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I dig making playlists the most

posted by Pauline Luppert on Wed, Sep 15, 2010
in Backstage buzz , Our shows

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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. 

Cole natking1633 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 
  • "Sh-boom," Crew Cuts, 1950's Hits & Highlights, Vol. 7 (pictured right)Crew cuts 
  • "Sweet Sixteen," Al Jolson, The Ultimate Jazz Singer
  • "This Can't Be Love" (from The Boys from Syracuse), Benny Goodman, Essential Benny Goodman
  • "Everything Happens to Me," Billie Holiday, Lady Sings the Blues 
  • "Beyond the Sea (La Mer)," Django Reinhardt, Djangology
  • "Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup," Nat King Cole, The World of Nat King Cole 
  • "Israel," Miles Davis, The Birth of the Cool 
  • "Bewitched," Doris Day (song and lyrics by Rodgers and Hart), 1950's Hits & Highlights, Vol. 7
  • "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," Louis Armstrong (co-written by Oscar Hammerstein), Hello Dolly 
  • "Star Dust," Pat Boone, Star Dust
  • "Blue Rose," Rosemary Clooney, Blue Rose (with the Duke Ellington Orchestra)
  • "But Not for Me" (1950 version), Ella Fitzgerald and Ellis Larkins (songs and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin, pictured right), Ella: The Legendary Decca Recordings Gershwins  
  • "'S Wonderful," Gerry Mulligan Quartet (songs and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin), The Original Quartet with Chet Baker
  • "Young At Heart," Frank Sinatra, The Capitol Years
  • "Dialogues for Jazz Combo and Orchestra: II. Andante - Ballad," New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein, and the Dave Brubeck Quartet, What Is Jazz
  • "It Might As Well Be Spring," Sarah Vaughan (music and lyrics by Rodgers and Hammerstein), The Divine Sarah Vaughan: The Columbia Years 1949-1953B0000026IS.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_ (pictured right)
  • "Why Do I Love You?," Yehudi Menuhin, Stéphane Grappelli, Menuhin & Grappelli Play Berlin, Kern, Porter and Rodgers & Hart
  • "Ballad Medley/Autumn in New York/Embraceable You/What's New?," Stan Getz & Chet Baker, Stan Meets Chet

Check out Al Jolson's performance in the movie that made him famous, The Jazz Singer:


Wow that video of Al Jolson really took me back to when I used to watch reruns of The Little Rascals, especially when he started whistling at about 51 seconds in.

Jay | Thu, Sep 23, 2010

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