To Teese and Jeff for hours and hours and hours
To Steve for freedom
To Joey for guidance
To Jonathan for support
To Greg for filling in all kinds of gaps
To Bill Withers and Taj Mahal for inspiration
To Frank, as always
To Sally and Ben for just being
This opera is dedicated to all the children of divorce
Release Date: 1993
Label: Angel Records
Originally Commissioned and Produced by The Metropolitan Opera Guild and
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Produced by Frank Filipetti and Teese Gohl
Composed by: Carly Simon
Original story by: Carly Simon & Jacob Brackman
Libretto by: Carly Simon
Additional Words by: Jacob Brackman
Conducted by: Jeff Halpern
Arrangements by: Teese Gohl
Additional Arrangements by: Greg Pliska
Engineered & Mixed by: Frank Filipetti
Production Coordinator: Jill Dell'Abate
Recorded and Mixed at: Right Track Studios, NYC and Hit Factory, NYC
Mastered by: Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, NYC
Original Cover Art: Allen Whiting
Back Cover Photo of Carly: Bob Gothard
For a 12-year-old boy in New York, Romulus Hunt lives a frantic life, shuttling back and forth between the homes of his divorced parents and trying to make some sense of it all.
Rom’s mother, Joanna, though once a flower child, has grown to be a somewhat overprotective and highly responsible woman with a “straight” job. She lives off upper Fifth Avenue and works at the Museum.
Downtown, in a loft, his father Eddie, a choreographer, chases the sweet life with an eccentric performance artist named Mica. “Voulez-vous danser?” Eddie always seems to be inviting Mica to dance, anyone to dance, but Rom. This isn’t an easy life for Rom, trying to patch together a sense of family, and he often escapes into his exotic imagination. This is where he can talk about anything with Zoogy, his magical imaginary friend from the hills of Jamaica. Zoogy is his coach, advisor and confidant.
Rom is an athlete, a discus thrower, and he has a chance to win the all-city track meet. Zoogy coaches him, encouraging him to concentrate on his throw, but Rom can’t stop thinking about trying to get his parents back together. Zoogy suggests a magic spell – Rom will forge his parents’ names on a pair of Valentine cards, Zoogy will provide a potion, and love will find the way. It doesn’t take Eddie or Joanna long to figure out who has sent the cards.
Instead of anger, though, they realize it’s about Rom’s loneliness. Joanna reminds Eddie how he was neglected by his own father, and Eddie promises to join her at the all-city track meet, though it means missing the opening of Mica’s new performance piece. Mica is furious, sparking a fight that Rom breaks up by telling them he doesn’t want any of them at the track meet – “don’t see me, don’t watch me, don’t fight anymore – Please stay home!”
Though they vow to respect Rom’s wishes, Eddie and Joanna separately plan to attend the track meet in disguise. They sit next to each other, unrecognized, and are immediately attracted to each other. This comes all too naturally to Eddie, who is, by nature, a Don Juan. With Zoogy’s encouragement, Rom prepares to throw the discus – Zoogy ups the ante, telling Rom he must win in order for the Valentine spell to work. Rom is under a lot of pressure. Eddie and Joanna recognize each other’s true identities just at the moment of Rom’s windup, which throws him off guard. Rom is distracted, stumbles and crashes into the bleachers. He is out cold.
In a hospital room, Rom awakens from a terrible dream in which Eddie, Joanna, and Zoogy are pulling him in different directions. Mica and Joanna surround his bed and make up excuses to explain Eddie’s absence. Rom is indignant that he is being lied to. Mica offers consoling words advising all of them, including herself, to open their hearts in a new and daring way. Joanna, Zoogy, and Mica agree that it’s starting to happen on it’s own. Just at that moment Eddie arrives. Rom tells him to go away and hides under the covers during Eddie’s final soliloquy. Uncertain for the first time of what to say to his son, Eddie tells Rom how he failed him by being so like his own father. He encourages Rom to find his own path. Sensing the Rom is not listening, Eddie turns away, sorry and ashamed.
“Voulez-vous danser?” Rom implores his father. He has heard everything and has been moved. Father and son begin to dance to the song which now has a whole new meaning.