Could I Leave You? Question

TracyLord Profile PhotoTracyLord Profile Photo
TracyLord
Understudy
joined:9/30/11
Understudy
joined:
9/30/11
Could I Leave You? Question#1
Posted: 10/20/11 at 2:19am
Is there a reason that there are versions of this song that contain alternate lyrics?

"Leave the pats on the head, pecks on the cheek, passionless love making once a week."

I'm just curious, as the change is so minuscule.

Also, just for fun: who do you feel interprets this song best?

I'm torn between Dee Hoty and Jan Maxwell.
Almira Profile PhotoAlmira Profile Photo
Almira
Broadway Star
joined:12/6/09
Broadway Star
joined:
12/6/09
Could I Leave You? Question #2
Posted: 10/20/11 at 2:42am
Who do you feel interprets this song best?

Alexis Smith... actually she doesn't interpret the song.. she OWNS it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_Jj0ZLyHQA&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL6C6696D0CE7CD563
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt
ljay889 Profile Photoljay889 Profile Photo
ljay889
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/4/04
Could I Leave You? Question #2
Posted: 10/20/11 at 2:43am
Sondheim wrote alternate lyrics for this song and others for the London production.

For me, Maxwell totally owns it. I didn't see Alexis Smith, obviously.
BroadwayFan12
Broadway Star
joined:4/17/10
Broadway Star
joined:
4/17/10
Could I Leave You? Question #3
Posted: 10/20/11 at 2:47am
Interesting, I didn't know about the alternate lyrics. I think Donna Murphy interprets it best. Jan Maxwell's is wonderful as well.
ljay889 Profile Photoljay889 Profile Photo
ljay889
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/4/04
Could I Leave You? Question #4
Posted: 10/20/11 at 3:22am
Just listened to Diana Rigg's London version again, and she doesn't sing the lyrics that the OP mentioned. But this version does indeed have some different lyrics.
canmark Profile Photocanmark Profile Photo
canmark
Broadway Legend
joined:3/14/07
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/14/07
Could I Leave You? Question #5
Posted: 10/20/11 at 6:44am
The Julie Andrews version is good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bkTAKWyB38
Coach Bob knew it all along: you've got to get obsessed and stay obsessed. You have to keep passing the open windows. (John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire)
Updated On: 10/20/11 at 06:44 AM
BenjaminNicholas2 Profile PhotoBenjaminNicholas2 Profile Photo
BenjaminNicholas2
Leading Actor
joined:3/6/09
Leading Actor
joined:
3/6/09
Could I Leave You? Question #6
Posted: 10/20/11 at 10:32am
See the current cast of Follies in Chicago and you might agree with me: Caroline O'Connor is a brilliant Phyllis.



BN
PalJoey Profile PhotoPalJoey Profile Photo
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/11/04
Could I Leave You? Question #7
Posted: 10/20/11 at 10:53am
Oh, they're all good, but Alexis Smith's acid delivery seemed not only well-performed in 1971--it seemed shocking.

Her performance was the musical-theater equivalent of the first performances of Hedda Gabler: the reaction of the audience was "People don't do that sort of thing! They don't say that sort of thing! They don't think that sort of thing--or, if they do, they keep it to themselves."

But of course, the brilliance of Sondheim (and his collaborators) was that, in reality, every woman in the audience (and some of the men) had indeed thought that sort of thing, many times, and had always wanted to say it.

Alexis expressed all that, dazzlingly. And then she came out at the end of the show and dazzled us again.

For anyone who saw that performance, hers is the greatest rendition.
Overkill Profile PhotoOverkill Profile Photo
Overkill
Broadway Star
joined:5/4/08
Broadway Star
joined:
5/4/08
Could I Leave You? Question #8
Posted: 10/20/11 at 11:17am
dreaming Profile Photodreaming Profile Photo
dreaming
Broadway Legend
joined:4/24/09
Broadway Legend
joined:
4/24/09
Could I Leave You? Question #9
Posted: 10/20/11 at 11:25am
Yep, overkill, same here. Love it.
Almira Profile PhotoAlmira Profile Photo
Almira
Broadway Star
joined:12/6/09
Broadway Star
joined:
12/6/09
Could I Leave You? Question #10
Posted: 10/20/11 at 12:02pm
Post-Smith interpretations of the song have tended to indulge in obvious,angry, one-note histrionics that reduce Phyllis's character and the emotional complexity of the song.

Smith's cool, possessed, elegant and under-the-surface savagery is far more powerful then the simple (and, again, obvious) out-and out show of rage approach.

Smith had dimension and a tension-filled restraint that anticipated the emotional explosion to come during the follies sequence. Others shoot their wad way too early.
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Frank thebellhop Profile PhotoFrank thebellhop Profile Photo
Frank thebellhop
Understudy
joined:8/22/10
Understudy
joined:
8/22/10
Could I Leave You? Question #11
Posted: 10/20/11 at 12:02pm
The only one I've seen live is Jan's which I loved bbut they're all so great. I don't think Carol Burnett has been mentioned so I'll throw her name out . EDIT: I like that Carol was angry but more than anyone else she found the humor in the song. She found it so funny that Ben (or old man or George Yearn or whoever) was so focused on his own misery he'd completely missed her sadness and rage.
Phyllis is one of those roles that seems to have endless possibilities but any choice made works. It's a testament to the quality of writing that Alexis' cool, understated approach is as equally effective as Donna's wild attack of the song.
Updated On: 10/20/11 at 12:02 PM
Almira Profile PhotoAlmira Profile Photo
Almira
Broadway Star
joined:12/6/09
Broadway Star
joined:
12/6/09
Could I Leave You? Question #12
Posted: 10/20/11 at 12:16pm
Personally, I think the wild attack approach is effective only in the short-term.

COULD I LEAVE YOU is the musical point in the show when Phyllis is showing chinks in the emotional armor. If she has an emotional explosion then... the impact of the later follies sequence is reduced.

Letting the demons out during LEAVE YOU doesn't leave the actress anywhere to go.

Also, as an actor, what Smith is doing is infinitely more advanced,complex and difficult than simply "raging in song."

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Updated On: 10/20/11 at 12:16 PM
madbrian Profile Photomadbrian Profile Photo
madbrian
Broadway Legend
joined:6/1/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/1/06
Could I Leave You? Question #13
Posted: 10/20/11 at 12:23pm
It's a great song, and all the versions mentioned are terrific. However, I'd have to go with Donna Murphy's version at the Sondheim birthday celebration. What sets this performance apart from the others is that we have a spellbound Patti LuPone in the background, clearly enthralled with Murphy's rendition.
"It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson
GlindatheGood22  Profile PhotoGlindatheGood22  Profile Photo
GlindatheGood22
Broadway Legend
joined:7/17/07
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/17/07
Could I Leave You? Question #14
Posted: 10/20/11 at 12:23pm
I really liked Jan Maxwell's version. Up until her I'd never seen an actress really explode during the song. The hardest line in the song to get right is, "Bet your ass." Alexis Smith deadpanned it perfectly, but in the videos I've seen of Follies at the KC Maxwell didn't quite get it right. She fixed it for Broadway, though, and I thought Could I Leave You was one of the highlights of the show.
I know you. I know you. I know you.
qolbinau Profile Photoqolbinau Profile Photo
qolbinau
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/08
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/29/08
Could I Leave You? Question #15
Posted: 10/20/11 at 3:53pm
Could I Leave You? Question

"It’s the fractured quality in [Bernadette Peters'] singing voice and line readings that puts across the character as someone for whom resentment is sliding into madness." - NYtimes on Follies (2011).
Gaveston2
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/11
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/28/11
Could I Leave You? Question #16
Posted: 10/20/11 at 4:48pm
Almira and PalJoey have made the case for Alexis Smith so beautifully, there's nothing to say except, "Sorry, kids. I know it's annoying to have to hear all these tales of the old days." But, yes, Miss Smith was really THAT good! She was fine in the movies, but I swear it seemed she waited her entire career just to play Phyllis. And then she waited most of FOLLIES' two hours to sing that song. And then she nailed it. Sitting down.
pinoyidol2006 Profile Photopinoyidol2006 Profile Photo
pinoyidol2006
Broadway Star
joined:5/3/11
Broadway Star
joined:
5/3/11
Could I Leave You? Question #17
Posted: 10/20/11 at 4:52pm
qolbinau: LOL.

I vote Donna Murphy as well.
I like your imperturbable perspicacity.
Updated On: 10/20/11 at 04:52 PM
henrikegerman Profile Photohenrikegerman Profile Photo
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
4/29/05
Could I Leave You? Question #18
Posted: 10/20/11 at 7:17pm
"Her performance was the musical-theater equivalent of the first performances of Hedda Gabler: the reaction of the audience was "People don't do that sort of thing! They don't say that sort of thing! They don't think that sort of thing--or, if they do, they keep it to themselves." "

With all due respect, PalJoey, what people? Those who went to shows like Follies in 1971 but who were somehow unfamiliar with the sorts of things people did, said and thought in shows like Threepenny Opera, Happy End, Hair, Oh, Calcutta, Marat/Sade, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, Cabaret, Company, Promenade?

Updated On: 10/20/11 at 07:17 PM
sing_dance_love Profile Photosing_dance_love Profile Photo
sing_dance_love
Broadway Star
joined:10/23/06
Broadway Star
joined:
10/23/06
Could I Leave You? Question #19
Posted: 10/20/11 at 7:27pm
Want to throw my hat in the ring for Dee Hoty. I've always thought hers has a good mix of the icy veneer cracking with moments of the passion exploding through. Just so well sung, and I just think she's fabulous.

But, as others have said, you can't go wrong with any of these ladies.
"...and in a bed."
bwayfan7000 Profile Photobwayfan7000 Profile Photo
bwayfan7000
Broadway Legend
joined:3/28/09
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/28/09
Could I Leave You? Question #20
Posted: 10/20/11 at 7:31pm
Julie Andrews' version was way more on-target than I imagined it would be. Does she still have voice enough to play that role? That could be interesting.

I really love Maxwell's version, personally. Perhaps someone who knows more about the original production could address this, but Alexis Smith, at least in all the versions of her singing this song that I've seen or heard, has a terribly rushed tempo, which sort of always puts me off. Why do they rush her through the song so?
"Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos."-Stephen Sondheim
nasty_khakis
Broadway Legend
joined:3/15/07
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/15/07
Could I Leave You? Question #21
Posted: 10/20/11 at 8:17pm
I think those lyric changes were put in place for "Putting it Together." I'm not 100% sure, but that recording is the first time I heard those lyrics.

It makes a HUGE difference, actually. There is a major difference in a relationship where the couple has sex once a week and a relationship where they have sex once a year. One is average and one is almost non-existent.

Deciding who performs it best is splitting hairs. It's an excellently written song and any capable actress could perform it and have it be quite moving. Heck, Paltrow could sing it on Glee and it would still be genuinely good stuff.

I love threads like this.
justoldbill Profile Photojustoldbill Profile Photo
justoldbill
Broadway Star
joined:10/17/07
Broadway Star
joined:
10/17/07
Could I Leave You? Question #22
Posted: 10/20/11 at 8:27pm
The reason "they rush her through the song so" is because it's a song of anger. Julie Andrews, since she is mentioned, never did a languid rendition of "Show Me". She sang the song at a furious pace while throwing her suitcase AND Freddy all over the stage. Songs of anger generally move quickly.
Well-well-well-what-do-you-think-of-that-I-have-nothing-here-to-pay-my-train-fare-with-only-large-bills-fives-and-sevens....
raker
Stand-by
joined:12/27/08
Stand-by
joined:
12/27/08
Could I Leave You? Question #23
Posted: 10/20/11 at 9:27pm
That's quite a difference between passionless lovemaking once a year and once a week. Each is sad in its own way. Maybe the "once a week" version is meant to make Ben more of a heel, condescending and selfish with Phyllis the victim.
henrikegerman Profile Photohenrikegerman Profile Photo
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
4/29/05
Could I Leave You? Question #24
Posted: 10/20/11 at 9:44pm
The passionless lovemaking once a year versus once a week debate recalls the old Borscht Belt joke.

Two women at a Catskills resort talking. One says "The food here is really awful."

The other says, "Yes. And such small portions!"



Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement