Sing, My Angel, Sing: The Songbird Portfolio (Part 3)

Dear Caroline,

“He had it coming, he had it coming, he only had himself to blame,” you sang, doing “The Cell Block Tango” in “Chicago.” “If you’d have been there, if you’d have seen it, I betcha you would have done the same.”

Ah, now you were singing a different tune, a song about murder, and you nailed it. You had to come off as tough in that song, the song an aria of injustice and cold-blooded revenge, hardly what you would call a pretty song.

You showed some new chops here, some real versatility. We knew you could play the princesslike perfection of Belle and Ariel. But now you showed you could play tough, too (

Singing in key is all well and good, but maybe little more than a parlor trick unless you also know how to tell a story. A song is about the right notes married to the right lyrics, a wedding the singer then gets to conduct. Someone else composed the music and lyrics, but the song must ultimately sound like it’s coming from you – must sound, indeed, like it could come only from you.

We could see you now developing that special touch, that magical instinct, for finding the truth embedded in every song you sang. Every time you sang a song you explored its depths, searched for its purpose, its essence.

So it went with the songs from “Mulan” and “The Mikado” (has any Gilbert and Sullivan fan ever seen a Yum Yum cuter than you? Or better at giggling? Or just generally, um, yummier? I dare say no).

Yet so much more still lay in store.

P.S. – Part 4 will appear tomorrow.

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