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My Menken Mixtape Submission

Hi all:

City Center is encouraging the submitters of work for their "Menken Mixtape Challenge" to post their entries on social media and since this is a very Howard-centric social media outlet, I thought I would share the following with you all.

First of all, if you don't know what the "Menken Mixtape Challenge" that Jeanine Tesori and the good folks at City Center Encores! Off-Center have put together is, here's a link with some info, and some submissions. They held a similar contest and event honoring Stephen Sondheim a few years ago. (This time, however, the "challenge" is open to any Menken song, for SS, the "challenge" was limited only to songs from SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE.) I encourage any songwriters, composers, singers or musicians to join in the fun, even if you're competition in the end.

http://www.nycitycenter.org/Home/Blog/April-2016/Menken-Mixtape-Announcement

So having given that information, what I decided to do was take two Menken-Ashman songs and weld them into some sort of mildly coherent piano piece. (I was going to do a piano-vocal piece, but I wound up being really pleased with the little piano piece I came up with after a few tries.) I was "inspired" by a piece that Sondheim played at Mary Rodgers' memorial service. It was an expansion of a vamp from a song he and Mary wrote back in the 1950s for a TV musical, and it was just beautiful. So I expanded on the vamp from "Eliot/Sylvia" from GOD BLESS YOU, MR. ROSEWATER, added some melodic phrases from that song, and threw in phrases of "Somewhere That's Green" from LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.

It's meant to be a tribute to Howard and Alan's halcyon days at The WPA, where these two shows first premiered. I should also add that aside from writing piano accompaniments and one terrible piano fantasia of similar fashion taking two songs from FOLLIES (well, one in the show, one cut-- "Don't Look at Me" and "Pleasant Little Kingdom"), I've never written such a piece, so this might be terrible. I also think it's way too old-school to win. I don't do samples and remixes-- at least, not at the moment. I just wanted to do something pure.

Here's the Soundcloud link. The piece is called "Eliot, Sylvia and Audrey at The WPA."

https://soundcloud.com/user-658078571/eliot-sylvia-and-audrey-at-the-wpa-menken-mixtape

Enjoy... I hope.

//John

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