This was the most popular song in the 1890s, and it's also the worst song in the entire 24-Hour Concert of History of Popular Music.
And hey, fantastic! They know something that I don't know.
And that's our job as a human species, is try to figure out what that thing is.
What's that thing? What's that thing? It can't just be marketing.
But maybe it is though.
I think as a theater artist it's my job to try to figure out what my audience needs—to be a student of humanity—and not necessarily give them what they want but give them what they need.
Will it be a tragedy or a comedy? We never know.
Will we fall in love as a community with something that is actually special and wonderful and well-crafted? Or will it just be a piece of poo?
People say that's presumptuous, but you never say it's presumptuous for a plumber to – if a plumber tells me my sink needs this, I don't say, "Well, that's presumptuous of you to know what the sink needs." He's a student of plumbing and I'm hopefully a student of humanity.
A little maiden climbed an old man's knee.
Begged for a story: Do uncle please.
The project that I'm doing right now, it's called the 24-Hour Concert of the History of Popular Music, and it is the history of popular music in the United States of America from the 1770s to the present decade. And I'm going to do an hour for every decade.
They didn't call it the gay nineties for nothing, right?
I have all of these different offshoot performances as a result of this giant show. There's going to be a 20th-century concert that's ten hours long; a 19th-century concert that's ten hours long.
I had a sweetheart.
And then we're also creating themed concerts.
So the project I'm doing in Chicago is political songs throughout the last 24 decades. Songs that were popular in America—not necessarily American music—but songs that were popular here.
List to this story.
I'll tell it all.
One of the things that I like to do in these concerts is honor the thing by actually singing what it is and trying to figure out why did the people really sing this song and why did they actually sing it this way and care about it and honor those choices. And then to deconstruct them all and say, well okay how is this applying to our lives now. And then find a new way of doing it that helps us kind of dream the culture forward.
So we honor the past by acknowledging it; we honor the present by acknowledging it; and then we take all that information and we dream the culture forward with it.
After the ball is over, after the break of morn.
After the dancers' leaving, after the stars are gone.
Many a heart is aching if you could read them all.
Many a hope has vanished after the ball.