Defending the Raven

Bisexual. Married. Man. Open. Read On.


You’re always sorry
You’re always grateful
You’re always wondering what might have been
Then she walks in

And still you’re sorry
And still you’re grateful
And still you wonder
And still you doubt
And she goes out

Everything’s different
Nothing’s changed
Only maybe slightly rearranged

You’re sorry-grateful
Why look for answers
Where none occur?

You always are
What you always were
Which has nothing to do with
All to do with her

You’re always sorry
You’re always grateful
You hold her thinking
I’m not alone
You’re still alone

You don’t live for her
You do live with her
You’re scared she’s starting
To drift away
And scared she’ll stay

Good things get better
Bad get worse
Wait, I think I meant that in reverse

You’re sorry-grateful
Why look for answers
Where none occur

You’ll always be
What you always were
Which has nothing to do with
All to do with her
Nothing to do with
All to do with her

-Stephen Sondheim, Company

SR and I saw the Broadway revival of Company last night with the fantastic and very sexy Raul Esparza (think I linked to this article, but it’s very relevant blogwise). Now I have let the theatre geek in me out a number of times on here, but not to its fullest extent. However, we’re talking Sondheim now and I just can’t hide it any more. I suppose its my most cliched gay/bi attribute. Whatever. The brilliance of Sondheim is not his complex harmonies or his opera like use of leit motifs (anyone who knows Into the Woods or Merrily… will know what I’m talking about. Sorry if I got any of those themes stuck in your head). Rather his true genius is writing beautiful music with incredibly poignant lyrics (this is the man who started his career writing lyrics for two of musical theatre’s most enduring classics West Side Story and Gypsy). To fully appreciate a Sondheim song you have to listen carefully and really take the words to heart.

“Sorry-Grateful” has always been one of my favorite Sondheim songs. The melody is very simple with dulcet. And I’ve always loved the contradictory aspect of the lyrics. However, hearing last night had special resonance. In context, the song comes from the a question the lead character, a habitual single guy, asks one of his married male friends “Are you sorry you got married?” Cue song.

I will never properly articulate how the song made me feel and I pause even trying to explain it. I just get it. Get it on a very core level. It so perfectly explains the complexity of marriage or being in a very committed relationship with someone. You will sometimes wonder what if? But then the flood of reasons why you did come in. You will always question, but there is something there that makes it stick. So much of the show is about the who, what, and why of being married or committed to someone. This song is so early in the show and in a way asks as the stumbling first pass at explaining things that gets the full pay-off in the climatic “Being Alive.”

So what’s my point? I get this song and this show so much better than I did when I first discovered Sondheim 15 years ago.

p.s. Raul if you read this… we should talk 😉


June 27, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Isn’t that the most amazing song?

    It wasn’t until I got married that I understood the lyrics.

    And I think the pairing of couples with particular instruments was quite astute, more so than with ‘Sweeney Todd.’

    Comment by Viviane | June 27, 2007 | Reply

  2. V,

    I’ve always loved it, but agree that it took being married to grasp the fullness of it’s meaning.

    As far as the musical instruments… well actually I didn’t enjoy it as much. I felt it was more parlor trick than it was in Sweeney Todd where the instruments served as props and extension of character. The dualing cellos with Anthony and Johanna was incredibly erotic.

    But I am also of the camp that the concept isn’t necessary. John Doyle’s directorial grasp of Sondheim is so pitch perfect that the gimmick of the actors as orchestra was too much a marketing ploy. Though I felt it did more disservice to Sweeney than Company.

    A minimalist Sweeney just doesn’t work. Coffin as barber chair. Smack me over the head harder next time.

    Comment by Raven in NYC (aka Mark) | June 27, 2007 | Reply

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