The late Bob Fosse said that there were three kinds of songs that mattered to the director of a musical:
- The “I am” song – defining who the singer is
- The “I want” song – defining what the singer wants
- The “New” song – doesn’t fit the other two categories; could take things into a new direction; might be a breather from heavy drama
Disney musicals are known for following the formula of having the lead character sing an “I want” song roughly about 15 minutes into the show, usually as the second or third song after the overture. But this isn’t exclusive to Disney musicals and sometimes it’s a “I am” song.
This Wednesday, my studio class will be focusing on the “I want” song, and I’ve come up with a list of questions that singers need to ask themselves when figuring out how to best interpret those songs.
What is your “I want” song title?
Who are you in the show?
- Lead character
- Supporting character
What is it you want?
How specific are you being? Literal or symbolic?
Why is singing it a better way of expressing it than just telling us in dialogue?
How will getting what you want change your life?
What do you need to do to go get it?
What has to change for you to get it?
What triggered this realization or at least this outburst?
What don’t you have and why not?
What do you need to have to get what you want?
What (or who) is standing in your way?
Are you going to get what you want?
Is what you want now what you’ll want at the end of the show?
(Yes, this means that you have to know everything that came before and after the song – that’s part of being an artist!)
The next studio class, 11/24, will be about the “I AM” song. I’ll come up with questions about that in two weeks (class will be on Tuesday that week because of the Thanksgiving holiday).
If you’d like to be a part of Mezzoid Voice Studio and explore curiously strong performing, contact me and we’ll set up a session to talk or to have a Vocal Discovery Session.