Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Vive la révolution in the Speirs household

  • Print

I am not ashamed to admit I am a huge fan of musicals.

In contrast, my father couldn't stand them.

"Normal people do not randomly burst into song while walking down the street," he would mutter back in the day when we would force him to eat Sunday-night dinner in front of the TV and watch something like My Fair Lady, wherein Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl portrayed by Audrey Hepburn, is transformed into a proper English lady by Henry Higgins, a snotty phonetics professor portrayed by Rex Harrison.

Still, despite being a guy the size of a major kitchen appliance and completely tone-deaf, I am a sucker for glitzy movies and plays in which cheesy actors convey important plot points via the technique of belting out showstopping tunes.

For reasons I do not understand, I am especially partial to Les Misérables, a hugely popular musical that tells the story of ex-convict Jean Valjean's quest for redemption in early 19th-century France, where a group of rebellious young idealists make their last stand at a street barricade in an effort to change society for the better by singing songs that are difficult to get out of your brain once you leave the theatre.

I like this epic show so much it is not unusual for me to slap the soundtrack into my car's CD player as I drive and, with my windows and sunroof wide open, sing along with the original Broadway cast as, in unison, we shriek heartfelt lyrics such as: "Do you hear the people sing? / Singing the song of angry men? / It is the music of the people / Who will not be slaves again!"

I can tell other motorists are in awe of the power and majesty of my voice because when they pass my car, shaking their fists, they will give me the sort of look you would give to a naked man wandering through the frozen-food aisle at Safeway wielding a machete and singing obscure show tunes.

I mention this so you will understand how (bad word) excited I was Saturday night as my wife and I were getting ready to head downtown for a touring company's evening performance of Les Miz.

"You might want to hurry up a little bit, Honey!" is what I helpfully advised my wife as I headed out to the car.

My wife did not respond. Moments later, I heard a cry of sorrow mixed with anguish drifting out of the living room. "OH NOOOOOOOOOO!!!" is what my wife howled.

Being a sensitive, modern husband, I sensed something was wrong. "Is something wrong?" I asked, relying on years as a hard-hitting journalist to get straight to the heart of the matter.

In reply, my wife made the sort of pathetic face a puppy would make after peeing on the carpet, then thrust out one shaking hand, displaying our tickets the way a terrified high school student would hand over a truly terrible report card.

"I made a tiny mistake," she croaked. "Our tickets aren't for tonight's show. They were for the afternoon matinee!"

Thinking quickly, I adopted a pained expression. "You mean we have tickets for a show that ENDED several hours ago?" I asked in a slightly frosty tone.

In the end, however, I took the news like a brave little soldier. What with being a modern husband, I tucked this tragedy away in my long-term memory bank, ready to pull it out the next time we have a minor marital disagreement, such as my wife suggesting it is my turn to do the dishes.

"I would love to do the dishes," I will be able to tell her with righteous indignation, "but if you listen closely, sweetheart, I believe you will hear the people singing... singing the song of angry men? Unless I miss my guess, that is the music of the people who will not be slaves again!"

Then I will make a dramatic bow and march out of the kitchen as quickly as humanly possible, because every Broadway star knows you should always leave your audience hungry for more.

 

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 29, 2013 A2

History

Updated on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 6:20 AM CDT: corrects typo in headline

7:43 AM: Fix bad character.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

City Beautiful book on the Friesens presses

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Geese fight as a male defends his nesting site at the duck pond at St Vital Park Thursday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 08- May 10, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A Canada goose makes takes flight on Wilkes Ave Friday afternoon- See Bryksa’s 30 Day goose a day challenge- Day 09- May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should Canada send heavy military equipment to Ukraine?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google