After discovering American popular music later in my childhood, my mind was also blown at the discovery of musical theater, which was sort of like the opera I had grown up with in Germany, but just so deliciously American. As a twelve-year-old, having lost my German accent and gained an American musical sensibility, I enrolled in a musical theater class in Columbus, OH, where my mother and I were living at the time. My earliest MT addictions were Bernstein and Sondheim, and my West Side Story and Sweeney Todd recordings were worn down to nubs. One of Sondheim’s most famous songs, “Send in the Clowns” from LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC puzzled me for years — so much so that I passed it off long ago as one of those over-done MT numbers. It was not until I heard the following rendition by the tremendous actress Dame Judy Dench three years ago, that I suddenly heard the song anew with the understanding of life experience. Tears sprang to my eyes immediately then, as they still do today, upon hearing her rendition.
Repost from July 14, 2015