Cast Albums Blog

Author Archive:  WarrenHoffman

REVIEW: Bubble Boy - Studio Cast


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Most albums that we get to review here at Castalbums.org are preservations of major Broadway productions, shows that many of us have gotten to see. It's a nice treat then to be given the recording of Bubble Boy -- a little known musical with a loopy premise -- without any sense of how it plays on stage, for a listen. Based on the 2001 film starring a young Jake Gyllenhaal, the show tells the improbable story of Jimmy Livingston, an autoimmune-deficient young man who has been forced to live his life in a plastic bubble. In more serious hands, this would be the stuff of Dear Evan Hansen teen-angst, but this wacky musical, fashioned by original screenwriters Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, is a laugh-out-loud romp. The story, which isn't too hard to follow from the songs (and there are a whopping 23 numbers on the album including reprises), follows a fairly well-worn formula: Boy (in a bubble) meets Girl (not in a bubble), Boy (in a bubble) and Girl fall in love. Girl falls for another Boy (not in a bubble). Boy (in a bubble) goes on a journey to stop Girl from marrying Boy #2. Suffice it to say a tidy ending wraps everything up.


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.