Song Clips


We Wrote the Constitution
– not “a bunch of old dead guys” –

new musical theatre work, revised version since the 2011 premiere

Perusal “demo CD” 1787 the Musical
audio clips links are now included here with liner notes –
by Lucinda Lawrence and Robert Picklesimer

 short song clips sampler (#1-27) + selected long examples (#28-39)
raw “live” recordings from archival DVD of premiere performance
mixed to favor vocals, missing most of luscious harmonies and orchestra
July, 2011, Virginia Theatre, Champaign, Illinois
© 2005-2013 Lucinda Lawrence and Robert Picklesimer

1-27 short song clips sampler with a few unnumbered instrumental selections in script order, about 30-40 seconds each

photo by Kevin McGuire

photo by Kevin McGuire

Prologue – brief instrumental of “British Grenadiers” tune, overlapped and overtaken by “Yankee Doodle” tune
1 Shays Rebellion – Shays, Parmenter, Marchers 1-7, partial Company – marching
2 Water from the Well – Pitcher – lament
3 We Met Last Summer – Randolph, Dickinson, A Hamilton, J Madison, Mason – barbershop, swing
4 Books – J Madison/A Hamilton, E Hamilton, D Payne – alternately driving & lilting
5 The Soldiers Came to Congress – Washington – ballad
6 Younger Lions and Older Patriots – arriving delegates (soli & men’s chorus) – greeting song
7 A Politician – Randolph – shiftily
8 We the People/We the States – assembled delegates (men’s chorus & dialog underscore) – forcefully
Washington’s Processional – brief instrumental arrangement using “Washington’s March” as source material
9 The Grumbletonians – Mason, Lansing, Yates, & selected delegates (soli & men’s chorus) – sea chantey style
10 More Like the British – A Hamilton – on “British Grenadiers” tune
11 America the Miracle – Pinckney, with delegates (solo & men’s chorus)  – anthem
12 Departing The Indian Queen – Sherman, Lansing, Yates, Martin  – “Yankee Doodle” bawdy chorus
13 Who Are We?/Someday – A Hamilton, E Hamilton, D Payne (as D Madison), J Madison, Washington, Company – rock ’n’ roll


Entr’acte – brief instrumental, minor mode version of Prologue
14 Mister Roger Sherman – G Morris, Franklin, assembled delegates  – soft shoe
15 He’s Gone – Lansing & Yates – adaptation of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik tune
16 Peculiar Institution – Rutledge (brief intro to next solo) – darkly
17 Three-Fifths of a Man – Jackson – on “Deep River” tune
18 Have I Missed Anything? – (same as #35; 0:41) Langdon, delegates (soli & men’s chorus) – rollicking, spritely
19 In Philadelphia/They Need Me – A Hamilton, E Hamilton – romance/con bravura
20 They Need Me – A Hamilton
21 What Shall Our Presidency Be? – J Madison, Randolph, delegates (soli & men’s chorus) – like a latin “Mission Impossible”
22 We Will Be a Country – J Madison, delegates (short men’s chorus) – anthem
23 In Committee clips montage – assembled delegates (soli & men’s chorus) – dance suite structure but most segments are sung (statelygrandioso“Islands style”misteriosomarchhornpipe – dance feature for Washington and othersslow waltzurgently)
24 I Have Failed – J Madison (brief intro to next solo) – tragically
25 Dawning of the Day – Franklin, with J Madison, delegates – uplifting
– no recording for The Soldiers Have Come to Congress (delegates’ humming chorus underscore, same tune as #5 – ballad, then heroic instrumental extension underscore)
– no recording for 4-line duet Do We Have a Country?, blending tunes of #2 and #25
26 Ratification – Delegates, Parmenter (soli & men’s chorus): this verse remains intact as is (see notes below), though there is no recording for the remainder, which has been re-written as a shared soli patter song on the “Yankee Doodle” tune, giving 2 syllables/articulations to each of the regular-speed notes, with only a line or two for each singer, like ‘trading 4s’ through the soloists, but with nearly no trading back, and the song culminates in a cliff-hanger moment before arrival of the finale
27 Americans Are We – Company – grandioso

28-39 selected full songs and long excerpts (2011 playbill selected pages)

photo by Kevin McGuire

photo by Kevin McGuire

28 Shays Rebellion Aftermath (instrumental), Water from the Well (4:04) – Pitcher’s lament
29 The Grumbletonians (0:51) – Mason, selected delegates (soli, men’s chorus), sea chantey style
30 More Like the British (on “British Grenadiers” tune) (1:20) – A Hamilton
31 America the Miracle (3:48) – Pinckney with delegates (solo, men’s chorus), anthem
32 Who Are We?/Someday excerpt – Madisons, Washington (3:27), rock ‘n’ roll
33 Mister Roger Sherman (1:21) – G Morris, Franklin, assembled delegates, soft shoe
34 Three-Fifths of a Man excerpt (on “Deep River” tune) (0:52) – Jackson, spiritual
35 Have I Missed Anything? excerpt (same as #18; 0:41) – Langdon, delegates, rollicking, spritely
36 In Philadelphia beginning to transition (2:27) – Hamiltons, romantic
37 They Need Me/In Philadelphia transition through ending (2:50) – A Hamilton / Hamiltons, con bravura
38 Dawning of the Day (3:48) – Franklin, uplifting
39 Americans Are We Finale (5:46) needs hotter audio from each group marching downstage (contrapuntal tune entries) – Company, grandioso

photo by Kevin McGuire

photo by Kevin McGuire

ABOUT THE MUSIC • For variety, music styles range from operetta to rock ‘n’ roll, barbershop to gospel. Most is original, but since parody – setting lyrics to a familiar tune, or setting new lyrics to a song – had been a major political media tool of the period, it seemed fitting to include borrowed music to complement the original music. “Yankee Doodle” – a song the British used to taunt the Colonists – had been taken up by the Colonists during the Revolutionary War as their own, thrown back into the faces of the British, and parody lyrics for the tune continued to provide for a variety of purposes thereafter, not the least of which was promoting ratification of the Constitution more than a decade later. Each state had its own set of lyrics, and this verse in the musical is exactly as published at the time in support of Ratification:

Now politicians of all kinds, Who are not yet decided,
May see how Yankees speak their minds, And yet are not divided.

Through hundreds of parodies used for countless political purposes, the song eventually became a symbol for the new country. A thread running through the musical, the tune appears in numerous variations and quotes.

In 1787, Mozart preferred his artistic freedom to the then-common support system of patronage, which involved censorship. Without copyright protection, as is now international law, others stole his music. For example, without compensating him, others sometimes performed an instrumental arrangement from his opera the same week it opened! As I repeated the lyrics for Bob’s proposed antics for the pair of delegates from New York – Gone, he’s gone! He’s gone he’s gone he’s gone! – I was struck with the rhythmic fit to Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik opening tune. Then I researched to discover that Mozart’s piece had been premiered August, 1787, so I had to use it myself. Rest assured: his music is in public domain, even if he had had today’s copyright.

Other borrowed music includes “The British Grenadiers” march, musical quotations from standards of American musical theatre, brief musical reference-quotations to “America, the Beautiful” and “La Marseillaise,” barbershop underscore humming of “Bicycle Built for Two,” a musical quote from the then-popular “Washington’s March” (though significantly changed with alternate harmony, counterpoint and such), the spiritual “Deep River,” and likely other bits of tunes of which I am unaware.

Lucinda Lawrence

Washingtons March period music

“Washington’s March,” here excerpted as published, served as musical source material for the instrumental selection
“Washington’s Processional”