Genesis of a Song: Writing The Prom’s ‘It’s Not About Me’

Genesis of a Song: Writing The Prom’s ‘It’s Not About Me’


Well, we came up with the song because we knew the the Broadway stars were going to burst into the gym and interrupt this very tense moment at the school, and originally this song was a duet for Barry and Dee Dee called this poor girl and we decided that, you know it probably should just be Dee Dee’s moment. We wanted to make it her her number, really. And also, because her character is much more there for fame. I mean Barry is, but he also sort of cares about the issue at hand, whereas Dee Dee is just there for her. We were noticing in workshops that people weren’t liking Dee Dee and it was, She’s a little harsh. Yeah so the lyrics were really harsh, and she was sort of attacking people, let’s make her likable and what we’ll do is just make her really uninformed and that’s where the comedy comes from. So we wrote this intro where she doesn’t know the name of the town, and she doesn’t, she sort of reads an article, but she didn’t read the whole thing, but she’s mad, you know, so that’s sort of where the the intro came from. Yeah, and we wanted to her, to just burst through the doors and just have something, like you know, some crazy fanfare, so she burst in the doors and it’s, and then she kinda does this like Andrew Loyd Webber recative thing where she’s… “I wanna tell the people of, whatever this town’s called, oh, I know what’s going on here and frankly I’m appalled. I read three-quarters of the news story and knew I had to come. Unless I’m doing The Miracle Worker I won’t play blind, deaf, and dumb” And then the next part, you know, we’ve kind of wanted to make this a tribute to Andrew Loyd Webber, and he does, and I wanted to write a song that has kind of odd meters to it because a lot of his songs, are you know, like Sunset Boulevard is like in five, and all of his stuff kind of, you know, know a lot of his more aggressive songs have, you know, strange meter. So I wanted a number in seven. So it’s basically, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, it kind of keeps everything kind of urgent. “Listen you bigoted monsters, Just who do you think you are? Like I said, it sort of helps set up this idea that she’s totally misinformed, and I love the way Casey staged it too because of course she comes in and she strikes about five poses in two seconds, you know, it’s just like look at me, look at me, look at me, You’ve known Beth… forever. I was, when she was the standby for Christine Ebersole and Mary Testa in 42nd Street revival, I played in the pit so I was one of the rehearsal pianist there, so I got to hear Beth singing all the time and then she actually took over for Christine, and I was playing the show every night by then, and I heard her sing so many times, so I really got to kind of learn her instrument by listening to her eight shows a week. So, you know, there are certain notes that you know when Beth is building up to, if you build that level up to a C natural on a great open vowel, she’s going to soar on that. Yeah, and the other great thing about Beth is she’ll try anything, but you can also go to her and say, “that joke isn’t landing, wait,” and you know that was one of the things that she helped with because she was like, “oooh, that lyric is funny but it is really mean.” And we were afraid people wouldn’t get the Beauty and the Beast thing, so we had Hawkins, Mr. Hawkins, go, “She was the teapot!” and then Casey’s like, “I’ll just have her be a teapot, we don’t need to, like, spell it out.” So we were happy that, you know, people got it. “Go on then, threaten to riot, it won’t phase me in the least. I understand furious townfolk, I did Beauty and The Beast.” Some people don’t care about perfect rhymes, but I am like, I try every single time to do a perfect rhyme, because it just, for me, it just drives me crazy because it would just take a little more time and concentration to get to a perfect rhyme. And it’s not always easy, but for me that’s, you know, that’s really important that the rhymes are absolutely perfect. It just helps the audience understand it on the first listen That’s the thing, to get one shot to listen to it sometimes, and if there’s perfect rhymes you can, you hear it better, you comprehend it better. I’m no “I’m no stranger to slander, so my dear you’re not alone. The post one said I was too old to play Eva Perón Eva Perón But it is not about me, it’s Emma’s story, damn it. Join me and we’ll start fighting Could I get softer lighting? Wait, this is not about me It is all about Emma, and not about me.”

6 thoughts on “Genesis of a Song: Writing The Prom’s ‘It’s Not About Me’

  1. I love that this was released the day the movie cast was announced and people are throwing a fit over Meryl. ☕️

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