The theme for April 2012 at Musical Cyberspace is “Single-Song Showstoppers”, a series of big numbers sung by a featured characters in a show – typically their only solo, although they might sing minor bits and pieces elsewhere – each of which raise the roof.
Today’s single-song showstopper is “My New Philosophy”, one of the new numbers written by Andrew Lippa for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, a musical comedy by John Gordon and Clark Gesner. The song is sung by Sally Brown, a role created in the Broadway revival of the show for Kristen Chenoweth.
The Setup: Sally is angry: her teacher has given her a D on her homework assignment. “Oh, yeah? That’s what you think!” is what she has to say about it and this becomes the first of several philosophies she inflicts upon the nearby Schroeder, who fervently attempts to explain to her what philosophies really are.
The Song: This song may be one of the best things that Andrew Lippa has ever written. A far more successful arranger and songwriter than show composer, Lippa’s original additions for the score of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown were strictly composed to fit in with the existing score, probably making this the most focused and disciplined work her has ever done. (See his disappointing attempts at creating full scores for his version of The Wild Party and The Addams Family if you have any doubts about this. His lack of discipline prevents both scores from becoming cohesive depictions of the dramatic world that is being created on stage. But I digress.) “My New Philosophy” is a tightly written little number that knocks off the audience’s socks when delivered by a virtuoso diva-in-disguise. That’s what Kristen Chenoweth managed to achieve and she got herself a Tony Award with this number: therein lies the power of the single-song showstopper.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on “My New Philosophy”. Click on the comments link at the end of this post and share them with us!