I recently listened again, for the first time in many years, to the Broadway cast recording of Les Miserables. This music is associated for me with a particularly difficult time in Sara and my lives. It was May 1988, and we had just finished our first year at Columbia. I had started a summer job in an office in Midtown, and Sara was about to begin working at Einstein for the summer. However, she had no place to live at Einstein just yet, so she was floating around the Stern dorm, moving from room to room. My job didn't turn out so well, and I ended up leaving there after one week. But, as I traveled from Manhattan to Brooklyn, Les Miz was my soundtrack. The beautiful music gave me comfort in a bewildering situation. Listening to it now, I was again moved by it, not only because of the music, but because it is such a great story. For anyone who hasn't read the book, I strongly recommend it.
Related: last week we saw an excellent documentary called Every Little Step (http://www.sonyclassics.com/everylittlestep/), which is about the making of the 2006 Broadway revival of A Chorus Line. The show's songs are very much a part of the childhood of those of us who grew up in NY in the late 1970s. One particular memory stands out: when I was about 10, I attended a local day camp. One day they held a talent show, and a girl named Lydia - whom I can still see, with her pale skin and blond hair - sang "What I Did For Love". I was wowed. Thirty years later, I can still remember what an impact it had on me. Hearing the song again in the movie, I am back there in 1979, listening to her again.