We Dance


Another Openin’


“We Dance” from Once on this Island (music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens)

I couldn’t find a Broadway or Tony performance of “We Dance,” but I enjoyed this promo video for the revival cast album:

I said it at the top of the week, but seriously, Ahrens and Flaherty know how to start a show. I love all of the songs in Once on this Island, but the way “We Dance” brings me into the world is special. I adore this song, and it makes me DANCE!

Comparing “We Dance” to other Ahrens and Flaherty openings—“Ragtime,” “The Thinks You Can Think,” “Something Funny’s Going On,” “A Man of No Importance”—I find consistency in how these writers open their shows. Every character has their moment to step forward and introduce themselves. They usually start the show as narrators, then step into the story. Ahrens and Flaherty generally break the fourth wall to open shows with many important characters, and it always works for me.

Of course, plenty of shows start with characters stepping forward to introduce themselves. The Drowsy Chaperone and Into the Woods both begin in ways that, to me, embody this style of opening. But to me, Ahrens and Flaherty are the ultimate show starters. I’m listening to “We Dance” and other songs of theirs as I work on my own opening number, and their work is a constant inspiration to me.