For almost every show at Berkeley Rep, one of my favorite assignments is to assemble pre-show playlists for our lobbies. The music should set the mood for the show. I read the script, do a little research, bounce ideas off of the literary manager, go crazy at the iTunes store, and rip a few iPods. For John Leguizamo’s Klass Klown, I pulled together a lot of Reggeaton and Hip Hop. For Concerning Strange Devices from The Distant West, I collected contemporary Japanese pop. For Compulsion, I’ve put together a collection of jazz standards and popular songs recorded in the 1950’s—including a variety of influential Jewish American artists, like the Gershwins, Benny Goodman, Stan Getz, and Al Jolson.
Generally, I like to throw in at least one cheeky reference to something in the play. In this case, because Compulsion’s character Sid Silver, like the real-life character Meyer Levin, is married to a beautiful French woman, I threw in Nat King Cole’s rendition of "Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup" (album cover pictured right).
Without further ado, here’s the full pre-show lobby playlist for Compulsion (song title, artist, album title):
"Caravan," Thelonious Monk, Monk Plays Duke Ellington