For that, I blame my mother. Her love for Broadway show tunes meant that the soundtrack of my youth was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Or Lerner and Loewe, depending on her mood.
They reminded Mom of her own underscored childhood in Brooklyn, escorted by her family (when ticket prices were much cheaper) to original productions of Oklahoma! and South Pacific.
The comforting and sprightly melodies of shows like The King and I, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Oliver! were perfect, she said, for cleaning. In her clever way, I’m sure she knew that a jaunty tune would make my two brothers and me more likely to join her. Little did Leonard Bernstein know that his beloved scores were the backdrop for vacuuming or dumping out the kitty litter box. To this day, I can’t listen to West Side Story without wanting to pick up a little here and there. Continue reading