From the Archives: Ken and Ben perform Tom Lehrer (Oct. 2016)

Actor-singer Ken McPherson and I gave this recital of "Our Favorite Songs by Tom Lehrer" at the Providence Art Club almost exactly four years ago, on October 18th, 2016. I met Ken several years earlier than that, when I was an undergrad and a rehearsal pianist for Brown University Gilbert and Sullivan. Though not affiliated with Brown, Ken was a regular participant in B.U.G.S. productions, generously contributing not just his time and energy but his wisdom and experience from thirty-odd years of stage performance in professional and community theatre.

Ten of the seventeen songs we performed that evening:

Some of you may find this a startling departure from my standard classical fare. I did this performance because I firmly believed - and still do - that one of the worst things that can befall human society is for us to take ourselves so seriously that we lose our sense of humor. Tom Lehrer is one of those rare individuals who shows us what we are, who by making merry of what we would normally consider serious or even sacred matters, illuminates the absurd in human experience and teaches us to laugh at ourselves.

Or put another way (with apologies to Robert Heinlein), a society with a sense of humor is a polite society. Mr. Lehrer, if you happen to see this, thank you for brightening our lives.

Thanks also to the Providence Art Club for hosting our peculiar little recital.

Posted October 11 2020 by Benjamin Nacar