Broadway musical moms help me celebrate Mother’s Day with some totally appropriate tunes from musicals that mine the gold in all kinds of motherly relationships.
Four Dear Evan Hansen moms from the Broadway and touring companies united for this terrific take on “Anybody Have A Map?” from the blockbuster musical. I’m sure a lot of moms out there relate to this.
Liz Callaway really scored with this Act One closer for the 1983 Broadway musical, Baby. The song takes place after Liz’s ‘pregnant for the first time’ character feels her baby kick for the very first time.
From Stephen Sondheim’s brilliant Into The Woods, Broadway icon Betty Buckley served up a show-stopping “Children Will Listen” backed by the Boys Choir of Harlem at the 1992 Carnegie Hall concert honoring Sondheim.
In the 1996 stage musical adaptation of the Tom Hanks hit film BIG, Barbara Walsh played the mother of the lead character who magically grows up and leaves home on an adventure. At the top of Act Two, the mom reflects on how quickly kids can grow up wishing she could ‘stop time’ for just a while.
Just like in life (I’m thinking my own life here), Broadway musical moms take many forms – aunts, godmothers, neighbors, even god-like forces like Mother Earth – who show up at the right moment to help us on our way.
So, a few months ago, hubby Michael and I caught Broadway/cabaret performers Liz Callaway and sister Ann Hampton Callaway in concert here in Las Vegas and I was reminded how much I love their awesome talents.
We’ve known the two artists for over 20 years going back to the time Michael handled publicity duties for Liz’s album The Story Goes On – Liz Callaway On & Off-Broadway.
A few days later, I fell into a YouTube hole listening to that entire album. I can’t recall the last time I listened to an entire album in one sitting.
So, I wanted to share some of the tracks from the collection that have been playing in my head constantly for weeks now. But first, a little bit about the luminous Liz:
Liz Callaway is a Tony nominee and Emmy Award-winning actress, singer and recording artist. She made her Broadway debut in Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, received a Tony Award nomination for her performance in Baby, and for five years, won acclaim as Grizabella in Cats. She has also starred in the original casts of Miss Saigon, The Three Musketeers, and The Look of Love.
Off-Broadway she received a Drama Desk nomination for her performance in The Spitfire Grill (Playwrights Horizons), and also appeared in Brownstone (Roundabout), No Way to Treat a Lady, Marry Me a Little, and Godspell. Other New York appearances include the legendary Follies in Concert at Lincoln Center, A Stephen Sondheim Evening, Fiorello!(Encores!), and Hair in Concert.
If you’re a musical theater fan, you probably know many of the songs I’m about to share, but even if you don’t – these are songs that are easy to digest on their own.
First, the winsome “You There in the Back Row” from the Cy Coleman musical 13 Days to Broadway, which was heard about in gossip circles for years, but unfortunately never made it to the Great White Way. The show told the backstage story of a musical in trouble on the road to Broadway. Truly a loss to theater audiences if the score was full of songs like this.
Next up, “Since You Stayed Here” from the 1986 off-Broadway musical Brownstone, a musical by Josh Rubins (book and lyrics), Andrew Cadiff (book) and Peter Larson (music). The productions focused on a group of five people living in a brownstone apartment in New York City. A member of the original cast, Liz played Claudia, a young woman getting over a breakup.
As you might have guessed by now, Liz thrives in her story-telling. And this is one of the great story songs of the musical theater canon, “The Meadowlark” from Stephen Schwartz’s 1976 musical, The Baker’s Wife, which closed out of town before making it to Broadway.
Talk about a song that capitalizes on all of Liz’s gifts…just hit play. Trust me. I also want to give a tip of the hat to Liz’s long-time music director and arranger, Alex Rybeck, who is one of the VERY BEST in the business.
Just one more (then go listen to the whole album): “The Story Goes On” from the 1983 Broadway musical Baby wherein Liz played the youngest of three expectant mothers. This song closed Act One, most probably because the audience needed time to pull themselves together. In the bridge, Liz’s character feels her baby kick for the first time which provides the dramatic device to send her soaring into the finale of the song. Just check out the sweep of those strings underneath her at the 3:31 mark.
“All that was is part of me / As I am part of what’s to be / And thus it is / Our story goes on…”