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4. History Of Transportation [IWTK]



 Genre: Showtunes

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I wrote "I Want To Know" in 1991 as part of an Artist-In-Residence program at a high school back when I as a Wisconsin Artist and president of the Wisconsin Drama Association children's theatre division. I recently was asked to remaster the tracks to sell to schools in New Zealand. I'd forgotten how fun the music and lyrics were. I decided to share them all here.

It is, more or less, a history of the western world in comic book form. The students and I researched history in various categories and compressed it into lyrics. The style of performance was ensemble-based, improvisationally-conceived, low-budget theatrical. Lots of partial costume pieces, people playing multiple roles, open staging chaos. Very fun to perform (and, if you were part of the process, edify on several levels, hopefully).

Part of the residency was setting up a music lab in which I arranged and recorded the backing music. (Part of the grant.) I taught the students how to use the equipment as we arranged the music with various keyboards. I recall there being an M1, a Casio something, and an early Mac running Performer.

I've uploaded the tracks in reverse order so that they'll appear on my song list in the correct order. Here is a complete list. The tracks run about 40 minutes if you listen in one sitting. (The show also has spoken scenes with no music.)

1. I Want to Know - opening
2. The History of Science
3. The History of Medicine
4. The History of Transportation
5. The Industrial Revolution
6. I Want to Know - closing

This is scene highlights some of the important inventions in the History of Transportation. The entire ensemble participates, quickly morphing through various stages of history. There is a cool Big Finish at the end of this scene. The cast forms a Space Shuttle (thus truly dating the performance!), which was a big hit.
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Put yourself back 5,000 years, when the invention of the sail first freed humankind from the burden of the oar, letting them push off toward unknown shores under the power of the wind.

Ride the wind 'cross the sea, sail away so free
To explore ev'ry shore, throwing wide new doors

Routing trade. New friends made. Some came home, some stayed
Now the world, once so vast, smaller grows, at last

Sail and mast. Sail and mast

Getting across land was a different matter. What was needed was a good team of horses and a sturdy wagon. None was better than the Conestoga Wagon and its 6-horse team that tackled the Old West.

Rig up the horse 'n wagon, pack up the pots 'n pans.
Round up the food 'n blankets: We're ready to hit the trail again.

Strength and courage; helping hands.
Facing dangers across the prairie land.

Stretch out the clean white canvas, buckle it down secure.
Ready to help your neighbor: We're across the prairie land.

Rivers to ford; wind and rain.
Facing dangers across the prairie land.

We've got our Conestoga, driven by six horses.
We've got our cows for milking and plenty of sun to guide our courses.

Live off the land, gun in hand.
Facing dangers across the prairie land.

Stretch out the clean white canvas, buckle it down secure.
Ready to help your neighbor: We're across the prairie land.

Hills and valleys, mountains grand.
Facing dangers across the prairie land.

The dangers that the early settlers faced were constant and severe. Many turned back. Then a new invention stormed onto the prairie, opening up the plains and joining the East and West coasts. It had many names: the steam powered locomotive; the iron horse; or, simply, the train.

The train, it's a-comin'. It's comin' down the track.
The train, it's a-comin'. Once you board you can never turn back.

Hear the whistle blowin', callin' right down the line.
More coal on the fire, miles to go and we got to be on time!

New York to St. Louis, then o'er the mountain range,
Down to the Pacific. Only took two weeks. Times sure have changed.

Lay rail 'cross the country, from sea to shining sea.
Join hands 'cross the nation: Look how small our Big Country can be.

The next invention not only capture the heart of America, it changed the way we lived, the way we worked, even the way we built our cities. The automobile was a teenager's dream come true. And the assembly line that produced it changed industry forever.

Henry Ford just ignored the laughing people as he climbed aboard.
Model T, "Tin Lizzy," we're the start of a new legacy.

Auto car will get you far, with a new and simple engine fine.
Make a dash, save some cash, as the Fords come down the ‘ssembly line!

Forget horses for gas sources. . .
Come one now: The car has made history!

Just before the car made it big, another craze was at its height of popularity: the bicycle. Some of the most innovative makers were men like Orville and Wilbur Wright. They weren't content to merely travel down country lanes. They combined their bicycle know-how and the newest advancements in the internal combustion engine with an entirely new technology: Aerodynamics. Suddenly, the ancient dream of reaching the heavens seemed possible, after all.

Rising high before us, to the sky before us;
Riding on air: Wings in chorus.
Soar through the sky, as our dreams come true... restore us.

Like a cloud 'bove the world
Light as air , wings unfurled.
High above the world

Like a star rushing by in the night through the sky
Dancing there, soaring joyously, over bright.
Rushing by through the sky...

New dreams are born, now that we have touched the heavens.
New bound'ries drawn, as we sail the new horizon.
Song Stats
Hits: 1879
Comments: 2
Fans: 1
Plays: 78
Downloads: 26

Uploaded: Mar 16, 2012 - 11:54:17 AM
Last Updated: Mar 16, 2012 - 01:00:30 PM Last Played: Mar 21, 2019 - 08:10:59 AM
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abzwork said 2565 days ago (March 17th, 2012)
I Want To Know..
Yes...still in wonder here...lovin' it..:):):)peace
Check out my latest song called "BusyBody"
VicDiesel said 2562 days ago (March 19th, 2012)
My favourite so far
The sung parts here feel more like songs, and not so much "narration set to music" as the ones I've heard so far.

All sorts of fun little touches, rhythmically, harmonically, melodically, that I'm really digging.
Check out my latest song called Ten minutes
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Name: Tobin Mueller
Location: Rowayton CT USA
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I am a professional musician, composer, playwright and director. I've led a charmed life. I'm married to fellow MJer Suzanne and MJer Twonicus is my son, who currently sings and writes for rock bands in the NYC, D.C. and Cleveland areas. My second s... [see more]

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