“Mayday! M’Aider!” – sung by Michael Winther

Month Upon a Time, Episode #12 (May): It’s the final installment of my yearlong song cycle! I did it! And I have the perfect guest with whom to complete the cycle, someone who knows a thing or two about song cycles himself: Michael Winther! I’ve known Michael since the early 90’s, when we were Plaids at the same time (but never in the same production). Since then, Michael has had quite a distinguished theatre career, bouncing between musicals and plays, including the Broadway productions of Artist Descending a Staircase, Damn Yankees (with me!), 1776, The Crucible, Mamma Mia (with last month’s guest Dee Hoty!), and most recently, 33 Variations.

But the reason I think of Michael when I think of song cycles is that he was at the center of a very distinguished one, Songs from an Unmade Bed, which began as an offhanded idea from the very talented lyricist/librettist Mark Campbell and blossomed into a theatre piece that became part of The New York Theatre Workshop’s 2005 season, earning Michael a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance!

His interesting collaborations continue, most notably My Coma Dreams with Fred Hersch, the brilliant jazz pianist and composer, and When We Met with another previous podcast guest, Sally Wilfert!

The inspiration for this month’s song comes from Brett Lowell, who gave me so many great ideas this month that I had to narrow it down. I particualrly liked his idea of incorporating “Mayday!,” the distress signal, into a song about how in May, thoughts turn to love, etc. Add to that my own fascination to learn that “Mayday!” springs from the French, “[Venez] m’aider!” and the next thing I knew, there was a samba! (Special thanks to Caroline Bergonzi, David Turner, and Marcy Scott for their help with the French translation.) What a fun way to end the project!

In closing, I’d like to express my gratitude once again to Bradley Kaye for the adorable Month Upon a Time logo, to all the wonderful singers who lent their time and talent to my songs, and to all of you who offered up ideas for songs each month. 

Don’t forget, if you want to perform any of these songs, they’re available as sheet music in my online music store.

Until the next episode…

This episode was recorded on May 28. 2012.