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    1. Spamalot (2005 Original Broadway
    $20.99 $20.21 list($24.98)
    2. The Phantom of the Opera (2004
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    3. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2005
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    4. Wicked (2003 Original Broadway
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    5. Little Women The Musical (2005
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    6. The 25th Annual Putnam County
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    7. The Phantom of the Opera (2004
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    8. Sondheim Sings, Vol. 1: 1962-72
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    9. The Phantom of the Opera (Original
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    10. Pacific Overtures (2004 Broadway
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    11. Avenue Q (2003 Original Broadway
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    12. Altar Boyz (2005 Original Off-Broadway
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    13. Mamma Mia! (The Musical Based
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    14. Highlights From The Phantom Of
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    15. All Shook Up (2005 Original Broadway
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    16. Seussical: The Musical
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    17. The Lion King (1997 Original Broadway
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    18. Classic Disney: 60 Years of Musical
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    19. Grease: The Original Soundtrack
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    20. Les Miserables (1987 Original

    1. Spamalot (2005 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007OY2TE
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 16
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    As gleefully silly yet wickedly smart as the beloved British comedy troupe and their 1975 cinematic savaging of the Arthurian legend that inspired it, this adaptation ofMonty Python and the Holy Grail by MP's Eric Idle and longtime musical co-conspirator John Du Prez has much more on its feverish agenda than merely trashing King Arthur and firmly upending his Round Table. The film's plot remains largely intact, but its core songs ("Knights of the Round Table," "Brave Sir Robin") and comic thrust have been both expanded and satirically redirected, a musical comedy shotgun that takes dizzy aim at pop culture in general, and Broadway in particular. After typically Pythonesque distractions that somehow find us in "Finland..," stars David Hyde-Pierce, Tim Curry, Hank Azaria and company get busy conjuring the Lady of the Lake with the unlikely help of "Laker Girls..," while cast members Sara Ramirez and Christopher Sieber deliciously skewer contemporary Broadway cliches via the loopy showstopper "The Song That Goes Like This," a tune whose reprise also deliciously sends up every overwrought stage diva from Merman to Minelli. Idle has shrewdly ripped off--well, interpolated--Life of Brian's "Always Look On the Bright Side" for the new show, and even a snatch of "The Lumberjack Song" in "He Is Not Dead Yet." "You Won't Succeed on Broadway" reveals the frankly Semitic secret to stage success, and the French get can-canned on "Run Away!" Meanwhile, our bravest knight is de-closeted on the Manilow-mauling "His Name is Lancelot" before the familiar sound of clomping coconut shells brings down the curtain on the season's goofiest if satirically dead-on comic delight. --Jerry McCulley

    Have Fun with More Irreverent Musicals


    Urinetown

    The Rocky Horror Picture Show

    The Frogs

    Zanna Don't

    Hedwig and the Angry Inch

    Avenue Q

    ... Read more

    Reviews (29)

    4-0 out of 5 stars The review that goes like this
    Once in every Amazon.com page there comes a review like this. It starts out with an intro and ends up with...um...an ending?

    Anyway, "Spamalot" is an outstanding musical, complete with amazing singing, wonderful orchestration, and hilarious farce. My favorite songs are "The Song that Goes Like This" and "Diva's Lament." The former is a love song about singing love songs. I'm not sure that the Lady of the Lake and Galahad are in love, but they sure know how to sing love songs, and to tell the audience how to do it. In the latter (Diva's Lament), the Lady of the Lake has not been onstage since the first act, and she is not at all pleased about it. Another great one is the Laker Girls' Cheer. The Lady of the Lake's handmaidens suddenly turn into cheerleaders to welcome Galahad to King Arthur's army.

    Purists who expect an exact retelling of the movie may be a bit disappointed, as several plot points have been changed. For example, it has been "politically corrected." As far as I can tell, references to God have been replaced by the Lady of the Lake. Considering the nature of the references to God in the movie, I'm OK with that. Instead of searching for the literal Holy Grail as they do in the movie, the grail has turned into a metaphor for the thing that each character wants the most and is seeking to find (thus removing references to Jesus).

    Also, the ending has been changed. Since I don't want to spoil the suspense, I won't tell what happens, but I was happy about that. The movie, though great, is so anticlimactic.

    My biggest problem with the musical is that two characters turn out to be gay, which is not at all in keeping with the legend. (But then, when has Monty Python stayed true to legend?)

    Overall, I think this is a great musical, and it will be enjoyed for years to come.

    "I can't believe there's more. It's far too long, I'm sure. That's the thing about this [review]. It goes on and on and on...

    The [review] always ends like this!"

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is the show that goes like this
    I bought this CD the day it came out and I wish it had come out sooner! This is a wonderful Broadway Score!! Eric Idle certainly has given the Python fans and the Broadway fans something to share. It has some of the catchiest music I have heard in along time. I'm acutally listening to it right now.
    From the opening (Tuning) it starts out with a laugh. Then we move into the overture and Historian's Introduction to Act 1. That track sets the tone for the entire show. You know you are in for a laugh. I really admire people that can write songs like this. I wish I was that talented.
    Now to the music istelf. My favorite track on this CD is "The Diva's Lament (Whatever Happened To My Part)." This really struck a cord with me because, being in theater, I know people like this. I can actually picture them singing this song and being serious about it. Especially the line "Call my agent dammit!" Then she complains about it again in "TWice In Every Show." I really enjoy shows that take the time to make fun of themselves and have a good time doing it. Like Urinetown. Some other songs of honorable mention are "The Song That Goes Like This," "Find Your Grail," "You Won't Succeed on Broadway" and "His Name Is Lancelot." These are humorous songs that (to me) really sell the show. It was also nice to see them use some of the Python songs. "Knights of the Round Table," "Brave Sir Robin," "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" and "Finland." Of course some of the lyrics have been changed and others have been added, but they make the songs better in my opinion.
    As for the performers... all do a great job. I LOVE Sarah Ramirez. That woman can belt a song. I truly hope she wins a Tony Award. As for the male cast, I was surprised at David Hyde Pierce. It was nice to see him cut loose and act crazy. Chris Seiber does very weel in his songs, especially The Song That Goes like This. I'd love to sing that song. Tim Curry is good, but sometimes I feel he overplays it a bit. I know this is comedy (and I might change my view when I actually see the show in June) but he really overdoes it on some of his songs. Hank Azaria doesn't do much solo singing but what he does do is great. He was quoted once saying that he was cast in the show for his voices and not his singing and dancing. Well, we shall see when the Tony Awards are announced.
    All in all this is a great CD to add to your collection. It has comedy, great music and a great cast. Don't pass it up.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Broadway show, as only Monty Python can make it
    I saw this musical at The Shurbert Theater in Chicago. At I never laughed so hard at a show period. It combined the chaos of Python with the production values of Broadway. I think it cost more to make the musical than it did in the orginal movie in 1974. Anyway, it was treat because it was the most star studded show I had ever to date. Not including seeing Sally Ringwald in When Met Sally, and David Hasseloff in Chicago, both in London. This show starred Tim Curry as Graham Chapman's role of King Arthur. When he first stepped on stage the theater erupted. So did I, because I always admired Curry. He had an amazing performance which I excepted him to do. Since he was great in Rocky Horror Picture Show. He was well perpard to off the wall crazy. Another star was David Hyde Pierce, Miles of the great show Frasier. He played "Brave" Sir Robin, Eric Idles part, who also wrote the musical. He was also incredible including one number called You Won't Succeed On Broadway(If You Don't Have Any Jew) He did a whole number just spoofing Jewish Musicals. Including Fiddler On The Roof where did the bottle dance, which got him an ovation. The next big name was Hank Azaria. He does like half the voices on the Simpsons. He could definatly do this show, where he played Sir Lancelot, and the French Taunter. Played orginally of course by John Cleese. One note about the show was that Cleese was the voice of God. I'm surprised he wasn't credited. Oh well. THe most amazing thing about the show was that the supporting cast could keep up with the big three and many times stole scenes from them. One BIG example of that was Sarah Ramirez. OMG!!!!! She was commanding and was the typical Broadway diva, which was her all around character, but she played the Lady Of The Lake, The Witch and The Cow!! They gave the cow that the French threw at the knights had its own song! Other great performers like Christopher Sieber,(who played Sir Galahad) Micheal Mcgrath(Patsy) Steve Rosen(Sir Bedevere) and Christian Borle( who for the record was the singing clerk in Thats On E-bay commerical. The songs were great. Of course they took the "Knights OF The Round Table" song. But they also included the " Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, and Hole OF The Universe from different movies. They include most of the famous scenes from the movie. THe black knight, which got an ovation. THe killer rabit, Prince Herbert. The knights that say Nie. The show was amazing the alubm is too. But if you want the full experiance, you might want to see the show.

    5-0 out of 5 stars ...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT...
    Take it from a Monty Python fan who's planning a New York trip around this production, this is a must have for an self-respecting Pythonier. This album features the current and original Broadway cast of the new musical (opened March 17, 2005) basedon the infamous "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."Python member Eric Idle co-produces, lovingly ripping off moments and songs from the original. Although there are more than enough new material to make up for such indiscretions, like the inclusion of Life of Brian's "Bright Side of Life."In fact, any fear of redundancy is squished as if by a big Flying Circus foot, when stars like David Hyde-Pierce, Tim Curry, Hank Azaria lend their talents and voices to giving a fresh face to this much revered material. And speaking of fresh faces, with the introduction of the Lady of the Lake, played by Sara Ramirez, who is only referenced briefly in the movie, Spamalot achieves new levels of Broadway satire. For example, Ramirez is featured in the hilarious "The Song That Goes Like This," and "Whatever Happened To My Part?" a shot atstage and divas in general.
    Tim Curry (of Rocky Horror and the recent CD readings of the Lemony Snicket series) sounds terrific, his voice is better now than ever.While this is no substitute for see the production, I think, along with all of its links (like the historian's intros) the albumn creates a great feel for the stage show's energy.So Runnn Awwway to buy this CD.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A WONDERFUL ENTERAINING CAST ALBUM
    I just purchased the cast album of Spamalot. Unfortinatly I haven't seen the play, but judging by the cast album it must be a very entertaining musical. I haven't enjoyed a cast album like this in a long time. I've played it over and over and I enjoy it more every time I play it. It's fun, tuneful, and the cast is just wonderful. I guess if you see the play you can actually come out humming songs, especially Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life. Listening to this song, it's like having Jerry Herman back on broadway. I highy recommend this CD. ... Read more


    2. The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Movie Soundtrack) (Special Extended Edition Package)
    list price: $24.98
    our price: $20.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00065L706
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 121
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    Amazon.com

    For better or worse, Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of Gaston Leroux's gothic horror/romance novel has done for stage musicals what Spielberg's Jaws did for fish stories, with worldwide sales of its original cast album approaching 25 million. While director Joel Schumacher's film turns on his typically ambitious visual verve, its new film soundtrack recording has been paradoxically focused in scope, yet beefed up dynamically via the brawny presence of a hundred piece orchestra and The London Boys Choir. This single disc version showcases all of Phantom's key songs (a deluxe, double-disc edition is also available), with Gerard Butler imparting a welcome, youthful sensuality to his Phantom, making a fine foil for Emily Rossum's ever-conflicted Christine. Original show orchestrator David Cullen has fashioned compelling new contemporary arrangements to frame Webber's songs -- which now conclude with the lilting, upbeat new ballad he wrote for the film, "Learn to Be Lonely," sung by Minnie Driver's Carlotta.--Jerry McCulley ... Read more


    3. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2005 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000929AB4
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 45
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    With this giddily entertaining show, David Yazbek confirms that The Full Monty wasn't a fluke--few on Broadway can equal his melodic verve and lyrical cleverness. Based on the 1988 movie of the same name, the show deals with a pair of con artists swindling rich women on the French Riviera. Lithgow brings debonair charm to the Michael Caine part, while Norbert Leo Butz (Wicked) proves to be a comic dynamo in the Steve Martin part. And Yazbek provides them with an array of catchy tunes (adorned in beautiful Bacharach-style arrangements by Harold Wheeler). Butz goes ballistic on the hilarious "Great Big Stuff," which demolishes conspicuous consumption, then pairs up with feisty leading lady Sherie Rene Scott on "Love Is My Legs," a wicked sendup of Celine Dion­style torch epics. Meanwhile, Lightgow nails the tender ballad "Love Sneaks In." A delicious jazz reprise of "Nothing Is Too Wonderful to Be True" by Scott and pianist Bill Charlap shows that Yazbek's songs don't need flashy pizzazz to be memorable. --Elisabeth Vincentelli

    Other Great Musicals of the Season


    Spamalot

    The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

    The Light in the Piazza

    Little Women

    All Shook Up

    Altar Boyz
    ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fun,and enjoyable
    This CD has music that can be very fun and enjoyable to listen to.The score has a bit of a jazzy sound to it.the music is not pretty nor is the singing pretty but it is not supossed to be.This is a CD album for those Musical fan's that are stick and tired of stuff like Hairspary and some of the other corny Musical's out there.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Norbert saves the day!
    This is one of the most embarrassing CDs to exist. It's not completely atrocious because there are about 4 songs that I enjoy, but that by no means makes a great, or even good cast recording. I only feel sorry for Norbert & Sherie because they've really gone backwards from their days of The Last Five Years. The lyrics are by no means witty or amusing. Sample lyrics are...

    "Great big stuff! I really do deserve it!"
    "My hotel gives away free shampoo."
    "My shoes are gone. My wallet's gone. My watch is gone."
    "These pies are French. These guys are French. These fries are French."

    I'm not going to deny that the show was funny (all in part to Norbert). I thought Norbert was fantastic and I hope he wins the Tony. The entire cast sings their little hearts out. But I honestly quiestion why the score was nominated. The CD makes absolutely no sense if one has not seen the production before. The music is pretty weak and the lyrics... well, you saw those samples above. Save your sanity and purchase "Light in the Piazza."

    4-0 out of 5 stars DAVID YAZBEK IS THE COLE PORTER OF OUR TIME!
    First off, I have not seen the Broadway play yet.This review is for the CD, and it is all David Yazbek through and through.He is definitely the Cole Porter of our time, in terms of lyrical wit (and bawdiness), rhyming skills, rhythmic abilities and timing, etc.Musically, this disc picks up where "The Full Monty" left off...with mostly Broadway show-type numbers and lots and lots of humorous and witty lyrics.I encourage all of you theatre goers who also like great pop/rock to check out David's 3 pop/rock discs under his band name, Yazbek.Meanwhile, I've got a fall trip to the Great White Way in my future...

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
    I made a vow to myself that, after a less-than-shining experience not long ago, I would never again see a Broadway musical without first being familiar with the show's music.However, while recently in NYC I gave in to temptation and caught a performance of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels".I was already a fan of the movie and absolutely couldn't resist the idea of seeing several of my Broadway idols in the flesh.So, I was hesitant but hopeful.
    Yet from the first moment the overture began, I was transported.The mood of the piece is immediately set, and you are swept up in the intrigue and underhanded dealings of our loveable scoundrels.I was delighted from the start.The performances are all utterly top-notch.Lithgow is simply a marvel, and it's such a treat to see him here, I was literally awestruck at his first appearance on the stage.His "Love Sneaks In" is definitely one to pull on the old heart strings.Sherie Renee Scott has always been one of my favorite Broadway singers...her voice is simply unreal for its crystal quality and clear belt, not to mention her ability to carefully and tenderly interpret lyrics (every time I hear her exclaim "These fries are French!" I laugh).Joanna Gleason is a legend.She's got such ease and charm, it's a pleasure to watch and even more so to hear her.
    Of course, he who truly runs off with the production is none other than Norbert Leo Butz.The rumors are true: He's incredible.I've always loved his gorgeous voice, from "The Last Five Years" to "Wicked" to this production.He doesn't get the opportunity to play the swooning love interest like the previous two productions, but the lushness and depth of his voice still shines through.And his miraculous range as a performer is astounding both in person and on this soundtrack.He goes from "Great Big Stuff" to "All About Ruprecht" to "Love is My Legs" (my far-and-away favorite track, it never ceases to make me smile) and manages to infuse each number with so much energy and magnetism.I can only imagine the outcry if he doesn't roll away with the Tony.
    The cast as a whole has one thing which really makes the difference between an okay show and a great one: Joy.Every actor has such a good time up there, it's obvious.And infectious.There's nothing an audience responds to better than the cast that truly enjoys themselves and each other.And you need only listen to "Dirty Rotten Number" to witness the obvious admiration and affection our two main scoundrels have for each other both in and out of character.
    Combine the beautiful music and this stellar cast with the amazingly witty and literate lyrics in each number.Every track must be listened to several times over before all the references and jokes and asides are deciphered.There are still moments of awe when I pick up a line I previously missed or wonder to myself, exactly how DOES a writer pull off something like that?
    In all, this is a truly unique experience.No, it's not laden down with some deep message about life or love.No, it's not scathing social commentary (though there are a few lines in there, most especially the "Bushes from Tex" passage in "Ruprecht", which speak to today's audience: "The Bushes from Tex were nervous wrecks because their son was dim....But look what happened to him!" Let me assure you, the audience went wild!).It's good, (mostly) clean fun, the soundtrack to which I have played innumerable times since I was fortunate enough to receive a free copy before the performance.Of course, there is bonus material on the newly-released soundtrack which makes me wonder if I shouldn't go buy that as well! It's worth the money for the ticket AND the soundtrack.If you're fortunate enough to live in close proximity to Broadway, I urge you to see it.If not, listen to this soundtrack and enjoy thoroughly.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent soundtrack -- and I've seen the show
    I saw this show on Broadway about a month ago and have been waiting for the release of this CD since then.It's quite a good recording of all the show's music.I would probably avoid buying it until you have seen the show, but then again John Lithgow does use Track 17 to humorously warn you that the tracks which follow could give away the plot's twists and turns -- which is awfully gentlemanly of him.The jacket has a great synopsis of the plot and all lyrics included, in case like me you can't quite understand every one of Lithgow's words in the songs with the 'Schiffhausen' accent.My favorite song has to be Lithgow's 'Love Sneaks In', which is short but sweetly done with the emotion that I love from Lithgow in his work.

    The CD also has three demo tracks at the end from David Yazbeck.Two out of three are wastes since he performs them himself -- the production versions of 'Ruprecht' and 'Here I Am' are done much more effectively than these pitiful demos.However, the demo of 'Nothing Is Too Wonderful' with Sherie Scott singing is a different twist on the song which I really enjoyed -- the kind of mellow piano-based tune you'd expect to hear in a jazz bar.Quite nice, in my view.

    Do yourself a favor -- see the show first, which is an enjoyable experience, then get the soundtrack.For the most part, you won't be disappointed. ... Read more


    4. Wicked (2003 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000TB01Y
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 57
    Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    One of the most common complaints about musicals is that the books are flimsy pretexts from which to hang numbers. Wicked runs into the opposite problem: it has a great plot but too often the songs just get in the way. Based on Gregory Maguire's novel of the same name, Wicked tells us what happened between Glinda the Good and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, before Dorothy showed up in Oz. And the show is lucky to boast a pair of ace leading women in the main roles. As Glinda, Kristin Chenoweth delivers a sensational star turn, displaying a crystal-pure voice and sharp comic timing; Idina Menzel lends her powerful pipes to the tricky role of Elphaba. Unfortunately, you wish they had better material to work with. Stephen Schwartz's pop score is often dragged down by overly synthetic orchestrations and sentimental lyrics (think Chicken Soup for the Witch). Still, at its best Wicked is a seductive slice of popular entertainment that could well give a younger audience a lasting taste for musical theater. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

    Reviews (241)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible
    Although I've been a huge admirer of both Kristin Chenowith and idina Menzel for a few years now, I was not sure what to expect upon first hearing this soundtrack. Actually, I ended up seeing the show on broadway, and buying the CD the day after because i couldn't get enough of this music! Stephen Schwartz has made a brilliant creation, and couldn't have gotten better voices to sing it. The vocal harmonies are beautiful throughout. Defying Gravity, the real showstopper (much thanks to Ms. Menzel's UNBELIEVABLE voice), gave me almost as big of a chill when hearing it on the soundtrack as it did in live performance. Ms. Chenowith's lovely voice carries songs as well, and the song Popular is cute and funny, while showing off her vocal talent. Aside from Defying Gravity, my favorite songs are I'm Not That Girl (sung by Ms. Menzel), and the love ballad As Long as You're Mine. It's a fun, entertaining musical more full of emotion than I had expected it would be. Between Norman Leo Butz, and the two leading women, I can hardly put into words the feeling that their voices produce- you have to hear it to know! This is definitely one of the best new broadway shows to come about since RENT, and I hope it has a long, successful run.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Deliciously wicked and most definately wonderful
    Being of fan of the original novel and ecstatic that a musical was made from the book, I bought the CD the day it was available. It is pure and simple magic. Idina Menzel, who's voice blew me away on the OBC of Rent, proves her power and stands right up there with the superb Kristen Chenowith. I've been playing the CD non-stop since Decemeber, and with great fortune and luck, I was able to see the actual Broadway show this past weekend...front row lottery tickets. The power and majesty of this show cannot be conveyed on this CD, but it comes very close. Seeing all these perfomers dance, sing, and act the songs I fell in love with cannot be described. You'll have to see it for yourself. There's not a bad song in the show or on the CD...these songs, standing alone on the CD out of context from the show, are enough to move anyone. From Idina's perfect 'The Wizard and I' to 'No Good Deed,' from Kristen's comic songs to ballads, from their duets together (no two voices have ever matched better), and from Norbert Leo Butz's 'Dancing through Life' to 'As Long as Your Mine,' this CD is a definate to buy and share!

    5-0 out of 5 stars AMAZING
    If you haven't seen the play... you must go NOW!!! Idina Menzel who plays Elphaba (Wicked Witch) is amazing and awesome to watch... I've seen the play twice and hope to see it again!! If there were such thing as 6 stars... This musical absolutly deserves it!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sublime...
    Miss Kristin Chenoweth... If there is a greater star on the rise on the great white way I dare you to name her. I spend my days puttering around in my care listening to Ariella Vaccarino's must-have CD series "Voice Lessons to Go" in preparation for the moment I put the real deal on here and try my best to match the vocal styling of Ms. Chenoweth... and fail (but maybe with these vocal CDs I've been listening to... who knows). Anyway, the woman is a queen of the stage at the moment and this recording is a vocal photograph of a true star in the midst of her prime. I highly recommend buying it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wicked Rocks!
    You wouldn't expect a teenager to love broadway music, but Wicked has me hooked!I can't get enough of "The Wizard and I" and "Defying Gravity".Other great tunes on the cd are "Popular", "As long as you're mine","I'm not that girl", and "Popular". The vocalists are fabulous, the tunes are catchy, and its a fun cd to listen to! If you want to hear a GREAT CD, listen to Wicked! ... Read more


    5. Little Women The Musical (2005 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000929ABY
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 97
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women concerns four sisters in post-­Civil War Massachusetts, but at times it feels as if its musical adaptation should have been called "Little Woman," so focused on a single sibling it is. Both Allan Knee's book and Sutton Foster's natural charisma and energy help constantly train the spotlight onto tomboy Jo. Yet it's not that much of a problem because Foster is strong enough to carry the show. She gets excellent support from the rest of the cast and especially cabaret artist Maureen McGovern, who as Marmee gets two beautiful ballads ("Here Alone" and "Days of Plenty") that are tailor-made for her imperial, burnished tone, and could well acquire a life outside the show. Composer Jason Howland worked as either musical director or musical supervisor on three period-set Frank Wildhorn musicals (Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Civil War), which gives him a distinct experience in dealing with the historical setting here. Although the score oftentimes veers to the bland side, Howland also shows encouraging signs of spryness ("Five Forever") and melodic confidence that at one point slyly honors Sondheim ("Astonishing"). Old-fashioned in the best possible way, Little Women makes a good complement to Wicked for those trying to entice a younger audience to the delights of the musical theater.--Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

    Reviews (21)

    3-0 out of 5 stars The Music is pretty standard and lacking
    I am a hugh Musical Fan And I also Buy aot of cast recording.I find this recording to be lacking in depth .The music does not really bring one in it can be a bit boring but overall pretty good.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt Musical Theatre!
    Being a big fan of L.M. Alcott's classic I was sceptical about this CD. Also not having seen the show I was taking a chance buying it. I am sure glad I did. From the moment the music started playing I felt such a connection to it. And overwhelming emotion! By the time I got to "Some things were meant to be" I was sobbing and continued all through the very poignant "Days of Plenty".
    There is such delight in being reminded of childhood dreams and family togetherness, that our fast-paced lives sometimes forget. I don't believe Ms Alcott would be spinning in her grave at all. I bet she is thrilled that the Marchs' has been brought to life for another generation to discover and enjoy. It might be a story set in a different time........but the themes and emotions are timeless.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Sutton Shines!
    It is sad that this show had such a short run . The performances by Sutton Foster and Maureen McGovern were pure musical theatre. Sutton's "Astonishing" is simply that and Ms. McGovern had me in tears during "Days of Plenty". Now that the show is history grab the cd and experience what will be missed on Broadway!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Musical CD In Many Years.
    On of the best musical theater CDs I have heard in many years. I find myself listening to "Astonishing" and "Days Of Plenty" over and over again. Sutton Foster's pure, flawless, voice shines as Jo, while Maureen McGovern delivers her songs with the percision of a pop diva. This CD is a must have for any theater fan!

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's Astonishing!
    When I first heard that Little Woman was going to be made into a musical I was really excited. I bought the album the day it came out and received it the next day. Whne I first listened to it, I must say I was disapointed. I thought it was just plain boring, so I put it away for a week. Then, I decided to give it a second chance, so I listened to the whole thing through. I was suprised when I ended up liking a few of the songs. After listening to it a few more times, I ended up liking even more of the songs. And as Icontinue to listen to it, I fall in love with another song each time. Those who write terrible reviews for this CD obviously are closed-minded people who expect to be blown-away the first time they listen to it. Well, unfortunately, that doesn't always happen. Not every show can be as big as Wicked(and even in that CD, some songs take mutiple listenings before you like them.) Soms shows are a bit more quiet, but that doesn't mean it's any less amazing.

    The songs on this CD are amazing. My two favorties are the nothing-less-than inspirational and powerful "Astonishing" and the heartfelt sisterly song "Some Things are Meant to Be". So many of the songs are wonderfully witty such as "Take a Chance on Me", "Better", "Could You?" and the touching "Small Umbrella in the Rain." And of course there are Marmee's two tearjerkers "Here Alone" and "Days of Plenty". Then, there's songs that just make you smile such as "I'd Be Delighted", "Five Forever", and "The Weekly Volcano Press". And then, there's a song that makes you want to get up and sing "The Fire Within Me." "Off to Massachusetts" is a song that NEVER gets out of your head.

    The singers sing beautifully. Period. Maureen McGovern and Sutton Foster have powerful voices, but that's a given. Amy McAlexander as "Amy" has a cute voice that fits her character well. Megan McGinnis as "Beth" really does have the voice of an angel and her voice makes you want to sob in "Some Things are Meant to Be". Jenny Powers as "Meg" has a soothing voice fit for the oldest March sister.

    All in all, this CD is fabulous! It's definitely worth buying! ... Read more


    6. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2005 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0009A1AMS
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 58
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    Amazon.com

    When was the last time you heard a musical with a truly hilarious book? Rachel Sheinkin has concocted such a thing for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, one of the most unexpected hits of 2005. Unfortunately, Sheinkin's wit is mostly lost on a cast album; fortunately, the show's songs are by the great William Finn. Set at the titular event, the musical never looks down on the competiting kids (played by adult actors), instead portraying them as endearingly nerdy but also smart, and endowing them with real personalities rather than predictably spelling-bee tics. The cast is uniformly superb, although personal faves include Sarah Saltzberg, playing Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre with a delicious lisp ("Woe Is Me"); Jesse Tyler Ferguson, bringing sweet innocence to Leaf Coneybear ("I'm Not That Smart"); and Dan Fogler, in a breakout comic performance as William Barfee ("Magic Foot," sounding like a sly tribute to Kander & Ebb). This show may be small in scale, but it's a huge winner. --Elisabeth Vincentelli

    Other Great Musicals of the Season


    Spamalot

    Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

    The Light in the Piazza

    Little Women

    All Shook Up

    Altar Boyz

    ... Read more


    7. The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Movie Soundtrack)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $12.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000654YWY
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 854
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    Amazon.com

    For better or worse, Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of Gaston Leroux's gothic horror/romance novel has done for stage musicals what Spielberg's Jaws did for fish stories, with worldwide sales of its original cast album approaching 25 million. While director Joel Schumacher's film turns on his typically ambitious visual verve, its new film soundtrack recording has been paradoxically focused in scope, yet beefed up dynamically via the brawny presence of a hundred piece orchestra and The London Boys Choir. This single disc version showcases all of Phantom's key songs (a deluxe, double-disc edition is also available), with Gerard Butler imparting a welcome, youthful sensuality to his Phantom, making a fine foil for Emily Rossum's ever-conflicted Christine. Original show orchestrator David Cullen has fashioned compelling new contemporary arrangements to frame Webber's songs -- which now conclude with the lilting, upbeat new ballad he wrote for the film, "Learn to Be Lonely," sung by Minnie Driver's Carlotta.--Jerry McCulley ... Read more


    8. Sondheim Sings, Vol. 1: 1962-72
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0009299JC
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 558
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Imagine yourself sitting in Stephen Sondheim's living room as he sits at the piano and sings 19 of his songs, some still in the gestational stage.That's the gist of Sondheim Sings, Vol. 1: 1962-1972, the first installment of what promises to be a large collection of private recordings Sondheim made "for fun" at the home of a friend.Naturally they're from shows relatively early in Sondheim's career, such as Company, Follies, A Funny Thing..., Anyone Can Whistle, and A Little Night Music.But just because the songs were written for those shows doesn't mean they made the final cut, so the selections range from the ultra-familiar "Send in the Clowns" and "Broadway Baby" to the less-familiar "Pleasant Little Kingdom," "Marry Me a Little," and "Love Is in the Air."Of course anyone who's the least bit versed in Sondheim song collections probably already knows "Marry Me a Little" and other such fare, but more rare is "No, Mary Ann" (from a never-produced movie called The Thing of It Is), "Truly Content" (a single song from The World of Jules Feiffer), and "The Lame, the Halt and the Blind" (cut from Anyone Can Whistle).A further element of interest is that some of the songs are different from their final stage versions.The changes are minor--a word here, a line there--but they offer a glimpse into Sondheim's working process.The beautiful booklet reprints all the lyrics as sung here, with notations for where they were eventually changed and to what. It also includes historic photos and detailed notes by Sondheim archivist Peter E. Jones.

    And how is Sondheim the performer?Broadway fans are well aware that performances by songwriters can be valued for their insight and passion, but not necessarily their beauty.There's a 1971 quote from Sondheim: "For those of you who have not had the pleasure of hearing my voice before, I tend to sing very loud, usually off-pitch and always write in keys that are just out of my range."That's a self-deprecating exaggeration, but it's probably best said that Sondheim is a good pianist who as a singer won't make anyone forget Barbara Cook.Sondheim Sings is a product of PS Classics' non-profit wing, and proceeds from the recording will go to Young Playwrights Inc., which Sondheim founded to support playwrights under 18.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Treasure!
    What a great treasure it is to hear Mr. Sondheim sing these great songs, although I'm disapointed they included more from Anyone Can Whistle and his unproduced shows than his more popular ones, they are still great. I'm exited to see the next edition of this series.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Sondheim Brilliance Captured on Remastered Demo Tapes
    He has an unfair reputation for penning songs people cannot sing along with, but I have to admit I'm a sucker for a Stephen Sondheim tune, even the overplayed ones like "Being Alive" and "Not a Day Goes By". So for me, it's a treat to hear a thirtyish Sondheim himself sing his own compositions accompanying himself on the piano. Granted he talk-sings in a very modest range and often veers off-key in spite of his best efforts, but his buoyant enthusiasm and keen intellect are so infectious throughout that I eventually became indifferent to his marginal singing talent. The other pertinent fact is that Sondheim is a superb piano player pounding the keys effortlessly as if he's composing and improvising his performances on the spot. He just turned 75 earlier this year, so PS Classics has collected 19 of his demo tapes from 1962-72 and digitally remastered them for this special recording. It was a fertile period for Sondheim, and this disc provides evidence with selections originating from seven of his shows from this decade - four unqualified hits ("Company", "Follies", "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and "A Little Night Music"); a failure that has justifiably gained stature over the years ("Anyone Can Whistle" which has the most songs here - five); and a couple of obscurities ("The Thing of It Is" and "The World of Jules Feiffer"). Several of the songs here never made the final productions, much less the cast recordings, which makes this unvarnished compilation recording especially valuable. It's also just great to hear an unedited Sondheim so unfettered, exuberant and maddeningly clever.

    Sondheim produces a bouncy gem in "Pretty Little Picture" from "Forum", which offers smart, densely written lyrics over a hyped-up sea chantey melody. From "Jules Feiffer", "Truly Content" is a sweet ode to an unrealized dream of becoming a movie star that even includes the opening notes of "The Star Spangled Banner" as a finale interlude. Who else but Sondheim would mention Fay Wray and George Brent as his screen idols? He captures a frenetic romanticism on "Multitudes of Amy" and "Marry Me a Little", both from "Company", two of the most astute songs about being in love and obsessively infatuated I've ever heard, the latter particularly affecting with the rolling piano keys propelling the melody. The title tune from the failed "Anyone Can Whistle" has a loping open-heartedness that sets the mood of the show beautifully. The same can be said about his touching rendition of the familiar memory lament "Losing My Mind" from "Follies", where he unexpectedly changes his pitch when he moves into the chorus. Also from "Follies", "Don't Look at Me" vividly displays his sharp wit and high sense of personal drama, as does "Pleasant Little Kingdom" with its driving rhythm. From "Anyone Can Whistle", Sondheim really captures the aura of a carnival sideshow with "Miracle Song" and continues the spirit with shifting tempos and revivalist character changes interrupted by pilgrim murmurings on "The Lame, The Halt and the Blind".

    And here's a great example of the typical creative process behind a Broadway show - with its stern opening chords, "Invocation" was intended as a more clarion opening number for "Forum", but then it was decided to replace it with the pliant soft-shoe number "Love Is in the Air", but both were finally jettisoned in favor of the well-known "Comedy Tonight", which is not included here. "The Glamorous Life" demo is particularly fascinating for Sondheim's ongoing explanations of the plot developments and character's vocal turns in "A Little Night Music", as he sings in front of an attentive audience. Sondheim also sings a fine, unadorned "Send in the Clowns", refreshing for the lack of dramatic excess usually associated with the song. With his skilled grasp of melody and his dexterous use of changing imagery, this just provides proof that he composes music for the ages. There is also a 32-page booklet included with complete lyrics, historic photos and a brief background story.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
    If you're absolutely obsessed with Sondheim, you'll possibly like this recording. I find him a genius, but he has one of the worst voices I've ever heard. Don't turn up the volume while playing it or you'll have every dog in the neighborhood howling.

    4-0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 stars!
    Just shy pf perfection- i mean- what is perfect? Great, great, music here- I must reccomend!

    5-0 out of 5 stars There is a God!
    ...and, as a very accurate member of Finishing The Chat promptly pointed out, he's publishing his demos! ... Read more


    9. The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast)
    list price: $37.98
    our price: $30.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00004YTY2
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 151
    Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (261)

    4-0 out of 5 stars "Let the specacle astound you!"
    I can get a pretty good sense of what a theatrical experience this show must be from listening to its London cast recording. All that thundering, overpowering, eerie but beautiful music, which is actually pretty good and may very well be Andrew Lloyd Webber's best. The above-average, occasionally beautiful and touching lyrics to such songs as "Music of the Night," "All I Ask of You," "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again," and "Point of No Return." The fine performance of Michael Crawford as the Phantom, which does a great job of conveying the character's passion and pain and thankfully doesn't really conjure up memories of his best-forgotten days as a juvenile lead in such fimusicals as "A Funny Thing..." and "Hello, Dolly!" The beautiful voice of Sarah Brightman as Christine. The supporting cast, from Steve Barton's Raoul to Rosemary Ashe's stunning Carlotta to the two theatrical agents, Andre and Farmin (or something like that). All contribute to the enjoyment and, yes, spectacle of this recording, and no doubt did and, in the case of the music and lyrics, still do contribute to the success of the stage show. All are reasons for buying it, so why not?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not the best recording ever. . .the ONLY recording ever
    Alright, let's get this straight. It's a simple math problem; even a first grader could get this. Michael Crawford=Phantom. Phantom=Michael Crawford. That's just how it is. In the title song, when he sings "The Phantom of the Opera is there"...oh its brilliant. Especially that funny thing his voice does on the "Phaaa" part of Phantom. Normally it might be a little awkward, but in this role its absolutley perfect. He really makes us sympathize with him and almost makes you bawl in the Finale.

    Sarah Brightman does a great job with Christine. Most peolpe absolutely screw up the vocals at the end of the title song (ah-hem, 1992 Japanese Version and Sandra Joseph on Broadway. Hate to say it, but it doesn't work with their voices. Yeah, they can sing, but just not that. They do very well otherwise though) I like the way she screams out "I'll go MAD!" in Notes II.

    The only bad part about this (but it's quite minor) are Madame Giry and Joseph Buquet. Buquet's voice is kind of breathy and the vibrato takes over and Madame Giry's voice is a little breathy also, but nothing major.

    The orchestra in this is beautiful. In most recordings, the orchestra cuts short in the intrumentals before Hannibal and after the Auction (which is one of the best parts) but in this one is it really powerful. It gives you goosebumps because it blends so well together. Especially when the horns come in!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Recording
    I simply love this recording. I have never seen Phantom performed on the stage and this is the only recording I have ever heard of the Phantom of the Opera, but I was delighted to hear its music. I have had this CD for only a week and cannot stop playing it for some reason! It has quite a musical score, and the story is very sad. I have never read the book (although I am waiting for its arrival from Amazon after ordering it), so I cannot tell you whether it is true to the original story. The story is that of a man who has been abandoned by all mankind and must live in a labyrinth under the opera house. He falls in love with Christine Daae and becomes her tutor. She believes that the Phantom is the Angel of Music sent by her deceased father. The Phantom loves her so and wants her career in the opera house to advance. He sends notes to the managers, telling them to give her main roles instead of the prima Donna Carlotta. It is a heart wrenching story because you really feel sorry for the Phantom.

    The cast is strong. MICHAEL CRAWFORD plays the Phantom on this recording and is argued by many phans to be the best phantom. I have heard no other recording, so I can't argue that point. The role of Christine was written for SARAH BRIGHTMAN, so naturally she does well. There are many high notes and her role can be compared to that of COSETTE in LES MISERABLES because it seems that the majority of her parts are high. RAOUL is played by STEVE BARTON, and his voice is marvelous. ROSEMARY ASHE plays CARLOTTA. I don't like the part of Carlotta, but that isn't Ashe's fault!

    Some of the music in this sounds familiar, like from CATS (I'm talking about a couple bars of music, not like a whole song or anything), so that is very interesting. If you like Andrew Lloyd Webber, you will love this rock opera! I like "Angel of Music," "Phantom of the Opera," and "Music of the Night."

    Buy this CD because it is worth every penny!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Just as good the 100th time!
    This is truly a great recording. Overall, I am totally in love with it, but I am here to give a review, not to push my personal biases on others. So, from the standpoint of a musician, actress, and singer, here goes. First of all the actors...
    MICHAEL CRAWFORD: Overall, Awesome. Truly the best cast member. His voice is easy to listen to, and very expressive. He IS the Phantom. No questions asked. Technically, not perfect, but this is theatre, not technical type singing. Sometimes, he sounds like he has a bad cold, and tends to slide into the correct note on the higher notes, but overall, this detracts very little from his outrageous awsomeness.
    SARAH BRIGHTMAN: Not a huge fan of Sarah's, I'm afraid. Vibrato is one thing, but when you sound like a chipmunk singing while sitting in one of those massage chair things, you're using a little too much. She hits all of the notes beautifully, but you would too if your husband wrote the part for you. Her acting skills and expression are below par, and her inunciation is like she's singing with dental equipment in her mouth. She should definately practice singing more forward, as she gets caught in the back of her throat frequently. Her solos can wear on the nerves, but overall, you could do worse, she's not completely devoid of vocal talent, and she sounds fine when she's singing with someone else.
    STEVE BARTON: Not much to say about him. No surprises here, but easy to listen too, expression is on par, and he is technically the best out of the three leads. No complaints, but I've heard this voice a million times before.
    OTHERS WHO STOOD OUT: Carlotta is excellant, and beautifully annoying, all though she does have one moment in NOTES where she slips out of character for a phrase. Meg sounds like she's singing while trying to breath through an oxygen tube, in other words, barely audible. I would have liked to hear her more in the harmony on Angel of Music. Everyone else: Fine. Cooly. No complaints.
    AS FOR THE MUSIC: There is a lot of it, and it rocks. The orchestrations are fabulous for Broadway, and the melodies are beautiful, if frequently repetitive. Don't buy this if you don't like the tune of Angel of Music, it shows up in practically every song. The chorus numbers are ass-kicking and funky harmony-full.
    THE FINAL VERDICT: You can't go wrong here. Even if you despise Sarah Brightman, everyone else more than compensates for her, erm , lack of pronunciation. Crawford is at his best, and the melodies are some of the most memorable in musical history. Even newbies to the Phantom world will rejoice. Go ahead, throw away your money here. You won't be dissapointed.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Overblown, but still worth a listen.
    I am not one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's greatest fans. But still, this is a good show. People that give this negative reviews claim that it is overated. And they are correct. But there are very good melodies in this show, although the lyrics are not top quality. There are also so many layers of the phantom that Gaston Leorux wrote in this character that are not explored in the lyrics. In this show we have little reason to sympathize with the main character. But in Sondheim's"Sweeney Todd" we are told in sometimes Gruesome detail why Sweeney has those killing sprees. But these shows are completly different animals of the theater. Phantom is a show that takes you to another world, while "Sweeney" makes you think. In my opinon, this is Andrew Lloyd Webbers last good show. ... Read more


    10. Pacific Overtures (2004 Broadway Revival Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0009299J2
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 218
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Pacific Overtures opened on Broadway in 1976. It didn't do that well, but neither did it completely flop--quite a feat considering it's one of Stephen Sondheim's hardest-to-penetrate musicals. Set in the mid-19th century, the show describes the arrival of Americans in Japan and their influence on that country. Sondheim said he wanted to keep the lyrics simple, so they're haiku-like, with few rhymes. Meanwhile, the music gets increasingly Westernized as the show progresses, to underscore the progressive Westernization of Japan. This revival was performed in Japanese at the 2002 Lincoln Center Festival, before being adapted for an English-speaking Broadway opening with an Asian-American cast. The small orchestra does justice to the score, although one may wish for echoes of the original production's fuller arrangements. Toward the end of the CD, two consecutive tracks neatly show up Sondheim's versatility. The comic "Please Hello" features American, British, Dutch, Russian, and French admirals, and Sondheim subtly honors each country's tradition as each admiral takes his turn (if only the cast's accents were as good). The song segues into the somber "A Bowler Hat," in which the Westernization of Kayama (Michael K. Lee) is examplified by his owning a bowler hat. (B.D. Wong shows his customary assurance as the Reciter.) Narratively speaking, the song may well be among Sondheim's best. The CD ends with a 1975 demo recording of Sondheim and director Harold Prince performing the cut number "Prayers." --Elisabeth Vincentelli

    Other Recent Sondheim Releases


    The Frogs (2004 Cast)

    Sondheim Sings (vol. 1)

    Assassins (2004 Cast)

    Sweeney Todd (DVD)

    Bounce

    Mostly Sondheim (DVD), Barbara Cook
    ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece that deserves better.
    "Pacific Overtures", Sondheim and Weidman's epic masterpiece, has always deserved to be appreciated, and the recent revival certainly had potential to finally be praised by critics and enjoyed by audiences.Unfortunately, as this recording shows, the limits of the production makes one wish for more.

    Sondheim's beautiful and complex score is watered down in order to be performed by an extremely small orchestra (only 11 musicians), causing this recording to pale in comparison to the original cast recording.While the cast is excellent (B.D. Wong's voice is excellent and he does a great job as the Reciter), often performing far better than the original, the instrumentation does not even come close to the lush and textured performance of the original.The pulsing and tense percussion and strings of "Four Black Dragons" is now played by a piano, which simply cannot capture what I believe to be Sondheim and Tunick's original intentions.

    Even so, this CD is a must for any Sondheim fan.The songs are incredible, almost all of which have a distinct Japanese feel despite being very accessible.The CD, like the recent recording of the revival of "Assassins", is more complete than the original cast recording, and includes the lovely song "Prayers" as a Bonus track as well as some dialogue to better connect the songs.

    "Pacific Overtures" is a masterpiece, to be sure, but one that needs a far better recording. ... Read more


    11. Avenue Q (2003 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000BZK1R
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 208
    Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Avenue Q will only fuel the frustration of those who think that Broadway has given up on sophisticated entertainment geared to adults. "Whatever happened to Cole Porter's witty rhymes and mature subject matter?" they'll say. Well, it's hard to deny that Avenue Q's main frame of reference is Sesame Street and that its humor can be very broad--yes, there's profanity and puppet sex. But the show also displays heart("The More You Ruv Someone" typically begins with "Why can't people get along?") and a pretty satisfying zany streak. Musically, the score is rooted in 1970s pop, with nods to the aforementioned Sesame Street. The excellent cast, dominated by John Tartaglia and Stephanie D'Abruzzo, does it justice, milking the humorous numbers for all they're worth and finding pathos in the more straightforward ones. Not bad for a childish show.--Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

    Reviews (89)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Seseme Street Puppets + Sex & Profanity = Brillance!!
    While "Rent" tries to explore Generation X's challenges and dissapointments when it comes to love, employment, poverty, friendship, and success, "Avenue Q" does it even better, and with puppets!

    The songs, which have the happy bounce of Seseme Street-like tunes, have some of the wittiest lyrics of any Broadway show. Listen to "If You Were Gay," "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist," "The Internet is For Porn," "Special," "You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want," "My Girlfriend Who Lives in Canada," or "Schadenfreude" and try not to laugh. I think as long as your not some prim and proper conservative you'll be rolling on the ground. The show also has some touching songs, notably "There's a Fine, Fine Line" and "I Wish I Could Go Back to College."

    And besides the hillarious songs, "Avenue Q" has a delightful cast of young musical theater up-and-comers. As Avenue Q's everyman, Princeton, John Tartaglia showcases his superb pop-style voice, and as stuffy investment banker Rod, Tartaglia shows he can do character acting as well. As Princeton's love interest, Kate Monster, Stephanie D'Arbuzzo is charming and sweet, but as Lucy she shows she can belt a hot, sulty night-club number. As Rod's roomate, Nicky, and the porn-addicted Trekkie Monster, Rick Lyon reveals he is a master at comedic characters, and Natalie Venetia Belcon is a riot as Gary Coleman (yes, THAT Gary Coleman).

    "Avenue Q" is without a doubt the funniest and most politically incorrect show since "The Producers" and may be the only worthy competition "Wicked" sees for the Tony Award for Best Musical of 2003-2004.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant, off-the-wall send up of Sesame Street!
    Yes, the new musical, "Avenue Q" looks like an episode of "Sesame Street," but be forewarned parents, the "Parental Advisory Warning" isn't there for no reason. This brilliant new Broadway show takes a cast of foam characters, who look suspiciously like the Muppets, and uses them to tackle decidely adult issues such as sex, pornography, racism, homosexuality, drug use, cruelty and cynicism. Ironically, this musical's most recent forebear is "Rent," and while that show told its story through rock opera while this one tells it through bouncy, cheery songs that sound like children's music but are in fact raunchy, vulgar, and most importantly, wickedly clever and satirically dead-on parodies (Think of the music to "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut" and you'll get the general idea.), the shows' subject matters are remarkably similar, even if their overall tones couldn't be more divergent. Monsters who masturbate? Two male roommates who bring the supposed gay subtext of Bert and Ernie into the forefront? Songs that teach us such valuable lessons as "Everyone's A Little Bit Racist," "The Internet is for Porn," and "You Can Be Loud As the Hell You Want When You're Making Love"? Sesame Street this ain't. Absolutely hilarious it is. If you're in New York, you MUST go see this show, which is funnier than "Urinetown," "The Producers," and "Hairspray" combined. If you aren't, buy this cast album to get even just a small idea of the warped and wonderful world of "Avenue Q."

    2-0 out of 5 stars Am I missing something!?
    Its funny how a whole bunch of people can swear by a CD and you buy it with the hopes that it meets or exceeds your high expectations..and then, wham! You play it and your left scratching your head and wondering what on earth all the fuss is about!?
    First off all, the songs are funny...I will give it that. But to me it seems this show actually tries too hard in making you laugh. This CD lacks a solid story, a bit of something to keep you listening. And after ten minutes, my fiance was literally begging me to turn the "sesame-street-gone-wild" CD off. It actually gets quite annoying with songs like "My girlfriend who lives in Canada" and worse yet, "Im not wearing underwear today" (which would be OK, if it werent sung by a cookie monster sound-a-like with a cold, I simply cant get past the awful voice.)
    Of course, with any album, including musical theater, there are great songs that leave you wishing for more...
    I loved "Purpose" and "Mix Tape" and "Everyone's a little bit racist". I suppose you have to take the good with the bad... but Im not sure I will ever listen to this again. Maybe I am missing something...but skip this buy. Borrow it from a friend or something, or if you really want it I'll happily give you mine. (My fiance will be greatful to get it out of the house!)

    5-0 out of 5 stars You'll Laugh, You'll Cry, You'll Be Offended!
    Avenue Q is one of the better shows that is currently running on Broadway. The sleeper hit ended up winning the Tony Award Triple Crown, Best Book, Best Score, and Best Musical! And it won most deservedly! When someone asks what Avenue Q is about, it is hard to describe. I just tell people that they have got to experience it! It is funny, touching, and extremely entertaining. I just love the edgy comedy this show has. No matter who you are, you are bound to be offended by at least some joke in this show, and undoubtedly feel a little guilty for laughing. But the show is so funny, that you are willing to drop that. Avenue Q is great!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Silly, Sophmoric, Incredibly Rude...and I Love Every Note!
    Sometimes good things happen to good people...like when the truly terrific "Avenue Q" won Tony Awards for best musical (surprise!) and best score. And here's the cast album to prove why. I've seen the show twice now and have recommended it to numerous people, all of whom have had a terrific time. The show works better onstage than on this recording (mostly because you can't see the magical work of its puppeteers), but it's still a highly enjoyable way to pass a perfectly un-PC hour or so. Full of catchy tunes with unprintably raunchy lyrics, "Avenue Q" isn't your grandmother's Broadway musical...unless your grandmother happens to be someone like Bette Midler. This is not going to be to everyone's taste, but I find it intelligent and very, very clever stuff. Subversive and rude, "Avenue Q" is the perfect musical for anyone who grew up wondering if Bert and Ernie ever got it on. (And maybe hoping that indeed they did!) ... Read more


    12. Altar Boyz (2005 Original Off-Broadway Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0009A40IE
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 185
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Altar Boyz may ride on a single idea, but that idea is brilliantly carried through: What if there was an openly Christian boy band? Because the show's success depends on that one concept, every detail has to be perfec--and it is. Each member of the titular quintet is typecast--the Hispanic one, the gangsta one, the could-be-gay one, etc.--and the singers perfectly ape the perky 'N Sync/American Idol style, easily navigating between yelping pleading and bombastic bravado. The booklet even comes complete with lengthy, smarmy thanks from the Boyz ("big props to the Big Man in the sky"). As for the music, it's drenched in cheesy synths and appropriately catchy: Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker (contributing six songs each) may have gleefully nailed the genre's inane lyrics, but they didn't forget the melodies either. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    4-0 out of 5 stars You have to understand...
    I've been reading other people's reviews of this product and they seem to be all over the place.Some people loved it others hated it.I would put myself in the former group, with my big toe in the latter.

    This show was fantastic.As a Gay Christian I understood every single joke, and the sarcasm behind the songs.When I saw this show performed the vocal and comedic talent of the 5 performers was astounding.They were fantastic.The rest of the audience (even my Christian/Republican/Bush-can-do-no-wrong Mother enjoyed it).There are a some underlying sarcastic themes directed toward fundamentalism, but on the whole this show put God and Jesus in a very positive light.

    That being said though... for some reason the show just does not seem to translate well onto CD.My friend, another Gay Christian, has yet to see the show, but was planning on ordering the CD anyway.I advised him not to do so, because as I was listening to the CD after having seen the show, I thought to myself that if this CD was all I had to go by, the show would not have been as appealing to me.It spoils some of the better jokes, and those jokes don't make as much sense without the dialogue needed to put them into context.Also, the singers' voices don't sound as good as they do in person, and neither does the instrumentation.

    My friend didn't listen to me though, and bought it anyway.He said that he loved the CD and it only made him want to see the show more.

    To each their own, I suppose.I personally would suggest seeing the show first and letting the CD be a reminder of just how hilarious this show actually is, rather than letting the CD be your first impression.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Is this a cast recording or just a bland boy band cd?
    The musical "Altar Boyz" received good reviews, so I have to believe that the music plays better in proper context. It seems like it could be an entertaining and witty show. This cd, though, is barely listenable.That might actually be a compliment-- the musical is spoofing the pop stylings of boy bands and Christian music.Since I can barely stand this kind of music, and didn't enjoy any of the songs on the cd, I guess it's safe to say the writers have nailed the style. What's not clear is whether they were attempting to write good songs or simply trying to be as cheesy as possible.

    The problem with the cd is that it's basically a one-note joke that gets old by the end of the first song.Every song makes fun of boy bands and Christian music-- I'm all for that-- but the satiric lyrics only go so far. The bland pop sound quickly takes over and before long the cd actually BECOMES exactly what it's spoofing.The packaging of the cd even helps this along-- it's made to look as if the Altar Boyz are an actual group, and there's barely any info about this being a cast recording.

    As presented, this is not even really a musical score-- there are no character or plot-driven songs (or any that really register as such)-- just one spoof song after another. Perhaps the cd could have been helped if there were some linking dialogue included, or just something-- anything-- to put the humor of the show in better context. It's not that the cd is completely devoid of wit or good performers. But separated from the stage, it plays exactly like a bad boy band cd.

    5-0 out of 5 stars ALTAR BOYZ-LIKE N'SYNC BUT TALENTED
    Every once in awhile a show comes along that is so perfect in achieving its' goal you just want to jump up and sing I BELIEVE! This is about a boy band with Christian values but once they identify themselves, Matthew,Mark,Luke and Juanand Abraham-He's not Christian- you know tongues are going to be planted firmly in cheekor cheeks.The Backstreet Boys as well as N'sync get their nods as well as Ricky Martin, and there's even a rap number. Every number on this CD is joyous, performed by 5 talented performers and kudos to the band. But these songs are not always holier than thou-especially "There's Something About You" which is about abstinence before marriageor so it seems until you listen closely to the sly lyrics. I would recommend this CD to anyone-This would even cheer a grump.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Altar Boyz
    Altar Boyz was so funny. I saw it in New York with my Mom and we couldn't stop laughing. I told my friends about it and they love the songs too. It's great!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Raise the Praise
    Altar Boyz is the story of a Christian boy band (members include Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham-hes Jewish!) who are travelling across the country on their "Raise the Praise" tour spreading God's word while trying to cleanse the souls of their audience with their "sweet pop music".

    I love this show, its absolutely hilarious. A big upside to this cast album is that you don't necessarily have to have seen the show to understand and love this recording. ... Read more


    13. Mamma Mia! (The Musical Based on the Songs of ABBA)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000031WEN
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 264
    Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Put together by Abba's own Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, Mamma Mia! manages to cram over 20 of the Swedish supergroup's songs into a threadbare plot. It goes a little like this: Young Sophie is getting married and she's trying to identify which of three men is her father. That's about it. Wisely, the musical doesn't mess around with the songs, save for the insertion of some dialogue or for having some of them performed by a man (it works amazingly well). Abba fans will jump on this import of the London production, but traditional fans of musical theater should consider it as well. After all, Andersson and Ulvaeus's songs have always felt as if they were more than isolated pop gems and actually belonged to a longer narrative. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

    Reviews (120)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Mamma Mia Groupies
    "Mamma Mia" is an experience to behold. If this show does not lift your spirit and leave a big smile on your face, nothing will. We have the previledge of seeing "Mamma Mia" twice during its recent Chicago run. We will be seeing it again in Toronto in a couple of months. We are becoming regular "Mamma Mia" groupies!

    The CD does not quite capture the energy and exhilaration that one experiences during the live show, but it will remind you the great time that you had. We now prefer this CD over the original ABBA version of the songs because it tells a funny and poignant story. The singers on this CD are all just fine. Our 2-year old loves this CD and requests it whenever he just wants to goof around the house.

    Some of the outstanding players that we saw in Chicago, namely Louise Pitre and Tina Madigan, are now playing in the Broadway edition of "Mamma Mia." We hope that a CD version of the Broadway Cast will be forthcoming, and please include the unforgettable final curtain call encore that is missing on this CD. Those of you who have seen the show know just how that encore brings the house down everytime.

    5-0 out of 5 stars MAMMA MIA - WHAT AN ALBUM!
    Recently I saw the show Mamma Mia on Broadway and couldn't wait to buy the album. As a fan of Abba for many years I have many of their original recordings. But I wanted this CD for several reasons. First it offered many of my favorite songs on one album. Second it provided me with wonderful images of the show which I loved. And lastly, one can never have enough albums of Abba music.

    I know that many reviewers and listeners continue to object to the London cast on the album but I found it made little difference to me. The selection of songs are wonderful, among them Money, Money and Thank You for the Music which are my favorites. And as you listen to them you will find the lyircs music have an energy and vitality which will have you tapping your feet and singing along. Also included aer wit, humro and pathos at times. Whether or not you can see the show, consider buying this album. And see if after only one song you don't become the dancing queen yourself.

    2-0 out of 5 stars ABBA, YOU ROCK, MAMA MIA, YOU DON'T
    I DO NOT SAY THIS IS A BAD MUSICAL, IT'S JUST THIS CD MAKES IT SEEM LIKE IT. I AM TOTALLY LOST. IS THIS THE ORIGINAL BROADWAY SOUNDTRACK OR THE ORIGINAL LONDON CD? (...)

    1-0 out of 5 stars REAL Broadway Cast Recording PLEASE !
    I just saw this marvelous and upbeat show on Broadway - Dee Hoty(Donna)..Jenny Fellner(Sophie-just adorable)..Harriet Foy(Rosie)..Tamara Bernier(Tanya). I purchased the CD at the theater -- very ambiguously labeled "Broadway Cast Recording" and then ORIGINAL LONDON CAST. Whatever the reason for such labeling what a huge mistake to label it as 'Broadway'. I agree with previous critiques that the British recording is bland, underplayed. I must add absolutely BORING compared to what I saw and heard last week. On the British recording each song was rendered the same as another...same beats...no great belt voices (could have used AT LEAST Elaine Paige as Donna)...Donna and Sophie sound identical. All those little, young voices the British seem to favor. We in the U.S.A. like voices with MEAT. This is BROADWAY -- like no other venue on earth -- and deserves it's own cast recording, especially when the performance I saw was 100% more melodious, energetic, harmonious (some of the arrangements seemed quite different) and theatrical. AFTER the last song (I HAVE A DREAM) is when the fun began! The performance involving Curtain Calls and mini concert was the best thing and an absolute surprise. The whole theater was up and rockin'. So WHAT'S THE SCOOP? Cast Recordings of every horrible Broadway show are released -- why not this phenomenon? Dee Hoty has just the right maturity and huskiness to her voice. Tanya and Rosie were marvelous -- comic foils to each other with belts to win stars. The CD version of DOES YOUR MOTHER KNOW made me cry -- from sheer frustration -- after the rendition I heard by Ms. Bernier! The three "dads" (John Hillner, Adam Lefevre, Michael Winther) seemed more human in (sight and) their sound and the voices were markedly different and easy to distinguish one from another, unlike the British recording where you sometimes cannot tell the women from the men!

    PLEASE, SOMEONE WHO CARES! Issue a true Broadway Cast Recording and cut us a break! The wonderful ABBA score deserves better than the vocalizations on this CD. How did it become such a hit sung like this? Not much talent there.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Better at the show
    I saw Mamma Mia last weekend in Baltimore and it was amazing. The singers were just UNBELIEVABLE! However, the singers on the CD aren't nearly as great as those on tour. If you want the good music, go buy tickets. Still, buy this CD. I love the music from Mamma Mia, even if these singers aren't the best. ... Read more


    14. Highlights From The Phantom Of The Opera: The Original Cast Recording (1986 London Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000001FLQ
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 577
    Average Customer Review: 4.76 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Highlight versions of cast recordings are by definition a compromise, and this reduction of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera is no exception. Weighing in at 59 minutes, it's over 40 minutes shorter than the two-disc version, excising many musical scenes that convey the flow and impact of the show (which include, admittedly, a lot of patter and screaming). On the other hand, all the hits are here--"Think of Me," "Angel of Music," the title tune, "The Music of the Night," "All I Ask of You," "Masquerade," and "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again"--and Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman are still on hand to make their distinctive contributions to the original London cast. So if you're looking for a convenient, inexpensive single disc that will let you enjoy Lloyd Webber's scrumptious melodies without having to immerse yourself in the action, this just might be for you.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

    Reviews (67)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Terrific, not to mention terrifying!
    I have yet to buy the complete CD version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's haunting musical version of the classic love story The Phantom of the Opera, but my copy of 'Highlights' is nearly ten years old...and I still love it.
    Michael Crawford was not only the first man to play the title character but in my opinion he must be the best. Surely, it's impossible for anyone to be better than him. His voice is magnificent, his cackling laugh keeps me up at night and even on a recording his sorrow and anger seem so real.
    Although I've heard she's not much of an actress, vocally Sarah Brightman is amazing as Christine, a talented opera singer and the object of the phantom's desire.
    Steve Barton sings the part of Raoul, Christine's old friend and love interest. He's very good which is why it's a shame his career didn't get more of a boost out of his performance.
    In fact the whole cast is simply amazing. In songs like 'Masquerade' it becomes very clear to even be in the chorus of this spine-tingling musical you have to be very, very good.
    Some will appreciate this CD more after having seen it live, but in my opinion every single person should own a copy of this tremendously good recording.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One Phantastic Soundtrack
    I saw The Phantom of the Opera nearly three years ago, and I remember it like I just saw it yesterday. The acting is superbe and the music is magnificent!! The entire soundtrack (it's a double cd) is great, but if you are just looking for the "main" songs, then the Highlights CD is just as good. Every time I listen to this CD, the play vividly comes to life, and I feel exactly what all of the characters are feeling....especially the Phantom. The play is wonderful...the music is even better!! You will definitely not be sorry that you bought this soundtrack.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This started my Crawford Kick!!!!
    I never heard of Mike before hearing this in 6th grade....

    I was absolutely memorized by this man's voice--and boy
    if i was the only one in the classromm, i would have started crying...his singing was so cystyalized- seems like he puts
    all genuine emotion in his voice and it shows....

    I love when he sings with the music box in the last song....
    that's better than a full orchestra...

    Or Michael with that haunting piano in song 6..that'll
    do it to me....

    I now have joined the Michael Crawford International
    Fan Club Association (well not yet, i plan to!!)--

    I saw the Phantom 2wice in my life.... with Ted Keegan
    and Colm Wilkonson in the lead roles respectively---

    Just holds no candle to Mike.....

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Abriged Phantom of the Opera
    Highlight versions of cast recordings can be convient -- nice price, one disc, shorter runtime, and all of the big numbers. I originally bought this highlights version a couple months before seeing the show because I didn't have the money for the two-disc complete recording, and it is a decent purchase. All the standout songs are here -- Think of Me, the title song, Angel of Music, All I Ask of You, Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, and others -- and for the curious who may never see the show but want a sample of it anyway, this is likely more than enough. But I made a mistake buying this over the complete set, because as soon as you see the show you'll be dying to have it all. Yes, the big ones are here, but there's so much wonderful stuff that you miss with this one, especially little things connecting the big numbers. Notes and Magical Lasso are perticularly missed here. It may not be important to you now but once you've seen the show you'll want it. So my advice is skip this version and save up a little more money for the complete double-disc album. You'll be glad you did.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Audiophile friendly
    I agree with the other many positive reviews. In adition if you have a high end system, the recording reproduces the soundstage and imaging of the performance. As an example in the last piece you can follow the performers moving across the stage providing a "you are (almost) there" experience. ... Read more


    15. All Shook Up (2005 Original Broadway Cast) (Featuring the Songs of Elvis Presley)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0009941TI
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 140
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    16. Seussical: The Musical
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000056QFG
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 853
    Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Seussical: the Musical, which is based on Dr. Seuss's beloved characters, made the news even before its Broadway opening, as tales of disastrous out-of-town tryouts multiplied and creative turmoil abounded. But the show has its fans--Rosie O'Donnell, for one, likes it so much that she jumped in to play the Cat in the Hat for a month while Roger Bart was on vacation. And guess what? As conceived by Ragtime's Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Seussical isn't nearly as bad as its reputation would suggest. While Junior digs the familiar characters, Mom and Dad will notice that "A Day for the Cat in the Hat" could be an outtake from Cabaret--if that show had been rated G, of course--while "It's Possible" suddenly turns into an Elton John-type romp midway through. Easy on the ear and very pop, this is a kid-friendly cast album that won't insult an adult's intelligence. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

    Reviews (75)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great music, Great show.
    I personally love this CD mainly because over 4/5 of the songs are good. The tunes are catchy, the lyrics are good (although Seuss himself should have gotten more credit on the lyrics than was given to him.) The lyricist mainly does a pretty good job of sounding like Seuss, though there are some bad lyrics here and there. Some of my favorites are ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE, AMAYZING MAYZIE, ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE, HERE ON WHO, and HAVIN' A HUNCH. Oh, and you can't forget CHASING THE WHO'S. Horton is great for the part, nice softer voice, very sweet sounding. Gertrude is great, she deserves a tony. David Shiner is wonderful as the Cat in the Hat, although he sometimes sounds kind of strange, but i guess that is just the show. Jojo is great, and has a good voice for an 11 year old, he certainly sings better than I could when i was 11. If you love musical theatre, (and even if you don't) buy this CD!!!! It's well worth your 14 dollars, or however much it is.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Seussical- a plotless revue would have been better!
    Despite the bad reviews the show got, the music from this show is outstanding! Being a music teacher and drama director, I can honestly say that this one of Broadway's best scores in years. I think the idea of a Dr. Seuss musical is wonderful but I think they did it wrong. It should have been a revue giving each Dr. Seuss character their own moment to shine. Instead, the musical weaves all of the stories together- many in which I forgot about. However, the main plot is "Horton Hears A Who." Even as an elementary school educator, I did not remember every detail of the story so it was hard to follow the cd. Why isn't the cat in the hat the main character? I can understand how people who are not that familiar with the stories dislike the show. I wish I could rewrite it for them as a revue using the genuine score which would fit! My favorite tracks are "Oh The Thinks You Can Think" -that's how you open a bway show!, "Green Eggs and Ham" -yet we have to wait for the curtain call to hear it and there's no Sam I Am?, Horton and JoJo's ballad "Alone In The Universe," "A Day For The Cat In The Hat," "McElligot's Pool," "Notice Me, Horton," "Here On Who," "How Lucky You Are," and that's it. The rest is ok but so related to the plot. The cast sings brilliantly especially Horton, Gertrude, JoJo and although I'm not a fan of the character , Sour Kangaroo is fantastic. Finally, David Shiner who plays the Cat in the Hat who got ripped to shreads by the critics is absolutely PERFECT!!!! He's sounds very giddy, bubbily, and priceless! The critics knocked his singing but the cat should alter singing, speaking, and word play- a la Seuss. Bravo Mr. Shiner and forget those critics- I think they wanted you to fail. *One more think: When I cast my school productions, I give the parts to the kids who deserve them whether male or female. However, I'm really glad Rosie O'Donnell, who I am a fan of, didn't sing the role on the cd- I think a male should play the cat . So listen Mr. and Mrs. Weissler (the producers,) I admire your talent and energy in bringing this production to the stage and making the cd possible, but I think the revue format would have worked better with many of the vocal selections. If you would like me to rewrite the show for you from an elementary educator's point of view, let me know!

    5-0 out of 5 stars THE SEUSSICAL!
    This CD is INCREDIBLE! There are TONS of songs, GREAT songs. I can say not ONE thing bad about it!!! In the booklet at the front of the CD you they have all of the words to EVERY SONG except for reprises and i think there are only 2!!! I advise you to BUY IT NOW!!!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars SEUSSICAL SOUNDTRACK is AMAZING
    The Seussical soundtrack is amazing! The songs are great, the singing is great (especially Janine LaManna as Gertrude, Sharon Wilkins as the Sour Kangaroo and Anthony Blair Hall as Jojo - a great voice!) What mostly amazed me was the percussion by Warren Odze and Charles Descarfino in the orchestra. The percussion was fantastic! I can't stop listening too this cd! Seussical truly is amazing!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great
    I cant wait to be a part of this musical this summer. It is a very fun show. It is a breath of fresh air from lots of other musicals. Its not that I don't like depressing musicals, I DO! But it feels good to see a happy musical. ... Read more


    17. The Lion King (1997 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000001M1B
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 369
    Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    An Oscar win might suggest a score that would need a miracle to be bettered--but this colorful stage adaptation of Disney's The Lion King does so with flair. Composers Mark Mancina and Lebo M worked closely together to fuse the movie's many disparate elements. Where there was a veritable army exercising creative influences for the animated tale, this brings it all under the wings of a like-minded few. This is genuinely apparent as one track flows into the next. The African rhythms--both vocal and in instrumentation--come across as authentic and original all at once. No doubt this is largely through Mancina's passion for peculiar instruments and the possibilities suggested from nightly live performances. "Grasslands Chant" is a good place to hear this. The hit favorites are here of course, but both "Circle of Life" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" are pleasingly unrecognizable with chorus and shifting beats. Better still is the likelihood they will now be eclipsed by some of the new numbers. Mancina's own "He Lives in You" being a strong contender. With a sound mix as crisp as you'd hope to find, this is rousing stuff. --Paul Tonks ... Read more

    Reviews (102)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Innovative Theatre Meets Family Entertainment
    First of all, to address some of the other reviewers who didn't believe "The Lion King" deserved the Tony: What the American Theatre Wing recognized is an historic and important step in theatre history. "The Lion King" on Broadway didn't attempt to merely transfer the cartoon images of the movie onto the stage (a la Beauty and the Beast). Instead, through the guidance of genius director and designer Julie Taymor, the glorious story was lifted and transformed through mask, puppetry, and dance into a multi-disciplinary wonder. I'm a professional puppeteer, and the response of the puppetry community to this show is staggering. Curriculums are being reworked, new parterships are forming, and a puppetry renaissance has begun.

    Now, onto this CD: I can understand that if you haven't seen the staged version, you wouldn't expect to hear the changes that have been made to the soundtrack. Fortunately, I was given the CD "Rhythm of the Pridelands" before seeing the show. Many of the new songs are from that album, which was new music inspired by the movie "Lion King" and written by Lebo M, the talented African artist whose voice you hear in the movie version of "Circle of Life." This soundtrack is a unique and exciting blending of the original soundtrack and "Pridelands," and has an organic and harmonious feel to it. The new African chants serve to balance the more cutesy tunes from the movie. In the end, there is something for everyone. Listen without prejudice, and discover the beauty of the music.

    5-0 out of 5 stars FOLLOWING A BAD TREND, BUT JERKING THE TEARS
    If you're thinking of not buying this CD because you already have the movie soundtrack, HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! Not only does the Original Broadway Cast Recording have more songs than there are in the movie, but the original songs have been adapted and, in some cases, lengthened quite a lot. To be honest, there are a few poor attempts of "filler" and trying to add something with a rock edge, but the beautiful, rhythmic african chants and additions such as "Shadowland" and "Endless Night" bring tears to my eyes. They're worth paying for the entire thing. This CD gives you more of an emotional look at all of the characters and their despair. Disney followed the same trend they did with BEAUTY by adding a dozen songs with only a couple worth listening to, but they're tear jerkers and if you just sit back and listen to the chants and ballads, they're sure to touch your heart as they did mine... just skip the stuff in between. But it's a MUST HAVE for anyone even SLIGHTLY interested. Cuz I'm not even a Lion King Movie fan.

    5-0 out of 5 stars THE BEST BROADWAY MUSICAL SINCE EVITA!
    AS YOU SEE, THERE ARE A LOT OF BROADWAY SHOWS ON BROADWAY NOW. YOU KNOW, YOU GOT MAMA MIA, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, AVENUE Q AND SO ON AND SO FORTH. YOU KNOW WHAT'S THE BEST? THE LION KING OF COURSE! AND THIS CD SPOTLIGHTS ALL THE CLASSIC CAST LIKE JOHN VICERY, [THE MAN I USED TO LOOK UP TO.] JASON RAIZE, [HE DIED A FEW MONTHS AGO. I MISS HIM SOOOOOO MUCH.] AND THE REST! IF YOU HAVE TO BUY ONE BROADWAY SOUNDTRACK, BUY THIS ONE! IT ROCKS! AND THEN GO SEE THE MUSICAL! SURE, IT'S ABOUT 200 DOLLORS...BELIVE ME,IT'S SO WORTH IT. THIS CD HAS AN AWSOME BOOKLET INCLUDING SOME PICTURES IN THE BACKROUND, LYRICS, AND SO MUCH MORE. AND IF THATS NOT GOOD ENOUGH, I DON'T KNOE WHAT TO TELL YA.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Really Good CD
    I bought this because because I wanted a soundtrack for the Lion King and I was tempted just to buy the Disney one, but I thought this might be more interesting. I was paticuarly interested in the fact that there was more African music. It was really great. Even stuff like Circle of Life had a slightly different sound to it, and the whole thing had a much better atmosphere than Disney gave the film. What I love about it is that it isn't just another Disney soundtrack, but it really has it's own interesting sound. Go buy it!

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!
    The Lion King (1997 Original Broadway Cast) soundtrack is amazing. When I went to the play, I knew I wanted to buy the CD. I loved the music live and from the CD. I listen to it everyday. The people singing are wonderful. They sound great. I think any and everybody should buy this CD. You'll love it! ... Read more


    18. Classic Disney: 60 Years of Musical Magic
    list price: $52.99
    our price: $34.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000055XD7
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 367
    Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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    Album Description

    Aussie exclusive box-set featuring a collection of Disney's best-loved songs. 60 years of musical magic from 'Snow White' to the 'Lion King', from Mary Poppins' to 'Toy Story'. Five standard jewel cases housed together in a slipcase. ... Read more

    Reviews (29)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Disney lovers young and old
    I highly recommend this set of Disney Music. What a great assortment of songs from All the Disney Classics. You get a lot of music for your money.

    We have one CD playing at least once throughout the day and I always have one in the car. Its one of those CDs' that you can keep playing and not get sick of it. My whole family enjoys them and I am so happy that we made this purchase. If you are a fan of Disney's Movies and Music then go and get this set, you won't regret it!

    4-0 out of 5 stars A nice stroll down memory lane
    This is a very thorough collection of songs from various Disney movies over the years. Most of the songs are familiar favorites that even those who are not rabid Disney fans (like myself) will be able to sing along with. My only complaint, and the reason this collection merited 4 stars instead of five is for a collection titled "Classic Disney" it seems to lean much more heavily on the newer movies such as Beauty & the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Hunchback etc. instead of what I consider to be "classic" Disney and the live action Disney movies with the exception of the Parent Trap and meager spinkling of a few others are totally excluded. A nice touch is the addition of songs from some of the attractions at the Disney themeparks. There is so much Disney music out there that it would be impossible to include eveything, but this collection is a great jumping off place. Additionally, this boxed set is much cheaper than purchasing the CDs individually. I purchased Volume 1 of this set a few years ago for almost half of what I paid for the entire boxed set. Its a must have for all Disneyaholics!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Absolute Best!
    This is the greatest collection of Disney music ever made! I don't have children, but am a child at heart, and have always appreciated Disney music. I've found that this is the best set of Disney music available, you'll be killing millions of birds with one stone if you're searching to collect Disney music. This has it all!

    3-0 out of 5 stars variable sound quality & volume
    If you want a comprehensive, economical collection of wonderful Disney songs, then this is the set for you. Although I am a Disney music fan, I was disappointed in this collection. First, I was surprised that other reviewers did not mention that the sound quality and volume vary. This problem is annoying to me while listening. Second, the collection contains a number of songs that make good background music for Disney movies but are boring to listen to on their own. Third, the songs seem to occur in a random order. I would have preferred that songs from the same movie be grouped together. Personally, I would have preferred a complete set of "greatest hits."

    4-0 out of 5 stars Essential
    I have a Disney music collection worth hundreds of dollars, and this is one of my most prized pieces. It is a closed colletion that is no longer available from Disney and is far better and more conprehensive that the current collection that they are releasing. Get it while you still can. ... Read more


    19. Grease: The Original Soundtrack From The Motion Picture
    list price: $13.98
    our price: $12.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000001FDK
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 578
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com

    The movie is a 1970s take on 1950s musicals, providing all the kitsch anyone could hope for. It's John Travolta as Danny Zuko as Olivia Newton-John's pompadoured main squeeze, and the kids go crazy. Fresh from his astronomical success with Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, Bee Gee Barry Gibb penned the title track (sung by Frankie Valli). Sha Na Na is over-represented, and actress Stockard Channing struts her, um, versatility, singing a couple of tracks. This has become a touchstone in American culture, and so isn't likely to improve our standing in the world's eyes. Maybe the point is that it's supposed to sound amateurish, but it does manage to eke out some fun, most notably on the hit "You're the One That I Want." --Scott Wilson ... Read more

    Reviews (88)

    5-0 out of 5 stars 50's fun with 70's production values
    Given the national funk the USA was in, the songs in Grease was also a longing for a funner, simpler time, when rock wasn't so complicated. Stylishly, it's 50's music, some with 70's disco sensibilities, 70's non-disco pop, and songs whose sound harken back to the stage play, clearly meant to stay within the confines of the movie.

    The order of songs on the soundtrack frontloads the theme song and singles in the first part before getting back in movie order for the rest. Now, in order of the movie...

    After the brief "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing," comes the title song, the perfect marriage of the 50's, exemplified by singer, Frankie Avalon, and the catchy disco-like rhythms of the 70's, hardly surprising given that Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees penned this song.

    "Summer Nights" the first duet between John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, featuring members of the cast, harkens back to its stage origins, with the differing versions of what went on in Danny and Sandy's fateful summer marked by vocal tradeoffs between the two, highlighted by predominantly male voices in Travolta's segment, female ones in Newton-John's.

    "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee" too is a stagey song, sung by Stockard Channing when making fun of Sandy, with references to Elvis, Troy Donahue, and Doris Day making it a look back at the late 50's. The sugary pop ballad "Hopelessly Devoted To You" was tailor-made for Newton-John, a ballad alternately with steel guitars one moment, strings the next.

    "Why this car is automatic, it's systematic, it's hydromatic. Why it's greased lightning!" For downright fun and energy, "Greased Lightning" bears the hallmark of Elvis and Eddie Cochrane-type rockers, an ideal song accompanying the spanking red hot rod fantasy sequence.

    "It's Raining On Prom Night," sung by Cindy Bullens, is another vintage 50's-type slow ballad, and is the song that plays when Sandy goes to the jukebox, only to have Danny make fun of the jock she's hanging out with.

    Frankie Avalon's slow-dance "Beauty School Dropout" is a nod back to the days when his "Venus" was a big hit, strings laden doo-wop style female accompaniment including Stockard Channing. This number was done in the guardian angel (Avalon) telling Frenchie to get her act together and go back to school.

    "Rock And Roll Party Queen" can be briefly heard in the dance segment when the people start entering the decorated gym.

    Another example of 50s/70s dynamic is Sha-Na-Na, who spearheaded a rock and roll revival movement. Their songs is one fun track after another, from Danny and the Juniors' "Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay," the slow dance of "Those Magic Changes," Little Anthony's "Tears On My Pillow," Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog," the climactic and fun-brimmed "Born To Hand Jive," and then a cover of "Blue Moon."

    Travolta's solo song "Sandy," done after Sandy storms out of his car after his manhandling her, is more a defense than an apology, as he says in the monologue that she hurt him. The monologue he has inbetween the singing segments is more a hallmark of girl group songs like "Leader Of The Pack." Solo, Travolta's actually not bad, replicating 50's-style falsetto at times.

    Next, is another Stockard Channing solo, "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" and a reprise of "Sandra Dee" by Olivia Newton-John, before the final blowout. In the interview segment of the video, Olivia Newton-John herself knew that with the bouncy bassline throughout the energetic "You're The One That I Want," the second Travolta duet, was going to be a hit, and it was. And in the movie, it's followed by the equally vivacious "We Go Together," which could've been a single.

    Other notes: These were not included in the movie:"Alone At the Drive-In," "Freddy My Love," "Mooning," and "Rock N Roll Party Queen" were in the movie, because I don't remember them. Another exemplary soundtrack from the 70's and perhaps of all time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Grease" is the word!
    This soundtrack album is the second biggest-selling in pop music history. The first is the SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER soundtrack. And both films starred John Travolta. Not only that,they were both originally released on the defunct RSO(Robert Stigwood Organization) label. I went through 2 LP copies of this album,as I said in the review for the DVD movie. There are actually 23 different recordings on the album. Track 24 is a repeat of the title theme(track 1). The title theme was written by ex-Bee Gee Barry Gibb and performed by Frankie Valli of The Four Seasons. The song is heard during the playing of the opening and closing credits in the film. SUMMER NIGHTS is about the summer romance of Danny Zuko(Travolta) and Sandy Dombrowski(Olivia Newton-John). ONJ performs HOPELESSLY DEVOTED TO YOU,later recycled for her GREATEST HITS VOLUME 2 album. YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I WANT is another duet between Travolta and ONJ,also appearing on GHV2. SANDY is Danny's ode to his sweetheart(he sings this after being abandoned by Sandy at a drive-in theater in the film). BEAUTY SCHOOL DROPOUT is Frankie Avalon's advisory to Frenchy(Didi Conn). LOOK AT ME,I'M SANDRA DEE is sung by Rizzo or her portrayer,Stockard Channing. GREASED LIGHTNIN' is about the power of automobiles,sung by Travolta with moral support from Jeff Conaway(Kenickie). IT'S RAINING ON PROM NIGHT is OK,so is ALONE AT A DRIVE-IN MOVIE. Sha-Na-Na,as Johnny Casino & The Gamblers in the film,performs BLUE MOON,ROCK & ROLL IS HERE TO STAY,THOSE MAGIC CHANGES,HOUND DOG,TEARS ON MY PILLOW and BORN TO HAND-JIVE. MOONING,FREDDY MY LOVE and ROCK AND ROLL PARTY QUEEN are OK. Channing superbly performs THERE ARE WORSE THINGS I COULD DO(the song is heard in "Connie & Carla" also,but not Channing's recording of it). There's a reprise of LOOK AT ME,I'M SANDRA DEE performed by ONJ. The Rydell High School seniors perform WE GO TOGETHER,heard in the final scene. LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING is an instrumental easy listening classic,heard in the very first scene before opening credits. This album is packed with still photos from the film. The one on the back cover of the LP and CD booklet is of the overall film cast. It would have been great if the title track was recorded by the Bee Gees. ONJ's manager John Farrar wrote or co-wrote some of ONJ's recordings on this album.

    5-0 out of 5 stars i Love this soundtrack
    I love this movie, i have wacthed his movie so many time i don't get own this soundtrack but i plan to in the next couple days. You should really get this soundtrack if you love the movie you are sure to love the sound track. i love it and i am only 16.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous Grease
    Absolutely fantastic!!!!!!!!!

    I love every single song on the CD and I've watched the film so many times I've lost track. Let's jus say enough times to know the words off by heart even when I'm only 17.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best CD Ever
    WHILE ME I THINK THAT THE MOVIE AND THE CD IS THE MOST FUNNIEST AND MOST INTERSTING TO WATCH AND TO LISTEN. I ALMOST WATCH THAT MOVIE EVER DAY, GREASE IT'S A MOVIE THAT WILL NEVER FADE AWAY. BACK WHEN I WAS BORN I USE TO WATCH IT AND STILL WATCH IT NOW SO IF YOU THINKING ABOUT BUING IT DON'T THINK THAT LONG CUZ YOUR WASTING YOUR TIME ON AN EXCITING MOVIE. ALSO THINKING ABOUT BUING THE CD DON'T THINK THAT LONG BECAUSE THE MUSIC YOUR GOING TO LOVE I MEAN LOVE IT. IT'S THE BEST AND IT'LL STAY THE BEST ... Read more


    20. Les Miserables (1987 Original Broadway Cast)
    list price: $35.98
    our price: $28.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000000OQI
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 579
    Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com

    After Les Misérables became a huge hit in London,it moved to Broadway, bringing along two stars from the Londonproduction, ColmWilkinson as the heroic Valjean and Frances Ruffelleas the despondent Eponine. Filling out this 1987 cast are Randy Graff(Fantine), TerrenceMann (Javert), David Bryant (Marius), Judy Kuhn(Cosette), MichaelMaguire (Enjolras), and Leo Burmester and Jennifer Butt (theThénardiers). Whether you prefer the London cast or this onejust might depend on which one you heard first, though minor revisionsto the show since its London debut make the Broadway version morefamiliar to current audiences. In fact, the 10th anniversary concertmight have the best overall cast of the lot, while the three-disc symphonicrecording is a must for completists.

    Regardless of cast, Les Misérables has become asensation. Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's score isfilled with beautiful ballads ("Bring Him Home," "I Dreamed a Dream")and rousing anthems ("One Day More," "Do You Hear the People Sing?"),and Victor Hugo's classicnovel of a student uprising in pre-revolutionary France provides acompelling story line that continues to thrill audiences all over theworld. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

    Reviews (144)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Soaring Score but Lacking in Voices
    Les Miserables is the definitive theater experience. With more than 5 recordings out, the Broadway Cast shines frequently, but also lacks luster when needed. I found that I blame this on the casting. I'm going to break down the cast and then you can see a really in depth analysis from a die hard Les Mis fan.

    Colm Wilkinson(Valjean)-I would have to give Colm 4 stars. He is a very talented singer and adds the right emotions to certain songs. However I found that sometimes his voice wobbled. It goes high and then wobbles. For example in "What have I done?" the last sentence is more wobbled than sung. But he is absolutely superb in "Bring him Home." Few dry eyes can be found when hearing that song.

    Terrence Mann(Javert)-Terrence Mann is another exceptional singer. He has an amazing range allowing him to go to almost bass like notes to high tenor ones. He was fabulous in Scarlet Pimpernel, and Beauty and the Beast, but his voice just doesnt seem to fit Javert. Its not deep enough or serious enough perhaps. It sounds like he is just fresh from the classroom and not a vetern who seems to have no heart.

    Randy Graff(Fantine)-Randy has a decent voice, but to me it sounds like she is just singing the song. Not feeling the song. Fantine is a tortured character who needs to express the pain and anguish she feels to the audience, but she fails to do this in the soundtrack.

    Donna Vivino(Y. Cosette)-Donna is the most amazing young Cosette I have ever heard in my life. Her rendition of "Castle on a Cloud" is perhaps one of the most stirring and amazing songs sung on the CD. Her voice is so fragile but strong at the same time. The innocence and beauty of the song and the singer makes you want to weep.

    Jennifer Butt/Leo Burmester(Thenardier)-I like each of them alone. When Jennifer sings her lament of T. its amusing and funny. And when Leo is singing about his "treasured" Cosette and fakes crying its humorous as well. But when the two of them are together, there is little or no chemistry. The Thenardiers are suppose to be discusting schemers together, but these two dont do well together.

    Braden Danner(Gavroche)-Braden is very convincing as Gavroche and portrays his character well. He is lively from his first to his last song.

    Frances Ruffelle(Eponine)-Now comes the hard part. With Frances it seems fans either love her or hate her. I found that I love her and hate her at different times.I love her when she isnt belting because her voice tends to come out of her nose. When she is singing to herself at the begininng of "On my Own" I love her. But at the end when she is belting I want to hold my ears. Same with "One day More" Her voice is grating in that song, but during "Upon these Stones, Building the Barricade" I love her.

    David Bryant(Marius)-I dont like David as Marius. His voice is just not "Marius". It is too deep and unemotional. Marius of all the students is the most emotional and wears his heart on his sleave. But he just like Randy is just singing the words, not the music.His voice during "A Heart Full of Love" is not carefree or happy sounding. His emotions arent up to key for this musical. He would almost do better as Javert because of his lack of emotions for society.

    Judy Kuhn(Cosette)- Judy Kuhn is fabulous! She is probably the greatest Cosette ever sung and acted. You can feel her joy and despair in each song she sings. Her range as well is also amazing. Judy portrays Cosette perfectly as innocent but wanting to learn about what makes the world go round, and about her father Valjean. Judy just has an amazing voice that practically flies from the CD to you.

    Anthony Crivello(Grantaire)-Even though Anthony has very little solos I found I couldnt leave him out. He is the actor who portrays the fearful student. Who in the begininng wants to have a part in the revolution, but once it begins becomes unsure and doubtful. Anthony has a talented voice and soars. He is exceptional.

    Michael Maguire(Enjolras)-Michael is the most amazing Enjolras that has ever been and ever will be. His range, his emotions are so greatly portrayed through his character that you feel you know Enjolras. The determination never fails and he never gives up even to his last dying breath. His voice is amazing as well as his portrayl.His Tony Award was well deserved.

    Well thats all I have to say about the actors. The CD is worth buying because of so many stand out performances and the haunting songs such as "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" "On My Own" "Dreamed a Dream" Do you Hear the People Sing" and the chilling "Finale". The score by Boublil and Schonberg is beautifully orchestrated from the first despairing note to the last triumphant one. This is not to be missed.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not the best recording
    I prefer the 10th anniversary one to this one. I know that all American Les Mis fans are going to hate me for this, but I really don't like this recording because except for Colm Wilkinson and Ruffele, there is not much emotion in this CD. Let me continue before you click on that "no" icon!! Hear me out before you judge!

    COLM WILKINSON as Valjean: He is the best singer on this CD. His singing is emotional and makes your spine tingle- he is THE ONLY VALJEAN!

    FRANCES RUFFELLE as Eponine: I know you'll hate me for this, but I think that he voice is too squeeky. But she is very emotional and gives an excellent performance.

    MICHAEL MAGUIRE as Enjorlas: HE IS THE BEST ENJORLAS! He is very emotional, strong, manly, and convincing.

    JUDY KUHN as Cosette: She is the only Cosette that doesn't annoy me, so I obviously love her!

    TERRANCE MANN as Javert: Philip Quast is so much better than Terrance Mann. Although he has a great voice, it's not the right kind of voice for Javert. He doesn't seem to get the character down. "Stars" is not very convincing.

    DAVID BRYANT as Marius: Michael Ball is so much better than David Bryant. David puts NO emotion into his part- he doesn't seem very love struck. "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" is not stirring and moving like it's supposed to be- it is cold and sounds like he is just singing the words with no emotion at all.

    RANDY GRAFF as Fantine: Ruthie Henshall is worlds better than Randy Graff. I think that Graff tries to hard to be emotional, so it comes out as this horrible whining. It is especailly painful when she sings "Come to me" and at the end she sings, "For God's sake, please stay until I'm sleeping, and tell Cosette I love her and I'll see her when I WAAAAAAKE!" This last note is horrible and ear shattering! Her "I dreamed a dream" is convincing, though.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not great...
    Les Mis is a great musical... This is not a great soundtrack, but it's the only affordable one Amazon sells(figure that out)...

    The first time I saw Les Mis was at a small local high school. It was pretty bad, for the most part, but the musicians as well as some of the actors redeemed the performance. Valjean was excellent, Thernardier was pretty good, but most of all, the musicians in the performance performed quite well. The premise of a MUSICAL is for it to BE musical, and have good quality instrumental music as well as good quality acting... ideally. This recording has one of the above...

    I was looking forward to getting this version, but when I actually got it, I started listening to the songs and was rather disappointed. I can sit down at my computer and probably write an arrangement to accompany the performance of Les Mis in cheap quality MIDI and have it sound better than this.

    For example, in tracks 5 and 8, the background part has some kind of guitar or something or other and it just sounds absolutely terrible. I Dreamed a Dream is generally considered to be one of the better songs in the entire musical, and it's a shame that it has to get virtually ruined with this kind of tacky synthetic sound... But this happens to many of the songs.

    Three stars for the effort, for it being Les Mis, and for the singing being decent. I just think it's terrible when a great musical has to have such a terrible, tacky sounding 'orchestral' accompaniment.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Okay, but get the 10th Anniversary version
    This Broadway album is much better than the slow-paced London album, but two other recordings top it: the Complete Symphonic Recording and the 10th Anniversary Concert Recording. What's good about the CSR is that, as the description says, it's "complete." It containes all the numbers you'll need if you want to listen to them over and over again. Performance-wise, however, the TAC Recording remains the best. It is graced, indeed, of The Dream Cast. As many reviewers have noted, for instance, the superiority of Lea Salonga both in voice and interpretation as Eponine over "sad" Kaho Shimada (CSR) and "whiny" Frances Ruffelle (OBCR and OLCR) is very clear on the TAC recording. If you can afford only one album, get the TAC version. Otherwise, add the CSR. These two should be enough to satisfy your craving for Les Mis albums.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but there are better
    I like the quicker pace of the music here compared to the Original London Recording. The casting of other actors is also quite refreshing. The Complete Symphonic Recording and the 10th Anniversary Concert Recording are much better, though. Eponine's Kaho Shimada (CSR) and Lea Salonga(TAC recording), for instance, act waaaaaaaaaaaaay better than shrieky Frances Ruffelle, who repeats the whiny and lackluster performance she did on the OLC recording.

    This is not a bad CD to get if you're a big Les Miserables fan. If you can't afford to get all the recordings, however, stick to the CSR for its "completeness" and to the TAC recording for its "liveliness," great actors and great performances. ... Read more


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