Borrowing a title from Shire's Oscar-winning song from the film "Norma Rae," the UB Department of Theatre and Dance's It Goes Like It Goes, The Music of David Shire, populated by a undergraduate cast, plays at the UB Center for the Arts in Buffalo, NY, Shire's home town. Shire and actress wife Didi Conn will attend the opening night.
Director-choreographer Terry Berliner (The Lion King, The Sound of Music, The Red Shoes, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife) has been in residence with the UB Department of Theatre and Dance in recent weeks, working on the piece with an undergraduate cast and associate professor of music theatre Nathan R. Matthews, who is the show's conceiver, music director and orchestrator.
It Goes Like It Goes includes music from Shire's films ("Saturday Night Fever" among them) and his stage shows with lyricist Richard Maltby Jr. (Big; Baby; Take Flight; Starting Here, Starting Now; and Closer Than Ever).
Matthews, who called the new revue "loads of fun, surprising, hip and full of heart," told Playbill.com this week that he first met Shire in 2006 at the Nichols School, the composer's high school alma mater, at a concert of Shire's music. A series of connections to Shire's work in the coming years — including the University at Buffalo's revival of Baby, a college master class with Shire, mutual friends and colleagues — led Matthews to the idea of It Goes Like It Goes in 2010.
"With each experience the truly wonderful man behind the music was revealed to me," Matthews said. "When I learned that during 2012 he would turn 75, it seemed obvious and important to me that he be honored in his hometown."
|photo by Jim Bush|
Shire invited Matthews to his home and gave him access to his music files.
"David has said, 'Most of my work is written for specific projects — scores for stage musicals and movies, songs for specific performers and recording artists. But every once in a while, I write a song that I just, well, need to write because I need to write it — for me.' The truth of this man and his art are evident in the themes he chooses to set to music. I am incredibly grateful to David Shire for letting me make this piece, a tribute to him on the eve of his diamond and golden year."
It Goes Like It Goes boasts a cast of 18 undergraduate music theatre and dance students and an orchestra. The sets, lights and costumes are newly designed and executed for the show.
The Buffalo cast includes Michael Barattini, Sarah Blewett, Cristiana Cavallo, Alana Graber, Taylor Gray, Tyler Hardwick, Melissa Hunt, Stephanie Klajbor, Ricky Marchese, Maria Pedro, Gabrielle Petrosino, Zach Rich, Angela Siler, Shawn Smith, Zach Snyder, Rich Steele, Gina Tarrou and Kara Tripoli.
The design team includes Courtney Ricigliano (properties designer), Ross Juzdowski (scenic), Andy Fenster (lighting), Matthew Powell (sound) and Olivia Crosby (costumes).
The musical numbers in It Goes Like It Goes include:
"I Hear Bells (Starting Here, Starting Now)
"Salsation" ("Saturday Night Fever")
"I Want It All" (Baby)
"What Am I Doin'?" (Closer Than Ever)
"Halfway Home" ("The Earthling")
Travel (Starting Here, Starting Now)
"Back on Base" (Closer Than Ever)
"There's Nothing Like It" (Closer Than Ever)
"Do You Want to Play Games/Stars, Stars, Stars" (Big)
"Cross the Line" (Big)
"I'll Never Say Goodbye" ("The Promise")
"The Sound of Muzak" (Closer Than Ever)
"If I Sing" (Closer Than Ever)
"Simplicity" (for Ed Wortz)
"Earthbound" (Take Flight)
"Only When I Laugh" ("Only When I Laugh")
"What About Today?" (Starting Here, Starting Now)
"Coffee, Black" (Big)
"It Goes Like It Goes" ("Norma Rae")
"Before the Dawn" (Take Flight)
"One Step" (Starting Here, Starting Now)
"Manhattan Skyline" ("Saturday Night Fever")
Shire is a two-time Grammy Award winner and a multiple Tony and Emmy Award nominee. He composed scores and songs for the films "All the President's Men," "Farewell My Lovely," "Max Dugan Returns," "Return to Oz" and "Saturday Night Fever." He received Tony Award nominations for Best Score for Baby and Big. He also composed the music for the Off-Broadway musical revues Starting Here, Starting Now (Barbra Streisand recorded the title song) and Closer Than Ever ("Miss Byrd," "If I Sing" and "Life Story" are popular standouts from the show, as is "Patterns," which was cut from Baby). His musical with Maltby, Take Flight, received productions in Princeton, NJ, London and Tokyo. My History of Marriage, his musical with several lyricists, was seen in the 2011 New York Musical Theatre Festival. (Visit www.davidshiremusic.com.)
It Goes Like It Goes plays Nov. 16-20 at 7:30 PM and Nov. 19-20 at 2 PM. Center for the Arts is located on the University at Buffalo North Campus. Visit ubcfa.org.
For tickets, call Ticketmaster (800) 982-2787 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
Kenneth Jones is managing editor of Playbill.com. Follow him on Twitter @PlaybillKenneth.