Cast Albums Blog

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The Season in Cast Recordings

Reprinted from CASTRECL with permission from David L. Hobbs:

A list of New York cast albums, made for my own consumption and offered, as it was last year, in case it's of use or interest to others. Note this list only covers shows which opened during the 2007-08 eligibility years for the Tony and Lortel Awards. Off-off-B'way is not included in order to keep the list manageable. Corrections, additions and news of unpublicized demos & promos featuring New York casts are most welcome.

BROADWAY in 2007-08 (Tony eligible)

w/ cast recordings: w/o cast recordings:

OFF-BROADWAY in 2007-08 (Lortel eligible)

w/ cast recordings: w/o cast recordings:
  • 10 Million Miles
  • Black Nativity (Classical Theatre of Harlem has a recording of BLACK NATIVITY in the works; it is expected to be ready this fall when the production is remounted.)
  • Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz
  • Next to Normal
  • Passing Strange (The off-B'way version of PASSING STRANGE was not recorded, but the entire cast moved with the show to B'way. I've not been able to determine the extent of changes but at least one song was cut: "L.A. Was All in My Mind.")
  • Take Me Along
  • The/King/Operetta
  • The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island
  • Three Mo' Tenors (A recording of the off-B'way version of THREE MO' TENORS is being produced. There is also a 2004 Chicago recording with most of the same cast and about half the tunestack of the New York production.)
  • Wanda's World
I should at least mention in passing the few other New York cast recordings of which I'm aware from this past season -- there's no attempt to be thorough here: 33 TO NOTHING; MINIMUM WAGE; SESSIONS; and FORBIDDEN BROADWAY: RUDE AWAKENING.   Plus, eventually we expect the concert cast of THE PEOPLE VS. MONA.

A few words of hope/regret/hope. Fingers are still crossed for CRY-BABY despite it's imminent closing. NEXT TO NORMAL continues to be revised (a production is scheduled for Washington's Arena Stage in November) so I expect we'll eventually have a recording of a more "final" version. On the regret side, I would have dearly loved a recording of JUNO from Encores. The evening of one-act musicals at the Zipper, INNER VOICES, also sounded intriguing. JUNIE B. JONES was revived again by TheatreWorksUSA and still remains unrecorded. And since I love the music of Jenny Giering, I hope that a recording of CROSSING BROOKLYN might eventually happen.

Gratitude to all CastRecL contributors who furnished the above information. -- David L. Hobbs

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 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 New 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...

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