From Here to Eternity to Joseph: Sir Tim Rice Looks Back on 10 Songs That Defined His Career

Last updated September 29th, 2014 by Josh Ferri
From Here to Eternity to Joseph: Sir Tim Rice Looks Back on…

American audiences are about to experience a new musical from Oscar, Grammy, Golden Globe, Tony and Olivier Award winner Sir Tim Rice. The West End production of Rice’s From Here to Eternity, a stage show based on James Jones’ classic WW2 novel and the iconic Hollywood film about love and desire, will be broadcast in U.S. cinemas on October 2, 5 and 9. This is a must-see for musical theatre fans that missed the show’s engagement overseas. Below, BroadwayBox chats with Sir Tim about 10 landmark songs he wrote for the stage.

Song I Can’t Escape From (It’s Everywhere):

“I suppose I can’t escape from ‘Any Dream Will Do,’ that Joseph song because kids always sing it. That’s one I hear more than any other, and sometimes if I hear a new interpretation, it can be fun but sometimes I think, ‘I’ve heard that before.’”

Song I Wish I Could Have Another Crack At Now:

“There’s a song in Beauty and the Beast called ‘Home’ which I like very much, but I just feel I would have liked it to be slightly longer in the show. Probably for the show’s point of view, it's the ideal length but I feel I could have made a little bit more of it if I had another verse and a half; it’s not quite complete.”

The From Here to Eternity Song I Think Broadway Fans Will Really Love:

“I hope if it gets to Broadway, they will really like a song called ‘More Than America’, which I feel is quite an anthemic song. I hope it has an appeal to American theatregoers. It’s an interesting song; it's a different slant on anthems.”

The Song That Almost Wasn’t:

“In a way ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’ almost didn’t make the cut. I had written the title but elsewhere in the show. One of the earliest moments in the show—the funeral—the ghost of Evita sings don't cry for me Argentina, which makes perfect sense in the context that everyone is mourning her death. But when it came for her big song on the balcony, I couldn’t come up with a strong title. I wrote the whole song but didn't feel it worked with one or two bad ideas I had for the title, like ‘It’s Only Your Lover Returning’—really cheesy titles. And Andrew said, ‘‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’ sounds fantastic; use that for the title and if need be we could always change it later for the show.’ And it became such a big hit out of context we were unable to change it if we wanted to. People say the lyric doesn't make sense, but in a way it wasn't meant to. It was never meant to be a pop song, it’s a dishonest political statement; and like most political statements, if you analyze it, it doesn't mean anything at all, but if you don't analyze it, it can mean what you want it to mean. But it nearly didn't exist.”

Song I Wish More People Knew:

“That would also be from Beauty and the Beast called ‘Change in Me.’ It’s one of my favorite songs and it was written for the Broadway show. It came in a bit late but it worked really well. It was never on the original album. We wrote it specially for Toni Braxton when she came into the show and it’s a great song and not enough people have heard it.”

Disney Song I Am Most Proud Of:

“It probably has to be ‘Circle of Life’—a bit obvious but it set the scene for the show and the film so well. The first time I heard it, I thought, ‘this is Elton in top form’ but I didn't quite realize how it would set the scene for The Lion King saga so brilliantly until I saw it with the opening scenes in the film.”

Song to Describe My Collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber:

“‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him.’ [Laughs.]”

Song That Can Bring Me to Tears:

“Oh I don't think any of mine can bring me to tears. I’ve heard them too often. Tears of rage, perhaps. But sometimes you write a song which you actually agree with the sentiments, like ‘Anthem’ from Chess or ‘High Flying Adored.’ That’s one of my favorites because I actually agree with what it says.”

Favorite Original Cast Recording of One of My Shows:

“This is a difficult one, but I have a very soft spot for the Aida cast recording. It’s beautifully performed by all concerned, or the Elaine Paige/David Essex Evita.”

Revival Cast That Blew Me Away:

“The recent production of Jesus Christ Superstar, which was done with Tim Minchin, Ben Forster and Mel C. It toured arenas in England and Australia and got canceled last minute in America—which is disappointing on many levels—and the irony is that it was a very good show. We all thought it was one of the best versions ever. And Superstar does work in a rock environment, and I was happy about that. When I last saw it in London, I thought, ‘this is fantastic.’ But it's a hard sell: what’s perceived as a Broadway show in a rock setting, which is a pity because it would have been good. Never mind, onwards and upwards.”

From Here to Eternity: The Musical

will be screened October 2, 5 and 9; click here for local listings.