The Saturday List: Favourite Songs from 1980s Musicals

To purchase the DVD of INTO THE WOODS, click on the image above.

4. “It Takes Two” from Into the Woods

When I directed Into the Woods last year, I realised that “It Takes Two” was my favourite song in the piece. Forget all of the Witches diva-esque moments and the witticisms of the les enfants terribles and their older counterparts as they learn their lessons. These few moments in the play where the action slows down and focuses on character relationships, an almost unique song in the piece, is what the show is all about. (Also, there’s plenty of wit built into the song anyway, if even if it doesn’t work as hard as, say, “On the Steps of the Palace”. But that just makes it even better, doesn’t it? The ease with which “It Takes Two” both entertains and contributes to the narrative.) If a show is made of moments, just as “Moments in the Woods” says that life is, then this song is one of the moments in the show that lets you know you’ve had one.

3. “Children and Art” from Sunday in the Park with George

Sunday in the Park with George has a marvelous score. It reaches the heights of beauty in “Sunday”, ploughs the depths of human emotion in “We Do Not Belong Together” and the torture and joy of making art in “Color and Light” and “Finishing the Hat”. Now that I’ve completed my Tony Award-style introduction of the show, let’s talk about my favourite song. One of the things I love about this song is that it is a really unassuming song that says a great deal. It truly is a phenomenally moving song and it is such a beautiful marriage of sentiment and character. To have it all come together in such an expertly constructed piece of music – suited to both the concept that unites the score (the short musical phrases that make up the whole, in the way that the dots come together to form the image in the painting) and also to the character (whose age is reflected in the lack of long phrases and the placement of the song in the voice) – and in a set of painstakingly crafted lyrics makes the song magical. It is a superb piece of work.

2. “Unusual Way” from Nine

I am a complete sucker for a song like this: romantic, yearning and underpinned by complex emotion. It’s the kind of song I want someone to sing to me and, at the same time, perhaps not – what would it mean? Nine is also a musical with which I have a tough time. The dreadful film aside, it’s a difficult show because it revolves around Guido, who is hardly the most sympathetic character out there, and while that certainly isn’t the be all and end all of characterisation, it does mean that its tough to find a Guido who can pull it off. I’m not sure that anyone in a major production since Raul Julia has. This song is, of course, not sung by Guido but to him by Claudia, his muse and the star of many of his films, although the version I’ve chosen for the video spot below is Griffith Frank’s haunting cover version recorded for the soundtrack of the film.

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3 Responses to The Saturday List: Favourite Songs from 1980s Musicals

  1. OMG OMG SQUEALS! When I saw this new post, my 1st thought was, ‘Colored Lights’ would be my favorite. I cannot believe you agree! 🙂 Glad Into The Woods made the lineup, too. Love your blog!

  2. David Fick says:

    Thanks! I’m glad we agree! Glad you like it here. I’m trying to blog more regularly as time permits, but it’s sometimes challenging.

  3. Love your take on “It Takes Two”. That show has so much depth to me. “No One Is Alone” always takes me back to when I had never felt so by myself in my life, til I heard that song and felt some hope. “It Takes Two” indeed is a great piece about relationships, too!

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