Sunday, April 05, 2015

Sunday Morning, Hopelessly Hollywood: Witnessing the Birth of a Circus Song

This is about my first meeting David Baron, who would compose the music for my show, Those Ringlings, as recounted in my book.  We were feeling out each other's talents and attitudes that morning.

            Baron, it seemed, was something of a loose fuse, forever close to going off.  When I first met him I handed him my typed lyric sheet for “The Circus is Coming,” to show him a sample of my work.  He looked at it, mulled it into his mind a bit and swelled up into a ball of action.
          “Follow me” he said, crossing to a door, like a kid anxiously on his way to the bathroom, needing to relieve himself.   The door opened into a small anteroom featuring a piano.  David sat down and invited me to take a seat.  He spread out the sheet on the stand, began to talk out the words, and shortly after, was running his fingers up and down the keyboard.  

                   Tho circus is coming!
                   Right under the big top,
                   Step up, see a pig hop
                   through a flaming hoop --
                   We’re one amazing troupe!    
                   Arabian tumblers --
                   Your spines will be tingling!
                   Step up!  See the Ringling Brothers famous show,
                   with acts from Kokomo!

                   [and so on...]

           He grew more excited as he tried out various melody lines, looking and listening to me all the while for feedback.  I liked what he was up to ... Sure, yes ... sounds on the right track! ... Yes, keep it going!   David grew more vocal, more intensely committed to his creative instincts.  How exciting it was to witness, even take part in, the birth of a song.
          In ten minutes, maybe less — The Circus Is Coming had music.  Damn good music.   At that moment, I had no doubt I would likely be asking David Baron to compose the score.  I had already heard a lovely ballad of his, “Little Snowflake,” and now I had ample evidence that he could go Cohan, too.  You need both emotions from  a theatre composer.

 "Dreamy Hollywood magic"
  - Kirkus Reviews 

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