Sweet & Innocent

November 04, 2012 by Tomigriffin
Sweet & Innocent
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Ten more minutes of my Sunday ritual “Breakfast with the Beatles”, today’s climax was a string score only version of Eleanor Rigby. “I Want You” was also in today’s repertoire which is one of my favorites having been featured in both Juke Box Musicals Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the late seventies camp of a film with Peter Frampton, The Bee Gees and many other iconic stars including Alice Cooper and Aeromith; and Across the Universe a more poignant tale written and directed by Julie Taymor of Broadway’s The Lion King fame. Eleanor Rigby, and The Beatles for that matter, are my first childhood memories, the first music I was ever exposed to. In my mini-lesson on Rock and Roll playwriting I have the students use Eleanor as a character and write the story behind the infamous lonely woman. You’d be surprised at the imaginative and wonderful stuff I get. Someday I will write my Beatles juke box musical, it’s on my list, it is.

But, I am proud to announce that I have commenced my next juke box musical project; as I deemed I would whilst I await in glorious anticipation for Sammy’s response to Buying My Way Into Heaven. I have gone back to my roots, yet again, earlier this time. Please RedHeads don’t shoot me because there are redeeming circumstances.

When I was in the fourth grade I was planning on marrying Donny Osmond. Yes, true story. I was part of his fan club, Gresham, Oregon chapter 1974. I spent my baby sitting money on his vinyls. My first record purchase ever (my parents had eight tracks {Jesus Christ Superstar} and records, but MY first purchase ever, even before I procured ABBA’s SOS on 45) was Donny Osmond’s Puppy Love Album. I used to imagine I was that “Sweet and Innocent” girl he was singing about. I remember the first time I heard Elvis sing The 12th of Never, I thought, “That’s not Donny?!” I even followed my 4th grade friends to their Mormon church, I was serious! (Okay so I probably went to their church once, but I went). I had a long purple velvet coat. Everything had to be purple, Donny’s favorite color. Hmmm, I think to myself as I type, my bedroom is entirely purple. But I digress.

I live and work now in a highly Mormon community. Let’s just say I have had opposition at school for my (and my students’ creative thought) and the collective thought of High School appropriateness, verses new thought, creative process human rights etc. etc. So I challenged myself to write a piece that will be so sickly “Sweet and Innocent” that I could please my high school community, and get different reviews than, “Occasionally dirty, but genuine and an overall great teacher!” So I thought, “ Donny Osmond, I could write a musical to his stuff, I used to like that #$%^”. Besides we may have a Mormon in the white house next week.

So, yesterday morning as I lay in a heap of exhaustion after my trip to Cabo, being hobbled and two weeks of technical rehearsal and final show of Macbeth in the evening; I conjured to that magic place in the sky that puts stuff on your magic box, to get me Donny Osmond’s greatest hits, and sure enough, there it did show up on my magic box and his picture on the little screen, that unfortunately came about in my lifetime after I needed glasses to see it. I started listening to the songs and was immediately high upon the music that molded my ascent into puberty.

The story was instantly there. So now I write. I’ll keep ya posted. Donny sings about the same stuff Sammy does. My BFF in the photo, she got to see Donny in concert when she lived in Hawaii. It was a bone of contention between us, being I was the one who was going to marry him.

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