VARIOUS ARTISTS
Bulldozer: The Ballad Of Robert Moses
(Broadway Records)

 

Back in 2017, just after the release of This Burning Sun, NYC-based singer-songwriter and recording artist, Peter Galperin told mwe3.com about his proposed rock opera depicting the heyday of NYC master builder Robert Moses and now in early 2019, Bulldozer, the CD is a reality. Although the Off-Broadway production received rave reviews in 2018, this theatrical soundtrack album release sets the record straight and also allows those who couldn't make a trip to the Big Apple a chance to witness and marvel at Peter’s rollicking and totally mesmerizing musical tale about Robert Moses. Most of the great highways, parks, tunnels and bridges in NYC had something to do with Moses and, retracing Moses' life, Bulldozer spotlights key aspects of his historic career from the 1930s till the early 1960s. For his much anticipated musical, Peter has created a new kind of 21st century rock opera that will thrill music fans of legendary theatrical masterworks like Tommy and Jesus Christ Superstar. Reinvigorating the story of Robert Moses as a visionary master builder and a ruthless, politically well-connected power broker who was instrumental in transforming NYC into the modern center of the western world, the 25-track CD release of Bulldozer: The Ballad Of Robert Moses is sure to be one of the most acclaimed theatrical soundtrack albums of our time. Featuring a solid crew of singing actors and actresses, Bulldozer is a splendid showcase for Constantine Maroulis, appearing in both the Off-Broadway production and soundtrack as Robert Moses. Speaking to mwe3.com about Bulldozer, Peter Galperin explains, “This original cast recording was the final piece of the Off-Broadway theatrical production of Bulldozer. Even though the recording sessions didn’t take place until six months after the show had closed, the music was still fairly fresh in everyone’s head so it only took a day or two of rehearsals to get back up to speed. In the studio we tried to be faithful to the actual staged show, and even included some of the off-stage voiceovers and sound effects so that a CD listener who hasn’t seen the show can still get a good mental picture of the action taking place on stage.” An Off-Broadway success story that wowed fans of the Big Apple and New York by reintroducing the man behind an essential era of 20th century American history, Bulldozer: The Ballad Of Robert Moses makes for a most impressive recording indeed. www.bulldozer.nyc



mwe3.com presents an interview with Bulldozer creator
PETER GALPERIN

mwe3
: When I spoke to you last in 2017 about the This Burning Sun album, your projected reality for Bulldozer was coming together and now the soundtrack album was released in early 2019. Tell us about the Off-Broadway theatrical production and how you organized the script and the cast. What’s the difference between recording an album and also bringing it to Off-Broadway in a theatrical show and how well does the soundtrack album reflect the hard work that went into the Off-Broadway production?

Peter Galperin: This original cast recording was the final piece of the Off-Broadway theatrical production of Bulldozer. It was important to me and my management team at Aaron Grant Theatrical that we were able to record with the original cast and the original on-stage band for several reasons – it’s a marketable documentation of the show’s debut run, and it made the recording sessions go very smoothly. Even though the recording sessions didn’t take place until six months after the show had closed, the music was still fairly fresh in everyone’s head so it only took a day or two of rehearsals to get back up to speed. In the studio we tried to be faithful to the actual staged show, and even included some of the off-stage voiceovers and sound effects so that a CD listener who hasn’t seen the show can still get a good mental picture of the action taking place on stage.

mwe3: Being a native NY-er, I always found it fascinating how you became involved in the story of Robert Moses which is brought to light in Bulldozer. I realize I was only 9 in February 1964, but in defense of Moses, do you think the criticism of him is slightly biased? There was such a huge juxtaposition of fateful events starting a couple years before the day JFK was gunned down to the day The Beatles made their first U.S. appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.

Peter Galperin: The life of Robert Moses was fascinating to me since I first discovered the Robert Caro book “The Powerbroker” about 25 years ago. I had moved to New York after college, I’m a Seattle native, and I didn’t initially understand the city. The highways and subways didn’t make any sense, it seemed like such a mishmash – highways side by side other highways, and a transit system that had no organizing principle or cohesiveness. And then I read the “Powerbroker” and had an epiphany – Robert Moses was why New York was so dysfunctional. Moses was the reason the subways were falling apart, and he was the reason driving on highways around New York was such an unpleasant experience. He hated the subways and mass transit in general, and deeply believed that the private automobile was the future of transportation. For over 40 years he poured billions of dollars of federal-subsidized funding into highways, bridges, and tunnels – all directed towards car travel.

From the mid 1920s to the early 1960s, not one penny went towards mass transit in the New York metropolitan area. The automobile was the disruptive technology of the 1920s, and it was rapidly replacing the horse-drawn carriage. But, as with most disruptive technologies, the negative effects, the downside, wasn’t known for years or even decades later. Yes, cars were so much better than streets filled with horse manure, and so much more functional than horse carts, but in the 1920s nobody could have predicted that by the 1960s over 50,000 Americans would die every year in traffic accidents, or that most American cities would be paralyzed by rush hour traffic jams, or that many Americans would have to spend 2 hours a day or more commuting to their jobs. Similarly, today no one could have predicted 10 years ago that our era’s disruptive technology, the internet, would have such a negative impact on our most recent democratic election process. The downsides of new technology sometimes takes years to show up – we all get caught up in the new bells and whistles and are caught off-guard when future potential catastrophes are unleashed by technological change.

mwe3: The soundtrack CD is superbly recorded and your screenplay is brilliant too. Tell us about how the recordings evolved and who you worked with on the Bulldozer soundtrack.

Peter Galperin: I recorded and produced the CD at Dubway Studios in downtown New York City with engineers Al Houghton, Sam Palumbo, and Russell Castiglione. And my right-hand man on the entire project was my co-producer Gary Ray Bugarcic. Gary was our associate director in charge of musical staging for the St. Clement’s run, he also directed some of our early staged readings, and has been involved in the show’s development from the beginning. We recorded the instrument tracks as a 4-piece live band in Dubway’s large studio, and since I was the guitarist in the band, I relied on Gary to be my eyes and ears in the engineer’s booth. He kept track of which takes were best and oversaw our session schedules to make sure we weren’t overlooking anything.

25 songs, almost 60 minutes of music, is a lot of recording, but since we had 45 performances and at least that many full rehearsals behind us it went very smoothly. To preserve a live performance sound we wanted the actors to be able to record their songs as they had performed them. For example, if a song was a duet, we wanted to record the two singers together, and not separately as overdubs. The show has a combination of duets, trios, and quartets, so the logistics of getting the vocals recorded was challenging, but our management team at Aaron Grant Theatrical did a great job of scheduling everyone in and out of the sessions.

mwe3: Bulldozer is of the great theatrical soundtrack albums in recent memory and you say you tried to create a modern day Tommy or Rocky Horror Picture Show with the Bulldozer album and play. It’s like a 21st century Popumentary. Tell us how it came together so to speak, from picking the director (Karen Carpenter) and show manager (Aaron Grant) to organizing the cast. I must say that Constantine Maroulis was a great choice. How did Constantine enter the story, what were the auditions like and who else were the key members of the cast?

Peter Galperin: Before recording Bulldozer, I listened to a whole lot of musical theatre recordings, so I knew what I didn’t want. I didn’t want a recording that sounded perfect but lifeless. I wanted a recording that captured the excitement of the live stage with a live rock band performance, and a recording that had the added benefit of a controlled sound atmosphere. You mentioned that my guidelines were soundtracks from rock musicals that I loved and had grown up listening to – Tommy and Quadrophenia by the Who, Rocky Horror Picture Show with Tim Curry, and my all-time favorite rock musical Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar. I was lucky enough to see the original JCS touring show in the late 1960s, with my church’s Sunday school teen group, and it had a huge impact on me. Before seeing that show I had no idea you could have rock music in a musical, and that you could be sacrilegious and get away with it.

Our director for Bulldozer was Karen Lynn Carpenter and the entire cast was hand-picked by Aaron Grant, who has been involved with the show’s development almost from the beginning. When I mentioned to Aaron that for Moses’ part I had envisioned a Roger Daltrey/Robert Plant type of voice, that’s exactly what he got us with Tony-nominated, American Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis. Constantine is the consummate performer with a powerful singing voice that could make the phone book sound interesting, and his involvement in the show significantly broadened our shows reach. He brought in a large audience of dedicated fans who had never heard of Robert Moses or thought much about urban renewal. And what was really fun for me was that once we had Constantine involved in the show, I got the chance to write several new songs specifically for his voice and singing style (“You’ll Do It My Way” and “You Better Listen”).

mwe3: Broadway Records did a fine job on the album art and pressing of the CD. How did you get Broadway Records involved?

Peter Galperin: Getting the Bulldozer CD released on Broadway Records was a huge plus for us. We were a smallish Off-Broadway show with a limited engagement, so being in the Broadway Records catalogue gives us much more exposure, especially in terms of potential licensing. They are the go-to label for musical theatre across the country, and Van Dean and Robbie Rozelle at Broadway Records gave us a terrific time slot at their BroadwayCon booth for a special pre-order signing event to launch the CD. At BroadwayCon our Bulldozer CD was up in the display rack right beside well-known shows like My Fair Lady, Jekyll & Hyde and The Lightning Thief. Our official release date (January 25, 2019) was well-publicized in Playbill.com and BroadwayWorld.com, and Broadway Records has set us up on Spotify with five songs available for streaming.

mwe3: I like the “Overture” on the CD soundtrack. Tell us about the band you assembled for the album. It’s a great overture indeed. It even has a kind of NYC vibe to it! This is your first instrumental composition?

Peter Galperin: I couldn’t have created this show without the help of my band. Both our drummer, Patrick Carmichael, and our bass player, Bryan Percivall, have been playing with me for 4-5 years on my non-Bulldozer gigs, and a lot of these songs were first performed publicly at those gigs. I thank them for their ongoing support of what probably sounded like a crazy project when I first proposed it to them several years ago.

The idea of opening the show with an “Overture” was something I stole from the old, epic movies from the 1950s and ‘60s that I used to watch. Those movies would have an orchestrated composition at the beginning and during the intermission that would be a sort of medley of musical motifs heard elsewhere in the movie. In our case, the “Overture” is a short, aggressively funky, instrumental version of “Voice Of The People,” a song that Molly Pope in the role of Jane Jacobs sings later in the show. That musical theme is the emotional heart of the show. During the show’s run we would start playing the “Overture” while people were still getting settled in their seats, as a kind of sonic announcement that something was about to happen. So I kept that as the opening piece on the CD.

mwe3: “Masterplan” is featured in four versions on the CD. What was your intent in the “Masterplan” tracks?

Peter Galperin: “The Masterplan” was the first song I wrote about Robert Moses, and the idea for the musical came out of that song (my wife suggested it). Originally written for a New York City Parks Department song writing contest (it was rejected for being too long), “Masterplan” is a simple Woody Guthrie-esque type of folk song that tells the “The Ballad of Robert Moses” in the form of a folk tale. A street musician, as an observer of history, stands in Washington Square Park and sings the song verse by verse at six different points throughout the show. Each version is slightly different in terms of tempo and instrumentation. My favorite version is the 4-part harmony acapella rendition that opens the climactic “Stroller Mom’s” vs. Bulldozer scene.

mwe3: Your song “Straight Towards The Sun” is abridged on the soundtrack. How does “Straight Towards The Sun” fit into the concept? I was thinking reincarnation of Moses. It’s always been one of your best songs.

Peter Galperin: “Straight Towards The Sun” was the second song I wrote for the show. I first recorded it back in 2014 on my second CD A Disposable Life. I think even that early folk-rock version showed the potential power in the song. Now we have it in the show twice, as musical bookends - first as a quiet, solo preprise at about 10 minutes into the show, and then again as the show’s grand finale featuring Constantine and the full ensemble. The song is Moses’ soliloquy as he comes to terms with how history will treat him. The Icarus reference in the chorus “I couldn’t see a thing, because the light was in my eyes. I was heading straight towards the sun,” is his attempt at rationalizing some of the things he’s done.

At the end of his life, at least in his own mind, his questionable tactics and unconscionable maneuvers were still overshadowed by his achievements in concrete and steel. He’d been beat-up pretty badly by Jane Jacobs, Nelson Rockefeller, and by the court of public opinion, and more or less forgotten in the 1970s until Robert Caro’s “Powerbroker” was published and categorized his successes and sins all over again. I have to admit that I do feel some sympathy for Moses - the world that he was born to dominate in the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s no longer existed in the 1950s and 1960s, yet he was still the same guy. The lyrics from the song say it best “I realize now the times have changed, and I’ve been left behind, but look at me… what else can I do.”

mwe3: I really like “View From My Imagination” and Constantine does a great job on it. It’s a great way to humanize Moses as well. Did you try to humanize Moses in that track and others?

Peter Galperin: The challenge was to make Moses a very likable fellow at the beginning of the show. The story needed to do that so the audience would be empathetic with his downfall later on. “The View” is a great ‘I want’ song. It lays out all of Moses’ youthful ambition and exuberance, and Constantine sings it in such a playful, yet powerful way that you can’t help but root for Moses at this point in his life. After all, he is about to remake how the modern American city functions, and forever change how people use roads, parks, and beaches. And it all comes out of his imagination - no committees, no focus groups, no long-term government-funded studies. Granted, he was well-educated (with multiple degrees from Yale, Columbia and Oxford) and was usually the smartest guy in any room he was in, but this soon-to-be complete makeover of the urban environment was just Moses implementing his ideas on how to make city life better. He was very sure of himself and he wasn’t really interested in anyone else’s opinion.

mwe3: How does “Fresh Cut Flowers” fit into Bulldozer? Who is singing that track and does that show the more personal side of Moses and his lady friends? (wife, girlfriend?)

Peter Galperin: Moses’ romantic life was not well-documented, so I felt I had some leeway to create something original and fun. Moses had been married twice – his second wife was his longtime assistant whom he married 30 days after his first wife passed away, after an extended illness. And there were rumors of him hanging out with some of his friend Guy Lombardo’s showgirls. There’s even photos of him and Guy frolicking on Jones Beach in their bathing suits with a few leggy gals in swimsuits. Our Vera Martin, played beautifully in the show by Kacie Sheik, is a composite character based on what we know of Moses’ domestic life and some imagined possibilities. I’ve made her into her own person – a young, working-class woman who initially is charmed by a sophisticated, slightly older gentleman. But over time, Vera begins to understand the ramifications of Moses’ work, and in the process becomes empowered enough in her own views to the point where she feels independent enough to leave him.

Some people who saw the show went away angry that I didn’t stick strictly to the facts, and others thought that our Vera was a scene-stealing delight. “Fresh Cut Flowers” sung by a teenage Vera is a ragtime tune set in the Central Park Casino in the mid 1920s. The Casino was where gangsters, politicians and showgirls all mixed together. After Moses has a rough meeting at the Casino with Gov. Al Smith and some Tammany Hall political thugs (some of his proposed ideas for parks and roads are initially ridiculed), he runs into Vera for the first time. She was working as a “cigarette girl,” selling flowers, candies, and smokes to the Casino’s patrons. She and Moses flirt, he joins in on the song, and the next time we see her in the show she has become his girlfriend. The Casino location was also an early example of Moses’ cunning, treachery, and vindictiveness. After his mentor Gov. Al Smith, a man Moses felt tremendous loyalty to, was defeated in his bid for the 1928 Presidential nomination, and treated poorly with little support from the Tammany Hall crowd, Moses has the Casino torn down in an unannounced midnight raid, purely out of spite.

mwe3: “We’re Impressed” features some great guitar work from you and the track underscores just how influential Moses was among the people who he used to implement his vision and work.

Peter Galperin: “We’re Impressed” is sung by Wayne Wilcox as Nelson Rockefeller and Ryan Knowles as the Newspaper Reporter. While reading the latest headlines together they marvel at the achievements of the ambitious Moses. He has just completed Jones Beach, the world’s largest municipal beach facility, and the newspapers are praising him, the worker’s unions are indebted to him, and the political world is taking notice of him. In a larger production I’d love to see this scene and song turned into a big dance number with a group of construction workers, businessmen and politicians. The song celebrates the special kind of American dynamism and drive that epitomized the early decades of the 20th century.

mwe3: What does “You And I” say about Moses and what aspect of Bulldozer does the song reflect?

Peter Galperin: “You and I” establishes the initial bromance between Moses and Nelson Rockefeller. It’s a comic scene and song set in a small prop plane high above the Palisades over New Jersey with Moses at the controls. Moses and Rockefeller are working together to build the Palisades Parkway on land that the Rockefeller family has donated to New York and New Jersey. Moses is eager to impress the younger Rockefeller, and Rockefeller wants to learn about large-scale construction from Moses.

Secretly, Moses idealizes the WASP elite class that Rockefeller represents, so much so that he downplays his own Jewish roots and brags to Rockefeller about attending a beautiful Episcopal chapel on Long Island. Rockefeller dryly asks him what his rabbi thinks about that. Over the next three decades they go on to work on many Rockefeller projects together throughout the U.S. and South America, and Moses begins to think of Rockefeller and himself as equals. He rarely thought that of others. Later on in the 1950s when Rockefeller becomes New York State Governor, their relationship sours, and leads to Moses eventual loss of power. But in 1934 they act like they are best buddies.

mwe3: Does “When The World Isn’t Watching” reflect the personal side of Moses and Vera?

Peter Galperin: Moses is a celebrity. Newspaper reporters court him, paparazzi follow him. “When the World Isn’t Watching” is a quiet moment in the show where Moses and Vera are intimate. Moses sings “No one understands me better…” and Vera responds with “I’ve never met anyone quite like him…” as she is still in awe of Moses’ power in the world. But even in that moment of intimacy, Vera has some apprehensions about Moses and when she sings “But can you promise you’ll never push me away?” she is voicing a sixth-sense she has of future trouble between them.

mwe3: How does “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide” fit into Bulldozer?

Peter Galperin: Moses used a number of dirty tricks to keep his hold on power. One of his favorite’s was to keep dossiers on his colleagues, on politicians, on anyone who worked with him or whose support he might need. He would blackmail someone if he needed to – to get a better bid for a project, or a faster completion time, or a quick construction permit approval. In “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide” the setting is his office as he sings to one of his construction crew bosses “We both know you’ve got a weakness, a fetish you’d rather not discuss,” to coerce the man to do something not very ethical – evict people from their homes – just so Moses’ highway construction can proceed on schedule. And in the middle of the song we hear him on the phone blackmailing another man who Moses knows hasn’t been faithful to his young wife. Moses gleefully sings “Everybody’s done something they’re not proud of, everybody’s got something to hide,” and here we see Moses at both his finest and at his worst.

mwe3: What does “We Like What We Like” say about Moses in the Bulldozer story? Jane Jacobs is brought into the story at this point? She was a Moses critic.

Peter Galperin: As a social comment on the fickle nature of public opinion, and the role of the press in helping formulate that opinion, “We Like What We Like” is a rousing number sung by the Newspaper Reporter, Nelson Rockefeller, and a reluctant Jane Jacobs. Prior to this scene we are introduced to the serious, studious Jacobs who catches Rockefeller’s attention with an obscure magazine article she has written on urban blight and neighborhood vitality – an article that is in direct opposition to Moses' brutal theories on urban renewal.

At this point in time Rockefeller is still a young idealist and prophetically sings that elected politicians will “say almost anything, just to get your vote.” In the song, Rockefeller and the Reporter work on convincing Jane that with their help and resources they can expose her progressive thinking to a much broader audience. She is intrigued but wonders if they aren’t “manipulating the press and the public…” to which the Reporter replies “…it’s simply public opinion,” and Rockefeller shouts out “C’mon Jane, don’t be so naïve, this is just human nature.” By the end of the song, Jacobs has aligned with the two of them and the battle for taking on Moses starts to take shape.

mwe3: Does “You’ll Do It My Way” reflect the more aggressive side of Moses as he got his way and the way he got things done? The song also introduces Nelson Rockefeller into the story right?

Peter Galperin: The scene and song are set at the 1959 groundbreaking ceremony for the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. By the late 1950s Rockefeller has been elected Governor of New York, and both men are finding that working on projects together has become much more difficult - mainly because Rockefeller is no longer willing to let Moses take the lead and get major credit in the press. The song is given a comic visual twist as they both sing while wrestling over a ceremonial golden shovel (hand over hand as if grabbing a baseball bat) while the press flash bulbs pop. In an instrumental section of the song they both retreat to opposite corners of the stage and speaking directly to the audience deride each other. Rockefeller mocks Moses’ age and methods by saying “He’s so corrupt and set in his way,” and Moses claims that the rich, elitist Rockefeller “wouldn’t know a nail from a screw.” The song ends with both of them physically wrestling each other over who gets to hold the shovel for the press cameras.

mwe3: “Don’t You Dare” shows how formidable the opposition was to Moses back then. Pretty ruthless song Peter.

Peter Galperin: “Don’t You Dare” is set in a Greenwich Village community board meeting as Jane Jacobs is giving a lively lecture about Moses’ proposed demolition of the neighborhood for yet another highway. She is interrupted by a surprise visit by Moses (in the show Moses and Vera enter the scene by working their way to the stage through the audience). It’s not the first time someone has challenged him about his plans, but he has grown impatient with the public and is trying his best to keep from exploding in anger. Molly Pope (as Jane Jacobs) matches Constantine’s Moses, and stands toe-to-toe, eye-to-eye with him without giving up an inch. It’s a riveting scene and the audience always got caught up in the excitement (in the show we placed hecklers in the audience who booed and hissed at Moses). Originally this song was the end of Act I, but we decided we didn’t need an intermission.

mwe3: Tell us how “There’s No One Else” fits into the show and what did you think about the relationship between Moses and Nelson Rockefeller? The track is truly one of your great songs.

Peter Galperin: One of the ongoing themes in Bulldozer is the idea of empowerment – the process of personal enlightenment. We watch as this happens with Vera and also as it happens with Rockefeller. Early on in the story Rockefeller is introduced as an avid admirer of Moses. He’s impressed with Moses’ achievements and since he’s 20 years younger than Moses, he sees an opportunity to learn from the older man. But over the course of 25 years he has watched Moses transform from a young idealist to power-insulated destroyer. At the same time Rockefeller has become much more sure of his place in the world, and his ego reflects that.

In “There’s No One Else,” Rockefeller has finally realized that he’s the only one who can stop Moses – he is Moses’ perfect wave of opposition. Moses had always relied on the fact that most, if not all New York politicians needed his support, they needed the backing of the Triborough Bridge Authority, a massive, financially successful public/private corporation that Moses controlled completely. With the tolls that Moses’ highways and bridges collected year after year, the Triborough Authority had more capital and cash flow at their disposal than almost any other government or private entity. But by the late 1950s Nelson Rockefeller was at the height of his power, he had the enormous family wealth of Standard Oil behind him, he was Governor of New York, and he had Presidential aspirations.

When he sings “There’s no one else… no one else like me,” he’s not bragging, he’s stating a fact. And he realized that he needed to do something big to shore up New York’s failing transit system. His brilliant solution was to merge the cash-rich Triborough Bridge Authority with the financially bankrupt New York subway system. To do so he had to push Moses out of power by promising him a leadership position in the newly-created MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority). It was a promise that Moses trusted at face value (with a simple handshake) based on his long-standing relationship with Rockefeller, but Rockefeller had no intention of fulfilling that promise. In other words, Rockefeller was going to sucker-punch Moses.

mwe3: “You Can’t See” is another highlight and one of your best songs. The division of Jane Jacob’s feelings are palpable.

Peter Galperin: This song is where Jane Jacobs realizes what she is truly up against, and voices some doubts about whether she’s up to the task. It’s a temporary dark moment for her as she draws on inner strength to ready herself for a battle with the most powerful man in government - a man who has bullied many mayors, governors, and even a few presidents. And who is Jane Jacobs? –“just a girl from Scranton” she says at one point talking to Vera. But she’s so much more than that. She understands what makes a city vibrant, she’s empathetic to people who don’t have very much, she doesn’t believe that progress means destroying the past, and she knows that Moses (“You and your goddamn proposals”) can’t see any of that. “You Can’t See” is her prayer for strength.

mwe3: What is “Not Afraid of The Future” about?

Peter Galperin: This is another empowerment song. Vera has been with Moses for 25 years since meeting him as a teenage “cigarette girl” at the Casino. They’ve been through a lot together, personally and professionally. She became his assistant, and eventually his wife. She believed in him as only unconditional love can believe. But now she understands that his policies have hurt a lot of people, and when she sings “You’re not the man I thought you would be, and I’m not the little girl you once rescued,” she is heartbroken. She has decided to leave Moses, and in this song she acknowledges “I’m not afraid of the future, it’s something that I learned from you.” Moses slowly comes to realize that he’s going to lose her and he breaks down, but not before arrogantly blaming “the people, the politicians… the papers” and Vera for letting him down.

mwe3: “Straight Towards The Sun” is a great way to end the Bulldozer soundtrack. Looking back, because Moses did such a great job so everybody wanted to come to New York and that also contributed to the dysfunction you cite, and you are right.

Peter Galperin: In “Straight Towards the Sun” Moses sings “No one can say I didn’t do my job, like it or not I got things done. Though Roosevelt and Rockefeller will never be my friends, I can admit… I don’t like what I’ve become.” On the surface he seemed to be someone who didn’t care what people thought of him. He believed that the means justified the end result. If he needed to displace families from their homes in order to build a highway that he believed was for the greater good of society, then so be it – “You can’t make an omelet without cracking a few eggs” he once said. He was very willing to take the knocks against him in the name of what he considered to be progress.

Deep down what I think he cared most about was his legacy – what would he be remembered for? At the end of his life he knew that the times had changed, that he was a product of another generation, but he still felt proud that he had done what was necessary to help bring New York, and America, into the 20th century. For the last ten years of his life he lived alone, waiting for the phone call that Governor Rockefeller had promised him. A call that he thought would put him back to work for the MTA. It never came. A rather sad ending to an important life, no matter what you think of the man personally.

mwe3: So now you’re planning to work on your proposed musical about global warming? Yet with Bulldozer you’ve once again made me a believer on the power of the Broadway Soundtrack genre.

Peter Galperin: Yes, we’ll see how far I can get with my next concept musical about global warming, certainly not a subject that people usually sing about. But like one of the published reviews said of Bulldozer “Who knew that songs about construction and urban development could be so engaging? Apparently Peter Galperin!” So maybe I can do the same thing for climate change!




 

 
   
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