Fairview Heights native Mark Hollmann, the Tony Award-winning composer of Urinetown
and all-around good sport, returned to town in March for the Kevin Kline Awards. In addition to presenting two Kevins and delivering a 40th-anniversary tribute to the Rep, Hollmann agreed to perform a song from his new musical-in-progress, Soapdish
, based on the 1991 movie farce that starred who else? Kevin Kline. With the movie image of Kline on the overhead monitor, Hollmann sang "I Am Willy," his baroque send-up of a dinner-theater Death of a Salesman
from Hell. Anyone who was there that night had to be struck by the sheer originality of the moment. Then, three days after the Kevins, the composer learned that the Soapdish
producers had released him from the project. He took the news in good stride. After all, it's not as if Hollmann is lacking for work; much in demand, he's actively engaged in writing three other musicals. But "I Am Willy," which likely will never be heard again (it's not as if the song is going to become a breakout single) will live on only in the memories of those who heard it here first and last.