According to Playbill.com (via New York City Opera’s Twitter feed), an upcoming episode of your television show will feature Jane Lynch and Carol Burnett singing “Ohio” from Leonard Bernstein’s Wonderful Town.
I could hardly think of a finer pair of actresses to perform this classic of the American musical theater.Â This is one of my favorite Bernstein tunes of all time, and I think it was an inspired choice to include on your program.
Just a few hints:
1) Please do not tamper with the lower part.Â It’s not just your average harmony.Â It is quite specific and quite specifically brilliant:
In the space of just a few measures, it goes from shadowing the melody a sixth below (“Why-oh-why-oh-why-oh”) to moving in contrary motion (“why did I”), and goes up this amazing contrapuntal arpeggio (“ever leave O-“), setting up the most extraordinarily beautiful double appoggiatura (“hi-o”) [like, ever]. And the intricacies only compound from there.
It is this lower harmony – let’s just go ahead and call it the “tenor” part, since that’s really where it lies – that gives the song it’s wistful, melancholic charm.
2) It is a well established fact that you guys auto-tune the shit out of this show.Â Maybe these kids really can’t sing in tune and you’re just doing your job, so OK.Â But please, if you’re going to auto-tune this song, and you’re going to do it in the key of Db (hint, hint), please auto-tune it so that the low C in the “tenor” part sounds exactly as flat and manish sounding as Rosalind Russell’s in the above (on the syllable “e-” of “ever”).Â Thanks.
3) If you’re going to continue into the “chatter” section of the song (and I certainly hope that you will), I’ll completely understand if you have to re-write the dialogue to suit the particular needs of your plot.Â This is assuming that the episode in question will contain a plot, which I understand is no small assumption given the typical episode of GLEE.Â However, I would suggest that you keep the spunky little jazzed-up arrangement of the main tune in the background:
4) Other than that, just have a great time and let these two magnificent ladies do their thing!Â Oh and try to at least approximate the original orchestration with real instruments.Â ‘K Thanks!