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One From Column A...

September 22, 1997 - #1

Hello, and welcome to One From Column A, my new weekly column. When Mr. Mark Bakalor suggested I do this, I suggested he get a pre-frontal lobotomy. But, the more I thought about it (it's a dangerous thing when The Real A thinks) the more I began to realize what fun it would be. My very own column. Then I wouldn't have to annoy everyone with my posts on Finishing the Chat and All That Chat . Now, with my own column, I can annoy them once a week - on a regular basis! And, so, here we are.

What is this column going to be about, you ask? Well, a little thisa and a little thata (as Lola would say), the latest goings on in the world of musicals, my feelings on any and everything, recipes, and of course information on our favorite topic: Mr. Sondheim. You can send me questions, which I'll in turn answer. Send comments, questions, "get-rich-quick schemes", and anything else on your mind to me at real@sondheim.com. I'll do my best to reply to as many as I can, here in the column.

Here's an example of a question you might ask The Real A:

Hey, Real A, is there symbolism in the fact that Sweeney Todd, the barber is barbarous?

The Real A would answer:

What kind of a stupid question is that?

Seriously, you all ask anything and I all will answer to the best of my ability -- which fluctuates from day to day.

Among the questions I'm asked, the most frequent is, of course, who is "The Real A." Well, how to answer this question? The Real A is either male or female, but not both. The Real A is not a vegetarian. The Real A knows a bit about the musical theater because The Real A may or may not be involved in it, but probably is. The Real A may or may not have actual friends. All guesses are welcome.

Now, there have been many discussions about Mr. Andrew Lloyd Webber vs. Mr. Stephen Sondheim. Well, did you know that both of them wrote songs about each other? Here are excerpts from them:

First, Lloyd Webber wrote this:

Have you listened to Sondheim,
I can't listen to Sondheim
He cannot write a tune.
I'm the master,
And what's more I write big hit shows
Mr. Sondheim's quickly close.

I wrote Cats and I wrote Phantom
I wrote Superstar, too...
But when Sondheim writes another tune gets battered,
Well, what can you do...

Have you listened to Passion????
You can't listen to Passion,
It's a pain in the ass...
Mr. Sondheim please learn from me what
Melody is... If you won't then
I will pass.

Mr. Sondheim wrote:

Attend the tale of Andrew Lloyd,
He writes the kind of shows I avoid.
His songs are bland and his songs are trite,
Let's face it he just doesn't know how to write...
His shows are hits and I'm annoyed,
At Andrew Lloyd,
The Demon Writer of Broadway

His hits were many his flops were few,
His Phantom's running and Cats is too,
I write Assassins and people jeer,
And Passion it can't even last out the year...
His talent rests inside a void,
Sir Andrew Lloyd
The Demon Writer of Broadway.

It doesn't sound like they have dinner a lot, does it? But, here's an interesting game: What if Sondheim had written Cats? Would he have written this:

Here's a little story that should make you cry,
About two unhappy cats.
Let us call them Pussy X and Pussy Y
They had lots and lots of spats.
Now, X would always purr alot,
When you would pet his fur alot,
He drank his milk and slept till after nine.
But Y was always catty,he
Drove everybody batty, he
Would scratch your face and think it was devine.
Given their dilemmas well you may ask why
These two pussies had such grief...
This is my belief...
In brief...

Well, you get the idea. And what if Lloyd Webber had written Passion?

With one look you will lose your grace,
With one look at my ugly face.
Fosca, like a lifeless rose,
Have you seen this mole that is on my nose?

With one look I will gross you out,
You will flee can there be a doubt?
Giorgio, I must have you, please,
Leave that vapid blonde, with the double D's

Until next week, I am, as I ever was, and ever shall be...

Yours, yours, yours, yours, yours.

The Real A

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