Monday, November 14, 2011

Musical Spotlight: Sleeping Beauty Wakes

I knew I would have to address this musical sooner or later, and I'm on a Groovelily kick these days, so it looks like "sooner" is the right answer. :-)

Sleeping Beauty Wakes is probably my favorite musical at the moment. It was written by my favorite band, Groovelily. It's a musical nobody's ever heard of by a band nobody's ever heard of, but it is AMAZING stuff. It tells the story of Sleeping Beauty waking up after her 1000-year sleep. She wakes up in a modern day sleep clinic. The narrative jumps back and forth between the original Sleeping Beauty narrative (how she got here) and picking up from when she wakes up.

The clips I found here are from a concert version of the show Groovelily performed. They only have three band members, so there's lots of doubling up on characters.

Narrowing this down to my favorite songs is nearly impossible, since I sincerely love each and every song in this show (which never happens for me). So I tried to choose the ones I was drawn to most immediately.

Disclaimer: This is one of those shows that I love so much that it's hard to actually articulate why I love it. I've done my best, but at its core it's just full of songs that resonate with me on a deep emotional level - even the upbeat ones. So these blurbs are short and really never capture why I love any of the songs, no matter how hard I try.

1. Can You Cure Me?
The opening song of the show, sung by the patients at the sleep disorder clinic. I remember this song instantly catching my attention when I sat down to listen to the CD. I like its cheerful little tune and the descriptions of all the different sleep disorders these patients deal with. The harmonies sound a little weird in the live version but they sound pretty great on the CD.

2. Uninvited
The villain song of the show, sung by the wicked fairy about not being invited to the party. This song is incredibly satisfying to sing along to on a bad day. The rhymes are fun, the lyrics are entertaining, the music does exactly what it should for an angry villainess' rock anthem.

3. I Think You Understand
Sung by Sleeping Beauty's father. He's managed to get enough magic to stay alive until his daughter wakes up after 1000 years, and he visits her every day in the sleep disorder clinic to tell her what's going on in the world, even though he knows she can't really hear him. This song is a soft, simple, beautiful little ballad that occasionally makes me tear up a little.

4. Drifting
This song... ahhhh, this song! The princess is tired of her overprotective parents and sneaks out to go for a midnight swim with the groundskeeper's son. It's an absolutely gorgeous love ballad that just melts me into a big puddle whenever I heard it. There's something so haunting for me about the lyrics at the end of the chorus: "I'm almost always never touching you." This whole song has such an atmosphere of "almost" - there's something there between these two, but they aren't sure exactly what or if they could do anything about it if they knew. Sometimes, when I really listen to this song, it literally takes my breath away for a moment.

5. I Dare Say I'm In Love
The live recording doesn't do this song justice, really. There are some awesome counterpart moments that work better when they're mixed all nicely on the CD. But I still love this song. It's sung by one of the orderlies at the sleep disorder clinic who has fallen in love with Sleeping Beauty now that she's awake. It's such a sweet, cheerful song, and it just always makes me smile whenever I listen to it.

It's breaking me a little bit that I've limited myself to only 5 songs and so can't include the beautifully sad Everything Changes But You, the ominous The Wheel Goes Round, the lullaby Dream With Me, the quirky Out of Harm's Way, or any of the other wonderful songs in this show. Except I kind of cheated just now by linking all those. :-)

If you enjoyed these, I *highly* recommend... well, pretty much everything else Groovelily's ever done. You can find all their songs here on their site (and can even listen to them all fully to see if you like them). I highly recommend their other musicals - their demo of Long Story Short has given me some of my very favorite showtunes of all time.

And that is Sleeping Beauty Wakes.

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