By Bill Rudman
This month TMTP gives a standing ovation to Heather Meeker. While she has been involved with our organization since 2007, February marks her ten-year anniversary as Executive Director.
Let’s put it in musical theater terms. Heather Meeker is the Ethel Merman of nonprofit management. What they share is not, of course, a glorious set of pipes — Heather is the first to admit she’s no singer — but something equally impressive: Merman was, and Heather is, an indomitable Force of Nature. And she can do what Merman couldn’t, which is to say she can do anything BUT sing. I’ve been in this field for 45 years and I’ve never seen anyone more dedicated, more determined to build something that’s strong and enduring and deeply responsive to our community. And to call her a “manager” is, of course, misleading: In theatrical terms, she is a Producer who, in collaboration with Jodi Maile Kirk, has made TMTP’s Kids Love Musicals! program a magnificent testament to the power of arts education. Ten years is a long time, but for Heather, only the beginning. As Merman would put it, “On with the show!"
Throughout the year, TMTP strives to educate and entertain through the art form of musical theater. So why should Valentine's Day be any different? Love songs from stage and screen run the gamut of emotions. It would be impossible to pick just one (heck, for us it's difficult to pick just a few). So each person in our office selected two favorites: one that warms your heart and one that tickles your funny bone. What's your favorite love song from musical theater?
BILL RUDMAN (Founding Director)
Who can beat the opening of "Poor You" from the movie musical Ship Ahoy? It starts "Poor you, I'm sorry you're not me. For you will never know what loving can be."
My favorite comedic Broadway love song is easy: "What Makes Me Love Him?" from Bock & Harnick's The Apple Tree. We laugh while being terribly moved.
HEATHER MEEKER (Executive Director)
Mine is romantic and comedic! It's "That's Him" from One Touch of Venus. This song always makes me think of my husband and the feeling I have when I'm with him...since I was 16 years old! And 30 years later, that's STILL him. I particularly like the recording of Kurt Weill singing it.
HEIDI LANG (Director of Development and Community Engagement)
"All I Ask of You" from Phantom of the Opera wins for most romantic.
My favorite comedy song has to be "Sue Me" from Guys and Dolls. It's so honest and represents most relationships. It's a classic for a reason.
JOANNA MAY CULLINAN (Associate Director of Community Engagement)
I love "With So Little to be Sure Of" from Sondheim's Anyone Can Whistle. The show's a flop, but this song is a rare gem and always moves me.
My favorite comedic song from a musical is also a fairly touching one. It's "Times Like This" from Lucky Stiff, a must-listen for any musical theater fan.
NANCY MAIER (Associate Artistic Director)
"If Ever I Would Leave You" from Camelot is incredibly romantic -- there is an elegance and nobility both in the music and lyrics.
A funnier song that is a bit poignant as well is "Changing My Major" from Fun Home. The writing is so clever, human and very witty.
JODI MAILE KIRK ( Associate Director of Active Learning)
My first thought, based on the title alone, is "Love Song" from Pippin. It's romantic, but light and sweet.
I've rediscovered "If I Loved You" with the new Brodway recording of Carousel featuring Joshua Henry and Jessie Mueller. It's hauntingly beautiful.
BRIDIE SRSEN (Kids Love Musicals! Program Coordinator)
You've got to have some Jason Robert Brown, and "The Next Ten Minutes" from The Last Five Years is the epitome of romance.
"Not Getting Married Today" from Company is a romantic comedy all by itself.
DEBBIE SCHINKER (Administrative Consultant)
I've always loved the irony in "If I Loved You" from Carousel. It perfectly captures the mixture of excitement, yearning, shyness and confusion of new love.
"Funny Face" from My One and Only is funny because it shows the love of a partner who isn't perfect, but is perfect for you!
The Musical Theater Project's authors include Bill Rudman, Heather Meeker and Joanna May Cullinan - and guest writers from time to time!