Cast Albums Blog

Author Archive:  WarrenHoffman

REVIEW: Falsettos - 2016 Broadway Cast

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It seems hard to believe that the 1992 Tony Award-winning musical Falsettos by William Finn is only now getting a complete cast recording. Beloved by musical theater fans, this sung-through show full of Finn’s idiosyncratic melodies and gorgeous ballads follows the story of Marvin as he leaves his wife Trina and son Jason to be with his male lover Whizzer. Hysterically funny one minute and gut-wrenchingly devastating the next, Falsettos painted a picture of gay Jewish life and atypical family arrangements that continue to resonate today, if not more so, in the age of Modern Family.

REVIEW: Hairspray Live!

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Can it really be that almost 15 years have passed since the bubbly and boisterous musical Hairspray first took Broadway by storm? The show lived on the Great White Way for 8 ½ years, winning the Tony for Best Musical, had numerous regional productions, and was even made into a well-received movie. In many ways, Hairspray, despite its age, has never really left the modern Broadway canon. With tomorrow night's production of Hairspray Live! on NBC, we'll have one more version to add to the mix.

REVIEW: The Robber Bridegroom - 2016 Off-Broadway Cast

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For the handful of cast album collectors out there who happen to own a copy of the original 1976 Broadway cast recording of The Robber Bridegroom, they know what a poor listening experience that album is. Despite fantastic performances by Barry Bostwick (who won a Tony Award for his portrayal of the titular character) and a great supporting cast, the sound of that album, at least on the CD transfer, is completely muddy, as if the microphones were covered in peanut butter, submerged in water, and then placed in a room next to the recording studio. That major failing aside, the cast album, with its collection of bluegrass-flavored tunes by Robert Waldman, is still a fun album and with no other commercially available version of the score previously available has earned many repeated listens on my playlist, flaws and all.

Jump ahead to 2016 and the news that Roundabout Theatre Company would be producing a major revival of The Robber Bridegroom off-Broadway starring Broadway leading man Steven Pasquale. I, for one, was more excited about the potential of a new cast album coming out of this production than the production itself and indeed, thanks to Ghostlight Records, we have a new, sharply produced cast album to celebrate. And yet...

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: 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.