- “Love in Hard Times: The Music of Paul Simon,” a monthlong artist-in-residence gig began last night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The examination of Paul’s work is composed of a suite of three concerts over three April weekends, beginning with “Songs from the Capeman,” a musical staging of Paul’s Broadway musical; “Under African Skies,” a retrospective of his African and South American inspired songs; and “American Tunes,” featuring elements of Simon’s earlier catalogue. Simon performs with an eclectic batch of guests at each gig. Also on tap is a screening of “The Graduate” and a May one-on-one chat between Simon and Philip Glass.Visit the Bam site for more info. Here’s a quick write-up of last night’s Capeman premiere from the most passionate of the musical’s fans, as posted to alt.music.paul-simon:
If you’re someone who missed the show and wants to see what it was like… don’t see this concert. If you’re expecting Paul to be on stage the entire show, once again, don’t see this concert.
However, if you love the music from The Capeman and want to see it performed by an extremely talented cast that includes many original cast members, this is an event you should most certainly attend.
The score was reduced by about 30% and the two guest groups – Little Anthony and the Imperials and The Spanish Harlem Orchestra – both performed their own hits before the performance started.
The female lead was played by Claudette Sierra, who was Ednita Nazario’s understudy in the original problem. Marc Anthony’s role was split between Frankie Negron (who was Paul’s first choice for the role in the original production) and Obie Bermudez. Bermudez also doubled as the umbrellaman. Original cast member Rey de la Paz took over the late Nestor Sanchez’s role as St Lazarus and Luba Mason sang the parts for both mothers in Can I Forgive Him. Paul, of course, sang Trailways Bus.
Strangely, Christmas in the Mountains and Carmen were performed, even though many of the songs that were in the show were cut from this version.
The encour was Danny Rivera’s Spanish version of Born In Puerto Rico followed by Paul and The Spanish Harlem Orchestra performing Late In the Evening together.
All in all a fun concert, as long as you go in with the correct expectations. It seemed a lot of people were upset with how long Paul was on stage and others were upset that the entire show was not performed.
After the performance, we went to the cast party. Paul gave a speech in which he said he enjoyed revisiting the show and he actually really likes it and he may be throwing around a few ideas involving it. So it may not be the end of The Capeman after all!
- A European tour is in the works, with some dates already on sale – England and Ireland at the start of July and Switzerland and Germany at the end of the month are already announced. Details in the forum at The Neck of my Guitar.
- Back with more soon enough, including a reflection on the BAM series.