|I wish I had a clip of the production of Man of La Mancha in which I appeared. Nancy O'Bryan as Aldonza broke your heart.|
Not a very pleasant subject for the Dance Party, is it? I've been wondering this week how often violence against women has been featured as entertainment, and how rarely there are meaningful consequences for the perpetrators.
|The Rodgers and Hammerstein chestnut Carousel has an abusive relationship at its center. Billy Bigelow had a nasty habit of slapping around his gal, and even physically threatened his own daughter from the afterlife.|
That most famous of chamber musicals, The Fantasticks, features a "Rape Ballet," a comic sequence in which a kidnapping of the ingenue is staged. Preceding that insensitively named segment, the score features a song which, for decades, was commonly called "the Rape Song."
The lyrics repeated "rape" over and over, comedically, as a conman convinces the ingenue's father that the "rape" (his word) of his daughter will be a good thing. "Rape is the proper term," El Gallo assured the dad. "It's short and businesslike."
Or at least it was. The creators of The Fantasticks, many many years too late, were convinced to change their offensive language; all mention of rape has now been removed from the classic show.
|In The Fantasticks, Schmidt and Jones did not intend a sexual meaning when they composed their Rape Ballet. The fact that the sequence remained in the show, under that name, for decades, speaks volumes. (I wrote about The Fantasticks a while back and mentioned this issue.)|
There are many renditions of Aldonza available in video clips, it appears to be very attractive to female singers who really want to show some grit. This clip comes from the disappointing film version of the show (when Peter O'Toole retired last year, another clip from the movie received the Dance Party treatment).
|I appeared in Man of La Mancha at Wayside Theatre several years ago. Our Aldonza delivered an earthy performance; I wrote about it here. Her rendition of Aldonza was far superior to Sophia Loren's overplayed version below.|