Clay Aiken – Those Magic Changes

On June 21, 2010, Clay Aiken performed in Raleigh at a concert called Bringing Broadway Home. The evening was a wonderful mix of performances by five talented performers who reminded the audience of the excitement of the music of Broadway.

One of the surprise highlights of the evening was Clay’s performance of Those Magic Changes, a song from the musical Grease. The song, usually considered a throwaway in the musical, was full of fun, and great vocals.  The audience, with the encouragement of Terrence Mann, participated in the fun rendition by clapping in rhythm as Clay showed that he could sing all types of music with panache and vocal agility.  With the great performance of this song, I wondered who wrote it.

Jim Jacob and Warren Casey are best known as the co-authors of the hit musical Grease, a rock-n-roll parody of 1950s high school life.  They wrote the book, music and lyrics of the hit musical that was a light musical romance about teenagers

Originally staged as a five-hour amateur production in a Chicago trolley barn, Grease took a satirical look at the dress, manners, morals, and music of teenagers at the beginning of the rock and roll era. The original version was just a play with music, not a musical.

It just happened that two young theatre producers, Ken Waissman and Maxine Fox, saw the show.

Waissman said of the authors:

‘I told them I liked their idea, but that it wouldn’t work as a play.  It had to be a musical. I told them if they were willing to move to New York, rewrite the thing from scratch with a full score, we’d like to do it as a Broadway musical.

‘They thought about it a few minutes, and then agreed. They were taking quite a gamble. It meant leaving their jobs. Warren was a lingerie buyer for a department store and Jim was a copywriter.

‘They came here and worked every day on the show, on something that might have run only one or two nights — because eight out of ten shows don’t last very long on Broadway.’

Grease opened Off-Broadway at the downtown Eden Theater, and then moved to Broadway to play at the Broadhurst Theater and eventually the Royale. At 3,388 performances the show set a record as the longest running on Broadway until 1980, when A Chorus Line overtook it. The original cast featured Barry Bostwick and Carole Demas.

What an amazing bit of luck for these two amateur composers.  Jim Jacobs is still active in the Broadway community in New York.  Warren Casey died of AIDS in 1988.

The first  video is Clay as he sang in Raleigh.  It certainly brings out the smiles.  The second video is interesting as it is  Johnny Contardo with ShaNaNa singing the same song.  What do you think of the gold outfit?

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Comments

  1. Clay does a fantastic job on "These Magic Changes". He really can sing any genre of music…..Amazing….

    ShaNaNa's version was good as well…But Clay just has that draw..you get caught up with his voice!!!!!

    Thanks CANN for posting these….Enjoyed them both!
    Hugs,
    Judy

  2. Hello, was listening to Those Magic Changes for an embarrasing number of times this morning. Happy to see the video up on CANN. 😀

    Clay breathes life into these great songs of the past. I’m in love with the song, and I’ve never heard it Before Clay. He does wonderful wonderful things with it. 😀

  3. Watched both video's. They were both good…but, I have to admit I liked the video by Clay a lot better. Now, that outfit Sha Na Na had on…hmmm…wonder what that would look like on Clay? OMG! I think I would die to see that. But, if Clay sang "These Magic Changes" with that outfit with the suspenders I think he would slay everybody for sure.

  4. Thanks for posting the videos. I liked Clay Aiken's better, but they are both very good. There is just something about Clay's performances that is mesmerizing, at least for me.

  5. I know this will shock you all, but, wait for it…… I liked Clay's version better 😉

    I have never seen the stage version of Grease, but the movie is one of my all time favorites! Not so sure about the gold lame suit, I think I like Clay in maybe some tight jeans, t-shirt and black leather jacket. Why does that sound familiar?

    Thanks for the information!

  6. I forgot to mention the Gold outfit….I guess it would be fitting for the part if Clay wore it…but on the other hand…Clay can wear anything….and usually does…layer after layer…. The 50's were a special time, and it just seems to be ok. Can you imagine Clay wearing the gold suit with his hair slicked back and in a pompodore??? He'd do it for sure….what a hoot!!!!

    Hugs,
    Judy

  7. Both are good versions but I gotta give it to Clay. I could just watch this video a million times and be happy! Sue, liking the tight jeans part….ooops, did I say that? :).

  8. Clay ran away with his version of Those Magic Changes! I cant stop watching it either. What he does with his voice and his charisma on stage including his moves is all wrapped up in a unforgettable "package."

  9. I totally love Clay's version of Those Magic Changes. What a wonderful surprise to hear him sing it. The other version was okay, but I am addicted to Clay's version. I really hope that it is included in his summer tour.

  10. I had never heard the song before hearing Clay belt it out!! I have listened to it toooo many times to count since last week! It was interesting experiencing the other version and, although I was prepared to not like it, I actually did. Of course, SURPRISE, I liked Clay's version much better and am sure glad he did not have on an outfit like theirs! Sue, the tight jeans sure sound like a great choice!!!!

  11. I love Clay's version of "Those Magic Changes" and would love for Clay to sing it on the summer tour. It would be such a fun number.

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