Kurt Weill and Ogden Nash: That’s Him

Written by Scott Murphree


In category: Song of the Day

Published June 18, 2019

Today is the first day of rehearsals for the revival of the upcoming Manning the Canon concerts. Several years have passed since our last performances and I am excited to come back to it; it’s always an enlightening experience revisiting a program after some time. It will be a joy to reunite with Steve Blier and Matt Boehler and I’m looking forward to meeting and working with our two new cast members: Efraín Solís and Daniel McGrew.

In the spirit of World Pride and 50th anniversary of Stonewall, I chose today’s Song of the Day for my husband and love of my life for over 27 years. “That’s Him” is from One Touch of Venus (1943) and Kurt Weill’s unencumbered melody and Ogden Nash’s unpretentious words are sheer magic. Written in the form of a “list song,” Ogden Nash rattles off a long list of situations to describe just how truly special someone is. In this case, a list of simple analogies gives a more accurate description of a loved one when a formal definition would be elusive or inadequate. I am the first to admit that I am not especially quick-witted or good with words, and so I leave the cleverness of defining what my husband means to me up to Kurt Weill and Ogden Nash. I love you, Matthew, more than I could ever express.

You know the way you feel
When there is autumn in the air,
That’s him, that’s him.

The way you feel when Antoine
Has finished with your hair,
That’s him, that’s him.

You know the way you feel
When you smell bread baking,
The way you feel,
When suddenly a tooth stops aching;
Wonderful world, wonderful you,
That’s him, that’s him.

He is as simple as a swim in summer,
Not arty, not actory.
He’s like a plumber when you need a plumber:
He’s satisfactory.

You know the way you feel
When you want to knock on wood,
The way you feel 
When your heart is gone for good:
Wonderful world, wonderful you,
That’s him.

You could shuffle him with millions,
Soldiers and civilians,
I’d pick him out.
In the darkest caves and hallways
I would know him always,
Beyond a doubt.

Comes easily to me
Because that’s he.

You know the way you feel
About the Rhapsody in Blue:
That’s him, that’s him;

The way you feel about a hat
Created just for you:
That’s him, that’s him.

You know the way you feel
When the fireflies glimmer,
The way you feel
When overnight your hips grow slimmer:
Wonderful world, wonderful you,
That’s him, that’s him.

He’s like a book directly from the printer,
You look at him, he so commenceable.
He’s comforting as woolens in the winter:
He’s indispensable.

You know the way the way you feel
That you know you should conceal
The way you feel
That you really shouldn’t feel:
Wonderful world, wonderful you,
That’s him.

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Hailed by The New York Times as “radiant and expressive,” tenor Scott Murphree enjoys a varied career singing operas, concerts, and recitals. He is a founding member of The Mirror Visions Ensemble and serves on the adjunct voice faculty in the Steinhardt School at New York University. He returns to NYFOS this month in the revival of Manning the Cannon: Songs of Gay Life on June 22 in Orient, NY and on June 25 in NYC.


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