The Cake I Had

Song Title : The Cake I Had

Show Name : Grey Gardens

Character Name : Edith

Gender : Female

Age : Adult

Vocal Part : Alto

Range : F#3-C#5

Style : Midtempo (Swing)

Mood : Comedic, Regretful, Cantankerous

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Context & Lyrics


Edie regrets failing to succeed in New York City, whereas her mother Edith regrets nothing and takes no blame for Edie’s shortcomings.

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EDITH (spoken)
I have no complaints. I have everything I ever wanted.

EDIE (spoken)
You had a rich husband; you should’ve stayed with him.

EDITH (spoken)
I had a perfect marriage… beautiful children… terribly successful marriage,
I never had a fight in my life.

EDIE (spoken)
Ha!

EDITH (spoken)
I had a very, very happy, satisfying life.

EDIE (spoken)
Can’t be done. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. You can’t.

EDITH (spoken)
Ohhhh yes you can.
I most certainly did have my cake and eat it, down to the last crumb.

(sung)
What good is cake
You have but never eat?
I never could
Deny myself a sweet,
So I sliced my life
And licked my knife
And ate the cake I had.

EDIE (spoken)
Can’t be done, I’m telling you…

EDITH
Two perfect sons
I thoroughly enjoyed
An absent spouse
And cats to fill the void,
And the tri-state’s best
Accompanist
Oh yes, I ate the cake I had.

Moist. Light.
Gaily decorated.
Every tasty morsel,
Savored, chewed and masticated.

Young. Bright.
Rich and thin and clever.
Like a second helping?
Sister, would I ever!

EDIE (spoken)
I’ll probably be an old maid until I die. I’ll sit around with cats the rest of my life.

EDITH (spoken)
When are you gonna learn, Edie?
You’re in this world, you know! You’re not out of the world!

(sung)
The days are gone
When money grew on trees.
The money tree
Came down with elm disease.
But at my age, ducks,
For my two bucks
I’ll eat the cake I have
And like it.
I’ll eat the cake I have.

EDIE (spoken)
I think the saddest thing was my not marrying.
During the war, my best friend, she was a nurse with the Red Cross… she met
somebody overseas in a hospital. A Marine.
Lost both of his legs at Iwo Jima.
Romance was inevitable, really, given the situation. But I couldn’t travel.
Mother wasn’t well during the war, you see.

EDITH (spoken)
Gerald Gettys worshipped you – and those two nice Rockefeller fellas-

EDIE (spoken)
They were horrible! Horrible!

EDITH (spoken)
You just didn’t want to get married. Now it’s all blamed on me.

EDIE (spoken)
I missed out on everything.

EDITH
Gripe. Groan.
Point the famous finger.
Life is disappointing,
Put the parent through the wringer.


Sulk. Moan.
Blame it on the mother.
When I’m dead and buried
You won’t get another.

EDIE (spoken)
I met a Count, in Greenwich Village.
He was a poet and a playwright, and he said,
“Edith, I want to make an honest woman out of you.”
I thought that was very decent.

EDITH (spoken)
He didn’t have a nickel in his trousers! Not a nickel!

EDIE (spoken)
Mother despised him. Gave him the pink slip.
To think, I coulda been a Countess – Countess Edith!

EDITH
Enough with all
Your celebrated loves.
You had two hands.
You could have modeled gloves.
Is it my fault that
Your cake fell flat?
That you’re unmarried,
Bald and fat?


As the world waltzed by
And Edie sat…
I ate the cake I had
And loved it.

Oh, I ate the cake I had,
No thanks to daddy.
I ate the cake… I had.

EDIE (spoken)
Sometimes I think I have the saddest life…

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