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In the past, I’ve used Wednesday to post a flash-fiction based off a photograph. But I’m over it, and it’s time to change the category.

I work in theatre, and for a time I’d like to post about a different musical or show that I love (or hate) and explain why.

We’ll start with one of my favorite: Elegies by William Finn.

I had the opportunity to light this lovely show in college in the small black box theatre. The images included in this post are all from that production.

William Finn is Jewish and majored in music at Williams College in Massachusetts. He is now Adjunct Faculty Composer/Lyricist at New York University.

004Elegies is a song cycle, which means that each song itself is it’s own story but each song is a part of an over arching theme. This song cycle is an autobiographical memorial to friends long passed, and put together it’s a beautiful tribute to each and every person from William’s life.

007I was very proud to be a part of this production. It was simple and powerful. The performers were fantastic and it was the first time I felt like I was doing something that really mattered. I was lighting something beautiful, powerful, meaningful.

018I think we only had two or three performances. It was too short. I’d like to think that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

The song above, “When the Earth Stopped Turning” still makes me cry.

I believe the song is about William’s mother.

023But perhaps the most powerful moment of the the performance was the song posted above. This photo acompanies that moment. It tells the story of a husband who calls his wife from the Twin Towers on 9/11 just before they collapsed. This moment was made all the more powerful by the two performers, a married couple themselves.

In her grief at the climax of the song, she grabbed papers off the table she leaned on and threw them into the air.

So why do I love this musical as much as I do? It’s not just because of my personal experience, but because this musical is so simple. It’s not like other musicals that are just there for the spectacle and awe of the audience. It tells the story of real people, real life, and in simple melodies. 

Not all theatre needs to be big and dramatic. I love the big shows for what they are, but the simple ones are my favorites.

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