‘Twas five years ago, during chilly December
I flew to New England – how well I remember
The frost hit my lungs as my chest swelled with pride
To see a production of my lovely Bride
No, I don’t mean Joy, then the newest of mothers
My fictional Bride, which surpasses all others
You might say “What? The Dickens?” and there you’d be right
On his tale of two sisters we’d based our delight
From The Battle of Life sprang the seed of our plot
His least-heralded story, of sisterly duty
We changed several plot points, retained all its beauty.
Our unfaithful revision seems Charles Dickens’ fulf-
Illment; here credit is due to librettist M.K. Wolfe.
(Excuse the enjambment. This would be pristine
If only she’d kept the name, Margit Ahlin.)
I jump hurdles, sometimes, to rhyme a tough word
But on Christmas Bride something different occurred:
It cried out for romance, the ardor you gush
No score I’ve composed’s more enticingly lush
No lyrics more passionate; each song – it sears!
Stoic New Englanders: mugs streaked with tears.
And the best part? The narrative: T.C.B.’s text
Got patrons to contemplate what happens next.
When scripts keep ‘em guessing, attention is paid
And that’s half The Battle (of Life) as conveyed
In a tiny production, in the smallest of halls
Spanking new orchestrations, they bounced off the walls
‘Twas my maiden endeavor – arranging for reeds
A band – teeny tiny – it met all our needs.
One tooter played flute, English Horn, bassoon, oboe,
Clarinet, piccolo – he looked like a hobo
So ragged ran he, switching quick back and forth
Plus pianist and cellist – all we had there up North.
And that cast, how they sparkled, each player a “playa”
Directed, precisely, by Al D’Andrea.
Maine’s Snowlion Rep the producer, so sage
The Victorian world, gamely stuffed on that stage
And fine choreography, like you don’t see much now:
Country reels! Horseback riding! Even milking a cow
We conjured, precisely, Victorian past
On the wings of commitment by talented cast
One Marissa Sheltra, fantastically she’d
Warble her heart out (I’ve buried the lead)
And Brian McAloon, so dashing a cupid!
One vixen! One dancer! One – wait, this is stupid
The cast was perfection that Providence sent
Like Fran Page, graced our stage at that Maine event.
Now time flips its pages, and stages seem wan
Five years since I’ve seen a book musical on
I’m wishing this Christmas one more might be seen
On the boards near to you in Two-Ought-Seventeen
But I made the same wish back in Two-Thousand-Ten
And had no idea what the future held then
So, I keep my tradition each Christmas, I dream
Of a new show production by a fabulous team.