My “Happy Dance,” the Musical…

P&P, the Broadway Musical???

I have been fortunate over the last couple of years to have several of my titles recognized with awards from various RWA groups.  With each  announcement, I mentioned my “Happy Dance.” To understand my “Happy Dance,” one must have a knowledge of Zero Mostel’s performance as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof ~ specifically, Mostel’s freestyle dance about the stage when he sang, “If I Were a Rich Man.” Of course, such “freedom” sets my brain to thinking, which is not always a good thing. For example, I wonder what songs would the characters in Pride and Prejudice break into if we were doing P&P as a Broadway musical?

Logo from the 2011 NY Musical

Yes, I know that Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs recently brought to the stage, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, A Musical. In this production, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy’s romance comes to life with fresh eyes as Jane Austen revisits her unpublished manuscript, First Impressions. As Austen transforms their story into what will ultimately become her masterpiece, Pride and Prejudice, both the author and her characters struggle to learn the joy of second chances.

I am also aware that First Impressions: A Pride and Prejudice Broadway Musical was one of the failures of the 1958-59 Broadway season, despite having Polly Bergen, Hermoine Gingold, and Farley Granger as its stars. Actually, Bergen had replaced Gisele MacKenzie at the last minute. In the role of Elizabeth Bennet, Bergen had but three weeks to learn the score.

In reality, my idea was a mish-mash of my favorite Broadway tunes added to a dramatic format. Let me explain what I had in mind. Let us return to “If I Were a Rich Man.” Could you not see the character of George Wickham breaking into song and belting out the following words:

“Dear God, you made many, many poor people.

I realize, of course, that it’s no shame to be poor.

But it’s no great honor either!

So, what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?”

If I were a rich man,

Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum.

All day long I’d biddy biddy bum.

If I were a wealthy man.

I wouldn’t have to work hard.

Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.

If I were a biddy biddy rich,

Idle-diddle-daidle-daidle man.

I’d build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen,

Right in the middle of the town.

A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below.

There would be one long staircase just going up,

And one even longer coming down,

And one more leading nowhere, just for show.

(or)

How about Charlotte Lucas and Jane Bennet joining together on “People” from Funny Girl?

From Charlotte Collins: People–people who need people

Are the luckiest people in the world,

We’re children, needing other children

And yet letting our grown-up pride

Hide all the need inside,

Acting more like children ~ Than children.

From Jane Bennet: Lovers are very special people,

They’re the luckiest people in the world.

With one person, one very special person

A feeling deep in your soul

Says you were half; now you’re whole.

No more hunger and thirst Jane-and-Mr-Bingley-pride-and-prejudice-couples-6970674-451-170

But first be a person who needs people.  

Can you not imagine a segue from Lambton to Pemberley with Elizabeth Bennet sharing her fears of meeting Mr. Darcy with “On the Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady?”

I have often walked down this street before;

But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before.

All at once am I, Several stories high.

Knowing I’m on the street where you live.

Are there lilac trees in the heart of town?

Can you hear a lark in any other part of town?

Does enchantment pour Out of ev’ry door?

No, it’s just on the street where you live!

And oh! The towering feeling

Just to know somehow you are near.

The overpowering feeling

That any second you may suddenly appear!

People stop and stare. They don’t bother me.

For there’s nowhere else on earth that I would rather be.

Let the time go by, I won’t care if I

Can be here on the street where you live.

I would not mind seeing Lydia Bennet rocking out to “Ease On Down the Road” from The Wiz.  

‘Cause there maybe times

When you think you lost your mind

And the steps you’re takin’

Leave you three, four steps behind

But the road you’re walking

Might be long sometimes

You just keep on steppin’

And you’ll just be fine, yeah 

Ease on down, ease on down the road

Come on, ease on down

Ease on down the road

Don’t you carry nothing

That might be a load

Come on, ease on down

Ease on down the road

I can also imagine Darcy singing “One” from A Chorus Line when he discovers that he is heels-over-head in love with Elizabeth Bennet.

One singular sensation, every little step she takes

One thrilling combination, every move that she makes

One smile and suddenly nobody else will do

You know you’ll never be lonely with you-know-who

One moment in her presence and you can forget the rest

For the girl is second best to none, son

Oooh! Sigh! Give her your attention

Do I really have to mention, she’s the one

How about Elizabeth giving her sister Jane a lesson in hope after Mr. Bingley leaves Netherfield by sharing the most famous pageant song ever written, “Tomorrow” from Annie?

The sun’ll come out Tomorrow

Bet your bottom dollar

That tomorrow, There’ll be sun!

Just thinkin’ about Tomorrow

Clears away the cobwebs,

And the sorrow, ‘Til there’s none!

When I’m stuck a day

That’s gray, And lonely,

I just stick out my chin

And Grin,

And Say, Oh!

The sun’ll come out Tomorrow

So ya gotta hang on ‘Til tomorrow

Come what may

Tomorrow! Tomorrow!

I love ya, Tomorrow!

You’re always a day away!

I could also easily see the residents of Meryton, especially the unmarried females, breaking out into “Big Spender” from Sweet Charity when Darcy and Bingley make their entrance.

The minute you walked in the joint,

I could see you were a man of distinction,

A real big spender,

Good looking, so refined.

Say, wouldn’t you like to know

What’s going on in my mind?

So, let me get right to the point,

I don’t pop my cork for ev’ry guy I see.

Hey, big spender, spend…

A little time with me!

Could you also see Darcy looking at Georgiana and wondering when she had grown into a woman? I’m returning to Fiddler on the Roof and the haunting melody of “Sunrise, Sunset.” (I have taken the liberty to change the wording a bit to be only about a young girl.)

Is this the little girl I carried?

Is this the little child at play?

I don’t remember growing older

When did she?

When did she get to be a beauty?

When did she grow to be so tall?

Wasn’t it yesterday when she was small?

Sunrise, sunset

Sunrise, sunset

Swiftly flow the days

Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers

Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset

Sunrise, sunset

Swiftly fly the years

One season following another

Laden with happiness and tears

Finally, I would offer up “For Good” from Wicked as part of Darcy’s second proposal.

I’ve heard it said

That people come into our lives for a reason

Bringing something we must learn

And we are led

To those who help us most to grow

If we let them

And we help them in return

Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true

But I know I’m who I am today

Because I knew you

Like a comet pulled from orbit

As it passes a sun

Like a stream that meets a boulder

Halfway through the wood

Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?

But because I knew you

I have been changed for good

So, tell me what you think? Could my version of P&P, the Musical make it? What other songs might we add? Is there a future for other Austen productions?

________________________

Awards:

The Phantom of Pemberley – SOLA’s Fifth Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Awards – 3rd Place – Romantic Suspense

Darcy’s Temptation – 2009 Booksellers’ Best Award Finalist – Long Historical

The Scandal of Lady Eleanor – Write Touch Readers’ Award – 2nd Place – Historical Romance

A Touch of Grace – SOLA’s Seventh Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Awards – 3rd Place – Historical Romance

The First Wives’ Club – SOLA’s Seventh Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Awards – Honorable Mention – Historical Romance

Christmas at Pemberley – 2011 Booksellers’ Best Award Finalist – Inspirational Romance; Second Place, General Fiction, New England Book Festival

The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy – SOLA’s Eighth Annual Dixie Kane Awards – Honorable Mention, Romantic Suspense; Finalist for the Frank Yerby Award for Fiction; 2nd Place, Romantic Suspense, Winter Rose Award for Fiction

Angel and the Devil Duke – SOLA’s Eighth Annual Dixie Kane Awards – 3rd Place- Historical Romance

The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin – Finalist for Romantic Suspense, 2014 Write Stuff Award

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About reginajeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and contemporary novels.
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10 Responses to My “Happy Dance,” the Musical…

  1. carolcork says:

    I think you have a great choice of songs, Regina. Now all you need to do is sell your idea to Andrew Lloyd Webber!

  2. That was such a wonderful post!! I loved it and was singing along!!

  3. jdawnking says:

    From Evita -Darcy at Netherfield before the ball “The Lady Has Potential” and Lizzy after she sees Darcy’s portrait at Pemberley “You Must Love Me”.

  4. Anji says:

    What about Sting’s lyrics from “Every Breath You Take”:

    Every breath you take
    Every move you make
    Every bond you break
    Every step you take
    I’ll be watching you

    for Darcy watching Elizabeth at the Meryton Assembly or Netherfield Ball? It’s not from a musical as far as I’m aware, though.

    Loved the post, by the way. I’ve never seen the lyrics to “If I Was A Rich Man” written out before so that rather made me chuckle. I didn’t recognise all the songs you mentioned, not being a great lover of musical theatre, but they certainly fitted the situations.

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