Updated: Apr 16, 2020
Episode 5 of LITTLE DID I KNOW was released this week - and it is one of the few episodes to feature three complete songs. I'm particularly proud of them - and I thought it might be fun to talk a little bit about each one.
By this point in the writing process, it really felt like Marcy and I had found our groove. Episodes 1 through 4 were kind of a blur - we were just getting to know each other as writers. But once we hit Episode 5, our collaboration was in a really good place.
First up in Episode 5 is "It Never Lets Go." The assignment here was to write a song for Sam and Veronica (Kurt Hugo Schneider and Laura Marano) that allowed them to bond over a common experience of some kind; it needed to serve as a vehicle for them to get to know one other better, and to illustrate the deepening feeling between them. We knew there was going to be a proper love song in Episode 6 - so this song had to be something that was NOT a proper love song. Tricky.
After month or so of writing on the project, we had settled into the routine of having evening discussions about the next song we would write, after which Marcy would craft a lyric on her own. The script was pointing us towards the idea of a conversation about what it was like to have an "all-consuming passion" - so Marcy decided to try something along those lines.
The next morning, I awoke to find a lyric waiting for me - apparently Marcy's elves had been up all night making shoes! Marcy referred to the song as "Ocean 1," in reference to the fact that the Sam/Veronica duets in Episodes 5 & 6 would both take place next to the ocean. The song eventually came to be called "It Never Lets Go," the "it" referring to a passion that takes hold of us and drives us forward. I was immediately taken by the lyric, and jumped into crafting a tune - Marcy suggested the songs of Jim Croce as a launching point, which worked beautifully. This song still remains one of our favorites.
The second song in Episode 5 is "We Never Know What's Waiting In the Wings," sung by Dr. Barrows (Patrick Page). This song was originally intended for Episode 9, which means it was written long after the other 2 songs in this episode - but at some point after the song was written, the episodes were restructured - so it ended up here. The original outline for the series did not include this song - but when Patrick was cast, Marcy and I decided we HAD to write something special for him!
Way back in the development of the musical version of LDIK, we discussed a back story for Dr. Barrows which involved his late wife and her love of the theater. That notion was never fully developed, but there were hints of it in the script - so this seemed like fertile material for a song. We wanted Barrows to have an introspective moment here - something which both deepened his character, and allowed him to bond with Scotty (a relationship which will become important later in the story).
So here we find Dr. Barrows - alone with his thoughts in the empty costume shop of his beloved barn theater. Marcy crafted a rich and detailed lyric, which I decided to set with a more serious (ergo less "70's") musical vocabulary. Mike Morris gave us a hauntingly romantic orchestration, which I think sets off Patrick's performance beautifully.
The last song in Episode 5 is "Only In My Mind." We needed a song for James (Sam Tsui), in which he confessed to Sam his long-time crush on choreographer Ellie (Alex Blue). James's love is as-yet unrequited - but he is ever hopeful. We started with the picture of James high up in the lighting grid, shining a spotlight on the object of his affection, dreaming of what might be. Marcy was searching for imagery to describe what it might be like to be in love with a dancer - eventually, she realized she could just ask ME - because I'm engaged to one!
Sam Tsui gave a beautiful performance - and Mike Morris's arrangement perfectly evokes our song inspiration - can you guess what it is? Hint...the model song is not from the 70's - but Mike tinkered with the arrangement just enough so it would feel like it was. The 12-string guitar provided just the right vibe - at least I think so!
Thanks so much for reading!