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"Send in the Clowns" meaning?

BroadwayBrat
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"Send in the Clowns" meaning?#0
Posted: 6/25/06 at 10:43pm
Can someone explain the song "Send in then Clowns" to me? I have loved the melody since I was very young. However, listening to it, I am not sure what is happening.

I have several ideas to the song's meaning, but I thought someone who knows the show and song better could help me....
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re: 'Send in the Clowns' meaning?#1
Posted: 6/25/06 at 10:49pm
Get a copy of the script, if you can.

In a nutshell, the phrase "Send in the Clowns" is a circus term when things go wrong. Desiree, being an actress would use theatrical references. Also, after all of the chaos leading up to the moment, the only thing left to do is "Send in the Clowns".

There's a lot more to the song, but I don't want to hog the whole answer on this board...
"It's not so much do what you like, as it is that you like what you do." SS

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." GMarx
BroadwayBrat
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re: 'Send in the Clowns' meaning?#2
Posted: 6/25/06 at 10:54pm
Thanks.
I didn't know it was a circus term.
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TomMonster
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re: 'Send in the Clowns' meaning?#3
Posted: 6/25/06 at 11:01pm
Sure thing. Such a beautiful show. Lincoln Center aired it on PBS many years ago. Maybe you can find a copy. I don't think it has been released. There is also a movie, but it's not the best, to be nice. Campy, though, for a laugh...
"It's not so much do what you like, as it is that you like what you do." SS

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." GMarx
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gertiecummings
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re: 'Send in the Clowns' meaning?#4
Posted: 6/25/06 at 11:23pm
I think clowns are also supposed to come in at the end of the circus, so it can mean something is finally over.
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re: 'Send in the Clowns' meaning?#5
Posted: 6/26/06 at 12:43am
Arrrggggghhhhhhhh!!!!

During the 19th century when circuses were important entertainments, there were many acts where people literally risked their lives'- high wire, etc. When someone fell or was injured or even killed, calls of "send in the clowns" were heard- meaning, distract people from the tragedy.

So when Desiree sings "Send in the clowns" she is making light of the fact that her dreams/future have died and there is poignance and one should not think of Judy Collins videos with dancing clowns who looke like Pennywise from "IT: The Musical" but realize how truly devastating the scene that precedes the song is.

Of course, were it written today it would be called "Send In The Experts" so the morons from Faux Noise could explain what happened and why it's good for the country......


Hmmmmmm. "A Weakened In The Country" anyone? (sorry, that was for Pal Joey....)
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re: 'Send in the Clowns' meaning?#6
Posted: 6/26/06 at 1:26am
"A Weakened in the Country," Sue?

How delightfully droll... ;-}
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TomMonster
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re: 'Send in the Clowns' meaning?#7
Posted: 6/26/06 at 1:28am
Or is it "A Weak End"?

Later.
"It's not so much do what you like, as it is that you like what you do." SS

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." GMarx
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re: 'Send in the Clowns' meaning?#8
Posted: 6/26/06 at 10:15am
Thanks for your thoughts. It makes more sense now.
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re: 'Send in the Clowns' meaning?#9
Posted: 6/27/06 at 5:50am
Despite ownning the original bway cast recording for years, I had never seen a production of A Little Night Music until L.A. Opera's production of a couple of summers back. When I saw 'Send in the Clowns' performed in context in the wonderful production, I was surprised to find how deeply moved I was by a song I had heard hundreds, if not thousands of times.

What a magical evening of theatre that was.