“Liaisons” – A Little Night Music
Music and Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
Amorous but amoral novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses was first published on this day in 1782 detailing sordid liaisons among the French aristocracy. Similar, but less scandalous, this musical about the romantic liaisons between a group of people one summer in Sweden is an elegant and rueful look at love and lust. In this number, the elderly Madame Armfeldt reminisces about her liaisons when she was a much younger woman.
“Words, Words, Words” – The Witches of Eastwick
Music: Dana P. Rowe Lyrics: John Dempsey
A devilishly handsome smooth-talker coaxes the introverted Sukie to open up in this droll number from this musical about magic, seduction, and scandal in a sleepy New England town. Sometimes you just have to find the right words to express yourself. Thankfully, the author who wrote the novel which inspired this musical found his words: John Updike, born on this day in 1932.
“Ireland” – Legally Blonde
Music and Lyrics: Laurence O’Keefe & Nell Benjamin
No, this is not an Irish pub song that will make you want to guzzle beer, but it is fitting for St. Patrick’s Day nonetheless. When heartache strikes the determined heroine of this peppy musical based on the novel and film, hairdresser Paulette tries to cheer her up with Irish music. Plaintively sung by a woman who longs to visit the Emerald Isle but believes she never will, this song is a goofy, passionate endorsement of Ireland, and therefore ideal for the country’s most famous national holiday.
“What have You Got to Say, Jeeves?” – By Jeeves
Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics: Alan Ayckbourn
Famous fictional valet/butler Reginald Jeeves is the central character of this amusing tuner based on the novels of P.G. Wodehouse. Jeeves was also the mascot for the Q & A website Ask Jeeves until he retired on this day in 2006, leaving the U.S. site simply Ask.com and prompting the world to ask, ‘What have you got to say, Jeeves?’ The ever-dutiful gentleman listened as he reappeared a few years later in the United Kingdom’s version of Ask.com.
“The Right Road” – Outlander
Music: Kevin Walsh Lyrics: Mike Gibb
Are you on the right road? As lovers Claire and Jamie accept the consequences of their devotion in this song from a musical based on Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling novel, think about what drives you forward. Now consider where you’re heading and whether this is what you want. There’s always time to switch routes if needed.
“The Color Purple” – The Color Purple
Music and Lyrics: Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, & Stephen Bray
As you walk outside today, allow yourself a moment to really take in your surroundings. Feel the air. Notice the colors. Think about how good it is to be alive. The title number of this life-affirming musical based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker teaches us not to take for granted the pleasures that exist all around us.
“Muddy Water” – Big River
Music and Lyrics: Roger Miller
This song where Huck and Jim escape via raft is probably the most stirring number in this musical adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The classic film adaptation based on Twain’s novel and starring Mickey Rooney (which shares the same title as the novel) was released on this day in 1939. Incidentally, a different film musical version of the novel was released in 1974 with music by the Sherman brothers (of Disney’s The Jungle Book fame, among others).