middle of the loooong scene that is Act III Scene iii;
  18. “Hate & War” – The Clash: I have the will to survive/ I cheat if I can’t win/ If someone locks me out/ I kick my way back in;
  19. “Between the Sheets” – Foreplay feat. Chaka Khan & Nathan East: I chose this version because duh Chaka Khan, but also a fear of Too Much Isley – Now stop asking questions, Emilia, and go make the damn bed;
  20. “Down By the Willow Garden” – Everly Brothers: aka Edwina’s Lullaby from Raising Arizona. The presence of a willow in folk song or Shakespeare never means anyone any good;
  21. “A Little Warm Death” – Cassandra Wilson: This isn’t here at the end because of the Elizabethan slang for orgasm, or because of the complex sexual imagery of the play, especially in its final scene, but because anyone who’s ever done Shakespearean tragedy outdoors knows the true meaning of the phrase.

Now I’m going to go take a nap.

Music do I hear? – RICHARD II, V v

Another show, another mix. I’ve gone for kind of a Wes Anderson soundtrack feel here, seeing as the nature of Richard’s character is fairly Euro-emo (Yérmo? That does get the Yé-Yé in there). I mean, look at that face…

19092680_10155504435354434_2868784548489346645_o

That’s a Wes Anderson face. Having feelings. Right, Neill? (That’s Neill.)

He was born in Bordeaux and all (Richard, I mean), so some French pop will be welcome. A little more introspection than is particularly healthy, so some Kinks (more than one song by the same artist, which normally goes against my personal mix rules, but again, it plays into the Andersonity, so I make an exception here). And other things.

The reasons behind the inclusion of each song float from lyric to title to general mood, depending, though some are admittedly more obvious than others…

Here it is. Break legs. Happy opening – enjoy!

King’s Revenge – Thin Lizzy: I think the lyrics explain themselves, and perhaps the attitude of the multitude, what Bagot calls the “wavering Commons”.

Love and Chivalry (Caprice élégant en forme de schottische)– Louis Moreau Gottschalk: a nice Andersonian instrumental, plus the title, right?

I’m On an Island – The Kinks: The nature imagery throughout this play is notable, not just for Gaunt’s famous “sceptered isle” speech. I like to think this is Richard separated from the Queen.

Old Old Woodstock – Van Morrison: The domino that starts it all tumbling down the stairs is Woodstock. (Why does he fly upside down?)

C’est Notre Histoire – Lysiane Loren: It’s our history. Oui?

What’s the Buzz – Roy Meriwether Trio: Something about Bushie, Bagot, & Greene always makes me think of this, but also there’s a LOT of throwing around of Judas’s name every time anyone so much as puts too much mustard on Richard’s sandwich. Listening to this version also reminds me how much Sir Andrew stole from Donovan, but that’s not important here.

Long Daddy Green – Blossom Dearie: Not so much because I’m playing Greene as to acknowledge the importance of what Harvey Korman would call Count De Monet in this particular tale.

Friendly Loans – The Marcels: “Why cousin, wert though Regent of the world,/ It were a shame to let this land by lease.”

Something’s Coming – Bill Barron Orchestra: It’s name is Henry and he’s safe at Ravenspurg, fresh from exile. Something Good? Maybe…

Green Green Grass of Home – Tom Jones: Not only another paean to the land itself, but featuring a Welshman in honor of the superstitious captain who leaves at greatly exaggerated rumors of Richard’s demise.

Surrey with the Fringe on Top – Sonny Rollins: This is useless, but I think of it whenever Surrey’s name is mentioned, so…

Help! – Cathy Berberian: These lyrics remind me of Richard a couple of times in the play, but particularly during his “sit upon the ground” breakdown.

Stop Your Sobbing – The Kinks: …and these remind me of everyone around Richard in said scene.

In the Garden – Hee Haw Gospel Quartet: Have a seat. Have an apricock. I have some bad news.

Je Crois En Toi – How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Original 1961 French Cast): If you know How to Succeed, you know this scene is a bunch of guys in an executive washroom yelling about their competition (“I’ve gotta stop that man cold or he’ll stop me”), followed by Our Hero’s personal pep talk into a mirror. This French version fit the vibe better.

Fractured Mirror – Ace Frehley: “For there it is, crack’d in a hundred shivers.”

It’s a Sunshine Day – The Brady Bunch: “’God save King Henry’, unking’d Richard says,/ ‘And send him many years of sunshine days.” And then from the side stage I sing this under my breath.

Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers: “Ay, no”, “Ay, no”, “Ay, no”, “Ay, no”, “Ay, no”, “Ay, no”, “Ay, no”…

A Woman Is a Sometime Thing – Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong: “Good sometime Queen, prepare thee hence for France…”

Yesterday – Roosevelt Grier: This and the next few songs are all definite Richard-at-Pomfret underscoring, top to bottom. And yes, that’s Rosie Grier.

Too Much on My Mind – The Kinks: “For no thought is contented.” I mean, right?

The Party’s Over – Judy Holliday: Melodramatic showtunes seem like they’d be Richard thing if he had been born a few centuries later.

I Can Hear Music – She & Him: “Keep time!”

Magic Garden – Dusty Springfield: Were there a closing credits sequence, this would doubtless play over it. But it’s a play, so there isn’t. But still. Jimmy Webb clearly read Richard II.