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Journal word munger's Journal: American Music

Today we went to see "Let me Sing" at Charlotte's Booth playhouse. It's kindof a history of American musical theater all in one play. Not a bad show, but it hits you a little over the head with the race issue. Five second summary: The whites stole "American" music from the African Americans.

I think there's no doubt that without the influence of African Americans, music as we know it today would be completely different. On the other hand, I think the show implicitly diminishes the real talent of composers such as Gershwin and Berlin. Gershwin, I know, was careful to acknowledge the influence of the African American muscial tradition, but from the perspective of this show, Gershwin was an out and out thief.

Other than that, there were some pretty good performances in this show. Some very noble efforts, too, such as a duet that combined "Can't stop lovin' that man of mine" with -- oh, now I can't remember, but it was a completely different song. It kind of worked, but the two songs got a little muddled.

Anyway, it was good fun. I do think the show had an important message, but it would have been better if the show could have made its point a bit more subtly.

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American Music

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