Pipeline, by Dominique Morisseau, has completed a well-received, well-attended engagement in the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, and the production has been filmed for future broadcast — more details soon. I find myself flashing back, however, to the week before rehearsals began. I was reading the play’s script, and, on page 35, a line uttered by Nya, the teacher and worried mother of teenage Omari, jumped out from the page. Nya, portrayed by Karen Pittman, is talking to Jasmine, Omari’s girlfriend, about the constant worry she feels sending her son out into the world. Nya says, “It leaves a tremble in your heart on a daily.”
During the run, that line changed somewhat, but its initial impact lingered, so much so that I wrote a song using the words as a title: “The Tremble in My Heart.” I was inspired not only by Morisseau’s text and Pittman’s performance but also by the evocative sound that composer Justin Ellington devised for the production. In particular, I listened to “Giving Up,” in its 1971 Donny Hathaway version, which Nya listens to as she smokes and drinks and anxiously awaits news of her absent son. Between shows on the run’s final Saturday, Pittman recorded “The Tremble in My Heart” in one of LCT’s rehearsal rooms. Jeremy Oleksa, the Production Sound Engineer in the Newhouse, assisted, and John McKenna, the production’s Associate Sound Designer, did the mix of the audio. Many thanks to all concerned.
"The Tremble in My Heart"
Music and Lyrics by Brendan Lemon
Copyright: Brendan Lemon, 2017
Vocal by Karen Pittman
Piano accompaniment by Brendan Lemon
Audio mix by John McKenna