top of page

In his youth, he dreamt of a future career composing B'way and movie musicals.  He actually went so far as to have written a complete score for George Kaufman and Moss Hart's "Once in a Lifetime," naively imagining he would attain the rights and the backing to see this through.


As you might have guessed, Charles had a great love for theater music--particularly that of the B'way musical.  

His dream was, however, at least, partially realized when he attained the backing from producer, Lee Minskoff, to bring to life an off-broadway production of the musical "Prizes," words and music by Charles DeForest, book by Raffi Pehlivanian.

I'm Not Ready for YouCarol Fredette
00:00 / 04:51

It can be argued that the legendary Ms. Carol Fredette exemplified the best diction, best phrasing, best personalization of a lyric, most magnetic stage presence, and most engaging personality of any singer of her time.

This fore-shortened version of "Leda's Song," from "Prizes," occurs near the final curtain.  It is a retrospective song soliloquy by the protagonist Leda--an ageing stage and movie queen who, near the end of her career, is acknowledging both her victories and her losses.  Taken from "Charles DeForest Songbook, Vol I," Mike Effenberger is on piano.  Arrangement, bass, brass quartet, and vocal are by Vaughn DeForest.

Leda's Song
00:00 / 13:01

In this piece, Charles weaves together  two arias--"Who Am I?" and "Where Was He?", interspersed with recitatives, and there is a recapitulation of "Who Am I?" at the end.  It is quite highly dramatic and, I believe, an example of theatrical music at its best.  We hope you'll agree.

Through the Bottom of a GlassCharles DeForest
00:00 / 05:36

"Through the Bottom of the Glass" is dramatic, certainly, and reflects a dark side that we've seldom seen in Charles' music.  He never shared this song nor any background on it with me.  It makes me wonder whether it linked to some idea for a show that had been lurking in Charles' mind, or might it have related to the sense of heartbreak he felt when he learned that his colon cancer had moved to his liver? 

Here she sings "I'm Not Ready for You," accompanied by composer and friend, Charles, during a rehearsal for "Prizes."

Here, she sings "I'm Not Ready for You," accompanied by composer and friend, Charles, during a rehearsal for "Prizes."

Here she is rehearsing "I'm Not Ready for You", from "Prizes", with composer and friend, Charles, on piano.

Here, she sings "I'm Not Ready for You" during a rehearsal for "Prizes", accompanied on piano by the composer and dear friend, Charles.

While we have retained only very few recorded performances of some of these rehearsals, most of what we do have are, more or less, home recordings.

Even so, we would like to share with you 2 of the more polished rehearsal tapes from "Prizes", as well as a recently-discovered, rather dark and dramatic piece that is uncharacteristic in terms of what we had become used to hearing from Charles.

bottom of page