March 2022 at Musical Cyberspace is all about songs with people’s names in the title.
“Gigi,” a song about the titular character of the 1958 film of the same name, is a song I first heard when I picked up a piece of sheet music and played it on the piano as a child. By the time I saw the film and heard an orchestra accompany Louis Jourdan’s tentative delivery of Alan Jay Lerner’s lyrics and Frederick Loewe’s melody, I was already sold on the song. Perhaps the lyrics do get a bit overly poetic here and there, but Gaston is a Frenchman so perhaps it can be excused as an expression of character. Either way, I still love it.
As a song, “Gigi” has largely remained within the domain of the musical, on screen, on stage, in concert and in the recording studio, albeit with a couple of jazz covers on the side. Most recently, Corey Cott gave the song a more contemporary musical theatre sound in the flop Broadway revival of the stage adaptation of the film, which I’m not quite sure works for the material. It just doesn’t quite soar. Would someone like Jeremy Jordan or Aaron Tveit do better by the song in these times? Who can say?
That said, the show has never worked on stage and the earlier interpretations by Geoffrey Burridge and Daniel Massey don’t being things home either. Part of the challenge is the song, which basically asks performers to Henry Higgins the charm out of the verse, but then deliver a rich vocal on the more romantic chorus. It is perhaps Graham Bickley who finds the best balance between the two elements of the song on the JAY studio recording of the show. In the end, maybe one just has to return to the OG for Louis Jourdan’s intimate delivery of the song, which works beautifully in context.
Keen to share your thoughts on “Gigi”? Head on to the comment box at the end of this post.