Cast Albums Blog
REVIEW: Cry-Baby: The Musical - Studio Cast
Cry-Baby was one of the more anticipated musicals of the 2008 Broadway season. Coming on the heels of Hairspray, the show gave a similar treatment to the film John Waters made after the original Hairspray. Hairspray's book writers, Thomas Meehan and Mark O'Donnell, were once again on board, this time teamed with the songwriting team of Adam Schlesinger (best known then as the bassist from Fountains of Wayne, the band that gave us "Stacey's Mom") and David Javerbaum (then executive producer of The Daily Show). Despite a talented cast (full of youthful enthusiasm but no star names to speak of) and a fun rockabilly score, the show failed to find its audience and closed within a couple of months.
REVIEW: John & Jen - 2015 Off-Broadway Cast
Earlier this year, Andrew Lippa’s John & Jen, his first musical, with lyrics by Tom Greenwald, had a marvelous off-Broadway production at the Clurman Theatre, produced by the Keen Company. Kate Baldwin and Conor Ryan starred in this challenging and moving two-hander, more than 20 years after the first production at Goodspeed Opera House. The original production gained a sort of cult following, no doubt thanks to the original cast album that featured Carolee Carmello. The 2015 production was followed by a new cast recording, and though it has some minor faults and often tries to turn the show into a Broadway spectacle, the stellar voices of Baldwin and Ryan are some of the finest performances recorded from the last theatre season.
REVIEW: Lost West End
Back in the 90s, record label Varese Sarabande released a series of albums called Unsung Musicals, which were studio recordings of songs from Broadway shows that never got recorded. For many cast album collectors, these CDs were greedily consumed as a way to access some lost treasures from musical theater history.
Now British label Stage Door Records has done something similar with Lost West End: London's Forgotten Musicals, a collection of 20+ tunes from overlooked or quickly closed British musicals from 1976 to 2009. Unlike the Unsung Musicals series which was comprised of studio recordings, Lost West End consists of tracks from sample albums or other recordings that were, for the most part, never commercially released, often showcasing the original performers and full orchestrations. This makes the album a nice collector’s piece as it allows listeners to get a pretty clear sense of what some of these lost moments of British musical theater history were like. (Quick tidbit, many of these short-lived or "flop" shows played at the Piccadilly Theater. Note to self: do not open a musical at the Piccadilly Theater.)