For my first song selection, I chose a piece from the musical If/Then called Hey Kid. If/Then centers around the story of Elizabeth, a New York City planner who is looking for a fresh start. She meets two of her friends in Central Park. Her friend Kate says that she should experience life more while her friend Lucas tells her to make more professional connections in the city. The musicals plot line then splits into two different story lines, one following Liz and her new experiences and the other following Beth and her professional career. In Lizs story line, she falls in love with an army doctor named Josh.
At the end of Act 1 it is revealed that Liz and Josh are expecting their first child. Act two opens with their marriage and then transitions to the birth of their son. Josh sings the song Hey Kid to inform the audience of the childs birth. By applying the six musical theater actors questions, one can interpret the songs lyrics and can better perform this piece. The first question asks who is the character singing to. Hey Kid in the context of the musical is being sung to the child that is on its way. It is also being sung to the singer himself. In the beginning to the piece Josh sings Hey, Kid.
Evryones waiting on you, kid. which is clearly directed at the child. Later in the piece he sings And I realize, in an instant that Ive know you all along. This could be interpreted as him saying this to the child but is more of a thought to himself. After understanding which parts of the song are being sung to who, we now must understand what the character wants. In the moment of the song, he wants he child to be born. In the long term he wants to reassure the child that whatever this world comes to, and whatever come our way every this is going to be okay.
Josh shows these goals by singing about his excitement and fears about this kid coming into this world. He wants everything to be perfect for this kid, but he knows that he and his wife have no clue what they are doing, but they are going to try their best. This song can be broken down into three sections. Section A is what I call the pre-baby stage. During this part Josh is waiting for the kid to get here. Section B is called the delivery phase. This section talks about getting the call about the birth and they the actions during the labor process.
Section C is when the baby has finally arrived and he is telling the kid about his bright future. The pauses in this song are a time for the actor to gather his thoughts and think about how to move the action into the next phrase. Since most of the chunks of lyrics are continuous and flow from one line to the next, the pauses are a way for Josh to think about this time in his life. This is his first child so he is trying to wrap his head around the situation. Since he doesn’t have another birth to compare this one too, he compares it to his times in the army.
He is both terrified and excited about this event that an actor can uses the pauses to help convey these feelings. The entire piece is a series of arsis and thesis. He will say one thing and say another that completely contradicts what he just said. For example he says Im a doctor and a solider/ Ive been shelled and under fire/ But kid,/ If I say that you dont scare me/Im a liar. He has been through so much action in the army, by being shot at and fired upon, but the birth of this child is more frighting then that.
By finding these comparisons, you can better connect the thoughts in the piece. According to The Dramatic Function of Songs in Musical Theater by Dr. Larry A. Brown and my interpretation of the piece, I would categorize this piece as a narration piece. Dr. Brown describes a narration song as describing events that we otherwise do not see ( Brown 4). Over the course of the piece we go from Liz being pregnant, through 18 hours of labor, and into the childs life getting started. By compacting these events into one, 4 minute song, Hey Kid can be labeled as a narration song.