BEWARE THE SINGING SPOILERS: Throughout Guess What’s Coming To Dinner, Gaeta sings to distract himself from the pain after his leg is amputated. The song, Gaeta’s Lament, serves as a narrative thread connecting the entire episode, not only communicating his character’s misery, but weaving together the multiple story arcs.
This episode is a special one for me, because it represents the first time I’d been brought onboard at the script level. The scoring process is generally the last step in the journey of completing an episode. I’m accustomed to writing music for a finished story. Here, I had the unique opportunity to help shape the musical identity before production even began. Writer Michael Angeli, director Wayne Rose and actor Alessandro Juliani and I all worked closely together to bring this song to the screen.
Alessandro Juliani (AJ) said that the idea “began around a dinner table when we were shooting Kevin Fahey’s script ‘Faith.’ We were out one night after work, and somehow it came up in conversation that I had studied opera (in what seemed like another lifetime at Mcgill University in Montreal).”
Writer Michael Angeli described the evolution of the song: “After we hammered out the bare bones story arc, Ron came to me with this idea of having Gaeta sing ‘an opera’ whenever his leg’s bothering him. And he wanted an original song. Since it was my episode, later I asked him if this opera was something I should write and he was, like, ‘Yeah, why not?’ I’m pretty sure we had that conversation after we were drinking all night (we would work for 12 hours a day, then kick it, big time in the evenings).”