Filichia Features: THE DAY BEFORE SPRING Springs Up

Filichia Features: THE DAY BEFORE SPRING Springs Up

By Peter Filichia on March 21, 2019

People tend to fall into two categories about class reunions.

"Can't wait! I'll be the first to arrive and the last to leave!"

"Are you kidding? I didn't like those people when I was in high school/college, so why would I want to see them again?"

To a degree, both points-of-view are discussed in The Day Before Spring, the 1945 Lerner-Loewe musical that The York Theatre Company successfully presented last month.

While Katherine and Alex were classmates at Harrison University, they fell in love, became engaged and decided to elope. But their car broke down. Along came Peter to give them a ride.

Katherine really went along for the ride, for she wound up marrying Peter instead of Alex. Ten years later, their marriage is no longer exciting.

However, Alex's life is. He's written a best-seller called The Day Before Spring which tells of his on-again, off-forever relationship with Katherine.

Successful people can be most counted on to attend reunions so they can preen to everyone. (Dick Cavett wrote in his memoir that in the weeks leading up to his first class reunion, he "counted the days like a kid till Christmas.")

So Alex will be there. Peter will, too. But Katherine? She's proud - and mortified - that he wrote about her. "And if I see him again," she grimly muses, "it'll ruin my memory of him."

She decides to attend, dreads running into Alex - and can't wait to see him. When they finally do meet and he sings that "You Haven't Changed at All" - a most beautiful ballad - she purposely puts her hand where he can touch it. When he reaches for it, she pulls it back.

Maybe this show should have used the original title ofThe Apple Tree -- which was Come Back! Go Away! I Love You!

Imagine how Katherine feels after Alex tells her that after she'd dumped him, he went traveling - to every spot they were to visit on their honeymoon.

Perhaps you can relate. How would you react when seeing the person you originally thought was "The Love of My Life" -- who later became "The Lost Love I Spend My Life Thinking Of (At Least Now and Then)"?

Meanwhile, Peter, whom Katherine now regards as boring, is chased by a lass named Christopher -- yes, a lass named Christopher - who finds this new man exciting. Lerner makes the point that when you don't know someone, that person can seem thrilling. Only after the passage of time can you really know for sure.

All Christopher knows is "My Love Is a Married Man." If you like "The Love of My Life" from Brigadoon - Lerner and Loewe's next musical - you'll like this song, too.

And if you admire their Oscar-winning Gigi, you'll find that two Loewe melodies were originally written for this show. "Where's My Wife?" Peter demands to know to the musical verse of Gigi's title song. Some incidental music from that film was made into "The Contract" for the 1973 stage Gigi, in which the girl's future is negotiated. But much of that melody appears here, too, in a scene where Katherine seeks advice.

There are parts for other graduates; the men return to their adolescent ways as soon as they see each other while the wives are more refined.

With whom does Katherine wind up? Well, when Company was trying out in Boston, Bobby came to the conclusion that being married was essentially living "Happily ever after … in hell." That was changed by the time the show reached Broadway. If a damnation of marriage was too red-hot for 1970, you know it was too white-hot for 1945: Katherine returns to Peter.

The logical time to present The Day Before Spring is March 19 -- the last day of winter. However, here's a wild idea.

If you're about to have a 10th high school reunion, see how many members of your drama club still live in your area. If you have enough who would like to reunite, The Day Before Spring could be part of the festivities for the rest of the 10th reunion graduates.

(And of course, you'd sell tickets to anyone else who wants to attend. Anyone can relate to Katherine's dilemma.)

But if you care to produce The Day Before Spring without any class reunions ties, well, as Billy Bigelow sings in Carousel, "That'd be all right, too."

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