The Me Nobody Knows

Me-Nobody-KnowsOriginal Broadway Cast, 1970 (Atlantic/150 Music) 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) Based on Stephen M. Joseph’s book of the same title, The Me Nobody Knows is a collection of writings by inner-city students turned into a musical by composer Gary William Friedman, lyricist Will Holt, and playwright Herb Schapiro. Holt did his best to create lyrics without making big alterations to the material; the result is a collection of poetic songs that describe the dreams of kids growing up in the ghetto. With their defiantly hopeful voices, the show’s energetic company of 12 brings truth to songs like “If I Had a Million Dollars,” “How I Feel,” and “Black.” The cast album was belatedly released on CD; the sound quality isn’t very clean, and some of the kids’ voices are pretty rough. Still, these elements give The Me Nobody Knows an authentic feeling of time and place, while the material itself — concerning drugs, poverty, and other challenges faced by this population — is still sadly relevant. Even those who don’t appreciate the funky rock score will likely be moved by the infectious melody and imagery of “Light Sings” or the musical’s beautiful finale, “Let Me Come In.” — Brooke Pierce