Sunday, December 4, 2016
Alan Jay Lerner Reflects
We cats have yet to see "Jackie," but we feel as if we already have. Because we know the back story — not only of John F. and Jackie Kennedy, but also of the Broadway musical "Camelot," so well.
(If you're tempted to do a eyeroll here, folks, remember that this is the music that Lin-Manuel Miranda grew up on. So there.)
Alan Jay Lerner, who penned the lyrics to "Camelot," described his reaction to Jackie's invocation of his and Fritz Loewe's show this way.
"I was crossing the lobby of the Waldorf on my way to the Park Avenue side of the hotel, when I passed the newsstand," he wrote. "The Journal-American, now defunct, had just been delivered. In headline letters above the title of the newspaper I saw 'Don't let it be forgot/That once there was a spot/For one brief shining moment/That was known as Camelot.'
"The tragedy of the hour, the astonishment of seeing a lyric I had written in headlines, and the shock of recognition of a relationship between the two that extended far beyond the covers of one magazine, overloaded me with confused emotions," Lerner continued. "I was so dazed that I didn't even buy the newspaper...it wasn't until 83rd Street that I realized I had passed my house."
It's a very New York story. But thanks to Jacqueline Kennedy, national hero, it's also a very American story.
Goodness gracious. What other 34-year-old would have had the presence of mind to so cement her dead husband's legacy in history, mere days after his head was blown off in Dallas? We cats say, our Democratic women kick ass. And of course we PURR.