Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hast Du Grad' Mal Feuer?

Last night when I got home there was a little package in front of my door, a little CD-shaped package from VBeta. Beta tried to send me a CD for Christmas and was probably pissed off for months that I never thanked her for it. However, the CD never arrived and now that we have proof that a Mr. Sneaky McThieving Pants lives in my building, she believed my tale about the CD being MIA and decided to resend it.

This is the story about a gift that got progressively more wicked awesome in the ten seconds it took for my brain to process the information.

"Cool," I thought. "A Mix-CD." It's always fun to get a mix-CD but let's face it, it's a bit of a gamble. You could hate the mix-CD, you could like it, but even if you love it I guarantee it you will never love it as much as the person who actually put the mix-CD together loves it or thinks you should love it. Or maybe it's just that the people I make Mix-CDs for never get sufficiently excited about them because my musical taste has been described by friends and loved ones as "crap". (I confessed to my Boss today that I was an a cappella fan. There was context there, trust me, but it's too long to get into now).

Am I making sense? It's been a busy day. Anyhow, I thought, okay, let's see this Mix-CD from VBeta. When I opened the CD, the first thing I saw was the logo for the Broadway musical RENT. Whoa Nellie. If you are of a certain age (mine) and were of the drama club persuasion in high school (guilty) Rent was probably the biggest thing that happened to you when you were 14 years old. Oh, how we loved this show. We used to hang out in someone's basement and since the score. When I was 15 the touring cast came through Providence and I went to see the production. That was a hot night in Rhode Island, let me tell you. Anyway, I had by and large forgotten about Rent by the end of high school. Then I was taking a road trip one year in college and I came across the CDs so I decided to throw them into the car. Somewhere outside Montreal I popped them in and surpised myself (and tormented the driver) by singing along. I still knew every goddamn word.

Okay, I thought, Beta burned me the Rent soundtrack to recapture some good old nostaligia. But I think I still have my own copies of the CD around here somewhere... then I looked at the CD closer and saw the following words: RENT: Das Musical auf Deutsch . Oh. My. God. The soundtrack to Rent, in German. Instantly my eyes rolled back into my head and I was overcome by a rapturous joy. My tongue lolled over and fell out of the left side of my mouth, I think I actually had a petit mal seizure.

Then I saw that she had photo-shopped my head onto one of the bodies on the CD cover. Do you see how awesome this is?

Of course, I played the entire first CD and got through part of the second one and I am so totally loving it. Since I am so familiar with the English version, I'm perceptive to every single change that was made in this adaptation and it makes me consider just what an awesome undertaking such a translation is. You have to account for meter, musicality, local cultural references, furthering the plot, etc .... If anyone elses wants to play along, there's a link to the German libretto here. (That's right, I said libretto boy-oy!).

The CD is interesting because the songs are performed live and although the vocalists are good, there is a smattering of underwhelming applause after each song, as if this was a community theater performance in the local church basement. Beta, did you bootleg this or what? Or is that how you spent that year in Germany, adapting the book and lyrics and mounting a high school production of one of the biggest Broadway hits in the last ten years? And if not, do you think I can get a Fullbright to do that? I swear I'm just one good idea and a whole lot of follow-through away from a Fullbright.

8 comments:

Beta said...

So glad you enjoyed it Cupcake. I think very few people could appreciate such a concoction. I only know of 3 people in fact.
My favorite from the German version is probably Glanz und Glory. I like the tone it has in their version, though its a markedly different direction.
And I've searched my hard drive: no german La Vie Boheme to be found. I don't know what happen to it. It USED to exist, but I first acquired the music in 99 so there's a good chance it got lost in the computer switch of 2003. Too bad.

AJWP said...

Go for the Fulbright!

When I lived in Germany, I went to see Starlight Express auf Deutsch. Since I only speak enough German to order fries and ask for the bathroom, I was afraid the experience would be underwhelming. I was wrong; turns out the only thing better than a musical is a musical in German!

Cupcake said...

I saw Starlight Express in London and contemplated throwing myself over the balcony. It was then that I made a rule, no Andrew Lloyd Weber, not ever.

However, musicals in German do have an almighty entertainment value. As discussed on this blog one year ago, there is a musical called Tanz des Vampires with music written by the guy who wrote songs for Meatloaf. You know, that guy. Anyhow, he took his song "Total Eclipse of the Heart" changed the lyrics to suit a musical about Vampires then had them translated into German. I just blew you mind, didn't I? Lyrics here

Muk said...

I wish you were a guy just so I could say "that is so gay."

Beta said...

Oh! I have said soundtrack to Tanz der Vampir. I never got to see it though.
Also, I remember trying to explain to my host sisters just how bizarre hearing Totale Finsternis was compared to Bonnie Tyler's original Total Eclipse of the Heart. It really has to be experienced...

Cupcake said...

Muk, it's true. There is a little homosexual man who lives in my pocket and influences my consumer decisions.

amanda said...

Okay, I have the exact same relationship to RENT. I also have a friend from college who had that whole German version posted online but she totally maxed out her bandwith before I could get a piece! Poo. Also, "I swear I'm just one good idea and a whole lot of follow-through away from a Fullbright," is the best quote ever. So true.

Cupcake said...

It's the follow-through that gets me everytime...

I think most slighty dorky 25-year old women have the same relationship to RENT. I've already learned "Ich deck' dich zu" but only because "funfhundertfunfundzwanzigtausendsechhundert Minuten" is such a mouthful. Now when I blast the RENT soundtrack I want to call my neighbors and explain, "You only hear the melody, you're not hearing the lyrics. It's in German! It's cerebral! Don't judge me!!"