09 May 2008

Violet! You're turning violet, Violet!

About a year ago I got the cast recording to the show Violet with music by Jeanine "Caroline, or Change" Tesori and book and lyrics by Brian Crawley. Since then I've been OBSESSED with the song "On My Way". Also, since about then, I've been OBSESSED with looking up amature performances of songs I'm OBSESSED with on YouTube. Since it's a Friday, and we all want to kill time, Imma share some of these with you.

The premise of Violet: A young girl, named Violet, is hit in the face with an ax when she is young and has a huge scar. (Traditional productions don't show the scar, but rather have the actress "mime" it.) As a young woman, she decides to travel by bus to visit a Evangelist/Faith Healer. Personal growth ensues. "On My Way" happens early in the show, at the beginning of her journey. Note: If anyone has a clue as to what the lyric "His wife thinks I'm a dragon-fly Lord, you've got to help me find my way" means, please help. I think it may refer to the singer's son, but it's left me bothered and bewildered for months.

First up is my favorite of the available clips, from University of Miami. The video quality is not so hot, but the sound is pretty good. They seem to capture the delicate, wistful nature of the show perfectly, and nail the orgasmic choral section (I almost cried a little bit, the build-up begins at 3m26s). I also enjoy the "bus turns". A classy offering, if a bit static.

Slightly less successful, in my opinion, is this version from PACE University. They approach the material with a decidedly heavier hand, have slightly forced vocals, and reduce the pit to a piano and percussion. As a result, the chorgasm isn't quite as strong, but it's a much more kinetic production than Miami's, and I think their leading lady has tons of personality. I also love they way they incorporate the Young Violet in this production.

Then, because it's Friday and we're all over it, here are some honorable mentions:
  • A bit of Sutton Foster singing a solo version. She sounds great, but a solo version is kinda pointless, depsite her noble effort.
  • A group called "Broadway Boys" doing a sort of Broadway Boy Band version. If you watch this one you either really hate your job, really LOVE this song, really love being a gay man, or any combination of the above.

1 comment:

  1. My grandparents took Miriam, Jill, & myself to the workshop of Violet at Playwrights Horizons sometime around 1997. It was a transformative experience, and also the last time I saw a decent show at PH.