Oct 4, 2011

Same-Sex "Sunrise"

Last month I had the pleasure of playing my first gay wedding in New York, and I found the occasion to change one lyric, in the classic "As Time Goes By." Where the original said, "Woman needs man/And man must have his mate/That no one can deny," I substituted, "Everyone in love/Deserves to find a mate/That no one can deny" (which admittedly doesn't bear too close an examination—if you're in love, haven't you already at least found a mate?).

Now a pro has gone back and revised his own wedding classic. Sheldon Harnick, responding to the request of New York "interspiritual minister" Rev. Josh Ellis, signed off on new lyrics for the Fiddler on the Roof chestnut "Sunrise, Sunset" to be sung at same-sex marriages, and the first instance was at the nuptials of Daniel Sherman and Richard Skipper. Harnick didn't exactly perform major surgery to pull this off (Ellis has posted the new lyrics on his site), as essentially all he did was double up the gender in the couplets: "Is that the little boy I carried? Is this the little boy at play?" But I have to admire his concession to the various shades of butch with this important caveat: "When did she get to be a beauty? [Alternative: When did she get to be so handsome?]"

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