Cast Albums Blog

REVIEW: Waitress - Original Broadway Cast

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If it weren't for a certain musical this season with the name of Hamilton, I'm pretty sure that Waitress, the delightful new musical with a moving and tuneful score by pop star Sara Bareilles, could very well have become the season's best musical. Despite not winning any Tony Awards, the show is continuing to perform well at the box office which speaks to its well-made book and score, all delivered by top-notch performers. The newly released cast album highlights all that's wonderful about this film-to-stage adaptation which focuses on Jenna, a small-town waitress with a talent for making delicious pies. As our heroine finds herself pregnant after a drunken night with her abusive husband, Earl, she falls into an affair with her gynecologist, Dr. Pomatter, and must figure out what she really wants in life.

REVIEW: Close to You: Bacharach Reimagined - 2015 London Cast

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Burt Bacharach is justifiably regarded as one of the preeminent pop songwriters of the sixties and seventies, so it's probably inevitable that theatrical revues of his work will occasionally appear – no bad thing in theory, since his terrific score for Promises Promises proved his music can work beautifully in the theatre. The 2003 Broadway revue The Look of Love went unrecorded, but Kyle Riabko's Close To You, originally produced at New York Theater Works under the title What's It All About? Bacharach Reimagined, has yielded a cast recording following successful runs at the Menier Chocolate Factory and the Criterion in London.

REVIEW: Fiddler on the Roof - 2016 Broadway Cast

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The classic Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof is all about the role of tradition in a changing world. Should traditions be changed to accommodate a new generation or are there limits as to how far traditions can be altered? One might ask these same questions of the new production of Fiddler on the Roof and its accompanying cast recording. Fiddler is a show that has had its fair share of recordings: an iconic original Broadway cast album featuring Zero Mostel, the movie soundtrack with Topol, various London recordings, and an album of the last Broadway revival with Alfred Molina. Is this new recording with Broadway vet Danny Burstein a necessity in your collection? It depends perhaps on your feelings about tradition.

REVIEW: She Loves Me - 2016 Broadway Cast

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Twenty-three years after they first revived it, She Loves Me is back at the Roundabout. The show is one of the under-appreciated gems of musical theatre’s golden age – it’s never been that big a hit, but it inspires enormous devotion among those lucky enough to have seen a good production, because it’s one of those pieces where the whole, somehow, is far greater than the sum of the parts. Based on Hungarian playwright Miklos Laszlo’s ‘Parfumerie’, She Loves Me tells the rather slight story of two warring sales clerks in a Budapest parfumerie who are not aware that they’re engaged in a lonely-hearts correspondence with each other. Thanks to Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s glorious score, along with Joe Masteroff’s literate, just-sweet-enough book, the final scene, if done well, can be a great deal more moving than you might expect. It’s a rom-com, yes – the same source material later formed the basis for the Tom Hanks – Meg Ryan vehicle You’ve Got Mail – but it’s one of the best, and a good revival of the show is always an event – particularly if it gets recorded.

And Ghostlight’s new cast recording certainly does not disappoint. There are four existing English-language cast albums of the show – two from Broadway and two from London – but this one stands head and shoulders above all of them except the matchless 1963 original. The show is on my (very) short list of musicals I consider more or less perfect; this recording delivers as good an account of the score as you could hope for, and even the minor criticisms – there are a few – are so minor that they more or less amount to splitting hairs.

REVIEW: John, Paul, George, Ringo... and Bert - Original London Cast

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Given how many records Barbara Dickson has sold over her career, it’s surprising – perhaps – that the cast recording of John, Paul, George, Ringo… and Bert, the Beatles jukebox musical that first put her in the public eye, has remained out of print for so long. The show, which premiered at the Liverpool Everyman in 1974, was Willy Russell’s first great success as a playwright; rather than force actors to imitate the Beatles, Russell placed the songs as a kind of counterpoint to the scenes in his retelling of the group’s rise to stardom, performed from the side of the stage by Dickson at the piano accompanied by a small band. The show was a moderate West End hit in 1974-75; while the cast recording was issued on LP and cassette, however, it had never been released on CD.

That, thankfully, has finally been rectified. Several tantalizing numbers have long been available for (temporary) consumption via Dickson’s remarkably comprehensive YouTube page, but it’s taken until this year for the complete album to be made available on CD (it still doesn’t appear to be available as a download).