Dave-isms

(DISCLAIMER! This is a Dave Malloy fansite. His real website is here)

Dave Malloy has some very recognizable themes that span throughout his work, some I'd consider come together into his artistic thesis, they weave into and around each other to form a solid view of how life could be lived, some are more surface-level. This page is about both! I want a place to talk about this reoccuring imagery and especially how it relates to blog posts he had made years, even over a decade before those shows premired. I suppose it's not surprising to see an artist who uses themes from his life, or who puts so much of himself personally into his work, but as someone who listens to a lot of musicals specifically, I rarely see such a powerful and present author voice.

A yellow box means that show is a "yes" for that theme, a grey one means I don't know the show well enough to say. When I'm referencing a specific blog post of his, I'll be linking to the full post over on my page of his blog quotes, so that you don't have to scroll through his site for the specific one I'm referencing.

Categories:

Depressed Old Drunk (most likely played by Dave)

Sandwitch
Clown Bible
Beowulf
Three Pianos
Beardo
Blue Wizard/Black Wizard
Ghost Quartet
Don't Stop Me
Great Comet of 1812
Preludes
Octet
Moby Dick
The Witches

"Phone Bad"

Sandwitch
Clown Bible
Beowulf
Three Pianos
Beardo
Blue Wizard/Black Wizard
Ghost Quartet
Don't Stop Me
Great Comet of 1812
Preludes
Octet
Moby Dick
The Witches

Somber/bittersweet and low instrumental finale

Sandwitch
Clown Bible
Beowulf
Three Pianos
Beardo
Blue Wizard/Black Wizard
Ghost Quartet
Don't Stop Me
Great Comet of 1812
Preludes
Octet
Moby Dick
The Witches

The only one on here that I can solidly say is his M.O., Dave will end on a somber note. Most of these are uplifting in a sense, they fill you with hope for the future and a new outlook on life to fill it with, but they are always bittersweet, slow, and feature little to no instrumentation. Octet and Don't Stop Me are even a capella here (though of course, Octet is entirely a capella).

Out of the ones I know, The Witches is the only one that doesn't feature this, but it's pretty clear why. As a commissioned piece that was intended for a larger audience, with a large percentage of children, it makes sense why they'd want to end on a more upbeat tone. The fine does start more somber though, as they go through the book's ending of realizing that as a mouse, Luke is unlikley to live past the next 9 years, but that's okay with him as he wouldn't want to outlive his 85 year old grandmother. Afterwards, it does pick up the energy with a reprise of the show's eleventh hour "Get up".

Look at the sky/stars

Sandwitch
Clown Bible
Beowulf
Three Pianos
Beardo
Blue Wizard/Black Wizard
Ghost Quartet
Don't Stop Me
Great Comet of 1812
Preludes
Octet
Moby Dick
The Witches
  • Beowulf:
    - "And my mind body evaporated through And now floats atop the mountain like a wisp, And I whisper down the sailing ships passing, Entertaining me with their colors"
  • Ghost Quartet:
    - "I want to dance, I want to gaze at the stars, I want to take a picture at the end of the world"
    - "I will try to fogive myself, for being absent in public and bored before stars"
  • Don't Stop Me:
    - "We wake up and look into each other's eyes, into the stars and black holes, into the quarks and secret stoles"
    - "One day I will finally stop running, there will be sunlight in the trees, please don't stop me 'till I'm there"
  • Great Comet of 1812: