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The Gospel of Musical Theatre
49 minutes | Nov 26, 2021
In this very special bonus episode, we turn to the contemporary masterpiece (ahem) Schmigadoon! - Apple TV's 2021 spoof/homage to the great musicals of yore. We talk about: - The show’s creators, Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio, and their origins in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - The "marriage trope" – does the show uphold it or undermine it (or both)? - The song "This Is How We Change" and its inherent questions about transformation. How does musical theatre change - and how do we? - Schmigadoon!’s articulation of the Gospel and the redefinition of love in the sermon of Reverend Layton - The MANY spoofs & Easter eggs found in this love letter to the world of musical theatre You’ll hear: - The company of Schmigadoon! singing the title number, "Schmigadoon," "Corn Puddin’" and "This Is How We Change" - Cecily Strong, Cassandra Consiglio & Alex Barima singing "Va-Gi-Na" - Jane Krakowski singing "I Always, Always, Never Get My Man" Continue the conversation with Peter (@pgeinvan) and Nathan (@nathan_lerud) on Twitter, and follow the Gospel of Musical Theatre on Instagram or Twitter @gospelofmt.
51 minutes | Nov 12, 2021
2.4 Paint Your Wagon!
It's the last installment of our Lerner & Loewe deep dive, and we're ending with - well, with a bit of a downer. But an interesting one: Paint Your Wagon, the quintessential expression of loneliness and the challenge of connection. We talk about: The differences between the 1951 Broadway musical and the 1969 film – and how things had changed in the real world from 1951 & 1969 The sexual & gender politics of Ben, Pardner & Elisa's polyamorous relationship in the film The vision of American masculinity embodied in the Western myth and the songs "Wandrin’ Star," "Another Autumn," and "I Talk to the Trees" The theological, economic, and social dynamics of connection & completion given voice in songs like “They Call the Wind Maria” and the economic, gender and theological dynamics embodied in the questions they raise. Whether shows from another era—like My Fair Lady, Paint Your Wagon, Gigi—help us identify with their creators & original audiences, or whether they romanticize & perpetuate a false narrative about the past Our speculative take on the psychology of Lerner & Lowe based on the characters they create You’ll hear: James Barton singing “Wandrin’ Star” from the 1951 Broadway Cast recording Justin Guarini singing “Another Autumn” and Nathan Hackman singing “They Call the Wind Maria” from the 2015 Encores! Cast recording Tony Bavaar singing “I Talk to the Trees” from the 1951 Broadway Cast recording Continue the conversation with Peter (@pgeinvan) and Nathan (@nathan_lerud) on Twitter, and follow us on Instagram or Twitter @gospelofmt!
49 minutes | Oct 29, 2021
2.3 Camelot & Gigi!
It's a two-fer this week... We're jumping into Lerner & Loewe's most problematic and legendary (wait for it...) shows - the 1958 film Gigi and the 1960 Broadway musical Camelot! We talk about: - Gigi’s origin in the short stories of the French writer Colette (1873-1953) and the film's lurking pedophilia - The nature of women’s roles (in 19th-century Paris, 1950s America, and today), and the development of cultural norms around gender, marriage and sexuality. - The “marriage fantasy” and the degree to which Christianity has upheld and supported it – and how both Gigi and Camelot both support and question conventions around heterosexual marriage - The relationship between Camelot's Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot as an echo of Higgins, Eliza and Pickering's relationship in My Fair Lady. - How Camelot relates to the Kennedy presidency and 1960s America - The show's central theological questions: can there be power that is wielded for good - and is the realization of the Beloved Community possible in this life? You’ll hear: - Maurice Chevalier singing “Thank Heaven For Little Girls” from the 1958 Gigi film soundtrack. - Richard Burton singing the title song and Julie Andrews &Richard Burton singing "What Do the Simple Folk Do?" from the 1960 Broadway Cast Recording of Camelot - Our Beloved Julie Andrews singing “The Lusty Month of May” from the 1960 Camelot Broadway Cast Recording Continue the conversation with Peter (@pgeinvan) and Nathan (@nathan_lerud) on Twitter, and follow the Gospel of Musical Theatre on Instagram or Twitter @gospelofmt.
56 minutes | Oct 15, 2021
2.2 My Fair Lady!
We know you've been waiting for it - this week, we take a critical (but loving) look at Lerner & Loewe's best-known musical, the 1956 classic My Fair Lady! We talk about: - The show’s origin in the mythology of Ovid and the social agenda of English playwright George Bernard Shaw – and, perhaps, the Biblical story of Job. - The musical’s exploration of the philosophical question, “If you got everything you wanted, would that really make you happy?” - The misogyny of the idea (both theatrical and religious) of a masculine God who controls men & women. How does My Fair Lady both perpetuate and push back on these images? - The true love story of My Fair Lady. Is it Eliza and Higgins? Eliza and Freddy? Higgins and Pickering? Or some combination? - The challenge of the ending. Is My Fair Lady a redemption story or an indictment of Henry Higgins and everything he represents? - The danger of “becoming accustomed” – to faces, situations, and damaging cultural norms. You’ll hear: - Julie Andrews (Patron Saint of this podcast) singing “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and “I Could Have Danced All Night” from the 1959 West End cast recording. - Rex Harrison singing “A Hymn to Him” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” from the 1959 West End recording. Continue the conversation with Peter (@pgeinvan) and Nathan (@nathan_lerud) on Twitter, and join the conversation at the Gospel of Musical Theatre!
47 minutes | Oct 1, 2021
Welcome to Season 2: Lerner & Loewe! Today, we begin a series of episodes on the musicals of Alan Jay Lerner (1918-86) and Frederick Lowe (1901-88), second only to Rodgers & Hammerstein as creators midcentury musicals that continue to speak to 21st century audiences. We talk about: - The origins of the partnership between Lerner and Lowe and their early flop era. - Why a musical about two American boys falling into a mythical/fantasy version of the Scotland Highlands was so appealing for post-WWII audiences. - The interplay between fantasy & reality that Brigadoon illustrates, how that tension represents the tension of musical theatre itself – and the dangers of nostalgia. - Lerner & Loewe’s career-long interest in men's loneliness – and the potential of theatre (and love) as a means of connecting men to their emotional core and to the people in their lives. - The tension between individual & communal salvation, and how mythical Brigadoon might illustrate an image of the Kingdom of God. You’ll hear: - Kelli O’Hara and Patrick Wilson singing “Reprise” from the 2017 Broadway Revival Cast recording - Patrick Wilson singing “There But For You Go I” from the 2017 Broadway Revival Cast recording Continue the conversation with Peter (@pgeinvan) and Nathan (@nathan_lerud) on Twitter, and join the conversation at the Gospel of Musical Theatre!
49 minutes | Aug 20, 2021
BONUS! A Conversation with Robin Kermode
We're on summer break, but before we dive into the musicals of Lerner & Lowe in Season 2, we're so excited to share this conversation with the one & only Robin Kermode, renowned English actor, writer, and communications coach. We chat about about Broadway overtures, code switching, what acting has to teach us about spirituality, and finding your authentic voice. Find Robin’s own podcast (with occasional guest the Very Rev’d Peter Elliott!) at https://robinkermode.com/podcast/ You’ll Hear: - The Overture to “The King and I” (Original Broadway Cast recording, 1951) - Marni Nixon singing “I Could Have Danced All Night” from the 1964 film of “My Fair Lady” - Rex Harrison singing “Why Can’t the English” from the 1964 film
42 minutes | Jul 30, 2021
Today, we wrap up our first season deep dive into Rodgers & Hammerstein with one of their lesser-known (and less successful...) work - the 1947 musical Allegro, a show that was ahead of its time but that hasn't been produced much since its original run. We talk about: - Rodgers and Hammerstein as commercial Broadway producers and as a creative team - The rise of the “concept musical” and Allegro’s role in that tradition (and its influence on subsequent composers... like a kid named Stephen Sondheim, whose first Broadway job was as an assistant on Allegro!). - Learning to love people by investing in their thriving and the power of vulnerability. - Moments of epiphany in which everything seems to fall into place, why we might look for those moments on stage because we rarely in day-to-day life – and what it means to find your “true self”. You’ll hear: - Gloria Willis singing “We Have Nothing to Remember So Far” from the 1947 Original Broadway Cast Recording. - Lisa Kirk singing “The Gentlemen is a Dope” from the 1947 Original Broadway Cast Recording. You may want to check out: - Episode 19 of Porchlight Music Theatre's podcast Classic Musicals From the Golden Age of Radio with Michael Weber. It contains the full 1951 radio broadcast of Allegro - and a great introduction by Anika Chapin of Goodspeed Opera Company in CT! Continue the conversation with Peter (@pgeinvan) and Nathan (@nathan_lerud) on Twitter and join the conversation at the Gospel of Musical Theatre.
51 minutes | Jul 16, 2021
1.6 The Sound of Music!
We're still diving into the musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein - and today's episode is a good one... We're talking about The Sound of Music! Join us for this chat about both the 1959 stage version and the iconic 1965 film staring the incomparable Julie Andrews. We talk about: - How the “marriage trope” (symbolic differences reconciled in the courtship & marriage of two main characters) intersects a political story about fascism and resistance - Maria von Trapp as both a redemptive figure and a prototypical “good German” - The theology of “Something Good,” and Catholic versus Protestant understandings of love and human worthiness You’ll hear: - Laura Benanti and Christian Boyle singing “No Way To Stop It” and “How Can Love Survive” from the 2013 NBC Soundtrack Recording - Julie Andrews singing “I Have Confidence” and “Something Good” from the 1965 film soundtrack - Peggy Wood singing “Climb Every Mountain” from the 1965 film. Continue the conversation with Peter (@pgeinvan) and Nathan (@nathan_lerud) on Twitter and join the conversation at the Gospel of Musical Theatre.
48 minutes | Jul 2, 2021
1.5 The King and I!
In our continued exploration of the musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein, we explore The King & I (1951), a complicated and beautiful show about cultural imperialism, gender emancipation and the dangers of the white savior complex. We talk about: - The rise of the “star vehicle” for a diva actor, and the interesting racial & cultural background of Anna Leonowens (and Gertrude Lawrence, the actor who played her). - The intersection of colonialism with Western values of equality, and when a “liberating” culture becomes an imposed culture that does violence in the name of greater freedom. - The nature of forgiveness, and the possibility of real relationship across cultural, gender and ideological difference. You’ll hear: - Gertrude Lawrence singing “Getting to Know You” from the Original Broadway Cast recording. - Lea Salonga and Peabo Bryson singing “We Kiss In A Shadow” from the 1993 Studio recording. - Ruthie Ann Miles singing “Something Wonderful” from the 2015 Broadway Revival Cast Recording. Continue the conversation with Peter (@pgeinvan) and Nathan (@nathan_lerud) on Twitter, and follow the Gospel of Musical Theatre on Instagram or Twitter @gospelofmt!
43 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
1.4 South Pacific!
This week, we continue with our deep dive into Rodgers & Hammerstein with South Pacific (1949), their first “big hit” and a pioneering (but problematic) look at the deeply-embedded racism of white Americans during the Second World War. We talk about: Mary Martin, Enzo Pinza, and how Rodgers and Hammerstein created a love story where two characters never have to sing together. The phenomenon of the Second World War and how Rodgers and Hammerstein began to craft a new mythology out the American experience of that war. What it means for white Americans to be "carefully taught" to fear and discriminate against those who are not white. Oscar Hammerstein’s social agenda, his early training in faith and religion, and how South Pacific embodies his theology of social change. You’ll hear: Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza in the Original Broadway Cast Recording (1949) singing "Twin Soliloquies" and "Some Enchanted Evening." Matthew Morrison singing "You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught" from the 2008 Broadway Revival recording Continue the conversation with Peter (@pgeinvan) and Nathan (@nathan_lerud) on Twitter, and follow the Gospel of Musical Theatre on Instagram or Twitter @gospelofmt!
43 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
This week, we take a critical look at the 1945 masterpiece Carousel – perhaps Rodgers and Hammerstein’s finest score, but a show that has not aged well. What can contemporary audiences – and theologians – do with Julie Jordan and Billy Bigelow and their complicated and violent relationship? In Carousel, we talk about... Billy and Julie’s complicated relationship and the idea of the “conditional love song The myth of redemptive suffering – and Carousel's theatrical depiction of the afterlife Are we more than our worst choices? Is it true that “you’ll never walk alone?” Can a problematic show with a gorgeous score be “redeemed” for contemporary audiences? You'll hear this music from the 1956 film version of Carousel: Shirley Jones & Claramae Turner singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” Shirley Jones singing “If I Loved You” Barbara Ruick, Claramae Turner, Robert Rounseville & Cameron Mitchell singing “This Was a Real Nice Clambake” Continue the conversation with Peter (@pgeinvan) and Nathan (@nathan_lerud) on Twitter, and follow the Gospel of Musical Theatre on Instagram or Twitter @gospelofmt!
50 minutes | May 21, 2021
This week, we launch our Season 1 tour through some of the major musicals of Richard Rodgers (1902-79) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1865-1965), who are often credited with pioneering the “integrated musical” that largely defined the great musicals of the mid-20th century. In Oklahoma! (1943), we talk about: Definitions of “the land” and who occupies it The cultural impact that Oklahoma! had, and how it reinvented the Broadway musical The hidden history of Oklahoma, “Indian Territory,” and the queerer, darker history of what lies underneath the surface of a deliberately white-washed world Rene Girard, James Allison, and the theological underpinnings of the scapegoating narrative Continue the conversation with Peter (@pgeinvan) and Nathan (@nathan_lerud) on Twitter, and follow the Gospel of Musical Theatre on Instagram or Twitter @gospelofmt!
39 minutes | May 7, 2021
1.1 What is The Gospel of Musical Theatre?
It's Episode 1 of The Gospel of Musical Theatre, with your favorite cathedral deans and musical theatre queens, Nathan LeRud and Peter Elliott! Peter and Nathan are Anglican priests and cathedral deans in the Pacific Northwest with a deep and geeky love of musicals – and a love for pulling them apart and looking at them from a spiritual perspective. In this introductory episode, we define terms: what does “Gospel” mean when applied to a work of art? What is “musical theatre?" And how can the musical theatre tradition act as secular scripture - helping us grapple with our North American culture, and the values and ideas we inherit from the past? We talk about: The intersection of liturgy (“a public work for the common good”) and art. Finding good news in the Gospel beyond traditions of guilt and sin. What it means to develop a critical lens in regards to literature (including the Bible) and works of art, particularly when it comes to questions of gender, sexuality, and race. You’ll hear: Julie Andrews singing “I Could Have Danced All Night” (My Fair Lady Original London Cast Recording, 1958) “I Could Have Danced All Night,” as recorded by André Previn (piano), Leroy Vinnegar (bass) and Shelly Manne (drums) from Modern Jazz Performances of Songs from My Fair Lady (1956) Continue the conversation on Twitter and Instagram @gospelofmt, and find all of Trinity Cathedral’s podcasts at trinity-episcopal.org/podcasts.
6 minutes | Apr 30, 2021
Introducing... The Gospel of Musical Theatre!
Introducing... The Gospel of Musical Theatre: a priestly (and sometimes profane) look at some of your favorite musicals, hosted by two cathedral deans and musical theatre queens, Nathan LeRud and Peter Elliott! In Season 1, we're diving into the works of Rogers & Hammerstein, talking about culture, race, sexuality, spirituality... and so much more. Episode 1 drops Friday, May 7, so be sure to hit subscribe wherever you get your podcasts! Continue the conversation on Twitter and Instagram @gospelofmt, and find all of Trinity Cathedral’s podcasts at trinity-episcopal.org/podcasts.
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