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181. Hello, Dolly! (1969 Film Soundtrack)
$14.99 $5.99 list($17.98)
182. Swing! (Original Broadway Cast)
$26.99 $23.30 list($29.98)
183. Les Miserables Complete Symphonic
$18.98 $14.05
184. March Of The Falsettos (1981 Original
$13.99 $12.69 list($17.98)
185. Titanic (1997 Original Broadway
$14.99 $12.99 list($17.98)
186. Notre Dame de Paris
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187. Selections From Cats (1982 Original
$13.99 $11.99 list($16.98)
188. The Best of Broadway
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189. Working (Original 1978 Broadway
$14.99 $14.72 list($19.98)
190. Into the Woods (2002 Broadway
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191. You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
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192. Hello, Dolly! (1964 Original Broadway
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193. Once Upon a Mattress (1997 Broadway
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194. Annie (1999 Television Film)
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195. Anything Goes (1962 Off-Broadway
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196. City of Angels (1990 Original
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197. How To Succeed In Business Without
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198. Wonderful Town (2003 Broadway
$14.99 $13.70 list($18.98)
199. The Threepenny Opera (1954 New
$33.99 list($15.98)
200. Chess (1988 Original Broadway

181. Hello, Dolly! (1969 Film Soundtrack)
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000001F32
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10625
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Movies of the Late 60's
Hello Dolly is one of my favorite films. It's one of those movies that I have seen time and time again and never tire of watching. The score is beautifully sung by all involved (yes, even Michael Crawford with his nasal, but pleasant, singing voice). Streisand steals the show as Dolly, of course. And no, she does not seem too young for the role ... The film would be at a loss without her beautiful, flawless singing voice. I also have the Carol Channing 1964 original cast album. Sorry to say it, die-hard-Carol-Channing-fans, but I have a hard time visualizing her as Dolly in the film (although she is great on the album). Her voice is unique and charming, but the score is really better done by someone who can sing!

I have to hold back from giving 5 stars, though, due to the sound quality of the disc and incompleteness of this recording. The sound quality on several parts of the disc has much to be desired. The sound is somewhat distorted and tinny during the louder sequences. The disc is also incomplete. While the music contained herein would have been quite sufficient for the limited playing time of vinyl records, an effort should be made to expand the CD to include additional material. Missing from the disc are the "Call on Dolly" chants which open the film, the wonderful OVERTURE, additional material in DANCING and BEFORE THE PARADE PASSES BY, the entire Waiters' Dance in the Harmonia Garden sequence, as well as the chase music which closes that sequence. Wasn't there Exit Music too? There is also a lot of underscoring that accompanies the Harmonia sequence that we would like to see released. Perhaps 20th Century-Fox will put out a RESTORED and EXPANDED soundtrack album when this film comes out on DVD (whenever that happens; hopefully soon!).

Even with its FEW flaws, I highly recommend this soundtrack. And see the movie if you get a chance, too. The VHS is out of print and not yet released on DVD. It airs on the Fox Movie Channel from time to time. Oh to see this spectacle in the movie house, in W I D E S C R E E N and 6 track STEREO! When it comes out on DVD I'll be the first in line to get a copy!

3-0 out of 5 stars Hello, Barbra!
Ok, Barbra was too young for the part. Many of her films require a suspension of disbelief. So what? She sounds great here and Lennie Hayton's arrangements are terrific. The big highlight is Barbra's duet with Louis Armstrong. I don't particularly want to sit in my living room and listen to Walter Matthau sing, nor do I enjoy the whiny vocal stylings of the rest of the high school production caliber cast, but that is why I have programming capability on my CD player. This CD issue replicates the original LP version, but really should have included the entire score in its complete, unedited form.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Great Musical
This musical score is awesome, except for Walter Matteau's singing, which is terrible. I would also like to have had the incidental music included here, not just the songs.... however, the CD is still wonderful and very well mastered. Streisand is superb, but note that Marianne McAndrew is marvelous (not sure if she did her own singing, but it's first rate), not to mention the late Louis Armstrong, brief as his performance is.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Great Soundtrack!
I enjoy this version a little more than the broadway version. Barbra does an excellent job. Walter Matthau also did a fair job. Micheal Crawford does okay, but he is mu ch better in "Phantom". This is a must for any Striesand fan.

2-0 out of 5 stars The parade already passed by!
I actually would give this soundtrack recording two-and-a-half stars. Though the costly film was a box office disappointment (even though it was one of the year's biggest grossers, it failed to break even) and it's soundtrack counterpart flopped (it stalled at a dismal #46), this recording features enough good moments to make it worth getting for Streisand fans. Barbra's renditions of "Before The Parade Passes By," "So Long, Dearie," and the then-newly written "Love Is Only Love" are terrific, however the seven minute-plus reworking of the title song never really gets going despite the glorious midsection featuring Louis Armstrong. The rest of the cast (including future Phantom Michael Crawford) deliver performances that range from bland to unlistenable. Listen to Barbra's tracks, skip the others. ... Read more


182. Swing! (Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $17.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B00003XAIA
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 9993
Average Customer Review: 4.87 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The neo-swing movement hit Broadway in full force with the December 1999 opening of Swing!, a high-energy song and dance revue celebrating the music of the '30s and '40s. The show combines swing classics ("Stompin' at the Savoy") and wartime standards ("I'll Be Seeing You") with originals from its cast members. Cabaret chanteuse Ann Hampton Callaway, Everett Bradley, Laura Benanti, Michael Gruber, and ukulele-toting Casey MacGill (fronting the Gotham City Gates) perform solos and duets as well as quintets arranged by Manhattan Transfer's Yaron Gershovsky. Callaway (whose writing credits include the theme song for the TV series The Nanny and Barbara Streisand's "I've Dreamed of You" and "At the Same Time") has a voice that can burn on a ballad, blare like a trumpet, or scat up a storm. Of course it's a shame not to be able to see director-choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett's high-flying swing and Latin dancers, but this cast recording is an enjoyable romp in the spirit of Broadway's 1981 Ellington tribute, Sophisticated Ladies.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars It don't mean a thing if you do not have SWING!
SWING is by far the best CD that has touched the music of swing! It contains a superb cast that are all so talented. There is nothing else that really can be said. If you sow the Broadway show, this is just as good. You feel like you are there and it is a wonderful experience that you need to have. Ship this in a day; do not wait for the longer shipment. How could I ferget, after you hear the voices of Ann Hampton Callaway, Michael Gruber, Casey MacGill, Everett Bradley, and Laura Benanti, you will never want to hear another person swing swing music. They are the best!! It needs to be in your CD played now. You are missing something if you don't have that swing!

5-0 out of 5 stars It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing
While I'm a dancer and actor, I've still been a little skeptical of dance shows on Broadway being considered musicals. I was even more wary of this show after seeing its performance on the 2000 Tonys, mainly because in two years, three Broadway dance shows included Sing Sing Sing as a number. However, when I saw Broadway on Broadway this past October and Ann Hampton Callaway's electric performance of 'Blues in the Night,' I decided to give Swing! another chance. Being a fan of swing music, I was familiar with almost all of the numbers. I found that the cast and orchestra gave WONDERFUL reneditions of the numbers, restoring them to the glory that they reached in the 30s and 40s. I've heard many of the songs played on the local Jazz/Swing station here, and my grandparents especially enjoy the album as they were around to hear the original versions. There is some fabulous dancer/musician interaction that must be seen on stage to carry its true merit, but the CD captures the energy and vivacity of the show beautifuly.

4-0 out of 5 stars "Hit Me with a Hot Note..." again and again and again!!!!!
SWING! is a delightful Broadway revue which celebrates the new neo-swing era, as well as saluting the past. Ann Hampton Callaway, Laura Benanti and Everett Bradley are joined by a lively chorus as well as Casey MacGill and the Gotham City Gates.

Laura Benanti (INTO THE WOODS, NINE) brings her thrilling soprano to the proceedings with "Two and Four", which segues into an all-out performance of "Hit Me with a Hot Note", performed in stellar fashion by this promising young performer.

Ann Hampton Callaway brings a coy sexiness and cynicism to her numbers, including "Bounce Me, Brother (With a Solid Four)", "Bli-Blip" and "Blues in the Night". She also sings the bittersweet "I'll Be Seeing You".

Laura Benanti, Geralyn Del Corso and Caitlin Carter (CHICAGO) join together for the Andrews Sisters-esque "G.I. Jive", whilst Benanti brings down the house with "Cry Me a River" with Steve Armour on the trombone.

All-in-all, a great cast album of a stellar production in the tradition of AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' and SOPHISTICATED LADIES.

5-0 out of 5 stars Swinging with Swing!
I saw this show OBC a couple of summers ago and WOW!!!!!!!!! I was so amazed, that I absolutely HAD to buy the CD while there! I am a little obsessed with musicals, and most students at my small college knows it! I am an R.A. in one of the dorms, and the girls on my wing constantly tease me about it. However, I think most of the girls have requested to borrow this CD because it's fabulous! All I have to say is that I am a permanent Anne Hampton Calloway fan, and her renditions of "I'll Be Seeing You," and "Blues in the Night" still blow me away! Every song is worth listening to, and thoroughly enjoyable!

5-0 out of 5 stars swinging swingers!
Wow, what energy! I have not seen the show - don't feel I need to, its goin' on in my living room each time I play the cd! The most remarkable vocal performances are the ones by Liz Hampton Callaway - easily worth the price for her alone!!!

SngingWeasel ... Read more


183. Les Miserables Complete Symphonic Recording
list price: $29.98
our price: $26.99
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Asin: B0002E5L62
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 32138
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars For a real review...
Great CDs.I much prefer the Fauntine and Eponine in this recording to the Origional London Cast.See Amazon.com's listing for this item. Several Les Mis conousseurs have given detailed, very helpful reviews, however, amazon doesn't have any to sell, so buy it here at CDnow, but if you want a great review of what to expect, take a look at amazon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best musical ever
I first fell in love with Les Miserables when I was high school, after I heard the song "On My Own."I have gone through probably 5 cassettes and CD's by now in one version or another.I enjoy this musical so much I think I don't have a strong preference for which version I am listening to, other than this recording doesn't leave out anything, so it is the one I prefer.For those who really love this musical, this recording is worth getting! ... Read more


184. March Of The Falsettos (1981 Original Off-Broadway Cast) / Falsettoland (1990 Off-Off-Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $18.98
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Asin: B000000PIO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 18020
Average Customer Review: 4.87 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Put them together and you have FALSETTOS...more or less
A few perceptive critics sang the praises of William Finn when MARCH OF THE FALSETTOS opened in 1981. Ten years later the sequel, FALSETTOLAND came along winning more praise for teh composer (and truth be told, his musical talends seem to have developed a lot in those intervening years.) DRG recorded both shows with their off-Broadway casts, and repackaged them in this 2 CD set when the revised Broadway production, FALSETTOS opened to rave reviews in 1992.

These Cds do not fully represent FALSETTOS. There were quite a few lyric changes in the first part (MARCH OF THE FALSETTOS) and the song "I'm Breaking Down" from IN TROUSERS was added. Still, the cast on this set is about as perfect as one could wish for, and DRG offers all the lyrics in the booklet to follow along.

Not all the music is pretty. Some is quite hard to take at times. But it all works in telling a unique story. And the show has not been forgotten: it still gets staged by community theatre groups regularly. It's a shame some people shy away from this one feeling it is a show for "gay" audiences only. It's not. The themes (Live, love, death and other unscheduled events) are universal. You don't have to be gay or jewish to appreciate this wonderful show.

4-0 out of 5 stars Much fun
These two works are some of the best work written for the American musical stage in the past thirty years, and absolutely are worth listening to again and again. Of the two, "March of the Falsettos" fares better overall than "Falsettoland": the latter has its moments, but is fairly sentimental (although understandably so given the subject matter), and the character of Trina vanishes somewhat from the foreground. But the whole thing is still a joy: the lyrics are almost painfully witty, and the whole thing is filled with tremendous zest and spark.

The cast is terrific, and all the adult male actors have become almost forever associated with their superb performances here. The two Trinas, Alison Frasier and Faith Prince, are quite different, although both are absolutely wonderful in their own fashion: Prince is particularly hilarious in "Year of the Child," and Frasier almost steals "March" from the rest of the cast (which is no small feat). Just listen to the latter on the marvelous little intro to "Please Come to Our House" to see how remarkable this actress can be.

5-0 out of 5 stars seriously worth all the stars in the world!!
Ever since I recently purchased this CD, this has become my favorite musical theatre piece ever. William Finn's work is an undiscovered gem (by me, at least!) that deserves all the publicity in the world. If you are a musical theatre fan and have a very open mind, you just have to buy this CD and give it a chance. I think this will especially appeal to Sondheim fans, as they seem to write a little similarly. the melodies are BEAUTIFUL and ingeniously crafted, the lyrics seem carefully handpicked, witty, and genious, and the wacky story line is hilarious at first, and then subdues itself into a more somber touching piece in falsettoland. every actor/actress in this cast is phenomenal! alison fraser is amazing!! just get the CD! please!

5-0 out of 5 stars Thank God... (and William Finn/James Lapine) for this!
How can I tell you how much I adore this musical? It's impossible to put into words how delightful this musical REALLY is! All the lyrics are tinted with a certain taste of raw emotion, sarcasm, wit, irony, and many devices blatantly lacking in some of the Thoroughly Mediocre productions we now have currently playing in theatres everywhere. Young musical writers should look to ingenious Mr. Finn for how to write a great musical. A friend once told me not to buy this saying... "Oh, It's really only for homosexuals." As a straight man, I can't comprehend this! It's such a movie musical... both the story of Jason and his father, and the sorrowful tale of the loss of Whizzer. This musical (two in one actually...) has everything a musical should have: a steady and believable plot, unforgettable characters, humor, pathos, catchy yet intelligent music, and heart.

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful musical theater
These two shows are essentially character and relationship studies told through song. There is little plot other than the establishment of four or five key characters. The music is wonderful, but the lyrics are amazing. They are so dense with wit and pathos that I think attending this show live without the libretto you would miss much of what was packed in those lyrics. Sitting in my living room with the (very small print) libretto was a fantatastic experience. While some have said the second show, Falsettoland, is a bit weaker, from a musical perspective I think it is stronger with several outstanding melodies. These are not musicals to play as background music. If you like setting aside an hour and sitting down and and having a completely involving musical experience, buy this. ... Read more


185. Titanic (1997 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B000003GA5
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7536
Average Customer Review: 3.84 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Unlike the boat it's named after, this show truly rose from the bottom. Despite detractors predicting doom before it had even opened, Titanic overcame hectic previews and endless technical problems to win a Tony for best musical and turn into a commercial success. Despite the fact that favorite performers like Judith Blazer or Victoria Clark disappear in the crowd and don't get solos of note, the show still manages to bring to life affecting characters. Maury Yeston's (Grand Hotel) score has the required majesty without ever being turgid, and the choral work he coaxes from his ensemble is eminently powerful. Though it requires a fair amount of attention on the listener's part, Titanic is also surprisingly emotional--its majestic finale packs more punch than 3 hours of Leonardo DiCaprio. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (100)

3-0 out of 5 stars Worth getting IF you're a Broadway fan
Yeston's Titanic is more remarkable for its musical structure than the music itself. His cunning reprisals of motifs from the hopeful, joyous pre-collision Act 1 to underscore the pathos and tragedy of the post-collision and sinking Act 2 are fairly interesting. However, the music itself starts off well but winds up dragging. My favorite number is the big number: I must get on that ship/The first class roster/Godspeed Titanic, because of the energy and excitement it generates, as well as the soaring majesty of its theme. But that aside, I wasn't that impressed by Barrett's Song, or by Brian d'Arcy James for that matter, although I will grant that he was one of the few to actually make his character a more 3D person. Which is another major gripe: many of the characters seem rather flat and evoke no feelings of any kind in you. Hence by the time Act 2 comes round, you're squirming and wishing the ship WOULD hurry up and sink these dreary people. Even the charm of recognising musical motifs from Act 1 wears off after a while, and Yeston isn't a good enough composer to create sufficiently elegant variations that sustain one's interest. While I don't regret seeing the show/buying the recording, if you're the sort who just wants some nice tunes and a good time from a Broadway show-nothing wrong with that, that's part of what the medium is about, after all-then don't get this. It's the sort of recording that requires you to appreciate its construction with your head, rather than viscerally. And even then it can be an uphill task.

5-0 out of 5 stars If I Could Give 6 Stars, I Would! It's That Wonderful!
Okay, I'll admit it! I bought this CD during the Titanic movie "rush" a couple of years ago. I liked musicals anyway, so I figured I'd have nothing to loose. What I didn't know was how much of a passion for music I was to gain from this one CD! The story, the music, the libretto, the cast--everything is complete perfection! On long drives I would sit and emerse myself in the crew and passengers of the Titanic through this wonderful score....The CD alone has helped me realize what music can do to a person . . . If you have the slightest interest in music, the story of the RMS Titanic, or touching poetry in lyrics, don't waste another minute! You owe it to yourself to buy Titanic: A New Musical!

1-0 out of 5 stars What were you smoking, Yeston, Stone?
Ok, so the music itself is not terrible, each of them thematically linked. Except the Lady's Maid song, which blows anyways. The script is this shallow, two dimensional view of a horrible tragedy that has been turned into several overrated movies, and now an overrated musical. So what if it won the Tony. "Sunset Boulevard" won the Tony and it's the worst piece of crap ever written.

I can honestly say I hate the show after my HIGH SCHOOL did it on a $2000 budget, most of which went to the rights. The music is insanely hard, especially on tonedeaf freshman girls who did the show just because they thought "My Heart Will Go On" was in it. The method of story telling might be innovative, but the script just undermines all the musical numbers, some of which are very good ("What a Remarkable Age") and others which are not so good, ("Doing the Latest Rag," "The Blame," "To The Lifeboats," and the almighty worst one, "Lady's Maid.")

Don't see this show. It's bad. It tries to turn an international tragedy into a musical comedy. (IE, whent he boats are sinking and a passenger says "I want to make sure we're in the same boat as the Astors!") Something tells me Stone was stoned when he wrote this. I don't care if he's dead now, he probably died when he realized the script had his name attached to it.

This show blows, and there's a reason why it sank on Broadway.

5-0 out of 5 stars Titanic - even better than Lloyd Webber!!
This musical is such a wonderful version of the story of the Titanic, it really is of a very high calibre of writing for the musical stage. People will see musicals from time to time and be amazed, moved or whatever they feel in their hearts at the time. When I first played this CD I was almost carried away to another world, so to speak, with the passengers. I could'nt help but feel a little bit sorry for all those on board, in maiden voyage. In all the excitement of the first voyage, none of them had any idea that this unsinkable ship would come to such a disaster so soon. If this musical touched me in this way, when it really tugs at your heartstrings, something is happening, something special. It's just a wonderful score!!

3-0 out of 5 stars Does anyone remember TITANIC?
The musical TITANIC went through a tortured preview period and opened to ONE favourable review: The rest were mixed and there were many outright pans. (My review was mixed) Yes, it won the Tony award... the other nominees that year were two flawed but interesting shows (STEEL PIER and THE LIFE) and one long-gone special piece from Lincoln centre Theatre: JUAN DARIEN: A CARNIVAL MASS. STEEL PIER had the best score of the three and the one that has stood up best to repeated listenings. THE LIFE and TITANIC both have their moments. When this CD was first released in 1997 I wrote:
*****
On Broadway TITANIC is another of those musical spectacles: all sets and flashy effects. Somehow the human element of the drama is dwarfed by the physical production, and it is not helped by the uninspired direction. On disc Maury Yeston's score is somewhat erratic. After a rousing opening choral number things get rather dull until near the end of act one. The record has been given a fine audio production. RCA has included a synopsis, color photos and all the lyrics in the booklet. Well worth a listen, but little of the score will linger in your memory afterwards.
*****

Upon re-listening to the CD I agree with all of the above..except the last line. I do find that several numbers do linger after a couple of hearings. And several cabaret artists have picked up on a few of the songs. The show ran 2 years on Broadway then toured. It is now pretty much a forgotten piece. Enough said. ... Read more


186. Notre Dame de Paris
list price: $17.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004U2EZ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10416
Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (78)

5-0 out of 5 stars Spectacular musically and visually
This musical totally rocks! Awesome music, awesome singers, awesome music! What else can one ask for? It even rivals my all-time favourite Phantom Of The Opera! Spectacular performances by Patrick Fiori, Bruno Pelletier, Garou, Hélène Ségara (my fav), Daniel Lavoie, Luck Mervil and Julie Zenatti (basically all the leads) and emotions are felt clearly through this live recording of an Intégrale performance. Best songs are all the featured duets and triplets (is there such a thing?) such as the awe-inspiring and most beautiful "Belle", the pretty "Ces Diamants-Là", the heart-wrenching "Les Oiseaux Qu'On Met En Cage" and the attention-grasping trial scenes between Frollo and Esmerelda "La Torture" and "Le Procès". This musical is also great visually and I would recommend that you also get the DVD to couple with this double live Cd. Then you might both see and hear this record-making musical touted as the most successful in french history. I am pretty sure that this can also appeal to non-speakers of French since the storyline is not too hard to follow and one can actually catch a gist of what is happening through the arresting music and voices! I lent this recording to my non-french-speaking cousin and he was simply blown away! He told me that at the end he cried buckets when Esmerelda died and then he asked me where he could get this double-cd recording. I was amazed ... truly music is universal. This recording is an essential addition to any musical theater aficionado and a superb introduction to the French musicals scene. I also recommend Roméo et Juliette as another fabulous introduction to French musical theater. So what are you waiting for? This recording is simply a must-buy and while you're at it, grab the DVD live recording of the same performance! And you'll be enjoying it so much, you'll be pressing the rewind button a thousand times!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent musical ... WOW!
I have never written any review before but I just have to rave about Notre Dame de Paris because it is simply AWESOME!! I'm a fan of musicals like Les Miserables, Miss Saigon and Phantom but I was totally blown away after listening to Notre Dame. It is simply the BEST.

Been recommending my friends to go for it but they look at me as if I'm crazy since none of us understand French. Believe me it really doesn't matter whether you speak a word of French or not ... you're just transported into a totally different world just listening to the beautiful tracks.

My personal favourite would be Bruno Pelletier and Patrick Fiori although I think all of the cast is simply excellent in the parts that they play. What a voice and I still get goosebumps everytime I hear the love duet (La Volupté) between Phoebus & Esmeralda!!

My recommendation is to get the 2 CD (Live French performance) album as all the songs are simply great and the concept album has only 16 tracks in it. Can Amazon please stock up on the DVD for the live performance in Paris? I will be one of the first to get a copy of it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
my friend burned me a copy of this and I listen to it almost every day. I listen to it at school all the time. Even though I have no idea what they are saying, it sounds so beautiful. Some of my siblings are taking french and some of the songs they can translate for me. It seems like everytime I listen to it, it makes my wanting to see the musical or buying the DVD more. I love the sound of Luck Mervil's voice who plays Clopin. My friend agrees with me too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastique...
This whole musical (opera technically, I believe) is absolutely wonderful, so I'd recommend getting the complete recording or especially the DVD, but this has some of the good songs, though definitely not all. Most of the voices are amazing and definitely perfect for the part, except for Noa. I feel that Helene Segara does a much better job singing Esmeralda's part. I suppose Noa's voice is okay if you like that type of singing, but I don't. That aside, she doesn't sound like the young, hopelessly in love girl that Esmeralda is. She sounds much too old and I don't get much emotion from her voice.
That's pretty much the only dark spot on this CD-- The music is beautiful, most of the singing is superb. I'd recommend getting it even if you don't speak French, because something is lost in the English translation, really.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece! Je sens l'amour qui s'eveille!
Notre-Dame de Paris is a masterpiece. I first had the opportunity to hear the music in my High School French class. My parents both speak French fluently so I have grown up around it, but I never realized how beautiful the language really is! Garou's performance as Quasimodo was wonderful and now I am hooked on "Seul" (if you haven't heard it, you really have to!). The music is deep and moving. Even if you don't understand French it is still beautiful. It pulls you into the story and creates a great atmosphere.

The musical is also amazing to watch. The movement is incredible and the vocals are indescribable. This CD is worth every penny!!!! Enjoy it!!!! Listen to the sample tracks and you will fall in love with it, just as I have! C'est magnifique!
And to quote the musical itself, "C'est celui pour qui mon coeur bat!" ("It is the one for whom my heart beats!") Au revoir! ... Read more


187. Selections From Cats (1982 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000001E3N
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3991
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of T.S. Eliot's poems may not have become Broadway's longest-running musical without the original cast to begin the raves. Which is why every aficionado of this theatrical classic will tell you that this is the one you have to own (although they'll probably tell you that you need the import original London cast album as well, the show having originated on London's West End and all). But this is the one with Betty Buckley singing "Memory"--the song that turned her into a star. While the complete two-disc set is an appropriate length for the musical that helped set off Broadway's "operatic" phase, this 57-minute highlights CD includes most of the familiar numbers, omitting the overture, "The Naming of Cats," "Bustopher Jones," "The Moments of Happiness," and the mini-epic "Growltiger's Last Stand." The show is now also available--in its entirety--as a home video, but the music still stands on its own, though some cynics have wondered why so much music only produced one hit standard. --Bill Holdship ... Read more

Reviews (13)

3-0 out of 5 stars The music was good, but could be better
The music in this CD does not in any way promote the musical itself. I never did like the music until I saw the play itself, and wittnessed the dancing. Memory is ok, and the Rum Tum Tugger has a good tune. The selections do not have the greatness of the Original Cast Recording. I would recomend the original Cats to the selections, just because some of the best music is cut out in the selections.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good CD!
Selections from Cats is a good CD. It has most of the songs from the musical, and is fun to listen to. Some of the songs seem to be lacking energy, though. I would suggest this CD if you only wanted the main songs and didn't need some of the other music (it's also good if you want to spend less money because it has most of the good songs). I only give it 4 stars because it is missing a couple of songs.

2-0 out of 5 stars Highlights from this score are all you really need!
CATS has always inspired a mixed reaction...see some of the other reviews this CD has garnered.
When I first saw the show back in 1982, I felt it was a lot of hoopla over nothing. Oh, the original set in the Winter Garden theatre was sight to behold: The stage stretched out into the auditorium and the walls were decorated with junk yard trash..scaled to a cat's eye view (i.e. 2/12 times its normal size to give us a cat's perspective.) During the overture the "cast of cats" dashed about the audience flashing their bright eyes...starling some and amusing others. Soon they were all up stage singing:
"Jellicle Songs for Jellicle cats....Jellicle Songs for Jellicle cats....Jellicle Songs for Jellicle cats....Jellicle Songs for Jellicle cats....Jellicle Songs for Jellicle cats...."

and I thought... ok...what's the point?

I admired the dancing and the spectacle. But when all was said and sung, I could see no compelling reason for this show to exist. Some of the songs are quite catchy (I prefer the American version of "Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer", I rather like "Bustopher Jones" and "The Old Gumbie cat") but, after a half hour it starts to get boring because it's not about anything. (Story: Hal Prince was asked to direct the show and wondered what it was about. Was Lloyd Webber was trying to make some sort of political statement? "Hal, it's about cats!" the composer explained. Exit Hal Prince!) By the time we get to the show's big aria "Memory" so much tedium had set in, that as beautiful as the song is and as well sung as it was, I dreaded the endless applause fearing an encore would only keep us in the theatre longer. Happily the finale arrived and we are told (finally) what the point of this show is: "A cat is not a dog." I lost three hours of my life to learn that???

Neither the original London cast nor the Broadway cast album include "The Awful Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles" (though the number really has to be seen to be fully appreciated.) The London cast has Elaine Paige as Grizabella while the American Cd offers Betty Buckley. The best bet is to go for the single CD of highlights from the U.S. production: you get all the best songs and none of the filler.

5-0 out of 5 stars WHAT A GREAT MUSICAL!!!
I have this musical on vhs at home. I love it!!

5-0 out of 5 stars I recommend this seller to a friend or buyer
The seller kept in touch and reassured me I was going to get what I came for. I recommend this seller to a friend or buyer ! ... Read more


188. The Best of Broadway
list price: $16.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00005UK11
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5348
Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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The Broadway Kids are just that: a group of preternaturally gifted young habitués of the stage (and television). They now have several CDs under their belts and this one combines songs from two of them, Sing Broadway and Back on Broadway. A lot of the material, like medleys from Annie and Oliver, is an obvious choice, but that doesn't make it any less welcome. Other songs are simply kid-friendly, like "You Gotta Have Heart." Then there are choices you don't immediately associate with children, like Hair (the original of which appears on Celebrate Broadway, Volume Seven: Kids, with the note that the song is "just a lot of fun to sing") and "Seasons of Love" from Rent. Overall, the album is best when you don't feel that the material's a stretch for children, as interpreters or listeners. For budding fans who need to hear their peers to relate to a show, this CD is a perfect introduction to Broadway, a first step toward what may well turn into a lifelong love. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (8)

1-0 out of 5 stars Vocal Problems Sink this CD
Every star (or group) has a gimmick, and here it's the age of the performers. That still doesn't excuse the low-quality and forgettable nature of this disc. It's a good introduction to Broadway for children under the age of 10, but for children older than that, it's just setting a bad example.

There are a lot of kids around the age of these children (12-15, I think) who have much more mature voices, and would have done a much better job with this CD. Some of the songs, such as Castle on a Cloud and the songs from Oliver and Annie, fare all right because they were written for young kids with these kind of belty voices. However, songs like "I Feel Pretty" and "Seasons of Love" call for more mature, grown-up voices.

However, if these kids were all in the 9-12 age range, I would excuse the juvenile voices. The part that frightens me is that these children all sound like 10-year-olds when some of them are actually as old as 15. I fear that the young voices on this CD have been ruined by too much vocal training, too early. There's a reason why good voice teachers won't train students until they are 11-12--it can destroy a voice to start before that. I shudder to think of what these kids will sound like in a few years. You want an example? Look at the early casts of "Annie."

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect for kids and adults!
I bought this CD for my 4 year-old because, for some time, I have wanted to introduce her to one of my greatest passions--the Broadway Song--in a kid friendly, unintimidating way. The Broadway Kids do just that. The children featured have all been cast in Broadway shows, hence the name. Here they sing a wide variety of the most popular Broadway songs, especially those from shows geared for kids like "Annie", "Oliver!", "Peter Pan" and "Charlie Brown". My daughter loves hearing their young voices and since I love to sing to her, she wants to learn to do it herself. My little one sings all over the house now thanks to this CD. The children are naturally gifted and their beautiful voices make listening to this CD a joy. You won't be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
My 4 1/2 year old daughter loves this CD. We listin to it everyday in the car. It is fun having music we both enjoy listening too.

4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Talent!!
These kids show so much enthusiasm at such a young age! I'm only 13 and I think many of these kids who are younger than me know exactly what they want to do with their futures. Many of the kids on the Broadway Kids Albums have gone on to do big things! Many of these kids, for example Greg Raposo (he sings Hair on the album), have gone onto bigger music careers while others became actors or actresses. These kids show so much knowledge of the buisness and they are all very talented!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for kids!
When my child was only a few months old I noticed that she smiled joyfully whenever I would sing show tunes to her. I bought this CD because I didn't know most of the words to the songs and figured I could gleen them from the recording. Instead she absolutely loves the CD and I can sing along with it which gives her even more joy.
It is a delightful recording offering the best of Annie, Oliver, and the Sound of Music, among others. I highly recommend this for children. It is easy to sing along with and Broadway plays are a great way to start introducing culutre to your kids without them rebelling against it. So much fun!!! ... Read more


189. Working (Original 1978 Broadway Cast)
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00005LZSR
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 16213
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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The original 1978 Broadway cast recording of Stephen Schwartz's Working has long been awaited on CD, and this great-sounding 2001 release proves it was worth the wait. Surely one of the more unlikely sources for a musical was Studs Terkel's 1972 book that compiled interviews of American working people discussing their jobs and what they liked and disliked about them. Schwartz transformed these interviews into a series of songs written by himself, Craig Carnelia, Mary Rodgers and Susan Birkenhead, Micki Grant, and pop singer James Taylor, and accordingly the variety of songs is as great as the variety of the workers featured. There's the lyric beauty of "The Mason," the rueful "Just a Housewife," the retiree's wry "Joe," the waitress's lilting "It's an Art," Taylor's pop-country "Brother Trucker," and the powerful emotion of "Fathers and Sons," realized by a compelling cast that features David Patrick Kelly, Joe Mantegna, Bob Gunton, and Lynne Thigpen, among others.

Six bonus tracks include a new version of the grocery checker song written for the 1999 L.A. Theatreworks production, Carnelia and Grant performing their own songs (unfortunately, Grant's track comes from a poor-quality audio source), and Schwartz's moving performance of "Fathers and Sons" from 1999's The Stephen Schwartz Album. Also welcome are 2001 notes from Schwartz paired with 1978 notes from Terkel, and a detailed listing of the composers and performers of each song. Working was filmed for American Playhouse in 1982. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars Welcome Release on CD for a Superb Show
The musical Working was (and is) a powerful revue. This new release on CD of the original cast album (plus a generous selection of extra goodies) is a welcome addition from Fynsworth Alley. The album does not capture the full power of the show and the songs (by different composers) do not feel as integrated as they do while watching the show (an experience everyone should be honoured to have). As a performer, Lynne Thigpen, shines the brightest in her two numbers, Cleanin' Women, and the rather sad song sung triumphantly, If I Could've Been (both by Micki Grant and they make up for her song Lovin' Al earlier on the CD). James Taylor scores with Millwork (the most powerful song on the album), Craig Carnelia with Just a Housewife and The Mason, and Stephen Schwartz with Fathers and Sons (particulary in the bonus section where he gets to sing it himself). The other songs on the album are hit and miss but this is still a treasure to finally have on CD.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! But there are some mediocre songs.
I really love the music to this show. I think that the best of the songs are the ones written by James Taylor and Steven Schwartz, though I love almost all of them. The ones that stick out as being bad are the annoying "Neat to be a Newsboy" and the yet-to-move-me "Nobody Tells Me How." The only bonus tracks I really like are "I'm Just Movin'" and "Hots Michael at the Piano." But the incredible performances of the songs "Millwork", "Fathers and Sons" (gave me goosebumps), "The Mason", and "Un Mejor Dia Vendra" will stick with you forever, and make you want to listen to this wonderful CD again and again. P.S- Lyrics or a description of each charachter singing the songs would have been nice in the CD booklet, but I guess it's too late to ask for that now.

5-0 out of 5 stars Keep Working!!!
I had the privilege of seeing a production of this wonderful musical at L.A. Valley College in May 2004. I quickly fell in love with the songs and the entire premise of the musical. Now, with this CD, I can finally sing along to all the brilliant songs over and over again, belting them out like there is no tomorrow.

What makes Working so special is that anyone can relate to the lyrics, they are powerful, beautiful, touching, and extremely real. Anyone who has ever worked a day in their life will feel the lyrics hit close to home. Whether you're a housewife, a valet parker, a fireman, a millworker, a teacher, a cleaning woman, or even a hooker, this musical has a place for you, no matter what job you do.The emotion, sincerity, and love expressed in the songs are amazing, and they are all extremely unique and a pure joy to listen to.

All the songs are fantastic but the stand-outs have to be "All the Live Long Day," "Just a Housewife," "If I Could've Been," "It's An Art," "Father's and Sons," "Cleaning Women," and "Something to Point to." I also have a soft spot for "Brother Trucker" and "I'm Just Movin" from the 1999 revival, which I am so grateful is included in this CD. This is a terrific, feel-great album everyone should listen to. Give Working a chance, it's worth it.

4-0 out of 5 stars a good, if obscure CD
i admit that this is an obscure musical, but nevertheless i found myself in a production of WORKING as Grace, the millworker. upon listening to the cd, i found that each song characterized the character well. the newsboy song is NOT annoying and my favourite songs are "its an art", "cleaning women", "if i could've been" and "lovin al". I would only recommend this CD for a real musical theatre afficionado, as those who don't appreciate the beauty of a musical won't understand these songs.

5-0 out of 5 stars off the beaten path
I had never heard of this show until I stage managed a musical revue that included "If I Could've Been." That song grew on me, and I finally had to check out the rest of the soundtrack. All of the music on this CD is fantastic, and the lyrics feel sincere, creating beautiful moments for each character. Stephen Schwartz's best decision with this show was collaborating, allowing different composers to bring their own talents and specialties to the music, thus making it more real and less "Broadway." My only criticism is that the liner notes are slim. ... Read more


190. Into the Woods (2002 Broadway Revival Cast)
list price: $19.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B000067G5Z
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 17334
Average Customer Review: 3.62 out of 5 stars
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Into the Woods, a trip to the dark side of fairy tales, usually doesn't show up on lists of Stephen Sondheim's finest offerings, but its broad appeal has turned it into the composer's most licensed project since its 1987 opening. It's no surprise, then, that it's become the object of a revival. The new production (which won the 2002 Tony for Best Revival of a Musical) was directed by James Lapine, the other half of the original creative team. Vanessa Williams, stepping into Bernadette Peters's shoes as the Witch, offers a powerful performance in what is, as written, no more than an ensemble part. The rest of the cast is wonderful, with special mentions to Laura Benanti as Cinderella and Stephen DeRosa and Kerry O'Malley as the Baker and his wife (all three will be familiar to New York musical buffs for their excellent performances in the Encores! series). All right, so the show's second act is still a lot less winning than the first one on stage, but the recording emphasizes the fact that it does boast some prime Sondheim numbers: "Last Midnight," "No One Is Alone," and "Children Will Listen." And we even get "Our Little World," a song that had been added to the 1990 London production. All in all, it's nice to have Into the Woods back, as it can both appeal to adults and provide an introduction to musicals for some kids. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (77)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not the original...that makes better and worse
Overall this recording is quite good. The addition of a second wolf coming back after following the Three Little Pigs was amusing. I had always wondered why only one of the Princes was a wolf. I also enjoyed the new ending to "Steps of the Palace". To me it had always been a song much too long for only Cinderella to sing.

I am quite partial to some of the casting of this revival as well. Molly Ephraim is the perfect Little Red in my opinion. Danielle Ferland was a fantastic actress but her voice tended to get on my nerves. I enjoy the fact that Molly does not belt everything.

Stephen DeRosa is also wonderful. Chip Zien I found to be too whiney of a Baker.

John McMartin I found to be a much more interesting Narrator than Tom Aldredge. Tom put me to sleep.

There were some casting mistakes, however. Vanessa Williams is nothing compared to Bernadette Peters as the Witch. She sounds beautiful when she is supposed to be mean and she sounds less beautiful when she is supposed to be beautiful. I cannot understand it.

Kerry O'Malley has a beautiful voice and I am thankful that she belts the end of "Maybe They're Magic". My one complaint with the original, Joanna Gleason was that she could not belt those notes. Despite Kerry's beautiful voice, I feel that she is a little too young for the role. Give her a few years and I think she'd be perfect!

Adam Wylie makes an interesting Jack. He took a much more animated approach to the role. I prefer Ben Wright's youthful voice to Adam's nasal voice, though.

Marylouise Burke I believe to be fine in the role of Jack's mother. Barbara Bryne was not much of a singer, either, in my opinion. The two women took very different appraoches to the role so much so that they even sang in different octaves. Had Burke been in the original and Bryne in the revival, I think everyone would be complaining as well. Both women are equally good in my opinion.

All of the other actors and actresses I consider to be equal (though possibly different) to the originals.

This recording is a triumph. Small bits of the actual music and lyrics that were not "perfect" in the original have been fixed. Though some cast members are not as good as the originals, none are lacking. This recording is well worth the money (as is the original).

4-0 out of 5 stars Back to the Woods
This lush recording of the new Broadway revival of the classic Sondheim fairy tale tastefully presents the score without adding much to the original. That's not exactly a bad thing, since this is one of Sondheim's most accessible and lovely musicals. Here, the arrangements are almost identical to the 1987 version, which is fine if you're not familiar with that landmark work. Still, almost every performance this time around is not the equal of its predecessor, making the CD a much less interesting addition to the Sondheim canon. Vanessa Williams fills out the role of the witch adequately on the CD, although she doesn't quite grasp that on an original cast album, the performance must audibly reflect what is accomplished visually in performance. She lacks the vitality needed to spice up her performance, and at times her singing resembles pop crooning. Ironically, Vanessa's performance ONSTAGE in the current revival has a ferociousness and power to it that surpasses Bernadette Peters' more neurotic interpretation. In fact, the revival itself is a superior production to the original and I was both more moved and awed by the show and the performances of most of the principals. It is interesting that these performers don't quite pull off the same magic on this recording. Many characters lack the vibrance needed to distinguish themselves for the listener. One exception is Laura Benatti, who plays Cinderella as less of a ditz and with more vulnerability that in previous incarnations. Of course, the most wonderful thing that can be said about this recording is that the score is one of the best Broadway has produced in the past 20 years. The idea of intertwining various fairy tales with the unpredictabilities of reality is intriguing, and Sondheim clearly pulls it off with songs that are fetching, muscular, touching and altogether memorable. If the 1987 original did not exist, this would earn 5 stars simply because of the astonishing originality of the score. So if you aren't familiar with "Into the Woods", get this and go there soon. You won't forget it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Get Over it Guys
I understand and respect everyones loyalty to the original production, but the point of putting out a revival this soon after the original production is to convey something different with this show, which actually contains rather powerful messages.

The issue that seems to come up the most is Vanessa Williams performence as the witch. I agree that Ms. Peters was wonderful, the role was written for her. But Vanessa is just as wonderful. Personally I think vocally there is no competition between the two. Vanessa just simply has a better voice, not "pop-voice", voice period. To be honest i'm not a big fan of Ms. Peters, Into the Woods is the only work that she's done that I have enjoyed.

I agreed with one reviewer that said that Sondheim shows are MUCH BETTER live than on recording, which is ashame. Vanessa is fantastic live. NOT TO MENTION ABSOLUTLY GORGEOUS!!! Her witch is much more seductive and serious than Ms. Peters more humorous take on the role.

As for transposing the score, WHO CARES. It's done all the time. And trust me, it's not because Vanessa can't hit the notes. If you listen to many of her cd's you hear that she belt's considerably higher than Ms. Peters on a regular basis. The lower key fits better with what she was doing with the role. People don't realize that key does make a big difference with how a piece is conveyed. Composers think about it quite a bit before they choose one.

I agree, overall this cast doesn't come across as well as the original, so those of you that didn't get a chance to see this production don't really care what it's like live. I'm just writing this because I don't want it to deter you from Mrs. Williams, she really is rather brilliant, in everything she does: actress, model, Ms. America, broadway, Grammy nom, mother, wife, etc...

Anyone that knows anything about Musical Theater knows Into the Woods. It's a staple in the literature. But I ask you to drop all your preconceived notions now, and just go along for the ride, it's different, but just as fulfilling.

5-0 out of 5 stars I love this musical
I realize that many people think that this cast is much worse than the original, but I think they both have strengths. I actually found that I enjoy this version of Into the Woods much more. I find that this CD has a cleaner sound, wonderful voices and the addition of funny lines are a real plus. Some differences I think that are well created were the harmony in 'on the steps of the palace' and I thought that 'A very nice prince', 'It Takes Two', 'Hello Little Girl' and 'Your Fault' were better in this version of the musical. This album is wonderful (and don't get me wrong, that original is too) and I wouldn't suggest passing it up. The songs are moving and an amazing feat in musical theater.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Different Take on a Classic
Okay, so the performances are somewhat weaker than on the Original Cast Album. That will not, as many reviewers have suggested, ruin the show. In fact, there are a few magical changes in the score that imporve what many thought could not be improved upon.
For instance, "Hello, Little Girl" is now sung by two Wolves, with a handful of lyrics changed so that one Wolf is singing to the Three Little Pigs. At the end of "On the Steps of the Palace," a short piece of harmony with Little Red Riding Hood and Jack (of Beanstalk fame) that will send shivers down your spine.
Perhaps one of the highlights is the addition of "Our Litle World," a beautiful, if short, song between Rapunzel and the Witch. While the song is certainly not the best of Broadway, it is a sweet exchange between mother and daughter that makes the fatal encounter with a Giantes much more powerful.
Vanessa Williams has been ravaged for her performance on this album, but I commend her for it. While she is strongly rivaled by Bernadette Peters, she has made a decent effort to make the character her own, and not to overshadow the other actors as Peters often does.
One annoyance that prevents this from being up to par with the original cast is the very strong vebrattos used by most of the cast, which messes with their pitch, most notably durring "Agony" and "Giants in the Sky."
It's a fun show, and the music is as good as ever. But I wouldn't pick this up if you own one of the previously released cast albums - there isn't enough of a difference to pay almost $30 for another. ... Read more


191. You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (1967 Original Off-Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B000050HZZ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10015
Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (19)

4-0 out of 5 stars Off-Broadway cast has the edge...
"You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" is a disarmingly small show which is preserved very well in this original, off-broadway cast recording. Compared to the recent broadway revival, this recording is more charming and less "brassy," and is overall much sweeter and childlike in performance. Especially noticable is the difference in "The Baseball Game" which is sped up significantly in the revival, giving it a rushed, frantic tempo, but here, slowed down, it becomes a humorously poignant song/story. The remastering, liner notes, and bonus tracks are superior, especially interesing are the bonus tracks of "demo" material that is very rare. Decca Broadway deserves public applause for re-releasing this fine, long-out-of-print score. Both this CD and the New York revival disc are worth owning, for there were significant changes in several songs made for the revival, but this disc has the edge in performance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Charlie Brown Rocks Your World.
It is so nice to have this album of the original cast on cd. YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN has been delighting audiences for nearly half a decade and the revival version sparked an even greater interest in the show. However, this was the production that began it all. Keeping in tune with the sweet spirit of the comic strip, this version of the musical is simple and relies upon the actors skill to portray the characters rather than a cartoonish tone and big instrumental score. Many of the songs are memorable and the performances bring the beloved comic to life. My favorite songs on the album include:

"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"

"T-E-A-M (The Baseball Game)"

"Peanuts Potpourri"

"Suppertime"

"Happiness"

The bonus tracks on the album are interesting and the booklet that comes with the cd is quite informative about the history of the original show. A great album for any Peanuts fan or Broadway buff.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but slightly lackluster
Having lately joined the pantheon of actors who have played Charblie Brown throughout this show's history, I was thrilled to hear the Original Cast. I was, well, not really disappointed, but not really thrilled either with this recording. It will always be the original recorded cast and it has its truly brilliant moments (Reva Rose's execution of Queen Lucy is wonderful, and The Red Baron has its place), but there are some things that just don't jive with what some might call the Charlie Brown sound or feel.

First of all, it seems this cast is made of actors who happen to sing, not singers who can act, and it's sometimes painfully clear. Sure, they're on the notes, but they're not even really pulling off the little kids act. Second, and maybe because I'm a child of the later 20th century, they just sound like old people, even though I know the actors were pretty much in their prime. They just talk like people from the 60s, and I don't feel like they embody the childlike innocence that is Charlie Brown.

In any case, some of it is very good and charming, despite these "few superficial failings," but for some definite character appeal and really excellent reworkings of great music, check out the New Broadway Cast Recording.

4-0 out of 5 stars Brings back memories
I had the double album set of this show when I was a wee one and enjoyed it immensely then (there was a story book included). I am buying it now for my toddler - talk about connecting generations!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but this is NOT the classic 1967 Release!
I have the original LP release from 1967 and this CD, although it is definitely the original cast, it is *a different performance of the play*. The differences are "minor" but not "trivial" because there are even dialogue changes.

In my opinion the *original* LP release is still better, because these tapes, although they are nicely cleaned up, are not even as charming as the original LP! I was really happy to get this and still am, but I still believe that the original LP is superior (and no I'm not confusing the 1999 revival with this!).

I wish there were some explanation as to why this re-release chose a different set of performances compared to the original LP release. I really liked the LP versions and, except for the fact that they are now a bit scratchy (LPs being what they are), they performances are still more charming than this release.

So in Charlie Brown fashion I sigh and shrug and figure that life is bittersweet and that some things, loved as they were in childhood, are lost forever... and let sweet distant memories be what they are. ... Read more


192. Hello, Dolly! (1964 Original Broadway Cast) (Deluxe Edition)
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B000099SZ0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 15408
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Molly Gallagher Levi?
Well, fellas, RCA Victor has given us the "Broadway Deluxe Collector's Edition" of "Hello, Dolly!" and its almost a "wow." The new remastering is a slight improvement over the original CD release, but the small error in "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" hasn't been fixed. I suppose after 39 years the mistake is part of "Dolly!" cast album mystique. However, it shows the lack of attention to detail that mars this new edition. (Sony has it all over RCA in this respect.) On page 10 of the album's new booklet the title character of the musical is identified as Molly Gallagher Levi. Adding insult to injury, the "M," the first letter of the first word of the paragraph, is about four times larger than the other letters. Yes, it's fun to hear the Mary Martin, Pearl Bailey and Ethel Merman tracks, but they are hardly rare recordings. What about the "lost" "Dolly!" songs, tunes that were discarded from the show on its rough road to Broadway smashdom? "Hello, Dolly!" will always be a five-star cast recording and the highlight of this new edition is the brand new -- and totally captivating -- Carol Channing interview (tracks 20-26). The 1964 original cast recording (on LP, original CD and now deluxe CD) remains a five-star achievement because you can't improve on its "opening night" freshness and energy. However, I had hoped this new "Deluxe Edition" would be a bit more deluxe. It demands color photos and an interview with the great Jerry Herman!

4-0 out of 5 stars The epitome of 1960s Broadway
HELLO DOLLY! is not the best musical Bradway has ever produced. It was not even the Best musical of the 1960s - but it has that brassy broadway sound that many people associate with the Great White Way.

This remastered original cast album sounds just fine, but then so did the previous Cd release. The "Bonus Tracks" provide welcome samples of Pearl Bailey, Mary Martin and Ethel Merman in the role, but the part still belongs to Carol Channing.

Jerry Herman's score remains a delight and the cast delivers the songs with gusto.

The packaging is awful!

WHY would RCA Victor resort to such ugly, generic packaging for this product which has been a best-seller for them for 40 years now. A cheap cardboard sleeve with a 16 page booklet glued in. The boolet for the most part simply reprints the liner notes from teh previous CD release. The disc sits in a tray opposite the booklet. This is not a good way to store Cd's at all.

It is the packaging that reduced this from a 5-star item to 4 stars.

Happily, nothing can dim Carol Channing's performance.

5-0 out of 5 stars A single CD that is a collector's delight!
This CD is a special treat for those of us who love classic Broadway musicals like "Hello, Dolly!" The CD contains all of the songs on the original LP and CD. The cast sings with all their might and the result is a wonderful recording; the CD has excellent sound quality! I got goosebumps when listening to the title song with Carol Channing! GRIN "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" and "Elegance" are rousing numbers; "Ribbons Down My Back" is a beautiful tender ballad.

There are quite a number of wonderful extras: a 10 minute interview with Carol Channing; two songs performed by Mary Martin in the 1965 London production of this stage musical; and two more songs performed with Pearl Bailey when "Hello Dolly!" was done with an all black cast in 1967 on Broadway. Of special note are two recordings of Ethel Merman singing songs written specially for her when she was picked to be the original Dolly (she turned down the part). Ms. Merman put these songs out on a 45 rpm record since she was not part of the original cast recording on January 19, 1964 (three nights after opening night on Broadway).

The liner notes are extensive and the listener is treated to some great photographs, too. (These pictures, though, are in black and white; and the notes could have been a bit more attractively packaged. I agree with the reviewer who notes that this CD could have had better packaging.)

All in all, this is an excellent audio CD recording of the original cast with splendid extras. A must for musical lovers and fans of the ladies who played Dolly over the years!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the top musical comedies
This recording is a very good example of what might be the best Musical Comedy ever made. David Burns does a good job with what little he has to sing. I remember Charles Nelson Reily from Match Game on T.V., and his performance is a truly great one. But the true star here is Carol Channing. Her performance glows back there in 1964. A few weeks ago,I was watching the 2004 Tony awards. Channing awarded someone with a popular rapper(cannot quite remember his name). They did a rap version of "Hello Dolly"
It was HILLARIOUS. Even 40 years cannot take away Carol's special something that made this such a great show. Get this and enjoy it until you wear it out!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Channing Charms with Jerry Herman Musical
HELLO, DOLLY! is not really among the truly great American musicals--but that isn't to say that it doesn't offer a rollicking good time, as the original cast recording amply demonstrates. Based on the comedy THE MATCHMAKER by Thornton Wilder, the play is the story of professional busybody Dolly Levi--a widow of the early 20th Century who dabbles in private lives for both profit and pleasure, often working as a matchmaker for those whose love lives seem beyond all hope. On this particular occasion, she dabbles in a number of lives, making the course of true love run smooth... for both others and herself.

The Jerry Herman songs are jewels, and with the music tailored to her eccentric talents star Carol Channing works wonders with them. "I Put My Hand In" is a true delight, a near-patter song that Channing tosses off as if the complex lyrics were pure stream of consciousness, and on her lips "Before the Parade Passes By" becomes a classic show-stopper. Channing's performance of "So Long Dearie" is charmingly wicked--and one need hardly mention the wonders she works with the title tune.

But even though this is truly Channing's show from start to finish, she isn't the only talent in it--and the rest is quite fine. David Burns is appropriately blustery, and "It Takes A Woman" is a classic of comic musical numbers; Eileen Brennan sparkles; and Charles Nelson Riley, of all people, proves that his talent on stage far exceeded the stereotypes of his various television appearances.

The arrangements are bright, and although the state-of-the-art of this 1960s hardly compares to present recording technology, the soundtrack of HELLO, DOLLY! not only sparkles, it actually manages to convey the excitement you inevitably feel when the lights go down and the orchestra strikes up for what you know will be a good, old fashioned knock-out Broadway show. While it's really too much of a star vehicle to be considered in the same league with such classics as SHOWBOAT, THE KING AND I, and the like, it's just too much fun to ignore. Recommended.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer ... Read more


193. Once Upon a Mattress (1997 Broadway Revival Cast)
list price: $16.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B000003G7Y
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 8108
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (20)

3-0 out of 5 stars It's ok...
I LOVE the musical Once Upon a Mattress, having played Princess Winnifred myself, but Sarah Jessica Parker just doesn't cut it for me. Of course, being a much more recent performance, the sound quality is much higher on this CD than on the original Broadway soundtrack, and some of the orchestrations are better too, but if you want to hear a REAL Princess Fred, buy Carol Burnett's recording. Parker's voice is too sweet and girly to be Fred. Burnett had the part down--wild, belting, exuberant, and bordering on obnoxious. Parker just seems to want to sing pretty--and while she does have a beautiful voice, having a beautiful voice isn't necessarily the top requirement for a Fred. I also don't really like some of the changes in the new Broadway version. Some of the songs really were better before they were "fixed;" they should have been left alone. Anyway, overall, this CD was at least worth my money, and I enjoy listening to it occasionally, but I prefer the original Broadway soundtrack, bad sound quality and all. So, go ahead and buy this CD, but make sure to buy the original too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
With gorgeous orchestrations, lovely voices, and Sarah Jessica Parker at her very best, this recording far outshines the original. The entire score is featured here, all done tastefully. It is also worth mentioning that some of the lyrics and orchestrations were updated and sound more contemporary giving the show a greater Broadway feel. Don't waste any more time and BUY this CD. You won't be sorry.

4-0 out of 5 stars a fine recording; Sarah Jessica Parker tries her best
This cast album to the 1997 Broadway revival of ONCE UPON A MATTRESS is quite enjoyable, though the production itself met with mostly-negative reviews and it quickly shuttered.

ONCE UPON A MATTRESS and the lead role of Princess Winnifred are still largely identified with the legendary Carol Burnett. In this revival, Sarah Jessica Parker gamely attempts to crawl out from under Burnett's shadow, though she doesn't really succeed. Burnett had a seemingly-effortless belty singing voice, wheras Sarah Jessica Parker's light soprano is pretty but not substantial enough for the songs of the boistrous, bombastic Winnifred.

Parker especially struggles with the long, sustained phrases in "Shy" and "Happily Ever After", though her "Swamps of Home" is quite charming. Mary Lou Rosato is perfect for the role of Queen Aggravain, and David Aaron Baker is a fantastic Prince Dauntless.

Jane Krakowski (GRAND HOTEL, NINE) is a breathtaking Lady Larken, ably-partnered by Lewis Cleale as Sir Harry. Their duet of "Yesterday I Loved You" is sublime. The cast also features Heath Lamberts (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST), Lawrence Clayton, Tom Alan Robbins and David Hibbard.

A fine recording but it pales beside the peerless original Broadway cast album with Carol Burnett, Jane White and Joe Bova.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Musical Score for All
Although some may think that Sarah Jessica Parker and her voice is annoying in this musical I don't think anyone else could have done it better. She has that quality that keeps you listening because it is humorous and her voice adds charm to her character. "Shy", "Normandy", and "Happily Ever After", "Spanish Panic" are among my favorites. The entire company has done a marvelous job in this recording of Once Upon a Mattress. I only wish this musical version was out on video. This is a great musical and would be enjoyed by all!!

2-0 out of 5 stars Sarah Jessica Parker CANNOT sing!
I'm sorry to rate this so low but SJP is horrible. I cringe every time I hear her bark her way through "Shy." Please take my advice and get the old recording with Carol Burnett. She far surpasses SJP in talent, both musically and artistically. ... Read more


194. Annie (1999 Television Film)
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Asin: B00002MZ57
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6158
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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The cast of Disney's 1999 television production of Annie reads like a who's who of Tony winners: Grace is played by Audra McDonald (Ragtime, Carousel, Master Class), Rooster is Alan Cumming (Cabaret), and Lily is Kristin Chenoweth (You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown). Add Alicia Morton (Young Cosette in Broadway's Les Misérables) in the title role and Victor Garber (Sweeney Todd, Assassins) as Daddy Warbucks, and you have a cast that is refreshingly not driven by Hollywood box office, other than Kathy Bates as Miss Hannigan.

Resumés aside, how is the soundtrack? Well, McDonald might be a touch operatic and Garber a little young, but these are minor quibbles with a cast that is effective throughout (even Bates). Morton might not be the belter Andrea McArdle was in the original cast, but she's very good, and if anything the difference makes her sound like the little girl she is. Perhaps the best moment is McArdle--still sounding great at the ripe old age of 35--making a brief cameo as the star-to-be in "N.Y.C."Longtime fans of the show will notice that, in order to fit a two-hour prime-time window, the production had to leave out most of the historical context of the FDR administration ("A New Deal for Christmas," "We'd Like to Thank You, Herbert Hoover"), as well as some other familiar numbers ("You Won't Be an Orphan for Long," "Annie"). This soundtrack is thus best considered a souvenir of the television production or a complement to, rather than a replacement for, the original cast recording.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars almost as good as the obc recording
Alicia Morton gives an outstanding performance as Annie in the new Disney version of the classic musical. Along with her are performances by Audra McDonald as Grace, Alan Cumming as Rooster, Kristin Chenoweth as Lily St. Regis, Victor Garber as Mr. Warbucks, Andrea McArdle as the star to be, and Kathy Bates as Miss Hannigan. It's nice to see that there are the real musical numbers on this cd. Audra McDonald has done a magnificent job as Grace, she was more than perfect for the role. It was also nice to see Andrea McArdle back on the Annie stage, as we all know she was the original Annie. Kristin and Alan both do oustanding as Rooster and Lily. I especially loved Kristin's role, she was adorable. All in all, an excellent cd with a great cast.

4-0 out of 5 stars overall-pleasing presentation of the ANNIE score
This soundtrack to the ABC-Wonderful World of Disney version of ANNIE stays faithful to the musical's Broadway origins, unlike the gritty John Huston film version of 1982. The cast is largely made up of seasoned Broadway veterans, with a few newcomers. Alicia Morton heads the cast as the titled moppet, and is a wonderful singer with a lot of personality and presence.

The amazing ensemble also includes Victor Garber (SWEENEY TODD, DAMN YANKEES) as Daddy Warbucks, Audra McDonald (MARIE CHRISTINE, WONDERFUL TOWN) as secretary Grace Farrell, Kathy Bates ('Misery') as Miss Hannigan the addled orphanage mistress, Alan Cumming (CABARET) as Rooster and Kristin Chenoweth (WICKED, STEEL PIER) as Lily St. Regis. Apart from a truncated Overture, the score plays out pretty well with a faithful nod to the original orchestrations by Philip J. Lang (Doug Besterman and Danny Troob are among the new orchestrators credited here). And Broadway fans will get a huge kick out of Andrea McArdle's cameo as the Star-To-Be in the "NYC" musical sequence (McArdle was the original Annie on Broadway and in London). On the whole a very satisfying new version of ANNIE.

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5-0 out of 5 stars Annie is the best
This version of Annie is the best ever. I love the soundtrack and listen to it everyday. Alicia Morton is the best she sings beautifuly and is deffinetly worth your money.

4-0 out of 5 stars It's Still About Andrea
Finally a decent movie version of Annie. The first one was awful!! The very, very, very best moment for me is Andrea McArdle belting out the star-to-be's part in "NYC." She will always be "Annie" to me and her voice still gives me goosebumps.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I love all the "Annie" movies and plays I've seen, and this CD is one of my favorites!

Highlights of the CD are:
"Maybe" - Alicia Morton has a really good voice, and should have a career in singing...maybe replace some of the cruddy ones out there. She definately pulled this off.
"Tomorrow" - once again, she did really well. Also, it's just a great song, it's a happy one.
"N.Y.C." - I don't know the name of who "Broadway Star to Be" was, but she was great! This is my favorite song on the CD
"Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" - The version by the orphans is better, I think, because it's a lot more fun!

I love this CD and it's always in my CD player. If you like Annie, I reccommend it! ... Read more


195. Anything Goes (1962 Off-Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B0000024VD
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7846
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars 1962 Off-Broadway Revival Original Cast recording
There are at least four versions available on CD of revivals of Cole Porter's 1934 "Anything Goes". This Sony release of the 1962 revival original cast production, starring Eileen Rodgers, is by far the best of the four that I know. It's important to understand, however, that this version retains only about half the songs originally written for the 1934 production, and adds several other Porter favorites in their place. The story line - such as it is - easily lends itself to song substitutions. Before buying any version, it's helpful to compare the different songlists, and listen to a few clips if possible. The 1987 Lincoln Center revival production, available on RCA with the original New York cast starring Patti LuPone, also substitutes some songs, but fewer than on this Sony album. The same Lincoln Center production is also available on a First Night CD in its 1989 London cast recording, with Elaine Paige replacing LuPone; despite the largely different casts, these two arrangements are identical, and the two recordings sound very much the same. I tend to slightly prefer the later Paige over the original LuPone. In contrast, EMI's 1988 London studio cast version with Kim Criswell attempts an exact reconstruction of the original 1934 score; this songlist, and probably also its overall presentation, will be the most authentic but not necessarily the most satisfying of these four CDs - it's the one I find the least interesting.

5-0 out of 5 stars it's delightful, it's delicious, it's de-lovely
After I was cast in a recent school production of Anything Goes as Purity, one of Reno's Angels, I bought this CD and was pleasantly surprised at the score. Cole Porter is brilliant, and it shows in "All Through The Night", "Heaven Hop", "Blow Gabriel Blow" and the title song. I actually felt like I was aboard the S.S American. This CD is highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Porter at his best!
Many people consider Kiss Me Kate(1948) to be Cole Porter's greatest musical, but in my opinion this piece, written 14 years before in 1934 and as such from a period in musical theater that has not turned out as many enduring hits as the decades that follow, is far superior, as it contains many more hit songs and is genuinly funny when seen on the stage. Indeed, this is one of the few musicals i know where the script could stand on its own and where the songs only serve to enhance the overall effect. I find it hard to believe that anything that has delighted audiences countless times in the years since its original opening, through many successful revivals and amateur productions could ever have been anything less then the result of long meticulous labour; it is mind boggling to think that it was in fact put together at short notice out of a completely different idea about a ship wreck. The original production must have been wonderful; I mean can you think of anyone who seems more suited to the part of Reno Sweeney than Ethel Merman. Yes, Eileen Rodgers. I have not had the privalige of hearing the 1987 recording so I cannot judge Patti LuPone's performance, but I can safely say to any prospetive buyer that the cast of this recording are of such a superior quality that one can overlook the fact that several of the songs have been ommited and others have been put in their place. The wonderful, Portery feel of the piece is not lost, as all the new additions are classic examples of his style that suit the piece perfectly. I simply cannot imagine Anything Goes without It's Delovely, Friendship and Take Me Back To Manhattan, and what would there be for the classic character of Bonnie if Heaven Hop and Let's Step Out were omitted? I love all the songs on this recording,(especially Blow, Gabriel, Blow and the title song) but my all time favorite has to be You're The Top. I believe I heard it at least 15 times in the week after I got the CD. Eileen Rodgers is of course wonderful, and I have a sneaking suspition that Hal Linden may have talent! Oh come on just buy it, it's glorious!

5-0 out of 5 stars Anything Goes is so fun!!!
Hello! I would just like to take a moment to point out that Anything Goes is a great musical! My friends from Chittenango High School just did it for their spring musical and they were awesome! Sam, Chris, and Jiggs, you guys were awesome! So, I bought them this CD as a gift for doing such a great job. I also bought myself one too. And I have to tell you, I have listened to it everyday since I bought it. It really is that good. At first you might think that some of the main character's voices are annoying (like Bonnie and Moon) but they really grow on you after awhile. I have really come to love this CD and now I'll always think of how much fun it was to see my friends put on their version. And they will always have something to remember how much fun it was to do. So, I recommend this CD to anyone who likes Anything Goes or similar musicals and, if you haven't seen the show find out how you can see it because its just great. Its extremely funny. And I'm giving one last shout out to my Nango pals...you guys were the best! Chris...wonderful job playing Moonface Martin. Sam...the best singing and dancing I've ever seen. Love you to death! Jiggs...like I have told you, no one will ever play the bum better than you. Love you guys! I hope this was helpful and fun to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Anything goes is excellent
I purchased this disc in the early 80's and have listened to it over and over. I was surprised at how well Hal Lindin was. I would recommend this disc to anyone. ... Read more


196. City of Angels (1990 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $17.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B00000272K
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 12965
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Cy Coleman and David Zippel's City of Angels is a seductive depiction of 1940s Los Angeles, capturing swinging jazz, torchy ballads, witty lyrics, and even a Manhattan Transfer-like Greek chorus (arranged by ManTran guru Yaron Gershovsky). James Naughton and Gregg Edelman star as Stone and Stine, respectively a tough Raymond Chandleresque PI and the writer who dreams up his adventures. Randy Graff plays Stone's long-suffering secretary and Dee Hoty the requisite femme fatale. Loads of atmosphere and tasty songs such as "What You Don't Know About Women," "With Every Breath I Take," "You're Nothing Without Me," and "You Can Always Count on Me" make City of Angels a modern classic. It won 1990 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Leading Actor (Naughton), Featured Actress (Graff), Best Book (Larry Gelbart), and Best Original Score.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (24)

4-0 out of 5 stars Confusing musical, fun music
When my highschool (!) decided to do this show a few years ago I was a little upset. I mean it isn't a musical theater classic a la My Fair Lady, Cabaret, or Sound of Music. But anyway, I got this CD and I really liked the music. But later, as the production rehearsals began I was amazed--"City of Angels" has a plot that makes absolutely no sense. Of course, I understood the plot by the time the performances rolled around, but none of the audience did.
This all aside, "City of Angels" contains some very snazzy songs that have an inherent charm. And the original broadway is certainly the one to have. "City of Angels" is the type of musical that will be unknown in a few decades. But that doesn't mean it doesn't have some merit, and even though City of Angels tries to hard to be intelligent, it does have some very fun songs. I recommend this CD to musical theater fans who are interested in trying something new--in this case, a very jazzy and above all *fun* musical.

5-0 out of 5 stars love it!
I'm not the type of person who would give this CD (let alone the show) a second thought, as I'm known more to listen to such things as "Rent" and "Pippin." But, to hell with it, they're doing it at my school, and I bought the CD so I wouldn't forget the words to my audition song as I have before. This is a fantastic, funny, and vibrant musical. The music is great (personal fav's being "With every Breath I Take," "You're Nothing Without Me," and "All you have to do is Wait"). It's not limited to just the jazz band swing crap, either. There are Latino songs, the cheesy 1930s, 40s love songs, and even a (as it's described everywhere) torchy ballad. Get it and love it, and come and see the show at Northwestern Theater, because we have to raise a lot of money to pay for the sound people we're bringing in.

1-0 out of 5 stars Pity of Angels
I am a songwriter who, after many attempts, has given up writing his own music after admitting that he simply can't do it. So I guess that no longer renders me a songwriter but a lyricist.

However, I like to think that composer Cy Coleman embodies the spirit of my missing composing ability. He is an artist who is able to craft beautiful and lasting melodies that stand well on their own but fit well in their original contexts, too.

And, make no mistake, City of Angels is no deviation from this school.

However, I also believe that it is the lyrics which have to be strongest in order for a show to be good (otherwise, only the overture lives on, such as the case of Leonard Bernstein's "Candide") and that is not the case in "City of Angels." David Zippel is a putz. He seems to follow no particular school but is own, which seems to be, "Hey let's make the songs as raunchy and as schmaltzy as possible!" and his lyrics lack any sense of poetry or style. Mr. Zippel may be a lyricist, but he is not an artist.

And, as long as I'm on the topic of art, librettist Larry Gelbart doesn't know what he's doing either. I know what he's trying to do, which is transcend the "non-artist" label that he's acquired by writing television comedy for so many years (as Neil Simon did), but he doesn't do it. Yes, there are moments in "Angels" that I would consider "funny," but nothing "worth laughing at."

So, when you put this together with the consideration that the thing that makes a musical different from opera (or other artforms, for that matter) is that the words are THE MOST IMPORTANT THING and the music is secondary, we can safely call "City of Angels" a bad musical.

That's not to say that musicals shouldn't have good music--they're MUSICAL, for crying out loud! Indeed, that's what separates a good musical from a GREAT musical. So let's say we replaced David Zippel with Sheldon Harnick or Fred Ebb and Larry Gelbart with (say) Neil Simon, then the possibility of "City of Angels" being a great musical is greatly increased.

The moral of this story: When you have soemone like Cy Coleman on the team, don't waste him!

5-0 out of 5 stars great show
I was lucky enough to see the show when it just recently opened. Plus I had a front row seat. The performances and songs and music were all terrific. I'll never forget it, especially the finale.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Cy Cleman's best with dazzling lyrics by David Zippel
CITY OF ANGELS took the top awards at the 1990 Tony ceremony, and deservedly so. The book by Larry Gelbart is fast moving and funny: loaded with wonderful one-liners. Then there is Cy Coleman's wonderful score perfectly in keeping with the late 40s period of the piece. David Zippel made an impressive debut writing lyrics that perfectly match the characters and situation and are every bit up to the level of the book. Listen to Dee Hoty plow her way through "It Needs Work"... so totally in tune with what the character is feeling. The recording has been well-produced and easily communicates the story. There is a synopsis and libretto enclosed. Hopefully we'll see a full fledged revival of CITY OF ANGELS before too long. ... Read more


197. How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying: The New Broadway Cast Recording (1995 Revival)
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Asin: B000003FXA
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5953
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Just as new producers had done to Broadway's 1992 revival ofFrank Loesser's Guys andDolls, this Tony-winning revival of Loesser & Burrows's 1961Pulitzer Prize winner has been transformed into a cartoon-like fantasy,featuring even more satire than was originally intended. Which, afterall, is the only way numbers like "Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm" or "ASecretary Is Not a Toy" can be played in the post-feminist late '90s.And yet, the original 1961 period piece still remains the bettermusical recording--because it had both Robert Morse (who, with all duerespect to Matthew Broderick, owns the role of Finch) and Rudy Vallee;and because some aficionados are mighty unhappy with the changes madein the orchestration of the vehicle's much beloved showstopper,"Brotherhood of Man." --Bill Holdship ... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars Such an excellent show!
What an absolutely wonderful recording! I recently acquired this CD from a friend and was blown away! The cantor and comedy of the music keep me laughing, but are well counterweighted by the slightly more serious pieces. Megan Mullally shines as Rosemary, her voice is perfect for the role. "Paris Original", her parts in "Rosemary", and especially the "I Believe in You" reprise showcase just how wonderful she is. Cutie Matthew Broderick is also wonderful, and the supporting cast is excellent! Victoria Clark in "Been a Long Day" is absolutely awesome! The company numbers just excite me. Even if you haven't seen the show, this is an EXCELLENT recording.

5-0 out of 5 stars Loesser's most adventurous score in a first-rate revival
Every song in HOW TO SUCCEED is a winner, even though there's hardly a standard in the whole show. How many musicals can you say that about? Asked to do the show, Frank Loesser truned it down and finally reconsidered: he came through with what is probably the most ambitious score of his career. How do you explain a song like "Coffee Break" or "A Secretary is Not a Toy"?--and yet both songs work beautifully, and are hilarious and still timely send-ups of office caffeine addiction and sexual politcs (respectively).

Although Matthew Broderick (while still quite fine) may not be as ingratiating or sexy as Finch as Robert Morse was, the rest of the cast is just about ideal. The real standout, as someone mentioned before, is the marvelous Victoria Clark as Smitty, but almost the whole cast shines. Before "Will and Grace" was a hit Megan Mullaly made me listen very carefully to her terrific renditions of "Happy to Keep his Dinner Warm" and (especially) "Paris Original," and Luba Mason is VERY funny as Hedy LaRue.

4-0 out of 5 stars Bigger is not always better... but also not always worse
The transformation of HTSIBWRT (the acronym by which the original was known) to H2$ (the acronym for this major revival) was not a simple one, even though (surprisingly) the show proved so timely when revived its book didn't need to be greatly rewritten. Its orchestrations, however, were enormously revamped and expanded, sometimes to the show's detriment (the reworking of the big finale, "the Brotherhood of Man," doesn't have the same kind of impact the original did, for example). And despite the fineness of Matthew Broderick in the lead role, he doesn't project the kind of ingratiating sexiness that made such a star out of Robert Morse. But everyone else in this re-do is superb, from Ronn Carroll as Mr. Biggley to Megan Mullaly playing the ingenue very charmingly years before she would stumble across the TV studio set as Karen Walker. (She's very charming in the great "Paris Original" number.) Best of all is Victoria Clark as Smitty, the heroine's best friend: her singing and speaking voice are so perfectly clear and memorable that you may never be able to get her pronunciation of the name "Rosemary" in the beginning of the show's second act completely out of your head.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful energy in this recording!
I recently purchased this recording to fill out my Broadway collection even more and I absolutely fell in love with the performances.

When this cast recording first came out, I was skeptical-thinking that it could never supercede the 1961 original. I was intrigued when The New York Times had Broderick on its front page with an in depth article on how an actor can infuse a popular song into something meaningful and how the current crop of opera singers could learn a thing or two from listening to MB's way with a lyric. Well...that article provoked quite a reaction from opera fans. Listening to this recording years later, I cannot help but agree with The New York Times. Broderick sings each song in a lilting voice, delivering the lyrics with intent. He sings the characterization and presents a guileful, cunning rogue.

Megan Mullally is a wonderful Rosemary who sings with just the right touch of irony to keep one from gagging on the sexist perception of women. Love Walter Cronkite's contributions and the additional dialogue added to the intro. and exit of songs aids the the characterizations as well. The sound production is top-notch and the whole cast performs on high octane. Recommended highly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!
A true gem of a revival, the most notable performance given by Victoria Clark as Smitty. Fresh orchestrations, nice contemporary vocal styles leave you toe tapping through to curtain call music. ... Read more


198. Wonderful Town (2003 Broadway Revival Cast)
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Asin: B0001BFDIW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1967
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green's 1953 collaboration in Wonderful Town doesn't lack for recordings, including two good studio casts from 1998 and 1999. Yet the uncommonly funny show hadn't received a proper Broadway revival until this 2003 production. As Ruth Sherwood, a role created by Rosalind Russell, Donna Murphy gives a glorious five-star star performance, and nowhere is it more obvious than on "Conga!" and "Swing," the latter a delirious spoof of 1950s Greenwich Village hipsterisms. As Eileen Sherwood, Jennifer Westfeldt doesn't have the crystalline pipes of Audra McDonald (from the 1999 album) but she gives a warm performance that comes across well on CD. The rest of the cast is studded with pros who take obvious delight in the show, and music director Rob Fisher polishes Bernstein's score to a gleam. Truly, Broadway doesn't get much better than this. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars What a Blast!
Saw the show in New York and have to say it put my faith back in Broadway. Got the CD, now a mainstay in my car. Instead of all these rock group musicals (Mamma Mia --hmph!), and any long-awaited complicated Sondheim piece, Wonderful Town is what a Broadway musical is all about. If Bernstein makes you only think of West Side Story, try this nostalgic and comical jazzy music that is truly timeless. The score is hopping and fun! Donna Murphy is hilarious as Ruth Sherwood and remains the toast of Broadway. It is so refreshing and true.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Town = Wonderful Recording
I am a complete lover of Broadway and musicals. However, my tastes lean toward the newer musicals or musicals with depth and meaning behind them, Kander & Ebb and Sondheim. I have never been a complete fan of the "old-school" musicals, and I was very hesitant to buy this CD. On a whim, I figured "what-the-heck," and boy, am I glad I did.

Bernstein's music is fun and very catchy, and Donna Murphy rocks. I have never been a fan of hers, but I listened to her sing and had to double check the coverlet to make sure it was her singing. I couldn't believe how wonderful she was.

While there is nothing deep about the story, 2 sisters moving from Ohio to New York City and finding love, it is sheer fun and the music, singing, and performances by all the actors bring this exuberant fun to life in this new recording. It's a definite addition to anyone's collection.

4-0 out of 5 stars a top TOWN with Donna Murphy
This sparkling-new WONDERFUL TOWN has been a long time coming. When the Encores! series presented it a few seasons ago starring Donna Murphy and Laura Benanti, there was instant talk that the production should go to Broadway. Several things got in the way, including schedueling conflicts for Murphy, etc. Now finally it has come, with Jennifer Westfeldt stepping into Benanti's shoes to play Eileen, and the fabulous Donna Murphy in her element as Ruth. Murphy should be congratulated for taking on the role, as it and the show were written especially for the talents of Rosalind Russell, a non-singer with a great comic ability and stage presence.

Murphy is a great singer and slips into the material like she was born for it. Murphy won back-to-back Tony Awards for her performances in PASSION and THE KING AND I, though has also turned in great performances on TV and on the dramatic stage. "100 Easy Ways", "Swing" and "Conga" are performed to comical perfection. Despite having a thin voice, Jennifer Westfeldt gives us an Eileen of exteme depth and charm, with "A Little Bit in Love". Gregg Edelman has the voice and manner to play Ruth's admirer Robert Baker (his "What a Waste" is right on the mark), and the cast also includes Raymond Jaramillo MacLeod as Wreck and Nancy Anderson as his wife Helen. This cast album also includes 2 bonus tracks of Betty Comden and Adolph Green circa 1953 performing three songs from their score.

5-0 out of 5 stars You Need To Buy This!
For once, these stars prove that emotional value packs a far greater punch than great vocals. While Jennifer Westfeldt and Donna Murphy are both talented singers, their best element is the warmth and humor on the cast recording of the wonderful broadway revival. Get it get it get it!

4-0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately, I see and hear ghosts . . .
While I agree with most of the other reviewers, Donna Murphy's interpretation of Ruth does not erase my memory of Rosalind Russel in the role. Although this is really dating me, her performance in the 1958 CBS television production remains indelible in my mind even to this day. On this recording, at least, Miss Murphy is but a mere ghost of the late, great Miss Russell. I get the impression that she is trying so hard to not be a Rosiland Russell clone that her performance on the CD comes across as forced and unnatural by comparison to Miss Russell's on both the Decca original cast recording and on the Sony TV cast recordings.

Both Edith (Edie) Adams and Jacquelyn McKeever are vocally more at home as Eileen than is Jennifer Westfeldt (listen to them as they sing "A Little Bit in Love"), and the huge contrast between their lyric sopranos and Miss Russell's basso profundo make the end of "Ohio" a memorable moment in the theatre.

And getting back to Miss Russell. Her delivery of "It's about this . . . whale" is priceless.

I'll treasure the revival album for its completeness and modern sound, but it will never replace the others with Rosiland Russell. She IS "Ruth," in the same way that Carol Channing IS "Dolly," Ethal Merman IS "Mama Rose" and Barbra Streisand IS "Funny Girl" Fanny Brice. ... Read more


199. The Threepenny Opera (1954 New York Cast) (Blitzstein Adaptation)
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004X09T
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 25443
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Lotte Lenya and Bea Arthur in Kurt Weill's masterpiece!
THE THREEPENNY OPERA is indeed Weill and Brecht's masterpiece. The darkly humorous, anarchic and gritty musical has influenced many works throughout the ensuing decades (a recent example being URINETOWN). The now-legendary 1954 off-Broadway revival at the Theatre de Lys is still agruably the greatest production of THREEPENNY, which featured new lyrics translated by Marc Blitzstein (JUNO).

Decca Broadway's reissue of the cast album is average, though. Several dropouts and surface hiss are slightly off-putting to the ear.

Lotte Lenya plays the role of the streetwalker Jenny Diver, and her rendition of "Pirate Jenny" is one of the two major highlights from the set. The other highlight is Bea Arthur's portrayal of Lucy Brown; her reading of "Barbara Song" is full of grit and she belts it in grand style.

Jo Sullivan (who would later marry Frank Loesser) gives a sparkling performance as Polly Peachum, joining Bea Arthur for the caustic "Jealousy Duet". Scott Merrill adds his silvery voice to the menacing "Mack the Knife". The cast also features Charlotte Rae and Martin Wolfson.

Also included is a rare recording of Lotte Lenya singing "Mack the Knife", accompanied by Marc Blitzstein at the piano.

4-0 out of 5 stars Take it for what it is, not what you (or I) expect to be.
Okay, I bought it suspecting different things than I got. I read the reviews, I listened to my mother who saw it back in the 50's with Lotte Lenya, and I know the background of the music, authors, style, etc. The words are very toned down due to censorship (according to CD liner) and and some of the songs have been clipped. Some I barely rcognized. However, it is still extremely enjoyable. The background "orchestra" has a good tinny sound which goes well with the music. Lots of fun listening to well known actors and actresses behaving as social misfits. Easy to listen to; worth the few bucks it cost. Wish there was more of Lenya...

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good despite watered-down lyrics
This is an excellent recording, marred only by the fact that the record company forced Blitzstein to censor a number of the lyrics, including some of the best and brightest ones. If you've seen a stage production of this play, you may be disappointed by the toning-down of the lyrics on this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant- and like nothing else you've heard
What a find! To hear the original 1954 cast of this show is such a treat. To hear actresses like Charlotte Rae and Bea Arthur, now best known for mediocre 1970s and 80s sitcoms, performing in their prime- well, that alone is worth the price of the album.

The feel of this production is, I suspect, very close to the plays Brech and Weill were writing back in Germany in the Weimar days- certainly more so than attempts to recreate it in shows like "Cabaret". And the sound of the remastered recording is absolutely stunning- close your eyes and you're sitting there in the front row of a tiny off-broadway theater, listening to the show unfold before you.

And the music- well, these are songs that are still being recorded and interpereted by artists today. Sting's version of Mack the Knife. Stan Ridgeway's "Army Song".

What else can I say? Buy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars AWESOME!!
This is AWESOME!!I originally just listened to it, because my favorite actress, Charlotte Rae, is in it, but now I'm really hooked.I listen to it all the time! ... Read more


200. Chess (1988 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $15.98
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Asin: B000002WBG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 13494
Average Customer Review: 3.74 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

It was a success in London but a bomb in New York in 1988, but Chess's cult reputation has only grown over the years--quite a feat for a dramatic musical about love and cold war politics at a chess tournament! While Tim Rice's lyrics aren't too shabby, Chess owes it all to the team of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, a.k.a. the BB in Abba. Their score has the drama that makes for good musical theater, and it doesn't shy from canny pop hooks either. "One Night in Bangkok" was a hit in Europe, while Judy Kuhn particularly shines on the poignant "Nobody's Side." Indeed, Chess is full of superb numbers that basically fall into two types: instantly memorable and growing-on-you memorable. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (19)

4-0 out of 5 stars A great female lead with many mediocre men
This ABBA and Tim Rice musical, the music is really the star with mediocre lyrics, was a box office flop on Broadway after a successful run in London. It had also been rewritten and re-staged before hitting Broadway. Dull staging and uninteresting male leads were the downfall of the show. Judy Kuhn, who played the lead Florence, was the absolute best part of the show. This recording shows off Judy Kuhn in the best way possible, her voice is forceful and vulnerable. I can not imagine a better Florence, I know Elaine Page fans will disagree but Kuhn has a better belt; every solo seems hand picked for Kuhn and she make the men look bad. In comparison, Anatoly (former the Russian in the London recording) is nasal and Freddy (the American) is just average. The changes to the titles help you know what the song is called; the changes to the plot make Anatoly much more sympathetic and even Freddy to a certain degree. The absolute best changes happen at the beginning of the show and the end. In the London, the story of Chess is tacked into The End Game and just make too long, on this recording The Story of Chess gives the story a prologue as well as an initial introduction to Florence's father, who is important in the improved plot. The changing of the plot weakens the character of Svetlana, her part is again more sympathetic, but much smaller.
Overall the Broadway is a better reading because of one person, Judy Kuhn.

3-0 out of 5 stars The original was better!
I'm astonished at how many reviewers preferred this American version over the original London cast. I bought this album when I was in high school when "One Night in Bangkok" was first playing on the radio. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that "Bangkok" was just one of the songs from a beautifully written, melodic musical. I must have listened to the London version every day for months.
I truly feel that this Broadway version falls far short of the London one. Perhaps, as another reviewer commented, it's because I'm so in love with the original. Murray Head, who plays Bobby Fisher in the original, has a more interesting and listenable voice than Philip Casnoff from this version. By the way, why is the character no longer called "Bobby" in this edition? He is now "Freddy". There's a part in particular, in the song "You Want to Lose Your Only Friend?" where it sounds like Caswell can't hit the high notes, so he switches to the lower octave ("I'm only teasing Soviets/With gentle bonhomie"). And, I'm sorry, but if you grew up hearing Head's "One Night in Bangkok" on the radio like I did, you can never really enjoy another version as much. It's like hearing McCartney and Lennon's "Yesterday" sung by Frank Sinatra; the vocals are very good, but not quite right.
Some really good songs are missing, or re-written with a different perspective, which I didn't like. "The Arbiter's Song", which I loved, is gone. "The Argument" (I think that's what it's called), which was a Lover's quarrel between Florence and the Russian, has turned into "How Many Women", an argument between Forence and Freddy. But we already hear them arguing in "You Want To Lose Your Only Friend". David Carroll's "Russian" accent is annoying and difficult to understand.
The best part of the Broadway album is Judy Kuhn (Florence). Her voice is beautiful and powerful. Her song "Someone Else's Story", has been added to this album, and it's the reason I bought the CD. The song is about having to make difficult choices. Had I known the rest of the album would be so different from and worse than the original, I probably would have tried to download only the one song from the Internet.
I guess everyone has to make their own choice. My vote is definitely for the London version.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Musicals around
It's quite surprising that this musical didn't enjoy as successful a run as other more established ones like West Side Story or My Fair Lady. It should.

It is HEAVILY under-rated; Why so? Its Overture is breathtaking - on a par with West Side Story's. The album spans across various music genres from pop/rap ("One Night In Bangkok") to opera ("Anthem"). This album affirms the versatility and tremendous talent of both the composers and lyricist.

With Chess, Tim Rice seals his position as one of the best lyricists around with fantastic songs like "Nobody's Side" and "You and I". Not falling short, the ABBA duo matches Tim Rice's witty, punchy lyrics with their melodic, contemporary musical composition. This combination keeps the essence and tension of the musical intact.

A must-have for any musical enthusiast.

2-0 out of 5 stars Supremely irrelevant, mostly unlistenable
This is one of the least listenable soundtracks of the past 20 years, pure and simple.

Even if you know the plot of this show, you won't be able to understand what these songs are meant to convey. The mid-80s hit "One Night in Bangkok" is supremely butchered by a man who sounds as if his throat will explode at any moment. Other songs make you wonder if the gents who wrote the music (Benny and Bjorn, the male members of ABBA) were in some altered state of consciousness. The notable exceptions are "Nobody's Side" and "I Know Him So Well," which were apopular in England, but are unknown in the US. Cabaret singers take note: here is a power ballad and a torch song that are generally uncovered.

The men playing Russians try to force pseudo-Eastern European accents through their mouths; the result is that most of the lyrics are (thankfully, at times) not easily understood.

That said, there is one saving grace: Judy Kuhn. She has easily one of the more under-appreciated voices in recent history. She conveys her character's emotions with wonderful accuracy -- she's good enough to make you realize how lousy everything else about this CD is.

4-0 out of 5 stars Out of print, but not out of mind.
This show's troubled 2-month run on Broadway (Apr.-June 1988) in no way dissipates the quality or emotional impact of its cast album. As with many Broadway flops, the problems lay more with the book and the staging, rather than the score, which is marvelous. Judy Kuhn, Philip Casnoff and the late David Carroll are all in fine voice here, and the cast album preserves what is now a cult show, probably forever doomed to summer stock and local productions. One of the last of the 80's British megamusicals, "Chess" is pop show music at its finest. This recording is out of print, but well worth searching for at your local used CD shop. ... Read more


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