Cast Albums Blog

REVIEW: West Side Story - San Francisco Symphony

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Leonard Bernstein only wrote four Broadway musicals in his career, and all four already have widely available symphonic recordings to complement their various stage cast recordings and film and television soundtracks. What need could there possibly be for new recordings of any of these scores in 2014? The new symphonic recording of West Side Story from the San Francisco Symphony, under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas, makes such questions irrelevant by sheer force of artistry. (We’ll revisit this question in the fall when the 2014 revival cast recording of On The Town debuts.)


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If you enjoy original cast albums in the Goddard Lieberson mold, which is to say, those that reconfigure the songs to be enjoyed without needing to follow the story from which they’re drawn, then you’re well-primed to appreciate If/Then, the new Idina Menzel vehicle by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey. The show follows two different life stories of the same urban planner, Elizabeth, exploring how one inconsequential choice might set off two entirely different life paths. These two parallel lives are portrayed in alternating (and occasionally overlapping) scenes on stage, with different color schemes, nicknames (“Liz” and “Beth”) and the hardest working pair of eyeglasses this side of Clark Kent cueing the audience which timeline they are seeing.

REVIEW: Bullets Over Broadway

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When it was first announced that Woody Allen and Susan Stroman were teaming up to bring Bullets Over Broadway to the musical stage, the news was greeted with tremendous anticipation, tempered only slightly by the news that the show would feature a score cobbled together from songs from the 1920s, the era in which the show is set. As the show approached Broadway, anticipation built around the casting of Helen Sinclaire, the role for which Dianne Wiest won an Oscar in 1995. When Marin Mazzie won the role amidst rumors that the show's creators were hoping for a star but couldn't find one who matched Mazzie's winning take, Broadway fans rejoiced. And then the show opened...

REVIEW: Nice Fighting You: A 30th Anniversary Celebration Live at 54 Below

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Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty have the kind of versatility that makes it hard to consider their output as one body of work. Do the Caribbean rhythms of Once On This Island have anything in common with the Americana of Ragtime or the soft rock of Rocky? This new release on Broadway Records argues not only that they do, but that each of these scores and the rest of the Ahrens and Flaherty catalog bear revisiting.

Upcoming releases: London ON THE TOWN & Rosalyn Kind

Two premiere CD releases are coming from Masterworks Broadway: the original London cast recording of On the Town (8/19) and Give Me You/This is Roslyn Kind (7/22).

With music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, On The Town enjoyed a successful Broadway run during the 1940s. The London production opened at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 1963 and starred Elliott Gould along with Don McKay, Carol Arthur, Andrea Jaffe and Gillian Lewis.

The Original London Cast Recording of On the Town has never before been available in the U.S. and arrives in advance of a new Broadway production this fall. The recording will be available exclusively from starting August 19, followed by a September 16 release through ArkivMusic and digital music outlets.

On a late spring morning in 1968, seventeen-year-old Roslyn Kind (younger half-sister to Barbra Streisand) graduated from high school in Brooklyn and immediately began a new job later the same day. “I graduated to ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ in the morning,” she recalls, “and that evening I was in RCA Studio B, down around 23rd Street in Manhattan, making my first recording.”

Kind’s two RCA albums Give Me You and This Is Roslyn Kind are fascinating time capsules from a period – 1968-69 – when American popular music was undergoing seismic changes. There is a bit of Broadway to be heard, but most of the material reflects Kind’s own taste and then-current trends in popular music. Kind rarely looked back to the albums that started her career, until 2014. At the behest of her director, she began to sing some of the material from Give Me You and This Is Roslyn Kind in her live act. Audiences loved it. “It was a surprise to me that I could return to this,” Kind says. “But people love the vintage material. They love to know your history.”

Give Me You/This Is Roslyn Kind will be available exclusively from starting July 22, followed by a August 19 release through ArkivMusic and digital music outlets.