Why Composer Marc Shaiman’s Surprise Emmy Nomination Made Him “Like Sally Field” TheWrap


Without a doubt, composer Marc Shaiman has contributed something about pop culture that you love a lot. “The US President”, “Hairspray”, “Smash”, “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut”, “Sister Act”, “The First Wives Club”, “Beaches”, the list goes on and on – and in each medium to boot. It needs an Oscar to go EGOT (go ahead, Academy!), And it’s the go-to when you need a punch at awards ceremonies, birthday shows and celebrations. late night pillars. But even he is surprised by some of the attention he receives.

Example: Shaiman was asked to write a fun, highly meta-credit song for “Soundtrack of Our Lives,” a limited-time YouTube benefit in June 2020 for MusicCares’ Covid-19 relief fund. It was simply called “The End Titles”, and he not only wrote it, but sang it too, layered on top of an amazingly star-studded mega-roll while asking questions like “What the hell is that?” a better boy? Isn’t there a better girl? “and inquiring (quite astutely) why orchestras rarely figure prominently in the final parchment. This resulted in a nomination for the Emmy Awards for Outstanding Music and Lyrics, something the songwriter / singer offered for eligibility directly in the song. Shaiman spoke with TheWrap about how the strategy works and how he views recognition as a sign of unmistakable affection.

Can you tell me a bit about the genesis of “The End Titles”?

[Director] Richard Kraft, who has been my agent and friend for about 6000 decades, wrote to me about this project he was creating to help raise funds for MusicCares. He just said, ‘Oh, you know, we’d love a song to talk about all the crazy and silly things that you think of in the final titles, if you think of the final titles. I’m Mr. Songs Must Rhyme in the Great Tradition of the American Theater. And when I work on a musical, I follow that very strictly. But it was more just a stream of consciousness.

Did you always know you were going to sing the song too?

I thought, “Oh, we really should have ‘Rock of Ages’ / Journey-like style singers,” but I said it, and I guess the charm of it all is that I do it. sing my way. I’ve finally reached the age where I can accept other people doing work that I usually do alone as an arrangement, so Richard asked his friend Adam Gubman to arrange it and he did such a phenomenal job. . I was, like, you know what, writing the song and singing it is enough.

The Music and Lyrics Emmy category is pretty cool this year, with a lot of different styles and talents.

Absoutely. The Bo Burnham [“Inside”], this whole special was so awesome. I don’t know how they chose just one song, because all the songs are so brilliant. And the Lopezes had this trendy moment of writing a whole bunch of themed songs, and that the ending was that “Munsters” type song was awesome.

Julie and the ghosts

When you were doing “Smash” almost 10 years ago you were one of the few things on TV musically and now it’s everywhere. Do you consider that the current music trend in television is here to stay?

The movie “Chicago” and even the movie “South Park” that I worked on seemed to be the moment when musicals started to be accepted again. Back in the ’80s when “Saturday Night Live” hired me, the writers weren’t sure what to do with me, I was like the gay guy down the hall. Luckily Jan Hooks and Nora Dunn knocked on my door and came up with this idea for a duo called the Sweeney Sisters. But now I watch “SNL” and those are just musical numbers in every show and in every monologue! And I tell myself that it was not like that when I was there!

How does it feel to have this nomination for a project that few people have seen?

I never understood the concept of not taking it personally, but when there is a good thing, I really feel like it was, to quote Sally Field, “Well you love me.” good ! It was like a personal hat trick. Basically, saying, “We know what you’re doing. And this nomination isn’t just for this song, but for the fact that you’re still here to make it. And I have a good sense of humor about it all. I just took it very personally in a very pleasant way. I was really touched.

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