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Masque of Irony: An Evening of Randy Newman Songs

Benjamin Butterfield is a passionate advocate for the work of Randy Newman, whose songs here are interspersed with texts by the likes of Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, and Carl Sandburg. To quote Larry Beckwith, Artistic Director of Toronto Masque Theatre, with whom this program was first performed, “he is fond of making up characters with prejudices, flaws and ignorance and who are grappling with issues of guilt and anger. Rather than lamenting situations, though, he pokes fun at them…. There is a great deal of irony in these songs, but they are also full of an odd kind of compassion, remorse, a great deal of humor, and some fairly astute observations on the state of the union”. 

FORCES: tenor, 1 narrator, 1 violin, 1 piano, 1 tuba, 1 percussion, 1 guitar/banjo/mandolin

“He sang them exactly as if they were art songs, not changing his technique, approaching them as he had the rest of the recital. It worked, convincingly, perhaps because of the nature of Newman’s vocal lines and the depth of the lyrics”  – Edmonton Journal