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The Life OCR

Sex and sordidness has never sounded catchier than in The Life.

Cy Coleman (this time with lyricist Ira Gasman) takes the world of Sweet Charity and updates it to an early 1980s Times Square populated by hookers, pimps and XXX-rated movie producers.

He mines 50 years of musical vernacular, including the 20s ("Easy Money" sounds like it could have been left over from The Boyfriend), the big band era ("The Hooker's Ball"), gospel, R&B, and Motown. Despite being set in the 80s there aren't really any songs that I associate with the style of that decade (Depeche Mode anyone?). Guess that's a fortunate consequence of setting the show in the early 80s.

The numbers are infectious ("Use What You Got", "A Piece of the Action", "Why Don't They Leave Us Alone"), humorous ("The Oldest Profession") or seductively repulsive ("Don't Take Much"). The most depressing song is "'Someday' is for Suckers" where much of the showy veneer is stripped away to reveal the bitter, defeated core of the characters' lives. (In this way, and in its placement in the show, it reminds me of Coleman's "Funny" from City of Angels). It's depressing because their dreams barely rise above their current positions.

Good performances from everyone in the cast, except for Pamela Isaacs as Queen, who sounds uncomfortable using her head voice, especially as it grates with the style of the show... it's basically the same criticism I had for Kelli O'Hara in Sweet Smell of Success.

I notice that a concept album for the show as released a couple of years earlier, featuring popular artists such as Liza Minelli and Lou Rawls (and George Burns!). Appropriate for the type of show I guess. I wonder how well it worked as a marketing tactic.

Funny aside: While checking out the amazon listing for that concept album, came across these Google AdWords sponsored links:

Customers interested in Cy Coleman, Ira Gasman may also be interested in:
  • Retirement Villages
  • 401K Information

Now that's disturbing!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 23, 2005 2:28 PM.

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