Your Charmed Life

Your Charmed Life

The Metaphysics of the Musical

Paul Tenaglia, the minister of my church, Unity Church of NYC, is a former actor and director with a strong sense of theater that he brings to Sunday mornings. Yesterday, he outdid himself. His topic was “One Singular Sensation: Metaphysics of A Chorus Line.” He told us how, as a 19-year-old actor, he showed up in New York for his first big audition: they cut his song off after two bars. That evening, he and some similarly rejected friends got SRO tickets for the original production of A Chorus Line on Broadway. It was magic. “This is the only production ever,” he told us, “to have as its first word ‘God,’ and as its last word ‘one.'” Pretty cool.


To further dazzle the congregation, he brought out as a special guest Donna McKechnie, who received the 1976 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for that very production of A Chorus Line Rev. Tenaglia had seen that night so long ago. She sang, she danced (I love it when people dance who aren’t twenty), and she shared how she was healed of the rheumatoid arthritis that had nearly destroyed her career. The whole story is in her book Time Steps: The Musical Comedy of My Life.

To further bring down the house, there were appropriate clips from the show sung and choreographed by talented church members (when the preacher’s a trouper, performer-types actually get up on Sunday morning). The climax was a glittering finale of “One Singular Sensation” with the full choir and a serious chorus line of people I see at church all the time but never knew were bona fide hoofers. Somehow, Paul even managed to borrow top hats from the original production. I was on the edge of my seat.


I’d never before thought of applying the words of that song to God, but now I’ll never hear them any other way:

One singular sensation
Every little step he takes.
One thrilling combination
Every move that he makes.
One smile and suddenly nobody else will do;
You know you’ll never be lonely with you know who.
One moment in his presence
And you can forget the rest.
For the guy is second best
To none,
Ooooh! Sigh! Give him your attention.
Do…I…really have to mention?
He’s the One?….”

(With thanks to the late Edward Kleban, lyricist. He and composer Marvin Hamlisch won the Tony Award for Best Original Score.)

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posted March 9, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Victoria, I wish I could have been there, too! I love the show and the A Chorus Line dance. Yes, it is a cool way to describe the essence of God.

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posted March 9, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Wow… thank you for shedding some light and directing our eyes to see that Love is everywhere if we just look.
With much love, Cully

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Laura from Unity Delray

posted March 9, 2009 at 5:10 pm

So cool!!!! I just saw a touring company of this in late February, and I’ve been singing it ever since. I agree; I’ll never sing it the same! It’s now a praise tune! L*

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Cherilynn Stone

posted March 9, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Enjoyed your post on forgiveness. I too, have recently had to re-forgive someone. The freedom is refreshing and I love the clear passage to God from my heart it creates.

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Your Name

posted March 12, 2009 at 1:53 pm

I am a musical theatre junkie and have seen ‘A Chorus Line’ 6 times (three Broadway versions, the film, one college production,one regional theatre) and as I read the lyrics to ‘One’ for the umpteenth time, it was as if I was reading them for the very first time! I wept as I read them in the light that you suggested to. Great application! – I’ll hear the song differently from this day on.
[I’m so glad my son forwarded this to me….he is constantly raving about your classes and has recommended several of your books to me. You are indeed one of his mentors.]
Too bad I live out west, I would LOVE attending your church! Your minister sounds like he ROCKS!! Music has a power to inspire like nothing else!

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