Thursday, November 12, 2009


This is an absolutely ball-busting song from a musical I did in the NYMF Festival last year called Love Jerry.

I wanted to record it because:

a) it kicks ass

b) Megan Gogerty, the inexplicably talented composer and playwright of Love Jerry should be a household name for how amazing she is.

c) this musical is so new, there really isn't a demo for the show that reflects the emotional life of these songs accurately. And I also wanted Megan to have a really solid rendition of this '11 o'clock' number for her own PR purposes.

d) the rehearsal schedule for NYMF is so limited, we were never able to really write a great musical arrangement to this number. Everyone had the best intentions but there was just not enough time to do it properly. So I really wanted to arrange this number and send the charts to Megan so she had them and could send them out or whatever, if she wanted.

d) Love Jerry itself is - besides being a brilliant play with music- such an important piece of theatre- that I can only wish that some producer out there has enough balls to back it for a nice solid Off Broadway run at least. It's extraordinary story told in an equally extraordinary way.

Why haven't you heard about this musical?

If it's so brilliant, why isn't it running of Off Broadway right now, you ask?

I'll tell you.

Keep an open mind now.

Love Jerry is a musical about incest.


I know.


Let me describe another musical for you now.

Fill in the blank is a musical about cannibalism.

You understand the point I'm making here?

Love Jerry ran into the same PR problem that Sweeney Todd did when it first opened in the early 70's. People heard "a musical about rape, murder and cannibalism?!!!! that must be HORRIBLE!" and it had people walking out, and half empty houses, and closed at a massive loss.

But of course, we all know now....that it's probably one of the most magnificent musicals ever written and it was just waaayyyyy ahead of its time.


First of all KUDOS to the NYMF Festival for having the stones to put this show in their roster at all. Not that, if you'd even read the first 4 pages of the script- it would even remotely be a question. Because it's that good.

I was sent the script with the caveat,

"this musical is about incest. Michael Cassara wants you to read the part of the mom of the abused boy. tell me what you think."

I read the first FOUR pages of this script and I immediately called my agent and said, 

"I'm in I'm in I'm IN! I am IN like, I will SHANK people to do this. I will SHANK. THEM. So call Michael and tell him right NOW.... yes yes yes yes YES!"

it was a visceral reaction that I'd maybe had towards a script maybe....
twice before in my life.
My hands were literally shaking as I held the phone.
It was like....every molecule in my body was reacting to the words...
I know it sounds all Buck Rogers and shit...
but I swear, it was like my whole body was already attached to it.

And if they had called me back and said, ya know- 'too late, we offered it to someone else'-
i would have CRRIIIEEDDD. 
After only reading 4 pages. 
I'm not even remotely kidding.

Thank God they didn't.

There was something about the way it was written-
Megan's voice-
so honest and true and brave and totally out there and OBJECTIVE...
and from all sides....
and funny.....
a musical about incest that had HUMOR??!!!

......and MESSY.

Messy- like real life is MESSY- I mean...
it was like I was eavesdropping on this family who learns through the course of the play that their son is being molested by his own uncle (the father's brother).

It deals with what really happens to a family....
and the victims...
and the perpetrator....
not what we wish to happen.

which person is bad and which person is good and what's the obvious choice is....
is it really that obvious.....

who's to blame-
what side do you take-
when you're in the middle of two family members-
and i know---
you sit back and you think,

"well it's obvious....what SIDE YOU take...."

but the brilliance of this musical is that....
it makes you question that 'obviousness'.
Because like any sort of fucked up family dynamic, it is anything but obvious to the people INSIDE that family.

This play makes you think, and evaluate your own ethics, and then re-evaluate them...
and we had marvelous people come from all sorts of Child Protection agencies....
and give fantastic talks afterwards....

because obviously the one thing you DON'T want to do-
if you're going to write about something as sensitive as incest....
is in any way.....
feel like you're exploiting the subject matter.

Which it NEVER ever did.

I miss it so.

I could go on and on...
but i won't.
just trust me.
it's THAT fucking brilliant.

And not for nothing but this production won a shitload of awards at the NYMF as well....
and I can only hope that it continues to have a life. I seriously feel like it's one of the best musicals I've ever done in my life.

So for more information on this absolutely ASTONISHING show-
please go to:


The song.
Let's talk about the actual song.

This song is sung by the mother of the boy who has been molested by her brother-in-law on her watch. The tragedy of all this is that, of course- the mother has been seeing the signs all along and she knows something is wrong- but....she keeps allowing herself to get talked out of taking action over and over because she truly doesn't want to believe it's true- and her husband is so completely disconnected from everything that he is starting to think she's crazy.

all leading up to this song....
this character is wondering....

"what's wrong with my kid....there's something wrong with my kid.....i don't know, maybe i'm crazy...maybe i'm overreacting...maybe this behavior is husband thinks i'm crazy....everyone thinks i'm crazy....but....there's SOMETHING wrong with my kid....."

So then....
she finds out what's wrong with her kid.

And I mean.....
what do you do?

What do you do with ALLLLL that?

The guilt of knowing something was wrong....and not following through.
The anger at everyone- including the kid.....for not telling her what was going on so she could help.
The absolute helplessness she feels....because her son is now broken...on her watch...and she can't even 'reach' him to help him at this point....

all she really wants is for the kid to get better.

and she's convinced that if he just cries....
does something.....
gets angry-
or yells-
or cries.....

it will be a step in the right direction.

but the kid has locked himself in his room because now he feels guilty because he loves his uncle who is now in prison because of him- and all he can do is hide from everything and everyone.


The mom brings up a tray of food to the door-
hoping he'll come out and take it-
or eat it-
or something.

but nothing...
no answer.

and there's an incredibly funny/poignant monologue that precedes this song....
where she's trying to get him to come out-
and finally....

....she just slumps to the floor next to his room and sings this song to him through the door.

And you see this character have fits and sparks of emotional release before this-
she'll bark one line at a police officer-
and then be calm again....
and then she'll lash out on one line at her husband-
and then be calm again....

but this is the first time you see her, for all intents and purposes, "alone"....
and all she wants...
is for her little boy to cry.

and for him to know that....
she's there for him.

and that's she so incredibly sorry for not protecting him when he needed it.

And you'd think the song would be long...
to do all that?

but it's really not.

This song....does a a very short period of time.
because it's SO well written.

The lyrics are incredibly to the point, honest and economical.

As far as the musical arrangement goes....

For the album, i've given it a slightly more 'jazzy' feel than we ever did it in the show-
just because....
without the show to really know what's going on in the song....
i felt it needed just a little more of a musical 'identity'-
if that makes any sense?

Another element I kept from the show is that there is no piano in this arrangement. it's all bass, accordion, flute and guitar. It keeps it 'softer' in the background. It makes the vocal take the hard edge.


This song literally 'wails'.

It's keening, put to music.

And I truly truly hope that I have done Megan's brilliant talent justice here.

it is also.....
the ONLY song with riffing in it.
it's necessary.

So if you want your riff fix-
track #5 my darlings.

More soon....
off to the show....


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