Try to Remember

It has been a few weeks since we’ve heard any music on this blog. And considering that Black Dust comes out in THREE DAYS! it might be time to revisit some of the music that fills its pages.

The Fantasticks is a musical first produced in 1960, and ran for 42 years off-Broadway. No, that is not a typo. Forty-two, making it the world’s longest running musical. It is now back in New York, has been made into television and movie versions and is known to have as many as 250 stage productions every year in regional, community and high school productions. A small cast, three-piece orchestra and minimal set design makes it approachable.

Its story isn’t as simple–one of deception and lost love. But, like Black Dust, it is a story of second chances that make for better chances at a lifelong love. “Try to Remember” is possibly the most known of the songs–I know it was a popular choice for high school recitals and talent shows back in my day. (You whippersnappers.)

In Black Dust, Toby and Emmett visit their old community theater for a production of the play as the pieces of their life begin to come back together again… or do they?

Fantasticks was community theater-perfect, with bumps and blunders, passionate performances by halfway decent actors, and pieces of costumes so old Toby thought he recognized some of them.

At intermission, Toby teased Emmett about the Mortimer role, a character in the play whose specialty was melodramatic, comedic death scenes. “Can you imagine,” he said, “if we’d ever done this show? We would have had to put up with Scotty fucking around with that
Cockney accent all damned summer.”

“Oh God. You know it. Lipman would have given him the role just to irritate us.”

“Well, that and he’d have killed it.” Emmett was right; it felt good and safe to say his name, to honor his clownishness and good humor.

… And as El Gallo, the play’s mysterious narrator, sang, Emmett brought Toby’s fingers to his lips as he quietly sang along, “Without a hurt, the heart is hollow.”

Theater might be fantastical, but it always spoke to Toby’s heart.

Black Dust, a story about two musicians given a second chance at love, comes out April 7. It is now available for pre-order from Interlude Press. Enter for a chance to win a copy at goodreads until April 10.

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