Elegies: A Song Cycle (Studio Cast Recording)

by Studio Cast

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about

Recorded April 23 and May 1, 2016 at Interlochen Center for the Arts
Performed March 5 & 6, 2016 at Interlochen Center for the Arts

This recording is dedicated to the memory of Marcia Hammer (1921-2016).

For amateur and professional performance rights for ELEGIES: A SONG CYCLE, please contact Samuel French, Inc. by visiting www.samuelfrench.com.

credits

released September 11, 2016

Album Produced by Spencer Channell & Yoni Weiss
Music Director/Pianist: Spencer Channell
Director: Yoni Weiss
Production Photos: Jenna Koch
Stage Manager: Monica Schmocker
Produced by: Julia Steenstra, Mark Mazzarella
Special Thanks: William Finn, Michael Rupert, Grace Montgomery, Chloe Simon
Audio Engineer: Spencer Channell
Audio Editor: Spencer Channell
Digital Booklet: Yoni Weiss
Logo Design: Yoni Weiss

♫♪.ılılılllılılıılılılllılılıılılılllılılıılılılılılılllılılıılılılllılılıılılılllılılıılılılllılılıllılılı.♫♪

New York City ambience sounds courtesy of Sound Ideas.

This album uses the following sounds from freesound:
Big elevator going up by finalCrystine (www.freesound.org/people/finalCrystine/)
venice boatcreaks2 by LukeIRL (freesound.org/people/LukeIRL/)
16.12.2011.006 by deathicated (freesound.org/people/deathicated/)
Lake Waves 2 by Benboncan (freesound.org/people/Benboncan/)
Italy Venice Square Day Amb with Live Music_yoh by YOH (freesound.org/people/YOH/)
Finding the Plug by Housed1J (freesound.org/people/Housed1J/)
Crowd screaming by MultiMax2121 (freesound.org/people/MultiMax2121/)
building_collapse01_distant_ceramic, building_collapse03_distant_clatter, building_collapse04_enclosed_space, and building_collapse05_loud by onteca (freesound.org/people/onteca/)
Explosion and Rubble/Debris by CkSned (freesound.org/people/CkSned/)
thunderstorm heard indoors by lwdickens (www.freesound.org/people/lwdickens/)

Additional sound effects and 9/11/01 audio from videos provided by the following YouTube users: Lirarev Iyinobosi, Sound Effects Italia, 911InvestigationVids, One Media Company, Scoopdoggydogg McC, and iconic.

Other wind and fire sounds courtesy of Sound Jay.

All other sounds created by Spencer Channell.

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Track Name: Noah Lentini, Madi Boveri, Will Price - Mister Choi and Madame G.
Across my street
I am looking at a store
I don’t go to anymore.
But I used to very often.
Now it’s sitting like a coffin
slightly used.
I’m remembering the whole thing
unamused.

This place was just a fruit stand
I think.
Was run, I think,
by Eastern Europeans
who by this time were
bought out by Koreans
and their family from Seoul.
Whom I joined at their family sink.
We ate Kim Chi,
and followed their traditions.
I told them ‘bout my crazy ass ambitions
and they handed me a bowl.
Filled with luck and self-control.

Looking in the window of this emptied out space.
I see their reflections in my face.
I see Mister Choi and Madame G.
Squawking at their family.
Who stand there with these irritated grins.
The children always practicing their violins.
Open twenty-four hours from dawn ’til dawn.
And one day they were gone.

What happened to these wonderful friends?
In twenty years
I never got a letter.
I hoped their lives got infinitely better
and I wanted to explain
how their friendship kept me sane.

Looking in the window of this emptied out space.
I see their reflections in my face.

I see Mister Choi and Madame G.
Treating me like family.
They cooked, I fed their children and their cat.
I wasn’t staff but made them laugh and
that was that.

Open twenty-four hours from dawn ’til dawn. And
one day they were
gone.

Open twenty-four hours from dawn ’til dawn. And
one day they were
gone, and one day
they were gone,
and one day they were gone.
And one day they were gone.
Track Name: Marguerite Arbogast, Sasha Manzetti - Looking In
Looking in the window
of this emptied out space.
I see their
reflection in my face.
Track Name: Jonathon Qualls - Mark's All-Male Thanksgiving
Every Thanksgiving Mark made his all-male Thanksgiving dinner.
Where men cooked the turkey and men made the cranberry sauce without nuts, ‘cause men don’t like nuts.
But the stuffing was manly and the finger-bowls ditto
and ditto, the pureed sweet yams.
Very manly when Mark made his all-male Thanksgiving.

Bill Sherwood was present, he wrote and directed “Parting Glances.”
A movie for which Mark raised the money, in which Arthur invested
and the Thanksgiving crew
put money in too.
Steve Buscemi was featured, his first time on screen,
and you knew you were watching a star.
God, he was great… but he wasn’t at Mark’s all-male Thanksgiving.

Remembering this is sort of like Grandpa remembering his shtetl.
It seems to take place so so long ago
in the past.
The memories last but fade.
What a community we made.

Diplomats, poets, opera guys, guys dressed in leather britches.
Some paunchy, some starting to bald, some were awful
and some were okay,
in a non-threat’ning way.
Mark the lawyer wore flannel — he comes from Wisconsin.
The handsomest guy wore a tie.
That was Arthur, sweetly decent, funny and living.
I met Arthur when Mark made his all-male Thanksgiving.

And the excellent movie that Bill Sherwood filmed
was his first and his last,
since, alas, the boy passed.
Arthur still when he smiles, he makes my heart flutter.
We think it’s been twenty-two years.
I wrote this song to not forget Mark’s all-male Thanksgiving.
It’s been so long since Mark made his all-male Thanksgiving.
Where we gave thanks.
Track Name: Maya Lagerstam - Only One
If just one student learns the beauty of aesthetics
then that’s fine, I need only one.
Or if one student learns the wonders of poetics
then he’s mine, and my work here will be done.
And if one student values structure,
learns that words can be valuable and fun,
show me twenty students who despise the poems they have to memorize.
All right — I need only one.

And if one student learns that books can be ecstatic, what the heck,
I don’t need romance.
If I’ve wasted my life being firm and autocratic,
I’m a speck in an orbiting expanse.
What I did was always well intentioned,
and what’s done, folks, is ultimately done.
Give me eighty students who deplore the fact that I demanded more.
Screw ‘em! I need only…

One student who rarely watches television.
One student who understands the value of precision.
Are there limits to my teaching?
Was I always overreaching?
Prob’ly I was. And so what if I was?

I’ve been told that my life is ending very shortly —
that’s alright, I do not like scenes.
Since I’m not someone’s wife, and I don’t have any children
I won’t fight, or be hooked up to machines.

But for that special kid who liked me, he who laughed at an inauspicious pun.
Let him fondly ponder who I was,
and represent me well because
there’ll be only one.
There’ll be only one.

There’ll be only one.
There’ll be only one,
only one.
Da-da-da, da-da-da-da-da-da,
Da-da-da-da-da
Da-da-da, da-da

So I’ll live with the fact that I’m prickly and derisive,
that I will, and not make amends.
I was born without tact, I was born to be decisive,
and I still don’t have very many friends.
But I taught what I knew needed teaching.
If they fought me, they learned who held the gun.
So who’s students always did the best on every statewide essay test?
Count ‘em!
I’m the only one.
I’m the only one.
Track Name: Noah Lentini, Will Price, Jonathon Qualls, Sasha Manzetti - Joe Papp
Joe decreed that theatre was essential to the welfare of our city.
He made theatre feel not incidental, something very elemental to our city.
He was like a giant.
Biblical, defiant.
Joe wished he could give the world a slap.

Joe Papp never took crap. Except perhaps from writers.
Joe Papp encourages writers to fight for their fright‘ning plays.
Joe Joe Joe Joe Joe Joe
what’s our plan?
Joe Joe Joe Joe
dibba-dibba-dibba-dibba-dibba-dibba-dibba-dibba
Joe Joe Joe Joe Joe Joe Joe Joe — you the man!
Joe Joe Joe Joe
dibba-dibba-dibba-dibba-dibba-dibba-dibba-dibba dib.

I never understood what Joe was saying to me.
He’d quote Shakespeare and I’d simply nod.

Is this how the prophets
felt in the presence,
is this how the prophets felt
in the presence of God?

Joe Papp never took crap
even from Robert Moses.

Joe saw a theater in Central Park.
And Moses builds what Joe proposes.
Moss builds an outdoor theater.
Moses thinks it’s pork,
but it lights up New York.
It lights up New York.

Joe Papp never took crap. Except perhaps from writers.
Joe Papp encourages writers to fight for their fright‘ning plays.
dibba-dibba-dibba-dibba-dibba-dibba-dibba-dibba

Joe Papp
never took
crap.
Track Name: Will Price, Company - Peggy Hewitt & Mysty Del Giorno
One thing I can say about Peggy Hewitt.
She was incredibly loved and she knew it.

She was in a children’s show, and we were sitting with her girlfriend,
the late great Mysty del Giorno, who looked like one of the Borgias.
She looked like one of the Borgias. And when Peggy came on stage,
Mysty stood up in this sea of children and yelled,
“Is my girl gorgeous? Is my girl gorgeous?”

Look at the joy, look at the joy on her face as she emotes.
Maybe she doesn’t hit all the notes, but look at the joy.
Look at the joy on her face. She is in a place of light,
she is in a place of light.

She is in a place of light.

One thing I can say about Peggy Hewitt.
She was incredibly loved and she knew it.

Look at the joy.
Look at the joy on her face.
She is in a place of light.
Track Name: Leah Cohen - Passover
Passover.
At Auntie Honey’s and Uncle Harvey’s in New Jersey.
My sister would hold her breath
over the George Washington Bridge
and we would laugh at her. She’d frown.
Ev’ryone including Nana Ida would be standing at the front door
when we pulled up, and we’d count down.
FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE!
And we’d fight to be the first out of the car
having come this far.
Having come so far for this feast,
this feast of no yeast.
And the matzo balls are so hard when you cut them they just fly!
Why?
Passover.

On this day
we read of plagues and misfortunes then start eating.
Uncle Harvey’s the cook.
Ma laughs so loud that she shook.
Cousin Gary… is reading porn.
We’ve run out of skullcaps,
some men are wearing Acapulco beach club bandanas
that really, really, really, should not be worn.
We are Jews like from the first five thousand years,
laughing through our tears.
Joyous, vulgar, anything goes,
but we wear nice clothes.
That’s the way I like remembering this scene, manic and high.
Why?
Passover.

In the Passover prayer book
we read about what Pharaoh did to the Jews.
About how Pharaoh wore those big gold platform shoes.
And how the Jews escaped stealthfully,
by splitting the Red Sea.
Wait! WAIT!
I think that was a movie.

Anyway, when I tell the story of Passover,
which I am instructed to do,
I will include how the Jews of Natick traveled over the Hudson river
and had an unforgettable Seder.
More details about that later.

It’s later.
Michael as the youngest sings out the four old questions.
What they mean is unknown.
My father is playing trombone.
Then we go to meet Elijah at the door.
I can see the faces ‘round the table
and the grins are getting larger
and the voices begin to soar.
ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR!
And I think that we will never laugh so hard, never feel so free.
I think life that night was more perfect than it will ever be.
Uncle Bernie and my Mother, overwhelmed, begin to cry.
Why?
Passover.

Uncle Bernie passed over.
Uncle Harvey passed over
Nana Ida passed over.
And my mother, my mother passed over.
Passover.
Passover.
Track Name: Maya Lagerstam - Infinite Joy
Goodness is rewarded.
Hope is guaranteed.
Laughter builds strong bones.
Right will intercede.
Things you’ve said I often find I need,
indeed.

I see the world through your eyes.
What’s black and white is colorized.
The knowledge you most dearly prized
I'm eager to employ.
You said that life has infinite joy.

Your heart,
your glee.
Haunt me.
Your words strike suddenly.
They're obvious, but wise.

I see the world through your eyes
and possibilities expand.
The one thing I don't understand
is how you kept your poise.
When life has infinite joys.
Life has infinite joys.
Infinite joys.

Your face,
your voice
rejoice.
To have you back with me
is such a fine surprise.

I see the world through your eyes.
I taste lemon on my lips.
I marvel at the sailing ships
of well-dressed girls and boys.
And life—
life has infinite joys,
has infinite joys.
Life has infinite, infinite joys.
Track Name: Jonathon Qualls, Noah Lentini, Will Price - Jack Eric Williams
Shelter Island… Summer of 2000.
Ricky Ian Gordon,
you asked me to write you a lyric
you said, either story, song, or hymns.
But your three names remind me of our friend,
Jack Eric Williams.
Jack…

Hey, Ricky,
how did he die?
Wait! Let me begin.
Yes I know, though diabetic,
he forgot to take his insulin.
But he forgot.

"Do you really think he forgot?"

Or was he simply distraught?
For a million reasons why.
And what he wanted he got.
And he wanted to die.

He could write circles around ev’rybody.
Around me anyway.
But as Jack Eric Williams would constantly say,
he wasn’t the fashion of the day.
Were you sick of hearing that?
I was sick of hearing that
I took it very personally.
I thought he was attacking me.

Anyway, I miss him
and I miss his inappropriateness too.
How fat was he?
It seems he just grew and grew and grew and grew.
Did you ever see him eat, Ricky?
Did you ever see him chew?
Did you ever see him bite?
That’s what I call an appetite.

If he’d only lived a little longer.
If he’d only lived a little longer, Ricky.
With his great musical ear
and cranky elusive passion.
Our boy Jack, I think
would have finally been in fashion.

Is this the kind of lyric you wanted, Ricky?
If you hate it, I’ll write you another lyric, Ricky.
Ricky, are you still there?

And at his memorial service
were you there?
Were you there?
Ev’ryone was saying how Jack had never received the acclaim he deserved.
Which of course I believed, but more quietly reserved.
And at the end of the service
I was talking to Quentin Crisp.
And he said,
“I never understood his music.”
(There were gasps in the crowd, people fainted on the floor.)
“I never understood why the melodies went where they went.
It’s all a crime, it’s gone so wrong,
but I never understood his song.”

Then I started laughing.
Not a little tee-hee.
But a laugh from the belly
which confounded even me.
I said, “I must disagree.”
Ricky! I didn’t know what to say.
So I said,
“Jack Eric Williams doesn’t seem to be
the fashion of the day.”

If he had only lived a little longer.
If he’d only lived a little longer, Ricky.
With his great musical ear
and cranky elusive passion.
Our boy Jack, I think
would have finally been
in fashion.

That’s all the news from Shelter Island.
Though it’s not exactly new.
Give my best to all the three name composers.
Including, especially you.
We should all remember to take our insulin.
Love, William Alan Finn.
Track Name: Leah Cohen - Fred
His aroma wasn't aromatic.
His diploma said he's smart but dumb.
Quite the opposite of “too emphatic” and I think he lacked a thumb.
He was furry, he was frail.
He was curiously pale and jaundiced near the nose
where a big carbuncle grows.

He was a moron. He made me laugh like the dickens.
He had a steel plate in his head.
A funny moron but he had a way with chickens.

His name was Fred.
La la la la la
la la la la la la la la
la la la la la la la la
la la la la la
la la la la la la la la
la la la la.

Frequently he’d feed his roosters.
Frequently he’d clean their stalls.
Just to prove he loved his roosters, he’d kiss them on the balls.
Unambitious, undertrained.
Nonetheless, he still remained
amusing more than odd.
A divertissement from God.

A little loony.
After reading Jean-Paul Sartre he’d tie one on and go to bed.
Loved Mickey Rooney but he hated Frank Sinatra.

His name was Fred.
La la la la la
la la la la la la la la
la la la la la la la la
la la la la la
la la la la la la la la.

Then he caught a chicken disease
called cock-a-doodle-itis.
A rare form of phlebitis which a human being had never caught before.
He had all of America outside his door.

Then, by God, Fred started growing chicken feet.
He acquired a chicken boy named Seth.
He grew feathers and he wouldn’t eat chicken meat
then he pecked himself to death.

In the casket, Fred looked fried.
I’m sure the undertaker tried to humanize the man.
But that wasn’t in the plan.

He was a moron. He made me laugh like the dickens.
He had a steel plate in his head.
A gentle moron. But he had a way with chickens.
His name was Fred.

His name was Fred.
A little loony.
After reading Jean-Paul Sartre he’d tie one on and go to bed.
Loved Mickey Rooney but he hated Frank Sinatra.
His name was Fred.
Track Name: Leah Cohen, Marguerite Arbogast - Dear Reader
I was absorbed in this book,
a funny offbeat novel I found engaging but dense.
The author would ply me with compliments.

“Dear Reader… Dear Reader,”

the author’d write.

“Dear Reader, you’re obviously bright.
But please tell me why there’s so few of readers like you.
I respect, dear reader, intellect, dear reader, and suspect
that you have one of those.
Why don’t more, dear reader, sit and pore, dear reader, over prose.
I need you, Dear Reader.”

Somewhere near page fifty-nine, the prose became elusive.
By which I mean I grew tired.
The diction, the plotting was uninspired.

“Dear Reader, Dear Reader,
are you awake?
Dear Reader, has there been some mistake?
You’re really a self-absorbed cunt,
I hate being blunt but you smote, dear reader, what I wrote, dear reader,
and I note that what I wrote is fine.
So read on, dear reader, and by dawn, dear reader, you’ll be mine.
Is that clear, dear reader?”

I did not enjoy this predicament.
I find this whole thing too taxing.
I enjoy my reading in solitary.
Which I used to find very, very, very relaxing.
I stopped on page one-oh-nine.
Pretentious awful drivel.
I felt I really had tried.

Because of you, I’ll commit suicide.

I wrote back…

You’re such an annoying twit.

Dear author, your tactics make me spit.

My dear, you’re an unpleasant crone.
That’s why YOU read alone.
You’re as dumb, dear reader, as my thumb, dear reader.
And I’ve come to hate you more than life.
After one hot toddy I will stab my body with this knife.
What the heck, dear reader.
I’m a reckless bleeder, dear reader.

You’re a bottom feeder, dear writer.
I’d prefer if you were politer,
if you were politer.

Ah…

Hey, writer.
Just silence and then a thud.

Dear writer…
My book filled up with blood.
My rugs and my furniture bled.
My world was a sea of red.

Hey, I’m dying, Egypt, no use trying, Egypt, to resuscitate my veins.
I’m not easy reading and I hope that bleeding really stains.
What remains are readers.

Dear writer,
Dear writer, it’s my mistake.
Dear writer, just show me you’re awake.
Your talent will prosper and flower.
I shouldn’t have so much power.

True, dear reader, but you do, dear reader.

And you gave it up without a fight!

I was weak, dear reader.

Let me speak, dear writer. You were right.

I was not, dear reader.
Does blood clot?

Yours doesn’t?

Mine isn’t.

Ooh.

What’s the hook, dear reader?

Close the book dear reader.

I hate being a reader.
Track Name: Jonathon Qualls, Noah Lentini, Will Price - Monica and Mark
In the hospital,
waiting for Mark to get better.
Arthur and I met his good friends
Andy and Monica
whom we had heard about for years.

Andy and Monica
were in town to go to an opera with Mark,
but Mark wasn’t going anywhere.

So we sat in the lobby,
incredibly slobby
and waited,

We waited,

we waited

we waited.

for Mark to get better,

Monica was getting upsetter and upsetter.

He said,
“Relax, Monica.
Take a walk, Monica.
Get some rest, Monica.
That’d be best, Monica.
Come on, we’ll go with you.”

But before we were outside the door
my doctor Stubsy Forr’ster
asked what we were waiting for. And I said,
“We’re waiting for our friend.
We are waiting for our friend to get better.”

So he pulled Mark’s chart and bless his heart,
Stubsy sat down to explain.

He explained that Mark had AIDS.
He explained that AIDS was then fatal.
Something we did not know at the time
so as a group we began to swoon.

He massaged our shoulder blades.

He said Mark would die that afternoon.

He suggested that we see him soon,
very soon.

Ev’ry Thanksgiving, Mark made his
all-male Thanksgiving dinner.
Where men cooked the turkey
and men made the cranberry…

So, Mark died and we became friends
with Andy and Monica.
When they adopted their second girl,
they named her after Mark.

Zoe Thalen Feinstein,
(Thalen was Mark’s last name.)

and they asked us to be her godparents,
which we gladly became. We became,
yes, we very gladly became.

So we watched the angels grow
and torture each other.
But, really we fell in love
with Monica, the mother.

Suddenly, out of the blue, it happened.
Monica’s losing her hair.
Monica’s losing too much weight too quickly,
sickly.

She goes to the doctor, says, “I’m dying.”
He says, “You’re overwrought.”

She says, “I’m angry as hell,
but overwrought is what I’m not.”

The boys said,
“Relax, Monica.

That’d be best, Monica.

You’re just stressed, Monica.

Get some rest, Monica.”

She said, “Ah, go fuck yourself”
and went to the movies.

She planned her funeral
and these were her wishes:
She wanted, I quote,
that you’d sing a song you wrote
that’d make the people cry.

I’ll write a new song.
Wait! I’m thinking.

I’ll write a new song, and I’ll play it,
told from her point of view.
Maybe a mother singing to her daughter.

Worked on the new song ev’ry minute.
Minute the song was through.
Monica called and said
it’s time you visit.

This is the song I sang for Monica.
This is the song I wrote:
Track Name: Madi Boveri - Anytime (I Am There)
Anytime you laugh.
Anytime you cry.
Anytime you hear a sound.
When you’re on the grass.
Lying on the ground.
Anytime you wash your hands
I’ll be around.

I’ll be there on the baseball field,
though I’m well concealed
I’ll be out there cheering.
I’ll be there in the books you read.
It is guaranteed,
I’m not disappearing fast.
Anytime.
No, not anytime.

And I am there each morning.
I am there each fall.
I am present without warning.
And I’m watching it all.
Yes, I’m watching it all.
Oh, and I am there in music.
I am there in sky.
I don’t know why this thing did happen
but this much is clear,
anytime or anywhere
I am there.

Anytime you pray.
Anytime you fight.
Anytime you’ve gained a pound.
Anytime it’s day.
Anytime it’s night.
Anytime the Earth moves
I’ll be around.

I’ll be there in the maple trees,
I’m a summer breeze
on a perfect evening.
I’ll be there when you celebrate
when the world seems great,
I’ll be waiting by your side.
Anytime.
Yes! Anytime.

And I am there each morning.
I am there each fall.
I present without warning.
And I’m watching it all.
Yes, I’m watching it all.
Oh, I am there in flowers.
I am there in snow.
I don’t know why this thing happened
but this much is clear.

Anytime you cry,
anytime you sing
for anything.
I’ll be there
each morning,
I am there each fall.
I don’t know why this thing happened
but this much is clear,

be aware,
I am there.
I am there.
I am there.
I am there.

I am there.
I am there.
I am there.
Track Name: Sasha Manzetti - My Dogs
I had a little dog.
His name was on its collar.
His ears felt like a rug.
I bought him for a dollar.

I bathed him in the sink.
Each day the dog got sicker.
I gave him milk to drink.
I also gave him liquor.

Oh, my dog, with his funny little face
ran around this rundown place
and one day he died.
My dog, God I miss him.
My dog, I would kiss his head
Then he’d sleep with me in bed.
La la la la la la
la la la la la.

I got another dog.
I painted this one leopard.
I named it Leopard Spot.
He was born a German Shepherd.

We’d laugh that dog and me.
I’d tell the jokes. He’d snicker.
We’d sit beneath a tree.
I'd read him Rin Tin Tin and Flicker.

Oh, my dog, playfully he'd misbehave.
He was young and strong and brave and one day, he died.
My dog, I’m here crying.
My dog, he’s lying at the vets.
That’s what comes of loving pets.

I had a Sussex Spaniel, called it Daniel,
but his name was Trudy.
And she died too soon.
Then got a Schipperke.
Loved that dog unashamedly.
It was freshly washed
when it got squashed
like a dog in a cartoon.

My next dog, me no like.
A Dandie Dinmont was he.
I used to toss the canine from my bike.
His name was Mister Fuzzy.

I tried to change his size.
I pushed his face in flatter.
I pinched and squeezed his eyes.
But it really didn’t matter.

Oh, my dog, stupid little Dandie D.
I loathed it and it loathed me.
It lived FOREVER.
Oh God. Life’s ironic.
Oh God. I’m a catatonic guy.
Why’s it only dogs I love that die?
My dogs.
Track Name: Jonathon Qualls - Venice
The former lover of my lover
was a sophisticated Pole named Bolek.
Not polite, he’d join Arthur and me for dinner.
Looking distracted and thinner.
He’d take a bite of his rare, delicious lamb chop,
and say, “Really Billy, this has gotta stop.”
I’d say, “What’s gotta stop?”
He’d say, “You’re being a dick.”
I’d say, “Bolek.”
He’d say, “Billy.”
I’d say, “Bolek.”
He’d say, “What?”
That then was the night I knew that Bolek was sick.

He’d say, “We gotta go to Venice.
Because in Venice everyday life’s a work of art,
and must be seen firsthand.
Breathe deep, our destination’s Venice.
Beauty and pleasure is all we can hope to understand.”

So Arthur says, “What’s wrong with Bolek?”
And I think finally he sees what I see.
What I see — well the truth is, it doesn’t matter.
All you have to know is he grew thinner, I grew fatter.
And later on, as we strolled along down Broadway,
Bolek thought he saw a gun and whacked a wacko in the ass.
Bolek took off down the street,
chased by this dangerous guy.
I yelled, “Bolek”,
he kept fleeing,
I yelled, “Bolek”,
he yelled, “What?”
And then he turned around, and then he sang to the sky.

“My friends, I’m taking you to Venice.
Because in Venice everyday life’s a work of art,
And must be seen firsthand.
Breathe deep, the world revolves ‘round Venice.
Beauty and pleasure is all we can hope to understand.”

So we went to Venice,
jumped in the canals.
Three unlikely pals
in Venice.
St. Mark’s Square,
that is where
we prepare
to be awed.
Here in the city where I feel the presence of God.

In truth we never went to Venice.
We said we would but Bolek died too quickly.
Second truth: this, whatever it is, he’d hate it.
He would mutter, “Bourgeois shit, and please incinerate it.”
“Ah, go to hell, Bolek,” I’d yell like a madman.
But of guys who liked me least I liked him best.
I’d see a gondola float. Bolek’s inside and at rest.
Then the gondolier starts singing
Bolek joins in strong and deep.
And all the world’s in song just as I fall off to sleep.

My friends, I’m taking you to Venice.
Because in Venice everyday life’s a work of art,
and must be seen firsthand.
Life ends, but nothing ends in Venice.
Beauty and pleasure is all we can hope to understand.
Beauty and pleasure is all we can hope to understand
in Venice,
in Venice,
in Venice.
Track Name: Maya Lagerstam, Will Price - 14 Dwight Ave., Natick, Massachusetts
We lived at Fourteen Dwight Ave., Natick, Massachusetts
in a small house on a sloping hill.
And the friends I had then I knew I’d have forever.
And the fact is I have them still.
I do, I always will.

We were raising our children together.
Side by side.
Life was sweet.
Oh lucky us for living on that street.

I loved them: Charlotte, Sophie, Shirley, Norma Lou.
I loved them, here’s why I do:
we made each other’s lives feel more complete,
a great suburban commune on our tiny street.

We lived on Dwight Ave., Natick, splendid Massachusetts.
Trees grew taller the more we stayed.
As the kids grew some husbands died in Massachusetts.
But the women were strong and unafraid.
And rarely prayed.

We were raising our children together.
Hopeful arms.
Dancing feet.
Oh lucky us.
For living on that street.

Things happen.
People die despite their age and wealth.
Things happen.
We die ourselves.

My youngest son, the sweetest boy alive,
is taking me, (I know he knows) for one last drive,
at my request.
To see the sites that we love best.
To hit the high spots, the pinnacle, the crest,
of everywhere we’ve been.

So with Michael and my oxygen in tow,
“Let’s go,” says Barbara Finn.
“Let’s go.”
“Let’s go.”

We went to Wilson Junior High.
We each one said goodbye,
then we moved on.
We went to Natick’s field of dreams
where dad coached summer teams and won.
Some places we had planned on seeing already were gone.

We hit the Dairy Queen for Michael where he used to cycle.

Then moved on.
Then moved on.

The stages Billy used to sing on.

Where Nancy put a ring on her ring finger.

We hit the roads you used to run.

We talked of having fun.

We cried.

We traced where he (I) delivered papers every day at dawn.

We hit the high spots and the low.

We motored to and fro.

Then moved on.
Then moved on.

We stopped by houses of some people we had barely known.

And then before I’m too exhausted I said,
“Michael take me home.
Michael take me home,

to Fourteen Dwight Ave., Natick Massachusetts”
and the memories come hard as wood.
There’s Charlotte, my dear, dear Charlotte
making tzimmes for the whole disbelieving neighborhood,
it’s so damn good.

Sophie’s smiling and Shirley is laughing.
Norma’s blunt, but never shrill.
And I’m so damn lucky to have lived here.
It’s a crime we’ve so little time to kill.
But I’m blessed by people who have lived here
and I see them still.

We lived at Fourteen Dwight Ave., Natick Massachusetts,
in a small house on a sloping
hill.
Track Name: Will Price - When the Earth Stopped Turning
I remember what you said.
I remember every word.
I remember when the Earth stopped turning.
We were sitting on the bed
and the clock was ticking louder.
There's the overwhelming smell of powder in the air.
Everything is skewed.
Everything is blurred.
I remember every word.

I remember how we roared,
laughed so hard we almost cried,
laughed so long I felt the Earth stopped turning.
We were never ever bored
and you made us feel amazing.
We were blazing through our lives like comets in the sky.
Now that you’re not here
everything’s awry.

The world is good, you said.
Enjoy its highs, you said.
The summer flies, you said
so make a parade
of every moment.
Now throw away your hate
and focus on what's great instead.
I'm dying so there’s no time for debate
you said.

I remember how you smiled.
You were trying not to smile,
then you smiled and the Earth stopped turning.
All the images are filed,
all the images keep flicking.
Why are all of us so slow at picking up our cues?
Nothing left to win,
nothing more to lose.

The world is good, she said.
Enjoy its shit, she said.
'Cause this is it, she said
so make a parade
of every moment.
Now pull up to the curb.
The sign, “Do not disturb”’s ahead.
The truth is that you made my life superb,
she said.

On a Sunday late in May,
in a very quiet way
I remember how the Earth stopped turning,
turning,
turning,
turning.
Track Name: Jonathon Qualls - Thanksgiving (Reprise)
Bill Sherwood was present, he wrote and directed “Parting Glances”,
a movie for which Mark raised the money, in which Arthur invested,
and Monica too; this whole thing is true.
Bolek came but left early, he wanted pirogies.
My mother sent tzimmes for ten.
All these men insensibly and joyously living.
That was then, when Mark made his all-male Thanksgiving.
Where we gave thanks.
Track Name: Noah Lentini, Madi Boveri, Company - Saying My Goodbyes (Part 1)/Boom Boom (Part 1)/Saying Our Goodbyes (Part 2)/Boom Boom (Part 2)
I would like to say it’s been a privilege
living my life with you.
Who would have bet when we met
things would turn out as well as they did.
We had a sweet remarkable kid.
The first of an expected four.
I’m thinking we won’t have anymore.

Hey, I’m saying my goodbyes.
The living was the prize.
The ending’s not the story.
Just saying our goodbyes.
Goodbye.

Boom boom.
The architect is screaming.
Boom boom.
He sees his building burn.
Boom boom.
He writes to whom it does concern.
And stands there like a lion grieving.
Nodding, disbelieving.
When will decency return?

Boom boom.
Her husband left home early.
Boom boom.
She turns the T.V. on.
And scrolling down is a list of tiny names.
The place he works is in flames.
He worked for so many things.
The phone rings…

Tell the perfect child I wasn’t perfect
except in loving him.
I expect I’m correct when I say he’s the salt of the Earth.
Remember my love the day of his birth
when I sang Broadway songs and wept.
I thought that we had it all except.
Now, I’m saying my goodbyes.
The living was the prize.
The ending’s not the story.

I’m saying my goodbyes.
Goodbye.
Goodbye.
Good…bye.

Boom boom.
The machine picked up the phone call.
Boom boom.
Her feet were made of lead.
Boom.
She listened as her husband said
the words she always hoped he’d murmur.
Still her feet held firmer.
When he hung up
she went to bed.

Boom — Her son at school.
Boom boom boom lives shattered.
Boom the Golden Rule.
Everything went…
Boom!
Boom!
Boom!
Boom!

Boom boom.
The architect, the dreamer
assumes everything will collapse.
The buildings fall
and he sits there whistling “Taps.”
Outside the air’s opaque white.
Outside the day’s turned to night.
It’s hell.
Oh well…

Why not restart the day.
Let's say it never happened.
Why won't the picture
fit the frame?
Throw those bad hours away.
Make like it never happened.
Will our lives ever be the same?
Track Name: Maya Lagerstam - Looking Up
Looking up,
seeing nothing but sky.
In a blink of an eye,
where something once rose high and higher.
Now nothing does.
Once there was…

Looking up.
Angels float on a cloud.
Such a mem’rable crowd of
well toned, high boned, friends and mothers.
Near, but far.
And we are.

Aah…
Looking up.

Looking up.
Not remembering why.
Some historians try to
tell us what was here and what was over there,
so we stare.

Aah…
Looking up.
Aah…
Looking up.
Track Name: Madi Boveri, Noah Lentini, Maya Lagerstam, Company - Saying Our Goodbyes (Finale)
Hey.
Just saying our goodbyes.
The living was the prize.
The ending’s not the story.
I'm saying my goodbyes.

Goodbye.
Goodbye.