It’s Double Take December at Musical Cyberspace! Every musical pretty much has something one likes and something one doesn’t in it. This month I’ll be listing one of each for a range of musicals, a different one each day.
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
Something I Like: The music is beautiful. Burton Lane really did some amazing work on this score. And although the lyrics written for the show show do not consistently represent Alan Jay Lerner’s best work, “What Did I Have That I Don’t Have?” and the titular song (in its chorus, at least) are both moving pieces of work. I like that there is a revisal of the show (currently running on Broadway) that has tried to give the best parts of the show a shot at a fully fulilled theatrical realisation, but I am not sure that this has been achieved. It seems to me that the new show has as many problems as the old one did, unfortunately.
Something I Don’t Like: The book is messy. There’s no balance found between the primary narrative thrust and the secondary narrative. It’s as though Lerner couldn’t unpack his ideas enough to find either the right focus for the show or an ideal balance between the two narratives to make the show work. Lerner’s lyrics for the show also tend to be self-conscious, lazy, repetitive and even trite at times, particularly but not only in the verses that lead into the songs. One really becomes aware of them as lyrics rather than experiencing them as chunks of dramatic action, which is a trademark of Lerner’s writing throughout his body of work.
Feel free to share your “double take” on On a Clear Day You Can See Forever in the comment box!