Cast Albums Blog

Review: Adrift in Macao


Recording Cover

One might be forgiven for stumbling over the name of Adrift in Macao composer Peter Melnick -- in the liner notes, he's even quoted referring to himself as "Richard Rodgers' 'other' grandson," an oblique reference to his famed cousin Adam Guettel. It's unclear on the basis of the album whether this state of affairs will continue. While far from a major work (one could argue that all three of Guettel's scores rank with the work of Sondheim -- but let's stop inciting a family feud, shall we?), the score to this noir pastiche is an old-fashioned, light, infectious piece that will play well in regional theatre.

The lyrics, on the other hand, are entirely modern--parodies of torch songs, songs with lyrics supposedly improvised on the spot, songs about themselves--in the manner that's taken over Broadway in the last decade or so. Fortunately, slumming lyricist Christopher Durang has sufficient skill and talent to bring most of them off ("Rick's Song" is a shaky mashup of "The Song That Goes Like This" and "The Diva's Lament" from Spamalot, but "Pretty Moon Over Macao," "In a Foreign City," and "The Chase" all score).

Unfortunately, this still means it's at best a matter of taste; one wonders whether the audience that wants to hear Melnick's score is the same as the audience that wants to hear Durang's lyrics. And when it comes to the weird "Asian" numbers for "Tempura" (Orville Mendoza), one wonders how many people want to hear any of it at all.

The cast is uniformly strong: Mendoza, who has the most floppo material, manages to sparkle with natural charm. Rachel deBenedet and Alan Campbell have the rare treat of playing (with gusto) romantic leads with better and funnier songs than their comic foils; still, Michele Ragusa and Will Swenson (the latter as "Rick Shaw"; ugh) acquit themselves well.

And whatever is lacking in individual numbers, all can be forgiven when the cast breaks into the charming title song or, better, the intoxicating "Ticky Ticky Tock" finale. In fact, if there's anything that inspires confidence in the future of Melnick and Durang as a songwriting duo, it's this simple, silly, pleasingly anachronistic sing-a-long for the company.


Arkiv Releases Out of Print Recordings


ArkivMusic.com has begun issuing CD-Rs of an out-of-print or otherwise generally unavailable recordings. For the usual cost of a CD, they'll burn you a disc and include reproductions of the original artwork and liner notes. But unlike the bootleggers on eBay, the recordings are fully licensed from the record labels. Max Preeo hinted on CASTRECL that a major label is negotiating to use ArkivMusic to release its back catalog...

For now, the following recordings are available through Arkiv:

Canterbury Tales -- 1969 Original Broadway Cast Canterbury Tales -- Original Broadway Cast

Robert and Elizabeth -- 1964 Original London Cast Robert and Elizabeth -- Original London Cast

A Little Night Music -- 1975 Original London Cast Little Night Music, A -- Original London Cast

 --  Wildcat -- Original Broadway Cast

 --  Do Re Mi -- Original Broadway Cast

 --  Oliver! -- Film Soundtrack

 --  Finian's Rainbow -- Broadway Cast

Silk Stockings -- 1955 Original Broadway Cast Silk Stockings -- Original Broadway Cast

Hello, Dolly! -- 1967 Broadway Cast Hello, Dolly! -- Broadway Cast

 --  Starting Here, Starting Now -- Original Off-Broadway Cast

 --  Legs Diamond -- Original Broadway Cast

Le roi et moi -- 1999 French Soundtrack Roi Et Moi, Le -- French Soundtrack

Little Me -- 1962 Original Broadway Cast Little Me -- Original Broadway Cast

 --  How Now, Dow Jones -- Original Broadway Cast

Darling of the Day -- 1968 Original Broadway Cast Darling of the Day -- Original Broadway Cast

Broadway Showstoppers -- 1991 Studio Cast Broadway Showstoppers -- Studio Cast

Kismet -- 1964 London Studio Cast Kismet -- London Studio Cast

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum -- 1963 Original London Cast A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum -- Original London Cast

 --  Kwamina -- Original Broadway Cast

 --  Where's Charley? -- Original London Cast

 --  Walking Happy -- Original Broadway Cast

Goodtime Charley -- 1975 Original Broadway Cast Goodtime Charley -- Original Broadway Cast

 --  Celebration -- Original Broadway Cast

 --  Zorba -- Original Broadway Cast

 --  St. Louis Woman -- Original Broadway Cast

 --  Tenderloin -- Original Broadway Cast

That's Entertainment! III -- 1994 Film Soundtrack That's Entertainment III -- Film Soundtrack

 --  Chu Chin Chow -- Studio Cast

 --  White House Cantata, A -- London Studio Cast

Magdalena -- 1988 London Studio Cast Magdalena -- London Studio Cast

 --  On the Town -- London Concert Cast

Johnny Johnson -- 1955 Studio Cast Johnny Johnson -- Studio Cast

 --  Seventh Heaven -- Original Broadway Cast

 --  Street Scene -- London Studio Cast


Xanadu - Original Broadway Cast Recording


Recording Cover

I admit it. Just like librettist Douglas Carter Beane writes in the liner notes of the newly-released Original Broadway Cast recording of Xanadu, when I attended the first preview in May, I was hoping to catch a flop of Carrie-like proportions. After all, the original film musical was a financial and artistic failure, even if it did produce a best-selling soundtrack. Trying to roller-skate on the Helen Hayes Theatre's postage stamp-sized stage would surely be the least of the cast's worries...


New Year, New Recordings!


Thanks to everyone who has contributed to castalbums.org since our "reboot" almost a year ago!

It's a new year and a new recordings are scheduled to be released. You can always keep abreast of recent & scheduled recordings by visiting our Upcoming Releases page.

What recordings are you looking forward to in the new year? Personally, I'm looking forward to the campfest Xanadu (featuring the breathy Kerry Butler channeling Olivia Newton-John) and also Make Me A Song, the recent William Finn revue which featured a ravishing performance of "Anytime" by Sally Wilfert.


Footlight.com to remain open


Huzzah! Footlight.com won't be closing after all!

To One & All: First I must apologize to everyone; you probably think that I am the Boy Who Cried Wolf. Believe me the last thing I wanted to do was shut down. With the help of some other people in the industry I have worked out a plan to restructure the website. This will hopefully work out and keep Footlight alive. First of all it is amazing how well records have been selling on the site. We plan to keep on expanding this area. I feel what will work to keep us afloat is to narrow our focus to Cast Recordings, Vocalists, a limited selection of Film Soundtracks, and DVDs. This will entail stocking all the new releases domestic and imports in these categories as we have done in the past, but only having them available for a limited time (two or three months) this is the period in which we sell about 90% of the sales of any title. We will carry a selection of featured labels; for instance Bay View, Original Cast, Jay, Fynsworth Alley and others. We will continue to stock the complete catalog of these labels. We plan to expand our Rare Section of CDs by offering to purchase CDs you may want to sell. You may e-mail us lists and we would let then let you know which ones we are interested in and make you an offer. Of course they must be in mint or near mint condition. We plan to make these changes to the site over the next couple of weeks. We will be getting in the newly released A. L. Webber titles from London next week. All the best, Ron Saja
I wonder if Footlight Records has every tried an affiliate link program to send traffic their way?