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Sorkin Fest: A Celebration of Genius
Sounds of Symbolism (Or How the White House Staffers Found Their Theme Songs) 
3rd-Jun-2008 11:25 pm
actress > Julie Andrews
TitleSounds of Symbolism (Or How the White House Staffers Found Their Theme Songs)
Author: lauraonbway
Prompt: Ensemble piece in which The Sound of Music is discussed over beer.
Fandom: The West Wing
Rating: G
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Jed Bartlet, Leo McGarry, CJ Cregg, Josh Lyman, Sam Seaborn, Toby Ziegler
Disclaimer: The West Wing and its characters are the property of Aaron Sorkin, and whoever else owns 'em.  They're certainly not mine.
Summary: Everyone needs a theme song.

The solitary sound of shuffling cards and clinking poker chips, they knew, was too good to last.

“Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote eleven musicals.  Can anyone name them?”

“Deal the cards, Mr. President,” Leo warned.

“There are eleven.  We could go around the table and see how many you get.”

“God, could we,” Josh asked, taking a sip from the beer bottle in front of him.

“All right, Mr. Lyman, you’re up first.”

Josh sighed.  Oklahoma.”

“He was nuts for the ballet dream sequence,” CJ quipped.

“Okay then, Ado Annie, what’s another one?”

“That’s another thing,” CJ said, leaning forward onto her elbows.  “You definitely have a thing for Ado Annie.”


“Fine.  The Sound of Music.”

“Ah,” Sam piped in.  “The final collaboration.  It opened on Broadway nine months before Hammerstein died and the film is one of the highest grossing movies in history.”

“Seriously, your brain is freakish.”  Toby puffed on his cigar and nodded towards the President across the table.  “Look what you’ve started, sir.”

“All in a day’s work, Toby.”

“You know, I just adore Julie Andrews,” CJ said. “She was knighted by the Queen of England.  Wouldn’t it be incredible to be a Dame?”

“You’re only the Press Secretary to the President of the United States,” Bartlet commented dryly, passing the cards around the table.  “That’s almost as good.”

CJ snorted and popped the top off her second beer.  “Yeah.”

“Think of how beautiful Salzburg must have been while they were filming.”

“Well, Sam, we’re going to Vienna in a couple of months.  If you’re a good boy, maybe we’ll let you stay over a couple of days and you can go to Salzburg and take the bus tour of all the film sites.”

“Please, sir, tell me you’re making the bus tour up,” Josh pleaded, running his hand over his face.

“I am not,” Bartlet denied enthusiastically.  “You should learn about it, Josh.  Then we could all go and you could be our tour guide.”

“Why not?  The Alps seem an easy enough place for someone to disappear.  I could become a hermit and be the one twirling on the mountain top…”  He froze.   “Not that I would twirl…ever.”

CJ laughed.  “We could take some pictures.  You know, for your fan club.”

“Do you really think that would be appropriate, CJ?”

“You’re the one who brought it up.”

“A slip of the tongue; I’m a little drunk.”

“Moving on, please,” Leo said.  “These are images of Josh I don’t need in my head.”

“All of you are culturally deprived.  What you should be focusing on is the music…” Toby paused.  “…if we’re really going to have this ridiculous conversation.”

“Says the man who claims to be no fan of musicals…” CJ said.

“As a general rule, yes, but I appreciate good work and there are some films every person should see and songs everyone should be familiar with.”

The President lifted his bottle.  “Well said, Toby!  We should all have theme songs.”

“That’s not quite what I meant, sir.”

“Nevertheless, I think the curmudgeon here,” he gestured to Leo, “is best described by ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain.’”

“I don’t follow rainbows, sir.”

“See,” Bartlet smiled.  “He does know the song.  And sure you do.  Now, what about Josh?”

“Mr. President, I don’t need a theme song.”

CJ grinned.  “I know.  He’s that song that the nuns sing about Maria being so much trouble.”

“I resent that.”

“The Secret Plan to Fight Inflation, LemonLyman.com…”

“Okay, okay.  What would yours be, CJ?

“Hers would be ‘Something Good,’ I think,” Sam said.  “Perhaps she had a wicked childhood, but did something to redeem herself?”

CJ shot him a sultry look as she sipped her beer.  “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

Sam swallowed hard before the President cut in.  “Excellent.  Next?”

“At the risk of revealing that I actually know a few things about this movie, I think the song she sings on the way to the von Trapp house fits Sam.  It’s all about growing into your confidence.”

“I agree, Josh.”

“Thank you, Mr. President.”

“I’m not sure I understand,” Sam said.

“It’s how you approach every project,” Josh explained.  “Your confidence in what you’re doing grows as you get deeper into whatever you’re working on.”

Sam smiled. “Okay.  But now you need a song, sir.”

“That’s easy,” CJ said.  “Yours is ‘Do-Re-Mi’, Mr. President.  You’re the teacher and the leader.”

“Nice choice, Claudia Jean.  Thank you.  As for Mr. Ziegler here, I have the perfect song.”

“And what would that be, Mr. President?”


“Bless my homeland forever.”

“You said it right, Toby.”

“Thank you, sir.  Now let’s play cards.”

“Not so fast.  We’ve wandered a bit.  Those were only two Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals.  What are the other nine?”

Toby sighed. “Carousel, South Pacific, Me and Juliet, Pipe Dream, Flower Drum Song, State Fair, Cinderella, Allegro, and The King and I.”  He took a breath.  “Check or bet, Mr. President?”

4th-Jun-2008 05:28 am (UTC)
Congratulations on participating in Sorkin Fest! Thanks again for your interest and support. :D

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4th-Jun-2008 06:03 am (UTC)
Great idea to match up songs to characters and all from the same musical. Fantastic. Perfect matches. I guess Zoey could get 'Sixteen going on seventeen'. :-)
4th-Jun-2008 03:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
4th-Jun-2008 12:56 pm (UTC)
That was my prompt and I love what you did with it. The songs did fit perfectly, especially Sam. Great story : )
4th-Jun-2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
I'm really glad you liked it! That gives me warm fuzzies. And thank you for the prompt! It was really fun to play with. I had to play around with how I wanted the songs to match up, and then I had to remember that the gang wouldn't have the amazing SOM knowledge that I do (lol), which is why I went with "that song that she sings here..." and "you know, that song..." I hope it worked.
4th-Jun-2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
I knew there was someone out there who loved the Sound of Music as much as me.....so glad you picked the prompt and wrote the story.

LOVE, LOVE that icon!!!!
5th-Jun-2008 03:27 am (UTC)
Teehee! That was adorable. Good voice.
5th-Jun-2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much!
6th-Jun-2008 02:06 am (UTC)
Awesome! I loved the poker moments in the show, you fic captures the senior staff brilliantly. Toby knowing all the musicals was lol!
6th-Jun-2008 05:00 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Yeah, Toby acts like an arts hater at times, but he's the defender of the NEA on the show, so I figured he would know those musicals even if he didn't want to admit it at first. Plus, the man just seems to know everything.
6th-Jun-2008 05:24 pm (UTC)
I agree, his sentimentality as shown by his love of all things Julia Chil makes it plausible that he would know all the musicals.. I like that side of him.
Great icon btw!
6th-Jun-2008 10:17 pm (UTC)
I loved this! Very nice characterization. I could really hear all the voices. Very cute idea for a fic, very appropriate song choice, lots of fun to read. Thanks for sharing!
7th-Jun-2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm really glad that you enjoyed it!
7th-Jun-2008 09:27 am (UTC)
What shall we do about a problem like Jo-hosh? *sings*

I love it. No, really. Wonderful characterization and so very, very TWW. Nice work.
7th-Jun-2008 04:21 pm (UTC)
YAY! Thanks so much! Hearing it has good characterization is music to my ears.

Also, I adore your icon!
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