As depressing as that realization was, I was heartened to find two inexpensive collections of Broadway show tunes amid the north building's "previously owned" merchandise. She and I had spent most of the drive out listening to the Broadway channel on our rental car's XM Radio, further stoking her already keen interest in that sort of music. One of our finds, a collection of "showstoppers" from 1909 through the early 1930s, gave me the occasion to explain to her the significance of that term and make the related point that Oklahoma! was so revolutionary because it dispensed with the contrast between story and song, weaving them together in an intricate pattern.
The other used CD, a compilation of songs from the 1970s, had the virtue of giving us the song "Tomorrow" from Annie, which Skylar has been singing daily since December. But the reason I wanted it was that it contained two Stephen Sondheim numbers, "The Ladies Who Lunch", from Company, which my friend Laura kindly took me to see in December, and the famous "Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music. I expected to Skylar to like the latter. Surprisingly, though, she has shown a fondness for the former as well.
Because Skylar likes to sing along, I have been hearing her deliver lines like "lounging in their caftans" with the sourness of Elaine Strich and wondering, with a mild degree of anxiety, whether it's appropriate for her to declaim, "I'll drink to that!" Luckily, she is already so well schooled in the appreciation of culture that her experience of this sort of content is intensely mediated by her will to know. I can explain to her why Sondheim was so important in the history of Broadway or play her songs from other musicals of his, knowing that the information I convey will help her to establish the distance she needs from material that's disturbing or just too grown-up for her to grasp fully. We heard a song from Sweeney Todd on XM Radio driving back from San Diego and she quite rapidly made the connection between that number and "The Ladies Who Lunch." I'll drink to that. . .