I Might As Well Have Been Speaking Greek


Just about every year in mid-May, our family goes to the Greek festival at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in Albany. This year we went on Saturday evening and in spite of the sometimes inclement weather, we had a pretty decent time. There’s lots of food and even more music and dancing. there was a point when I had no idea where my wife and daughter were, but I just hung out, knowing they had to cross a particular intersection eventually.

However, there was one incident that hangs in my mind. Lydia and I went into the playground area of the church, along with several other children and their parents. I noticed that one child of about eight whacked her head on a wooden crossbeam of the slide/climbing contraption. Immediately I went to see if she was okay. She was not – it looked as though she somehow didn’t even see the beam based on the force of the collision. She ran to her mother, wailing, and I followed; I figured if my child suddenly began crying I’D like to know why. Immediately her mother asked, “What happened – what happened – what happened?” I tried to explain to her what had taken place, but she apparently was suffering from hysterical deafness, for she couldn’t understand a single word I was saying. Her demeanor, though, had that “What did YOU do to my child?” feel. Fortunately, her friend was able to translate for me. Talking about shooting the messenger.
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Finally got through the Tony Awards; it takes a while when you watch int in 20-minute increments. Someone I know was complaining how unfamiliar he was with Broadway shows; I thought that was odd, since the nominees featured everything from the 39 Steps to Little Mermaid and Xanadu to Young Frankenstein. He specifically mentioned August: Osage County, Boeing-Boeing, Passing Strange and South Pacific. South Pacific? Really? It was only a major Rogers and Hammerstein collaboration, based on the James Michener book, made into a long-running musical as well as a movie. Something I didn’t know: the song You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught was, in 1949, quite controversial, considered to be contrary to American values because of the miscegenation it seemed to accept.
Here’s one of Fred Hembeck’s favorite singers performing it:

ROG

Some Enchanted Evening

I posted on all thing musical yesterday and I forgot South Pacific. There’s already been one week of the Rodgers and Hamerstein work offered up at the Park Playhouse in Albany’s Washington Park, and the production will run Tuesdays through Sundays until August 14. It has reviewed well.

It includes I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair (a variation of which was made into a shampoo commercial some years ago), the title of this piece, and one of the most important songs in all of musical theater history, You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.