Imagine, if you will, you are a famous Broadway actor. You have become known very quickly for an incredible character song. The song is so incredible that you can develop a rather nuanced performance based around its schticky gimmick. This leads to great reviews, recognition, and even a well-deserved Tony Award. The song and performance become so well known that you're invited everywhere to sing it. Sounds great, right? Beth Leavel (aka one of only two good things about Baby, It's You*) lived this experience. She played the title character in the hit Martin/McKeller/Lambert/Morrison musical The Drowsy Chaperone. The show followed a night with The Man in the Chair, an unnamed man obsessed with a rare nonsensical 1920s musical called The Drowsy Chaperone. By playing the original cast recording on his record player, the original production of the show came to life in his tiny apartment. Since he was playing the recording, he could pause, rewind, and fast-forward the action to talk about the actors, writers, composers, and assorted theater trivia directly to the audience. The song in question is the showstopper "As We Stumble Along," which might be in my top 5 new theater songs of the 2000's. It's fantastic.
Why yes, that is an inspirational anthem about being a heavy drinker. Hence the shticky descriptor. And here's Beth Leavel finding the humor in a disastrous command performance of the song. Let's just say that traveling a few hours by plane was the least of her worries by the end of the number.
Much love for Beth Leavel. Someone write her a starring role that plays to her strengths, please. Thanks.
*The other being the cavalcade of well-made and flashy costumes.