Friday, April 13, 2018

Michael Ceraolo writes

July 27, 1881


“The world’s history is a poem,
                                                 of which 
the history of every nation is a canto, 
and every man a word”


“You have kindly sent me  
a special reporter
I have dictated to him my life
It will be copyrighted and published . . .
by some first-class publishing house  
in New York or Boston

This will be one of my contributions 
to our nation’s canto"
 Related image
How to Become an Idol -- Frederick Burr Opper

[Michael has composed "Eighty Days," dramatic monologues for each day from July 2, 1881 through September 19, 1881 (from the day president James Garfield was shot until the day he died).]

1 comment:

  1. On the morning of his execution Guiteau composed "I Am Going to the Lordy." He asked for an orchestra to accompany him at his hanging, but the request was denied. He danced his way to place of execution and, after "stubbing his toe on the way to the gallows," as he told the hangman, he read Matthew 14:28-32, detailing the aftermath of Jesus miraculously walking on the water: "Peter answered him, 'Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.' He said, 'Come.' So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, 'Lord, save me!' Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, 'You of little faith, why did you doubt?' When they got into the boat, the wind ceased." Then he announced, “I am now going to read some verses which are intended to indicate my feelings at the moment of leaving this world. If set to music they may be rendered very effective. The idea is that of a child babbling to his mamma and his papa. I wrote it this morning about ten o'clock.” After paraphrasing Matthew 18:3 (“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."), he sang the 1st verse of "I am Going to the Lordy":

    I am going to the Lordy, I am so glad,
    I am going to the Lordy, I am so glad,
    I am going to the Lordy,
    Glory hallelujah! Glory hallelujah!
    I am going to the Lordy.
    I love the Lordy with all my soul,
    Glory hallelujah!
    And that is the reason I am going to the Lord,
    Glory hallelujah! Glory hallelujah!

    While the crowd booed and cursed he chanted the rest of the poem in a high-pitched, childlike voice, frequently stopping to sob and once laying his head on the shoulder of a bystander.

    I am going to the Lord.
    I saved my party and my land,
    Glory hallelujah!
    But they have murdered me for it,
    And that is the reason I am going to the Lordy,
    Glory hallelujah! Glory hallelujah!
    I am going to the Lordy!
    I wonder what I will do when I get to the Lordy,
    I guess that I will weep no more
    When I get to the Lordy!
    Glory hallelujah!
    I wonder what I will see when I get to the Lordy,
    I expect to see most glorious things,
    Beyond all earthly conception
    When I am with the Lordy!

    He delivered the final 2 lines in an even higher falsetto voice.

    Glory hallelujah! Glory hallelujah!
    I am with the Lord.

    Then the executioner put a hood over his head and a rope around his neck. Then he dropped the paper with the poem on it as a signal that he was ready to die.

    In 1990 Stephen Sondheim composed a revue-style musical, "The Assassins," which play opens in a carnival shooting gallery. Its proprietor entices the crowd to play the game, promising that killing a president will solve their problem, and singing "Everybody's Got the Right." Guiteau recites "I am Going to the Lordy" at the gallows then merrily cakewalks up to the noose, getting more and more desperately optimistic with each verse before he is hanged. At the end of the play the assassins and would-be assassins proclaim "Everybody's got the right to be happy" and open fire on the audience. When the show was revived in 2004 it won 6 Tony Awards, including "Best Featured Actor in a Musical" for Denis O'Hare as Guiteau.


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