Bethesda Little Theatre presents an original musical revue featuring songs from all the Broadway shows you’ve been wishing you could see in one night but couldn’t… until now. Come From Away, Six, Dear Evan Hansen, Chicago, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Company, Hadestown, Hamilton, and more. We even have some side trips to some of the wonderful music clubs Times Square has to offer. Don’t miss your chance to see numbers from some of the hottest shows on Times Square! A Night Out on Times Square, our new original production running June 10, 11, 12 and 17, 18, 19 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center. (For tickets and more information click here: blt-online.org or call 202-796-3431.) In our blog series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers to discuss a sampling of the songs they’ll be presenting; today we’re going to explore how the guys are doing with their take on “You Could Drive a Person Crazy” from Company by Stephen Sondheim.
As a song that was originally sung by women but flipped in the revival, how fun is it to sing this Andrews sisters-style song?
Aref: Hilarious. Most funny of all if folks in the audience don’t even get that it’s gender bender, IF we sing with conviction! Women drive men crazy all the time: the whole premise behind “I Love Lucy”.
Note from the editor: except now you all know because you’ve gotten a sneak peek!
Justin: I love Sondheim and The Andrews Sisters, so it’s a perfect combination. And, it is really fun to sing this with Martin and Aref.
Martin: If you’re accustomed to hearing songs a specific way, gender swapping can make learning lyrics more difficult. But, it can also add a whole other level with different, and sometimes more provocative, interpretations.
This song is quintessential Sondheim with a lot of words that come quickly, coupled with tight harmonies that are relentless, what’s the hardest part of learning it?
Note from the editor: thankfully these guys all have previous experience with Sondheim!
Martin: The close harmonies are very difficult. When you couple that with choreography and the Andrews Sisters, it becomes challenging. But Sondheim frequently is challenging.
Aref: Zero problem for me as I performed in a production of “Company” many years ago, where Musical Director Jeff Hayes actually watched to cheer me on. In this song, I have the melody line, so I find it super easy to learn, something all sopranos take for granted. 😉 I feel sympathy for the other guys in the trio; it’s Sondheim!!
Justin: The words aren’t that hard. I sang “Putting It Together” from Sunday in the Park with George a few years back (which I have never recovered from), so this will be far easier. For me, the hard part will be the harmonies. I’ll get it, eventually. The other two singers and Jeff will need to be patient.
These boyfriends have a lot to say about their girlfriend, Bobbi. Does this song remind you of any previous relationships?
Note from the editor: maybe if you get lucky, Justin will share more of his experiences after a show if you can catch him in the lobby!
Martin: Although the song doesn’t really remind me of any of my relationships, I am similar to the main character Bobby in that I am a single person who has navigated the dating arena.
Aref: Um, um, the song reminds me of a lot of relationships where, um, um, I was the Bobby. I have driven my share of women crazy…when I was living my life as a straight man. (Sorry, ladies!)
Have you seen the revival? How fun is the gender swapping and does it help make the show more relevant today?
Justin: I have not seen the revival. I don’t think the gender swap makes it any more or less relevant.
Aref: I have not seen the revival but what I think would be a really fun gender bender would be my other song in the production – the heavy testosterone song “All I Ask of You” from “Phantom.” I would be the tormented opera singer, where I seek comfort in the arms of…Laura.
Martin: My final year of college, I actually played Bobby in Company. I have also seen the original production as well as the revival. To be honest, I think the show works better with the lead being a male. The songs and the message ring truer for me that way. That said, I love to gender swap songs. It gives an artist so much more material and awards them with new possibilities and limitless interpretations.
You could drive a person crazy
You could drive a person mad
First you make a person hazy
So a person could be had– Stephen Sondheim
Anything else you’d like to add?
Aref: This song is an interesting choice for gender bender as it is so Andrews Sisters. Wouldn’t it be fun to add some boy band style choreography?
Note from the editor: we can’t give away *all* our secrets…guess you’ll have to come see for yourself if the choreographer for this number worked in any boy band moves!
Justin: It will be fun to do. Hopefully, the blocking will not be difficult!