REVIEW: The New Yorkers - Encores! Concert Cast

Recording CoverThree years after it played at New York's City Center, here's the cast recording of the Encores! Production of what, here, is billed as "Cole Porter's The New Yorkers." It's not, as the liner notes will tell you, precisely an authentic recreation of the 1930 original, but don't let that put you off: this album is an hour and five minutes of the kind of sheer pleasure you wish someone could bottle.

What this album offers is an impeccable stack of Cole Porter songs – fourteen from the original production of The New Yorkers, two from Fifty Million Frenchmen, and one each from Gay Divorce, Let's Face It, and Leave It To Me – plus two of the original production's five songs by above-the-title star Jimmy Durante, all dressed in new but period-appropriate arrangements and orchestrations (respectively, by music director Rob Berman and orchestrators Larry Moore and Josh Clayton), and sung to the hilt by an unimpeachable cast. There are fine, funny performances from Kevin Chamberlin and Ruth Williamson in the two main comic roles, Cyrille Aimée brings both heat and real sadness to Love For Sale, and Mylinda Hull is clearly having a great time vamping her way through The Great Indoors.

Best of all, Scarlett Strallen and Tam Mutu make an absolutely charming pair as Al Spanish and Alice Wentworth, the would-be lovers at the centre of the show's somewhat madcap plot, and in their hands You've Got That Thing is thoroughly delightful. The album saves the best for last – Ms. Strallen's roof-raising I Happen To Like New York is pure joy, and the perfect conclusion to an album that stands as a thrilling musical love-letter to pre-war Broadway. The sound is crystal clear, the orchestra sounds marvellous, the singers are wonderful, and the songs are peerless. The Encores! series, by now, has given us a stack of terrific cast albums; this one is among the very best of the bunch.


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