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21. Hairspray (2002 Original Broadway
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22. Time to Say Goodbye
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23. The Frogs (2004 Broadway Cast)
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24. Mary Poppins
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25. Chicago (The Miramax Motion Picture
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26. Assassins (2004 Broadway Revival
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27. Rent (1996 Original Broadway Cast)
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28. Disney's Beauty And The Beast:
29. Wicked (Karaoke)
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30. Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor
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31. Brooklyn The Musical (2004 Original
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32. Magic - The Very Best of Olivia
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33. Footloose (1984 Film)
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34. West Side Story
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35. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
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36. Movin' Out (Based on the Songs
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37. The Last 5 Years (2002 Off-Broadway
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38. Aida (2000 Original Broadway Cast)
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39. Camelot (1960 Original Broadway
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40. West Side Story (Original 1957

21. Hairspray (2002 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
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Asin: B00006AALQ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 476
Average Customer Review: 3.84 out of 5 stars
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The cast recording for the Broadway musical of John Waters's 1988 paean to dance, music, big beautiful women, and integration is a sheer delight. It's wonderfully upbeat all the way through, with a classic feel that's in keeping with the story's setting in the early 1960s. The characters come alive in these songs, from Marissa JaretWinokur's (Tracy Turnblad) opening lines in "Good Morning Baltimore"to the stunningly upbeat finale, "You Can't Stop the Beat." The music is byMarc Shaiman,whose recent projects include South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut,as well as a number of film soundtracks, and his compositions aresimultaneously solid and exuberant. Shaiman and Scott Wittman's lyrics brim over with the unreserved passions and primary-color emotions that made the film so successful. Regardless of one's familiarity with the story or the stage production, it's hard to avoid the appeal of this recording; even the less cheerful songs are awash in bright colors, without disrespect for their subjects. --Genevieve Williams ... Read more

Reviews (146)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful show!
What a fabulous show! I saw Hairspray in previews in NYC three days before it officially opened, and I must say that it was sheer joy put to the stage. The music is catchy, smart and wonderful, the acting is superb and hysterical, and the overall production is virtually flawless. The CD captures the heart of the show and the almost frantic energy of the cast. Perfectly cast, the entire ensemble gives it their best. Each song has its own personality, every character comes to life, it is musical comedy at its best. Harvey Fierstien as Edna Turnblad brings a smile to your face the minute you hear him sing, Tracy has a voice that can pierce through anything, and her spunky energy shines, and the rest of the cast sings brilliantly. The audience was electric when I saw the show, everyone was anticipating a ton of fun, and the show came through. I highly recommend this CD cast recording to everyone who loves musical comedies...NYC/Broadway can be proud of all of the high quality shows there right now, including Thoroughly Modern Millie, Urinetown, Producers, and The Full Monty. Thank you to all of the folks bringing these great shows to life!

4-0 out of 5 stars the crowning-jewel of the current Broadway season
HAIRSPRAY is, in my opinion, the crowning-jewel of the current Broadway season. It's the perfect musical version of the John Waters film.

Marissa Jaret Winokur is the perfect Tracy Turnblad. Her infectious voice colors "Good Morning Baltimore", "Without Love", "The Big Dollhouse" and "Welcome to the 60's" with gusto and old-school showmanship.

Harvey Fierstein is perfection as Edna, and eats up his role with relish. His duet with Dick Latessa (as husband Wilbur), "Timeless to Me", is a real high-point of the score.

Rounding out the cast are Kerry Butler (a former Belle in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST) as Penny Pingleton, Laura Bell Bundy as Amber von Tussle, Linda Hart as Velma von Tussle, Clarke Thorell as Corny Collins, Matthew Morrison as Link, Mary Bond Davis as Motormouth Mabel and Corey Reynolds as Seaweed.

1-0 out of 5 stars Fit indeed for Fantasia Squeaky Idol Barrino
The squeaky voices in this overrated show are so annoying that one just has to cover his or her ears. While fun when you're WATCHING the show, the "musical" is just bland to listen to on CD. It's worse when you realize the show has no substance either.

So you've got a winner that doesn't have anything good in it. Reminds me very much of no-talent Squeaky Idol Fantasia Barrino.

3-0 out of 5 stars Overrated!
I like Marissa very much and had fun watching this. Compared with the major productions that graced Broadway last season, however, this pales substance-wise and form-wise. You can't even call the "singing" in this musical real singing. It's all squeaking, like, as some people have pointed out, what newly-crowned WB Supestar & Queen of Ghoul Fantasia Barrino does in all her numbers on American Idol.

Enjoyable to see, but not fun to listen to (unless you've seen the musical), and definitely not deserving of any of the awards it received.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hairspray Is Fun The Whole Way Through
The absolute joy of Hairspray the Broadway show is available for keeps in the form of this wonderful CD! The hilarious and adorable songs make for a great time wherever you are. These are no Sondheim songs; they're not deep and don't have much relevance outside of the 60's and Baltimore. But none of this matters if you take the recording for what it is: an fun and energetic listening experience. The original cast's substantial vocal talent jumps out in tracks like "Run and Tell That," "You Can't Stop the Beat" and "Without Love." While Marisa Jaret Winokur's voice is a little whiny, it does nothing to ruin the classic fun of the album. The supporting cast is flawless; they lend the phenomenal energy of the show to the CD for a great time! ... Read more

22. Time to Say Goodbye
list price: $17.98
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Asin: B000002SMW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 651
Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential recording

Fans of small, pretty-voiced soprano Sarah Brightman will not be disappointed by this CD. In addition to some pop songs, Brightman sings high-flying excerpts from Orff's Carmina Burana, Puccini's "O mio babbino caro" (performed better by almost any other operatic soprano elsewhere), and "Alleluia" from Mozart's Exsultate Jubilate. One might call this a crossover disc; others might just see it as a recording featuring a pop singer with artsy aspirations. Whatever it is, Brightman's fans love her; others do not. Two duets with tenor Jose Cura remind the listener what opera singing really ought to sound like. --Robert Levine ... Read more

Reviews (207)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Surprise Pleasure for Not Particularly a Brightman Fan
I'd rather listen to Sarah Brightman than watch her. Her voice is lovely, but very small. Her technique, I think, is miniscule. She does not belong in operatic repertoire. All that criticism out of the way, I'll say this is a most delightful album! (Surprise!).

I'm weary of hearing Bocelli, who I find sometimes pleasant at best, but essentially boring, so forget the first number. "There's No One Like You" is gorgeous. The two duets with young Jose Cura are sensational, although that's because of Cura, who has a stunning voice and with his singing and acting skills and appearance/personality ought to be a much bigger star than Bocelli. Any of you who haven't: listen to him, watch him when you can. This is THE big tenor star on the rise.

The "Aranjuez" number by Brightman is ever so appealing, as is "In Trutino". Yes, her voice is too small for the "La Wally" aria, but it's pretty nonetheless, as, of course, is "O mio babbino caro." All in all, this CD is somehow just an enjoyable listen. I even like her read on the Gypsy Kings number.

5-0 out of 5 stars Songbird Soothes Our Tensions
This album is particularly relaxing. I love to kick back with a glass of wine in a comfortable chair with my eyes closed and just listen.

Sarah's voice is complemented by Andrea Bocelli on the title track and Jose Cura on several others. The material runs from classical to pop, all with an operatic flavor. This is a great album to ease into opera or classical appreciation with. It is not true opera, but emulates some of the vocal and orchestral stylings associated with classical opera. Classical "purists" should look elswhere.

Sarah puts on a strong performance, exhibiting a multitude of qualities with her voice, ranging from strength to wispy warblings and everything in between. She even speaks between the final two tracks, recorded live. Her speaking voice is a surprise! If you enjoy relaxing music in a classical style, you will enjoy this CD. I would put this in her top three recordings, alongside "Eden" and "La Luna."

5-0 out of 5 stars Whoever said that Miss Brightman has a thin voice is crazy!
I must say that this is one of my most listend to Sarah cds. I wish that some people would just get over the fact that she has a small voice sometimes, and just listen to the music. For heaven sakes, she is famous and it making more money than i ever will, she can sing bad all she wants!! who are we to say anything different??
Go to one of her concerts. It is the most amazing thing. If you close your eyes, you will literally think that you are in heaven!! Because, obviously, she is the "Angel of Music"!!!
I think that Miss Brightman deserves 2 thumbs up!! BRAVO!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Time to Say Goodbye
Miss Brightman sing like a little angel and the song become very nice and heartfelt. She is a tremendous vocalist that put many singers to shame with her sheer tallent and poise. Ok, so it is not high art or culture but it is fun album with great songs. Highly Recommended.

1-0 out of 5 stars If you've never heard anything better, this sounds good
I liked this CD for a little while when I didn't know of any singers that could sing better than her. She sounds okay on songs that are written for her because they make her voice sound less breathy and thin. Her voice is "sweet" but very thin. I have heard singers who have pretty voices that aren't so dramatic and full of vibrato as some of the other reviewers complain of opera singers.
Rebecca Luker
Dawn Upshaw (And she's a true opera singer)
Hayley Westenra

And if you think this is real classical singing or even anywhere close to classical singing listen to any decent Soprano over 16 who is classically trained and you will be amazed and how much better they are than her. ... Read more

23. The Frogs (2004 Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B0006SSMWY
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1394
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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For a long time, Stephen Sondheim's 1974 compact offering The Frogs was known for two things. It was originally staged in Yale's swimming pool with a chorus that included Sigourney Weaver and Meryl Street; and its song "Invocation and Instructions to the Audience" has become a perennial in Sondheim tributes and cabaret shows. The show was given a belated studio recording in 2001 with Nathan Lane in the lead role of Dionysus. Lane then went back for more--literally, since he adapted and expanded Burt Shevelove's book--and Sondheim wrote several new songs. Finally, The Frogs was a full-length musical, staged in 2004. New tracks "I Love to Travel" and "Ariadne" are on par with Sondheim's best--the first a bouncy song, the latter a wrenching love song that could become a new recital favorite. While this recording is more enjoyable than the actual show, which could be a bit of a slog, it's hard to shake the feeling that maybe The Frogs should have remained a curio. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Looking for a metamorphosis
I listened to this album twice while driving in the Nevada wilderness. Nathan Lane is always a charming person to spend some time with, even if he's just a voice coming out of my CD player. The problems the critics identified in the Lincoln Center production are vaguely apparent on the recording: With the exception of "Shaw" and "Ariadne," the songs sound like Sondheim using half his considerable brain -- the songs are clever, but they're not tied to the passions or thoughts of complex characters. The final song really is a letdown -- it's a call to action, but to do what? And the humor presented in the dialogue is pretty routine. Still, you should by this if you're either a Sondheim or a Broadway score completist, and there are several minor rewards.

5-0 out of 5 stars I love it
Up front admission:I love Stephen Sondheim perhaps above all other muscians in the world (runners up include Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays, YellowJackets, Keith Jarret).That said, I am completely delighted with Frogs.It has, in full quality, both things I always love about all Sondheim's work:the rich musical composition, and the perfect rhyming and delicious wit of the lyrics.I would mention that the wit, in this case, is even greater than his past works, though I would fear you might think that is why I love it so much, and that would be wrong.It's not the wit, it's the music.But the wit is great in this one. You can tell the actors love it too, and they are all in prime form in this recording.My advice:get it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sondheim has done it again: "The Frogs" hits the mark
I suppose it depends on how you feel about Sondheim in general, but I think that this recording- while far from his masterwork- does showcase the Sondheim tunes that made him famous.Certain songs are forgettable- "Shaw" I could do without- while others really are well done."Ariadne" is utterly gorgeous, wrenching, and altogether perfect.The title song is really incredible, and at one point a five-part counterpoint is done with different famous songs pieced together.It is at the same time jaunty and eerie, not an easy mix to acheive."Dress Big" is an example of what Sondheim has been criticized of in the past- tying together rhyming lyrics without a real melodical pattern."I Love To Travel" is, however, a good example of Sondheim at his best.It's fun, fast-paced and catchy, with the lyrical style that made him famous.Other songs, like "Fear No More" are surprising, but in the best possible way, beautiful ballads that catch the listener off guard.It is easy to see where the new songs were written and which ones were preserved from the version he did at Yale, so certain songs, no matter how good, seem out of place.Over all, the music is very good, but it's the kind of cast recording where you have to skip tracks.

As for the performers, I really must say this was well cast. Nathan Lane does a great job of being a robust and energetic Dionysos, and even proves his vocal versatility in "Ariadne", although it would be nice to hear that particular song recorded by somebody else with a less distinct tone.Because Lane's voice is so easily recognized it is very hard to get past on songs like that.(I never saw the show on stage, by the way.I am just saying what I understand from listening to the CD.)In addition, I was disappointed that Roger Bart didn't have a larger singing role.He's a fabulous performer, immensely talented in both his singing and acting, and he did the best he could with the little solos he had.Lane and Bart were actually the two biggest reasons I bought this CD, being a huge fan of The Producers.I don't feel they let me down.The other actors do a good job, most notably Michael Siberry as William Shakespeare.His "Fear No More" is soft and despairing, a true delight.Peter Bartlett was just so perfect for the role of Pluto, and he's very fun to listen to.It is hard to gauge Daniel Davis' performance from listening to the recording, but I saw him recently in La Cage Aux Folles, so if his performance in The Frogs was anything near as good as he was in that, he must have been amazing.

Over all, a very good recording.Poignant at parts and redundant at others, it has higher amitions than it can live up to- perhaps if it hadn't taken itself so seriously, it would have really been superb.A worthwhile recording to listen to, I recommend this for any Sondheim fans or general musical theatre enthusiasts looking for a good time.It hits the mark, even if at times it fails to remember "It's only a play".

4-0 out of 5 stars Sondheim Aficianados, Jump to It!
Being a Sondheim fan is a chronic exercise in exhiliration and frustration, and the newly refurbished score of "The Frogs" provides no exception to the rule.Stretched to 2 1/2 hours on the stage of the Vivien Beaumont, last summer's lumpen production exposed a slight effort collapsing under the weight of its own ambitions.What is preserved here, for better and worse, is also the best of what was offered.It's a mixed bag, for sure, with a handful of floppo numbers surrounded by beautiful examples of Sondheim at his best.The famous opening "Instructions to the Audience" is cute rather than funny, and that's no compliment.In addition, Sondheim continues his 20-year tradition of composing over-rhymed patter songs with the lyrics laid across note clusters in rhythmic cadences."Dress Big" and "Hades" are the culprits here.In these songs, the words run away with themselves in true "Gilbert and Sullivan" fashion and you get riffs instead of melodies.Worse, they both sound VERRRY familiar.And "It's only a Play" is downright irritating, with Nathan Lane's broad liberal polemics juxtaposed with another annoying Sondheim jab at "critics" (didn't he exorcise this demon twenty years ago with "Merrily..." and "Sunday in the Park"?).Still, there's a lot of good stuff here.The jaunty "I Love to Travel" has a delightful swing to it and is very "atypical" Sondheim.The gourgeous "Ariadne" is equal to any of his classic ballads, once again proving that this talented composer is a true melodic master, and the moving "Fear No More" strikes just the right note of melancholy mixed with longing.The march-like title song, so over the top on stage, here preserves its ominous, foreboding tension and frames the score with chilling intensity.The cast is a bit of a mixed bag, though mostly they do just fine.Nathan Lane is, as usual, Nathan Lane.However, his comic timing remains exquisite and his singing voice is rather better than some would have it.Peter Bartlett brings zest to his every word and Michael Siberry, in particular, shines in his showcase "Fear No More".No, this isn't a masterpiece.However, there's enough here to more than satisfy any musical theater fan.Of course, Sondheim fans will be delighted that an almost new, fullblown work from the master is now available for public consumption.All aboard. ... Read more

24. Mary Poppins
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B000654YWO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 999
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Winner of five Oscars (including two for Richard and Robert Sherman's memorable slate of songs), Disney's 1964 adaptation of British author P.L. Travers' belovedchildren's tales melded live action, animation and music more successfully than any film before or since. Containing the most complete version of the ShermanBrothers' score and a wealth of previously unavailable behind-the-scenes treasures, this double-disc, 40th anniversary soundtrack edition becomes the ultimatemusical tribute to the beloved family masterpiece. The Sherman's memorable songs are showcased here in a more comprehensive musical context than ever before;indeed, a number of the expanded or previously unreleased pieces of the Irwin Kostal-arranged underscore now included were truncated in editing the film itself. Thegenerous bonus disc contains the set's greatest historical treasure: a 40+ minute pre-production story meeting between the Shermans, gag writer Don DaGradi andauthor Travers herself. Also included is a lengthy 1964 audio documentary featuring the Shermans and stars Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, an audio montage of the songwriting team reminiscing and playing their original demos for the project and an illustrated 40-page companion booklet containing a history of the project as well as complete song lyrics.-- Jerry McCulley ... Read more

25. Chicago (The Miramax Motion Picture Soundtrack)
list price: $13.98
our price: $9.99
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Asin: B00006RIO7
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 263
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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The movie version of Kander and Ebb's Chicago was long in the making, but it's well worth the wait. Director Rob Marshall's main change was to turn the classic musical numbers into fantasy sequences, but of course this isn't obvious on CD. Most importantly, the arrangements are bursting with life while being true to the show's spirit, and the casting is simply inspired. Catherine Zeta-Jones actually started her career on the British boards (she was in The Pajama Game and 42nd Street), so her turn as slinky Velma Kelly isn't that surprising; Renée Zellweger as Roxie Hart is more of a leftfield choice, but she shows she can handle the singing demands with pizzazz. The real revelation may well be rapper Queen Latifah, who belts out "When You're Good to Mama" with a marvelous affinity for the material. OK, so the R&B reprise of "Cell Block Tango/He Had It Coming" by Queen Latifah, Macy Gray, and Lil' Kim fails to convince, while Anastacia's "Love Is a Crime" is just blah (rest easy, purists, it's over the end credits). On the other hand, the CD provides two bonuses: "Class," which was cut from the movie, and "I Move On," a great duet written by Kander and Ebb for the final cut. It's really easy to mess up film adaptations of Broadway shows. Happily, Chicago proves it can be done right. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (244)

4-0 out of 5 stars A worthy soundtrack for a great movie
Kander & Ebbs' music translates beautifully to the film version of their hit musical. All the songs capture the jazz flavor of 1920s Chicago and give a bit of insight into the characters themselves. For a good example of this, check out "Mr. Cellophane" about Roxie's husband Amos who is the most unnoticed person in all of Chicago, admirably sung here by John C. Reilly. Queen Latifah is brassy and risque with her rendition of "When You're Good To Momma." Catherine Zeta-Jones astounds with her sexy and boisterous "All That Jazz." Renée Zellwegger and Richard Gere surprise with their vocal talents, as well. My favorite number in the entire album is "The Cell Block Tango," a clever telling of how the Six Merry Murderesses wound up in jail.

Included also are the deleted song "Class," a duet between Catherine Zeta-Jones and Queen Latfiah, and two excerpts of Danny Elfman's excellent score to the film. The only drawbacks (and the only reason why I don't give the album 5 stars) are the songs "Love is a Crime" by Anastacia and "Cell Block Tango/He Had It Comin'" by Queen Latifah, Lil' Kim and Macy Gray. They seem out of place with the jazz feel of this album.

Barring those two songs, this is an excellent album and really exudes the style and feel of the film.

5-0 out of 5 stars a wonderful musical experience
Much to my surprise, I had to get this CD right after seeing the movie and have played it every day since I've purchased it. Who would have guessed that Catherine Zeta Jones, Queen Latifah, John C. Reilly and Renee Zellweger could excel in this genre?

From the first strains of Catherine Zeta Jones and All That Jazz to the last "legit" soundtrack vocal of Hot Honey Rag, this CD is a winner. Other standouts include Queen Latifah's When You're Good to Mama, John C. Reilly's Mr. Cellophane, Cell Block Tango and Renee Zellweger's renditions of Funny Honey, Roxie and Nowadays.

The extra songs, Love Is A Crime and the hip hop version of Cell Block Tango, aren't bad but they simply don't belong on this CD. It's a blatant pandering to a younger generation that will enjoy the soundtrack songs on their own.

This soundtrack could have easily turned into a very bad joke. A wild round of applause to the producers, director and actors who made it happen.

3-0 out of 5 stars Short & to the point
Great movie and this could have been a great soundtrack album if it wasn't completely ruined by the two additional tracks tacked on to the end of the CD. How could the producers have allowed this abomination?!

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!
This CD is one of my favourite CD's. The performances are much more gripping on film, I recommend buying the film and then if you like the performances buy the recording. Otherwise check into the stage performances of Chicago.

But wow! The Kander and Ebb score is to die for!! Chicago is one of my favourite musical scores and the energy and excitement of their music comes out so well here! Both of the leading ladies are amazing and even Richard Gere has his moments. An altogether amazing and must have recording!

5-0 out of 5 stars Bang for your buck!
This CD only has 2 songs that I found to be really awful. #17 and #18. I don't what they were thinking when they put those 2 on the CD. The other songs are catchy and jazzy, and for $13, it's worth your money. Everyone complains about Class, but I like it. It has a certain appeal. The instrumental songs are great, they aren't boring and dull like some. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Queen Latifah, Richard Gere, Renee Zellweger and John C. Reilly do a great job singing, especially Catherine. Overall, if you're looking for a good CD with great jazzy numbers, I recommend this one. ... Read more

26. Assassins (2004 Broadway Revival Cast)
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our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0002B161Y
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 852
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"Everybody's got a right/To their dream." So begins Stephen Sondheim's 1991 show Assassins--and in this case, said dreams involve killing an American president. The characters form a veritable rogues' gallery, including John Hinckley, Lee Harvey Oswald and John Wilkes Booth of course, but also half-forgotten luminaries such as Leon Czolgosz (who killed McKinley) and "Squeaky" Fromme (who aimed for Gerald Ford with an unloaded gun). While Sondheim's lyrics are trenchant as ever, his music, which ranges from Sousa pomp to clever little waltzes, is technically brilliant but also oddly uninvolving. (Many fans prefer the recording of the 1991 Off-Broadway version, though "Something Just Broke," which was added to the 1992 London production, makes its recorded debut here.) Still, there are several high points. In "Unworthy of Your Love," for instance, Hinckley and Fromme wax poetic about their unrequited love for Jodie Foster and Charles Manson, respectively, in a Burt Bacharach-style ballad that's deliberately (I hope!) sappy. And of course as with most Sondheim shows, the cast of this revival--Michael Cerveris, Mario Cantone, Becky Ann Baker, Marc Kudisch, Denis O'Hare--is very good. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

27. Rent (1996 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $32.98
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Asin: B000005ALT
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 333
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Into Broadway's creative vacuum of revivals, movie adaptations, and Hollywood star vehicles comes Rent, the story of squatters, junkies, performance artists, struggling musicians, drag queens, aspiring filmmakers, and HIV-positives (and you thought Miss Saigon's helicopter landing was cool). Undoubtedly among the defining pop cultural events of 1996, Rent has already won four Tony awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. More importantly, it threatens to bring substance back to the Great White Way.

Transposing Puccini's 100-year-old opera La Bohème into modern day Bohemia (19th-century Paris's Left Bank becomes late-20th-century New York's East Village where the scourge of tuberculosis becomes the plague of AIDS) Rent celebrates life among the young, sick, and unconventional. While Broadway shows are hardly the place for authentic portrayals of the latest marginalized hipsters, composer Jonathan Larson (who died at age 36, days before his musical opened) managed to sculpt vivid characters and scenes that bring Avenue A as close as it will ever come to 42nd Street. And by telling a socially relevant story of living without the guarantee of a future (renting, that is), Larson does his own little bit to define an X'ed generation. At worst, Rent is the Hair of the '90s.

For the majority of us who won't be seeing Rent anytime soon, the Original Cast Recording is more than just an after-show souvenir. Well-packaged with a complete libretto, the two-CD set is a worthwhile album separate of live performance. Full of songs that are funny and catchy, inspiring and touching, smart and hip and not overly sentimental, Rent mixes showtune pop with elements of rock, R&B, dance, gospel, and tango to make one of the best albums of the year--certainly the best rock opera in decades. La vie bohème, indeed. --Roni Sarig ... Read more

Reviews (482)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Modern Musical
"Rent" is the realization of the brilliant Jonathan Larson's dream based on Puccini's opera La Boheme. Larson changed the way musicals are heard by providing rock music, and modern day topics. "Rent" deals with homosexuality, disease, and growing up in America. The story follows the lives of eight friends as they try to survive in New York's alphabet city as seen through the lead Mark's eyes. Through him, we see the relationship of the friends, and love blooming, and dying, between Roger and Mimi, Tom and Angel, and Maureen and Joanne. Ex-roommate, Benny is trying to evict Mark and Roger from their loft to build a cyber-arts studio, which would displace the homeless in the area. Add in the fact almost all of the characters have AIDS, the story borders on heavy.

The story is pretty good, and it turns into a good theatrical presentation, but Larson scores with the musical making the soundtrack worthwhile. There is the heavy rock beginning in the title track, and continues to rock on with songs like "Out Tonight", "Another Day" and "Today 4 U". These songs are well balanced with slower ballads like "One Song Glory" and "Goodbye Love", with everything falling between the two. "La Vie Boheme" is a great cast cut al la Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire." Larson was great at adding in humor to offset the depressing scenes throughout the story. The bonus to this album is the great Stevie Wonder sitting in with the cast for a cover of "Seasons of Love", which makes the album worthwhile all in its self.

After such a great musical, it was a shame to lose the talent of Larson. He was able to take theater to a new level, and introduce topics that have been avoided on mainstream stages. He really did bring the theater to the modern age with this musical. Add in great music, well-conceived lyrics, and a good story, it is well worth seeing live. The messages Larson tries to communicate are right on target. No day but today.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Bohemian Masterpiece
Rent is one of the best musicals ever, and Jonathan Larson's songs are some of the most skillful and creative you'll ever hear on Broadway. He used gorgeous melodies, vocal harmonies, and chords to bring his amazing poetry to life. The soundtrack has a wide spectrum of music ranging from upbeat songs like the title song "Rent", "What You Own", and "La Vie Boheme", and simple yet gorgeous ballads like "Without You", "I Should Tell You", and of course "Seasons of Love". Some songs always make me laugh, like "Contact" or "Today 4 U", and others ALWAYS make me cry, like "Finale B". Larson's writing is so impressive too. For example "Light My Candle" seems to be (in my opinion) a metaphorical song about taking a risk to start a relationship. And the recurring festive carol-of-the-bums "Christmas Bells" theme maybe is an ironic contrast to the struggling characters lives. And the soundtrack is so complete: there are so many memorable quotes sung by memorable characters. The voices are awesome too, and the cast blends so beautifully. My personal favorite cast member is Anthony Rapp, who is the coolest guy ever and a great singer with a distinctly awesome voice. But all of the actors have awesome voices which bring Jonathan Larson's melodies to life. And if you listen closely, you will hear that Larson subtly incorporated these melodies into unlikely songs throughout the soundtrack, just as his modern-day themes are also expressed throughout. Is that a hint of "I Should Tell You" I hear in "Another Day"? Or do I hear a short piano rendition of "Sante Fe" in "La Vie Boheme" and its intruiging percussion in "You Okay Honey"? And the "No Day But Today" theme can be heard in "Life Support" and of course "Finale B" among others. This gives the soundtrack such a sense of unity, and helps illustrate the themes of Rent, like coping with AIDS, not conforming to society, and of course the ever-important love. In this way, all the songs seem to weave together to form the final texture that is Rent. In short, Rent is a skillful masterpiece full of passion, love, and hope. And its catchy songs make it the awesome musical that it is. The soundtrack is a must for music-lovers!

5-0 out of 5 stars WOW!!! I THINK IT'S THE GREATEST MUSICAL EVER!!!!!
<br /><br /> Rent is like the greatest musical ever!! It has drama, comedy, and romance of course. Rent is a very touching musical! I haven't seen it yet but I am dying to see it! I can't name my favorite song because I love them all!!! Adam Pascal doesn't an incredible job as Roger! Adam Pascal has an amazing voice!! I am going to get is albums soon! Anthony Rapp is really great as Mark and I love his voice! I can't name my favorite character because they are all great!! I wish that the OBC was still doing the show! And I can't wait till the Rent movie comes out next fall or winter! Some of the OBC members will star in it -Anthony Rapp,Adam Pascal,Taye Diggs,Idina Menzel,and Jesse L.Martin are going to be in it!! Yay!! I Love Rent!!

5-0 out of 5 stars POWERFUL
No words can express the meaning of this musical - the performers on the cast recording are excellent - the songs are heartfelt - nothing beats this one!

5-0 out of 5 stars No day but, Today
After making the mistake of purchasing the highlights cd before the full cd, was my mistake. this album takes you to where by the end of both cd's you begin to look at things differently, even if for just a moment. The album is filled with voice talents that will undoubtably shape this generation of musical theatre. I feel confident if Johnathan Larson was to choose to change his fate and see his musical, he would choose to not change a single thing that has happened in the time Rent has been on Broadway. And Rent teaches that throughout the play. A deffinite must have for fans of Broadway Musicals ... Read more

28. Disney's Beauty And The Beast: The Broadway Musical - Original Broadway Cast Recording
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Asin: B00000DT8E
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1876
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (53)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Magic of Disney
If you are a fan of Disney or of fluffy Broadway material there is no doubt you will love this CD. The songs from the original movie are mixed in with new songs that give the musical a bit more depth. The true standout job comes from then-broadway newcomer Susan Egan. She sounds very reminiscent of Paige O'Hara (animated version) yet brings a strength and beauty to the music that is refreshing. Her version of "Home" is good enough reason to buy this cd. Terrence Mann is also a wonder in this stellar cast. His version of "If I can't love her" adds depth to the beast while displaying the heart of his vocal talents. If the thought has ever crossed your mind to get this, then you should. It is well worth your time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good music, hurt by bad casting
Too bad Disney didn't have the original movie artists record this CD - the Broadway actors often sound contrived. Susan Egan as Belle especially makes me wish Paige O'Hara had reprised her role. Egan is given a beautiful new song all her own ("Home"), but often tries too hard and ends up sounding artificial to me. Gaston, too, was better in the movie; although "Me" is a good enough song that it masks his shortcomings, elsewhere he sounds like he's overacting. So does Terrence Mann as Beast. Though Robbie Benson had few lines to sing in the movie, I felt he rendered them much better than Mann - more naturally. My feeling is that the entire cast sounds as if it could lighten up a bit and just be themselves a bit more, and the whole thing would sound less like an obvious stage production and more like a story flowing out naturally.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great addition
This soundtrack has all the great songs from the movie, and tons of new ones that were made just for the show. You wouldn't have needed to see the show to enjoy the music. My favorite addition is Home, which is a song Belle sings right after she gets to the castle. All the songs in this cd are worth listening to over and over again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing performances of amazing songs
"Beauty and the Beast" is the greatest love story ever told- in the best way a tale can be told! Susan Egan steals the show as Belle. I love the songs "Home" and "Me". I wish they'd been in the movie, Belle needed a solo song. Wonderful music from a wonderful Broadway show!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best soundtracks ever!
This is one of my all-time favorite cd's. All of the classic songs from the movie are included plus many new ones. I have loved this cd, and all that it has to offer. Some of the new songs include a duet with Belle and her father, an arrogant song by Gaston, some songs sung by the beast, and many more! Overall I would definitly suggest this cd! ... Read more

29. Wicked (Karaoke)
list price: $36.95
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Asin: B0002KQOLM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 18263
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Album Description

This is a new recording with a great cast, under the direction of Michael Lavine, of the Tony Award winning musical Wicked.This album contains two Cds.The first disc has the cast singing the songs of the show, and the second disc has just the orchestra for you to sing with.In addition,this album contains "No One Mourns the Wicked" as well as "Something Bad." In this version of "No One Mourns the Wicked" you have material found ONLY in the Broadway show. ... Read more

30. Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1992 Canadian Cast)
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Asin: B000001E0A
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1478
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat completed the transition from cantata for schoolkids to big-budget glitzfest with Steven Pimlott's 1991 London revival.Here's the 1992 Canadian version of that show, and even if it's not an ideal recording--Janet Metz as the narrator is no match for Laurie Beechman in the original Broadway cast and there's a little too much synthesizer in the orchestrations--this CD is valuable for the performance of former teen pop idol Donny Osmond as the title character.He's in excellent voice, and was so right for the role that he was selected to preserve it for the 2000 video production.And of course the songs are still here, showcasing Rice's witty lyrics and Lloyd Webber's chameleon tendencies--dabbling in country, calypso, French caf&eacute;s, and a King-like pharaoh--as well as favorites "Any Dream Will Do," "Close Every Door," and "Go, Go, Go Joseph."This production also includes the "Joseph Remix" (also known as the "Joseph Megamix"), a nine-minute medley of themes arranged with a heavy beat that was used for a kind of onstage aerobics routine as the show's postscript. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (50)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best recording of the show yet!
Laurie Beecham's narrator on the original broadway cast is still the best out there, but Janet Metz comes in a VERY close second. Donny Osmond is the best joseph! He makes everyone else sound "second rate". When i first heard of this musical, i expected it to be very offensive to catholics ( and others ) who know the biblical version of joseph's coat of many colors. BUT: Mr. Webber has put the show together with such care that it truly is a "family show". Even my grandparents (who are devout catholics) loved the show when they saw it. The music is great, the costumes are great, the performers are great, and above all- you can't lose with a story like this. You need only buy 1 joseph cd, this one. Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Osmond shines in Canada's "Joseph"
I have to admit, I purchased the CD of this version of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" mainly out of curiosity over Donny Osmond's performance as Joseph. Well, he is superb. His voice is clear and strong, and he delivers outstanding renditions of the character's songs. The rest of the cast in this, the 1992 Canadian version of this musical play, also does a fine job.

"Joseph," with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, is a consistently entertaining CD. The lyrics re-tell the story of the biblical patriarch Joseph (found in Genesis 37-45), and Rice sticks remarkably close to the source material. "Joseph" has many inventive and humorous touches (such as making the Pharaoh sing his part a la Elvis Presley, or having Joseph's brothers break out into a calypso song).

"Joseph" works because of its combination of a compelling story, clever lyrics, and superb music. If you have heard other CD versions but have not listened to this one, check it out.

5-0 out of 5 stars Donny Osmond is a perfect Joseph
I must admit, my sister and I went to see "Joseph" when it was in Boston a few years ago, mainly because we had childhood crushes on Donny Osmond! I absolutely loved the show. Donny Osmond was just fantastic in this role and the songs seem to be made for his voice. Whoever thought of casting him was right on. This CD is one you will sing along to while in the car, and even my 2 year old loves the music.

4-0 out of 5 stars It's ok
my name is Tyson. I'm 16 and have a passion for music. Donny Osmond is by far the best Joseph I have heard out of all the cast recordings. However, I don't care much for the Canadian cast, especially Janet Metz the narrator. Her voice actually starts to annoy me. I think the best narrator is from the l.a. cast. My school is doing Joseph right now, tomorrow night is the last two performances. I am the lightboard operator so I have heard it at least 16 times from our school's cast. My friend Matt definately does an incredible job as Joseph and the best high school OR college Joseph I have heard through my years of ushering and tech for the different shows.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Cast Recording Overall
This is the best overall cast recording of the three revival cast recordings available. After hearing (and seeing in Toronto Canada) Donny Osmond as Joseph, you won't want to hear anyone else in that role. I have all the other recordings of this show, and this is by far the best recording. True, the orchestrations are a bit electronic sounding, but then again, this is Andrew Lloyd Webber and the orchestrations make the best of the available instrumentation. The songs are uncomplicated, the lyrics are playful and witty. Janet Metz as the narrator can be a little wearing on the ears after awhile, but I personally like her performance the best of the three revival casts. The American cast with Michael Damian in the lead is a joke. And the British revival cast recording is mixed differently so that all of the performers seem to be soft and lost within the orchestra. If you want just one cast recording of Joseph, this one is the one to get! ... Read more

31. Brooklyn The Musical (2004 Original Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B0006L0LMK
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 845
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32. Magic - The Very Best of Olivia Newton-John
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Asin: B00005NWMI
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2453
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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It's hard to have a more milquetoast image than Olivia Newton-John. Even when she was decked out in stretch pants and stiletto heels at the end of Grease, you never mistook her for a wild girl. Proudly carrying the torch once held high by Karen Carpenter, Newton-John embodied the safer and, yes, blander side of the '70s and early '80s. But just like Carpenter went on to be rehabilitated as a pop singer, Newton-John's career deserves a second look--and this compilation is a good way to start. Even if the singer's precise touch was audible as early as 1973 (on the countryish "Let Me Be There"), she reached her peak five years later with Grease and the torchy "Hopelessly Devoted to You." "Physical" may be the best-known episode of the singer's leg-warmer years, but the one to cherish forever remains "Xanadu." On it, Newton-John basically fronted Electric Light Orchestra and the result is one of the most underrated songs of the past 25 years. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (55)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Olivia Lover from Fredericksburg, VA
I am giving this CD 5 stars only because it does contain excellent music. However, as much as I do adore and love Olivia Newton-John, I have to agree with my fellow Fredericksburg reviewer. How many more times are record companies going to keep re-releasing and re-packaging all these old tunes from Olivia's hey-day? How many copies of Olivia's Greatest Hits collections does one person need? Apparently, however, there are still people out there who are willing to buy this stuff because record companies keep coming up with new "greatest hit" collections for ONJ. I have all these songs, already--several copies of them, in fact. But I have reached a point where "enough is enough".

It is time for ONJ to do something new and different. Her last country-pop album was brilliant--but unfortunately, she made the grave error of introducing the album with the remade "I Honestly Love You". Since the new version was so similar to the original, when most people heard it, they assumed it was just an oldie-but-goodie being played on the radio. It certainly did not make people run out to the CD store to pick up a copy of a song they had already heard constantly for the last 25 years. So, the other great songs on the CD never had a chance to get airplay. Basically, the CD went "down under" before it had a chance.

Olivia's voice is still in top form. Her live concert CD from 1999 is proof positive of this. It's just that she needs to do something new with it.

5-0 out of 5 stars "this album is so perfect, it's almost...Magic"
With songs like ~ "I HONESTLY LOVE YOU" (an early favorite of mine), "LET ME BE THERE" and "HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN MELLOW", still give me chills when I hear a popular vocalist in the '70s and '80s, nothing could compare to her pure innocence to a song.

Now comes the diverse entertainer with ~ "YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I WANT" (with John Travolta)..."HOPELESSLY DEVOTED TO YOU"..."SUMMER NIGHTS" (With John Travolta), all from the musical "Grease", which I might add still holds up pretty well by today's standards (in other words a "classic").

Next, are three selections from "Xanadu", starring Olivia and the late Gene Kelly, the songs are haunting, almost trance-like...just listen to "MAGIC", the title tells it all..."XANADU" (Electric Light Orchestra), better known as "ELO"..."SUDDENLY", one of my favorite duets in the world, with Cliff Richard, exceptional performance with screen added to complete the picture, if you remember this film sequence.

Entire album is a trip down memory lane, the final track is a bonus "THE GREASE MEGAMIX - WITH JOHN TRAVOLTA", this my music-loving-friends, will knock your socks off!

Total Time: 75:01 on 21 Tracks ~ UTV Records 314-585-233-2 ~ (2001)

3-0 out of 5 stars Olivia Is Ok
I checked out some of her CDs, because she does some good songs, and this is the best collection of hers you can get. Let me state that, Olivia is one of the most overrated singers in history (Check out her version of "Jolene" which is the worst of the four (Sherrie Austin, Dolly Parton, and Martina McBride being the others), thank God it is not included here). Back to this CD, it has some good material "Please Mr. Please", "Have You ever Been Mellow", "Xanadu", but this woman does not have enough material (Except Grease) to fill up one entire CD (If no one believes me, check out "Olivia Newton-John radio": On Match Radio, and you will finding yourself skiping most of her material). I cannot believe all of the Olivia completists, writting in here, acting like she is is Patsy Cline. This woman started the decline and abandonment of country music (Notice how she crawls back to Nashville after 20 years, cause her career is dead (Like Linda Ronstadt (Although Linda, is much more talanted)). And since she left, others like, Faith Hill, Shania Twain, and The Dixie Chicks, copied her game plan, which is why there are very few quality country female singers out there today (Sherrie Austin (Olivia's much more superior Australian countrywoman), and Gretchen Wilson come to mind. I would recommend this CD and Grease, and that is it for her career.

4-0 out of 5 stars Still Missing Songs
This is a nice complilation with some songs that are normally forgotten by the masses like "Little more love" and "Deeper that the night" that were well suited during her Ronstadtesque era. Still when are they going to add some great but forgotten hits like the sexy "Soul Kiss", the Elton John produced "Rumours", her John Travolta duet "Take a chance", as well as the quirky but fun "Landslide". These are songs people might have missed or forgotten but helped make her own style. Speaking of style, we can't forget J Farrar and the incredible work that went into making O N-J well, O N-J. That is the person behind the talent and maybe a commplilation with just his work with O N-J would be a good tribute. You know, since they're making all these greatest hits cds. I'd buy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent! My girl Olivia knows how to do it!
Olivia Newton John was one of my favorite singers in the late '70s and '80s. I still remember when she had like 7 to 8 hits in a row from 1978 to 1980, just a nonstop run of hits like her competition Donna Summer, Barry Manilow, the Bee Gees and others. This album justifies that. Her country songs of 1973 and 1974 are still fabulous. "Physical" still sounds funky today! "Heart Attack" just gets you dancing! "Deeper Than The Night" I still love! "Twist Of Fate" still sounds good with its aerobic sound 21 years later! "Magic" opened the music of the '80s quite well when it came out in 1980. "Xanadu" still sounds weird, but I'll take it. Her duet with Cliff Richard, "Suddenly", still sounds smooth. The "Grease" movie songs with John Travolta clash the '50s and 1978 so very well within the same songs! Her willingness to take chances were what made her a good singer. I still like the fact that she overcame her battle with cancer and is still performing and touring today. Her still remaining active just brings everything full circle with this album! Excellent career compilation!!!!! My girl Olivia knows how to do it!!!!! ... Read more

33. Footloose (1984 Film)
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Asin: B00000D9VZ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1787
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect 80's soundtrack!
Wow, does this music bring back great memories! I loved the movie then and I love it now...what really makes it sparkle is the music that accompanies it. The soundtrack king of the 80's, Kenny Loggins is at his best on the title track, "Footloose," and almost tops it on "I'm Free." Throw in a little Deniece Williams, Bonnie Tyler, Sammy Hagar, and Shalamar, and you have a recipe for 80's greatness! The 2 ballads "Almost Paradise" by Mike Reno of Loverboy and Ann Wilson of Heart, and "Waiting For A Girl Like You" by Foreigner took me back to the gym during school dances when I was a total wallflower and watched the boys I had crushes on dancing with someone else <>. The 4 bonus tracks don't hurt either! I had forgotten about the glam rock classic "Bang Your Head" by Quiet Riot and had a little chuckle when it started playing. Those were the days! If you are an 80's lover like me, then do yourself a favor and indulge yourself in this CD - trust me you won't regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Footloose And Fancy Free
This is the quintessential soundtrack to the 1980's and contains signature tunes that covers a wide varied of genres from a varied group of artists that appeared on the multiplatinum soundtrack. Kenny Loggins is represented with the energetic title track, which quickly shot to #1 on the charts, quite impressive for one of his first forays into rock and roll. "I'm Free" is equally as good, bursting with energetic, feel good rifts.

On the R&B front, the collection contains the consummate dance number "Let's Hear It From The Boy," from Denise Williams and "Dancing In The Sheets" from Shalamar (the remastered updated 2000 version contains an extended dance remix of the song as well)

Hot on the heels of her classic epic "Total Eclipse Of The Heart," Welch singer Bonnie Tyler gives her trademark raspy, energetic, and emotional performance on "Holding Out For A Hero." Sammy Hagar, who fronted the group Van Halen in the mid '80's, rocks with "The Girl Gets Around."

The most exceptional ballad featured in the movie is the union between Ann Wilson (of Heart) and Mike Reno (of Loverboy). "Almost Paradise" is the beautiful love theme from the movie that is a modern contemporary classic. Singer/songwriter Karla Bonoff's "Somebody's Eyes" shines with her crystalline vocals. The original collection closes with Moving Pictures' moving ballad, "Never."

The extended CD contains some notable bonus tracks that appeared in the film..."Hurts So Good" is a classic rocker that was a breakout making John Cougar a household name. "Waiting For A Girl Like You," from Foreigner is a welcomed edition to the collection. (That track was #2 on the pop charts an unprecidented 10 weeks!) Heavy metal's Quiet Riot perform the title track to their platinum 1982 album "Mental Health."

A worthwhile eclectic mix of dance, rock and roll, pop, adult contemporary styles...Footloose is a fun and energetic collection that will make you want to get up and dance.

5-0 out of 5 stars An album featuring Footloose dudes and babes!
I once had an LP copy and I now have a CD copy,which is the original track line-up,the first 9 tracks. The title track was a major hit for Kenny Loggins who also performs I'M FREE(HEAVEN HELPS THE MAN). LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE BOY was a hit for Deniece Williams. Williams had a hit with Johnny Mathis entitled TOO MUCH,TOO LITTLE,TOO LATE. ALMOST PARADISE,the love theme,is a blend of Loverboy and Heart,performed by the bands' respective frontmen,Mike Reno and Ann Wilson. HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO was another hit for Bonnie Tyler who had two previous hits,IT'S A HEARTACHE and TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART. DANCING IN THE SHEETS was a hit for Shalamar who had a hit in '79 entitled THE SECOND TIME AROUND. SOMEBODY'S EYES was Karla Bonoff's second hit,her first being PERSONALLY in '82. Pre-Van Halen Sammy Hagar performs THE GIRL GETS AROUND. NEVER,performed by Moving Pictures is an OK tune. Unbelievably,tracks 1-7 were all hits. Another album sharing that distinction(7 of 9 tracks) is Michael Jackson's THRILLER album.

5-0 out of 5 stars Footloose Original Soundtrack
If you liked the movie Footloose, you'll love this CD. It has all the original tracks from the movie. I rate this CD at a 5 on a 1 to 5 rating.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pass the "Bacon".
This isn't just a near perfect movie and soundtrack, but it's also practically a best of the 80's collection by itself. I'd say that nine of these songs were popular around the year this came out. Not only does it include the huge hit's "Footloose", "Almost Paradise (love theme)", and "Holding Out for A Hero", but "Let's Hear It For The Boy", "Dancing In The Sheets", and "I'm Free (heaven helps the man)" were big as well. Plus this remastered edition adds "Quiet Riot", "Foreigner", and "Mellencamp". Even the songs I didn't mention are a big part of the film. This CD is an instant party. Buy it now and get ready to cut loose. ... Read more

34. West Side Story
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Asin: B00023GGK8
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2339
Average Customer Review: 4.76 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (45)

5-0 out of 5 stars The absolute best recording
"West Side Story" features some of the greatests music ever to reach both the stage and the big screen. Leonard Bernstein's incredible score and Stephen Sondheim's wonderful lyrics are what make both the play and the film memorable.

Hands down, this recording from the film is the best of all recordings for several reasons.

1. Almost all of the music Bernstien wrote is available on this disc. This CD includes the Overture, the complete "Dance at the Gym" with the Blues, Mambo, and Jump that was missing from the LP release, the underscore for the "Rumble" sequence, and the "Finale" that underscores Tony's funeral procession. The only major piece that is missing is the "Ballet" sequence.

2. The orchestra plays the songs at reasonable tempos that are neither grudgingly slow nor lightning fast. Conductor Johnny Green knew what he was doing when he slowed the "Mambo" down from the original Broadway release; in the Broadway version, the "Mambo" is finished in less than 2 minutes!!!

3. In the movie, "America" features both the male and female Sharks; in the Broadway version, only the girls are in the song. With new lyrics and the guys, "America" is a much more memorable piece than it was before.

4. Finally, the music was re-orchestrated for the better. The orchestra sounds fuller and more powerful than in the Broadway release.

If you have any choice, buy the movie version; it is far superior to any other release. Or, buy both the movie and the Broadway versions, but stay away from any others. Only the originals are worth owning.

5-0 out of 5 stars Remastered and extended movie soundtrack
First off, the real star of this disc is the orchestra. With a 70 piece orchestra available for the film. Bernstein's score is given colours that no Broadway orchestra could ever achieve.

The film of WEST SIDE STORY is remarkably faithful to the original Broadway production, dropping the "Somehwere" Ballet but otherwise retaining all the songs (with a few minor interior trims, and a much sharper lyric written by Stephen Sondheim for "America.")

The original Columbia Lp for this soundtrack was about as full as stereo Lps could be in the early 60s, (approximately 55 minutes) so some of the orchestral music was edited out. The CD (which runs 77 minutes!) restores much of it and benefits from a thorough remastering. The booklet has good notes about the making of the film and a detailed synopsis (though at this point most everyone knows the story!) I would have elected to follow the Lp's solution and kept "Somewhere" as the final track instead of Tony death scene followed by Maria's sobbing. Her speech to the gang members - which was originally written as an outline for a song that was never wrtten - is edited out of the CD, so the scene is robbed of much of its power.

The Original Broadway cast is still a must since it captures the show when it was fresh and new even if some of the voices, the shark girls especially, are not the best.

There's a reason why this album has been a million seller and continues to sell well some 40+ years after its original release.

4-0 out of 5 stars Awesome, BUT., . .
THis is one of the best available recordings of West Side Story, but there are many things that have caused me to lower the rating. I'll go thru the Tracks
1. Overture - This is the ONLY place I have ever been able to find a recording of the Overture, Johnny (conductor) plays it very very fast, but nonetheless, musicians will love this track.
2. Prologue - I prefer this version to the Original Broadway version, but it has it's negative points. The bwest part is that the Fugue from "Cool" is weaved in and Out of this, as well as the music from the "Somewhere" Ballet and Nightmare.
3. Jet Song - Good version of the song, they change the words from "ever mother loving street" to "f***king ever lovin' street" at the end, which I think is unnecessary.
4. Something's Coming - They re-wrote the Song in a different key for the Movie, but it's a good version, with a very cool flute/oboe riff at the end.
5. Dance at the Gym - i) Blues - They totally rewrote this one too for the Movie, I like it, but the Trumpets have the melody the whole time rather than trading off with the Trombones, and they add a repeat in the song. . .but nonetheless it rocks. I'm glad someone finally played the guitar audibly on this track.
ii) Promenade - Nothing to say here, This is almost a filler, it is the scene where everyone forms two circles and walks around before dancing.
iii) Mambo - Slowest version I've ever heard in my Entire life, but it Works. It has an extended "D Trumpet" solo in it. It's not bad.
iv) Cha-Cha - Shortened significantly, bringing in the Vibraphone solo too soon.
v) Meeting Scene - Finally!!!! An album with the Meeting Scene!
vi) Jump - one of my favorites, it's nice to see this one too finally on album.
6. Maria - Very good perfromance both by the musicians and singers. Nothing changed here.
7. America - This scene and the lyrics were Completely re-written for the Movie, i don't know why. Instead of the girls only, it has The Sharks and their girls singing about the pros and cons of living In America. But this is the most well-known version and is enjoyable.
8.Balcony Scene (Tonight) - Nothing is changed, it's still the classic scene and classic song.
9. Gee, Officer Krupkee - This scene was rewritten from "Cool" to "Krupkee." Why? I don't know. But this is my favorite version of this song, although they change some lyrics.
10. Intermission Music - Was this even in the movie? Well it's the only version I've ever come across, but there's not much to complain about, only that the RUMBLE is supposed to be before intermission, but then again The Movie changed alot of things.
11. I feel Pretty - Extended version with Lines from the Movie, but I have yet to find an exact version. The Acoustic Nylon (Spanish) Guitar sounds good and is the foreground., the way I think Bernstein wanted this song to sound.
12. One Hand, One Heart -I never liked this song, but it sounds fine, nothing much changed here, if anything.
13. Tonight - Fast version, the Jets screw up their first line!! The actors cannot sing this one very well, and the lyrics and "who sings what" is all jumbled up and changed around severly.
14. The Rumble - Excellent Performance of the Rumble done by the Orchestra! This is the hardest song to play in all of West Side Story.
15. Somewhere - Talk about killing songs . . . Not only was the Ballet Sequence totally written out of the movie, but Somewhere was shortened and has Tony and Maria singing it rather than A Girl.
16. Cool - Almost made into A Rock song with the Electric "Plucked" bass and changing the Key to Bb until the Fugue, this song has changed for the better in my opinion. I love this version, the guitar can actually be heard, where as in the original you can't here it at all!! (Was it even there? It's written in the part). I love this song, CRANK IT UP!
17. Boy Like That/I Have a love - Superb performance, nothing changed.
18. Finale - Beautiful, except that in the last chord, the orchestra does not hit the low F# that is written in the part, so that annoys me, then again they didn't do it in the Broadway version either.
19. End Credits - Bernstein didn't write this, but It's nice music for the end of the movie.

So all in all i gave this CD a 4 out of 5, it's definitely worth buying, just aslong as you aren't looking for an exact performance of the original score, then go and buy a different version.

5-0 out of 5 stars My candidate for the greatest musical of all time...
This show is probably the most powerful musical I've ever seen. It tackles an age old tragedy of love versus hate and succeeds in telling it where most people fail. With this story, you have to show the effects of hate, and the strength of love, and how one can kill another; how one can rise above the other. Its a story that sinks into cliché and staleness time after time, but this show makes it youthful and passionate and raw and tragic. West Side Story is one of those rare pieces of art that grabs you and engages you entirely. You don't just listen, you become a bystander in this soaring, sweeping, saddening, shattering story. It has the power to affect you and touch your heart.

The star of the show is Bernstein's score, which is magnificent and could stand on it's own solely as an orchestral piece, but we're given the gift of lyrics by a young Stephen Sondheim and a book by Arthur Laurents. It's a love story where you feel this hopeful, glorious love of these two young people who have done nothing wrong and want nothing but their love for each other in a world which "won't let us be". To see this love, and thus all their hope, ripped from them is incredibly heartbreaking.

The show is very edgy, it pushed the envelope in an era when you didn't really do that. Rough topics are introduced: gang violence, juvenile delinquency, race issues, immigration, you name it. Two of the "light" songs, "Officer Krupke" and "America" are dark and satire. The former delves into psychological issues which other artistic mediums wouldn't really start exploring until much later. The latter engages in satirical banter about immigrant life in this country, scored to an infectious dance rhythm. The show was so far ahead of it's time in themes, it's social voice so lacking in arrogance and so full of bursting, aching, empathy and strong, urgent messages, I can't help but think it still is and that we haven't really learned a thing. You can still set this in 2004, it's ageless in all respects.

I've never listened to the Original Broadway Cast, but this version is very good. The two leads, Maria's role isn't sung as well as I would have liked, a bit weak, but Tony's role is sung quite beautifully.

This music switches between manic, energetic pieces written for dance, which explode at you in a feast of rhythm and melody, soaring ballads, and the heartbreaking, pulsing, life-giving thematic rivers flowing behind the whole show from beginning to end. This show lifts you high up, and it breaks your heart at the top, and it leaves you there crying with Maria as this wise, gorgeous music tries to heal you. That's West Side Story.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you like musicals ...
If you like musicals, then I promsie you you will love West Side Story, based losely on the tale of Romeo and Juliet, a stunning story about racial tension, coined a musical comedy, but much more fitting under a category of Musical tradegy. You will cry listening to the love songs, and the song "Cool" almost sweats doom. ... Read more

35. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975 Film)
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B0000032LS
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1853
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Don't have the time (or the props) to watch the whole movie?Just puton the soundtrack--it's got all the best parts without the dialog in-between! Well, isn't that what an Original Soundtrack Recording like this issupposed to be?Back in the mid-70s when The Rocky Horror PictureShow was a midnight staple at countless movie theaters, Tim Curry wasn't yet"Tim Curry" and Susan Sarandon wasn't yet "Susan Sarandon"(hell, Barry Bostwick wasn't even "Barry Bostwick"!). Listening tothese science-fiction double-feature showtunes will take you back through a timewarp to the days when the now-Academy-Award-winning actress was perfectlywilling to stand around for most of a picture in her bra and panties--and sowould her boyfriend!In those days, they were just Brad and Janet, forced tospend a dark and stormy (also sexy) night in the haunted house of mad scientistFrank N. Furter--just a sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania-ha-hawho really knew how to belt out a song.Those were the days. --JimEmerson ... Read more

Reviews (50)

5-0 out of 5 stars You SO need this soundtrack!
I'm just going to say it straight out, this soundtrack is a MUST HAVE! Not only is this movie totally great, the soundtrack is equally superb. The songs go from catchy to addictive (I think the fact that you can sing the phrase "Be It, Don't Dream It" over and over.. and over..... and over- contributes somewhat,) but addictive in a good way. The songs range in genre, yet all seem to posess one similar characteristic - they are all really really good! Although RHPS is most well known for "Time Warp," it isnt the only hit the movie bore. "Sweet Transvestite," a powerful rockish tune in which Tim Curry gives a dramatic vocal performance is definitely a favorite of mine and many others. "I'm Going Home" is on a much softer note, a beautiful ballad with a few splashes of violin, sax, and electric guitar, with great back-up vocals. "Over at the Frankenstein Place" is a nice little duet with Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon and a small part with Richard Obrien with his odd and imperfect voice, but that's what makes it so cool! "Science Fiction" is another slightly odd-voiced song, but the awkward sound of it is what makes it so special. Also, Meatloaf's song "Hot Patootie" is an instantaneous favorite with it's old time rock n roll sound. "Eddie" is also a favorite of mine, it's timeless! In fact this whole album is timeless, seeing as how it was recorded in '75 i believe, and I can still listen to it without cringing! Actually, i don't cringe at most any 70's music, but THIS particular CD is very non-cringy! It's the anti-cringe! What can I say you have to get it! Just get it already! And don't forget the movie!

5-0 out of 5 stars A really great listen!
I first saw RHPS on December 12, 2002 when I bought it on VHS. I've been a huge fan since then. Not too long after, I bought the soundtrack, which I never seem to stop listening to.

Science Fiction/Double Feature-5 out of 5-A wonderful opening song. It seems to tell you right away what this movie is: a spoof on all of the past Science Fiction movies. Richard O'Brien is great singing this one. ;)

Dammit, Janet-5 out of 5-Great singing by Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon(B.B. and S.S. =P).

Over at the Frankenstein Place-5 out of 5-Great song. I really love singing back-up and Riff-Raff's verse in this song.

Time Warp-5 out of 5-I love Patricia Quinn as Magenta. I always sing her parts in this song. Also, the dance is so much fun to do.

Sweet Transvestite-5 out of 5-Noone could ever pull off the role of Frank N. Furter like Tim Curry. Tim has the look and the voice.

I Can Make You A Man-5 out of 5-Great song. Tim really sounds great here.

Hot Patootie, Bless My Soul-5 out of 5-One of my favorites from this album. Meatloaf, I believe was the best choice as Eddie.

I Can Make You A Man(reprise)-Great finish. I really like Mendelssohn's wedding march re-done with a rock sound.

Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me-5 out of 5-Susan Sarandon is great as Janet. This is a great song.

Eddie-5 out of 5-Jonathan Adams is great as Dr. Everett von Scott. This is a great 60's style rock song. Very fun to dance around and sing to.

The Floor Show-100 out of 5-The best song on the album! My favorite part to it is "Wild and Untamed Thing".

I'm Going Home-5 out of 5-The saddest song on the album. I always get sad during this song in the movie because I know Frank's murder is coming up. =(

Super Heroes-5 out of 5-It's sad because what Brad and Janet were singing about, summed up, is that they had a taste of a seedy life and it was abruptly taken away from them and they feel the repercussions of their actions.

Science Fiction/Double Feature-5 out of 5-A re-telling of the movie, in song form! =D

This movie isn't for everyone. You'd have to have a very open mind to be able to sit through it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Which is better? The movie or the soundtrack?
Thats a really hard question, because they're both so uberly awesome! I mean, this is what all soundtracks should be like. The ones that come out today, just mark some of the songs in the film, and they don't exactly make you replay the movie in your head when you listen to it. This is exactly what this soundtrack does! Just listening to "Time Warp" I want to get up and do the dance, and I can see the antics of Magenta, Riff Raff, Frank, Brad and Janet in my head. This soundtrack brings back so many memories!

I first watched this movie at a movie night at my soon to be boyfriend's house in 9th grade. After that I became obsessed with this movie! I later watched it again on tv by myself at home, and I realized that its one of those films, that just seems to be better if you're watching it with a group of really close friends. So, when my boyfriend gave me the soundtrack for V-day, (hahaha!) I was extactic after listening to it for the first time! Even though I was by myself, it brought back all the magic of the movie, both of the film itself, and of the craziness that insued while we were watching it! This is truly one of those soundtracks that can be listened to just for itself, and not for the movie! Known of the songs sound the same, and they all kinda make you sit up and go "What did they just say!?!?!" hahaha! Its a surprising and delighting album, and definately worth a buy, whether you've seen the film or not! And if you haven't, one listen to it, and you'll want to!

5-0 out of 5 stars all hail frank n' furter!!!!!!!!!
i am thrilled to report(memories like the 'cobwebs' of my mind), that i was in the audience for the official opening of "RHPS"in 1975...and i like everyone else became instantly intoxicated and obessesed with frank and his denizens. the power the film had over a generation, via its imagery, symbolism, characters and their talent could be likened to releasing invisible heroin into the atomosphere at regular intervals keeping us in a constant state of euphoric submission. i think its absolutely redundant to review this recording. it is however, etched into our cultures psyche and has opened doors for the depraved, the not so depraved,the gay, bi, lesbian, transed out, geeky, s&m'd, stifled, frigid, barren, openminded andclosed, worn in, worn out, fresh, nubile, old, young, smart, slow, you name it.... peoples, of every walk of life and much, much more;futher confirming the power the entertainment industries have to influence. i saw the stage production at the roxy only once, albeit after tim curry left. in his stead was the wonderful and extremely competent paul jabara who unfortunately died way too soon. he was also responsible for penning some very famous pop tunes including "last dance," and "enough is enough." the stage production and its soundtrack primed me for the forthcoming film. i remember the build up..the hype..which can often leave one disappointed. the film in this case was rare in that it FAR EXCEEDED everyones expectations. because the film is what i identify(ied) with so much, the soundtrack has a VERYsoft spot in my heart. i did have to adust to the slowing down of the songs, but only for a very brief period. they simply took what was great and made it greater...perfection! if you're reading this, chances are youre already a fan. if you're new to RHPS then please, do yourself the biggest favor and GET IT! you will join ranks and be a part of a massive cult following that believe it or not, continues to grow. rock on!

5-0 out of 5 stars See it, then hear it, dream it, then be it.
You don't have to see the movie to enjoy this soundtrack, oh wait, yes you do. Really though. It's as insane as the movie is, and once you see and hear it, you'll understand why it's got the biggest cult following of anything ever. You eventually become part of the music, addicted, and then are forced to give in to absolute pleasure. You'll start to dream it, and then you'll be it. GREAT SCOTT!!! It's just crazy science fiction. Besides everything else, the music itself really is great. I highly recommend "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". I'm going home. ... Read more

36. Movin' Out (Based on the Songs and Music of Billy Joel) (2002 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00006LWQK
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 760
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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A criticism that has long dogged Billy Joel's career involves his songs' direct, heart-on-the-sleeve emotional sentiments and a musical approach that often revels in pop music's past glories instead of reacting against them. Ironically, those are the very strengths of Twyla Tharp's dialog-free pop ballet based on Joel's infectious canon of music, including his recent forays into the classical realm. This live cast recording is fueled by the piano and vocals of Michael Cavanaugh, who, backed by an ensemble handpicked by the songwriter, gooses every last drop of drama from Joel's already theatrical songs with a verve worthy of the legend himself. But divorced from Tharp's always kinetic choreography, and despite angular reworkings of "We Didn't Start the Fire" and other Joel standards, it's a collection that sometimes sounds akin to Joelmania: not really Billy, but an incredible simulation. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
When I first heard of the whole concept of "Movin' Out" - a ballet using the songs of Billy Joel played and sung by someone who is not Billy Joel- I thought it was a pretty stupid idea. I thought it was a cheap way to make money off of a great songwriter, performer, and his masterpieces. However, I listened to the CD, and while it does not take the place of Billy Joel (as nothing ever could), it is excellent in its own right. The songs are all wonderful, and are performed with energy and exceptional musicianship. The songs are so loyal to Billy's own versions (he did orchestrate them) but the performers give a little bit of their own character to the music. (My only complaint is this arrangement of "We Didn't Start the Fire"). Michael Cavanaugh, the pianist/lead singer, is amazing. His voice is incredible and soulful; he puts all of his heart into the music. His pianistic skills are flawless - listen to "Prelude" and you'll know what I mean. The other musicians are fabulous as well, and were handpicked by Billy Joel himself. I saw this musical on Broadway and was very pleased. I think it's better than London's "We Will Rock You" (based on the songs of Queen)and Broadway's "Mamma Mia" (based on the songs of Abba) in that the whole cast does not sing and the arrangements are not for a stage chorus. Rather, the one guy and his piano backed up by the band is as close to Billy Joel as anyone will get.

4-0 out of 5 stars Still rock and roll to me
Having seen the show, "Movin Out", twice last summer in Chicago I was very anxious to get my hands on this CD. I was not disappointed...well, ok..maybe a little bit. Compared to the three song promo CD I'd acquired earlier, the sound on this CD seems a little tinny...not as rich as the studio recording I already had. This CD was recorded in Chicago in August- not sure if it was done on stage or not- but it does have a live quality to it that lacks the round richness of the usual studio recording. As I was mainly interested in the show because of the drummer, Chuck Burgi, I was a bit disappointed that the drums don't sound as clear and sharp as what I had before.

That said, Michael Cavanaugh is fantastic...I wouldn't call him a Billy Joel sound alike as some reviews have...he has a younger voice, perhaps not carrying the miles of Joel, but in keeping with the themes of the dance show- youth, hope, possibilities. His piano playing is quite proficient.

The band is brilliant! Tommy Byrnes is Joel's regular lead guitarist and Burgi and Greg Smith have very impressive resumes(Rainbow,Meatloaf,Brand X,Hall & Oates,BOC, Alice Cooper). I think Smith and Byrnes sing backup. Wade Preston is on the keyboards, the arrangements for which were done by Joel's own keyboard guy, David Rosenthal. Dennis DelGaudio is the other guitarist- he's been a part of the Long Island band scene for years. These guys have been friends for a long, long time. An awesome four man horn section makes up the rest of this amazing band.

It is unfortunate that the CD was rushed through and doesn't reflect the exact lineup of the tunes in the show, the worst case being that the finale band-only number of "NY state of mind" is left off the CD entirely. When I saw the show, this number led to standing ovations both times. Leaving it off was a mistake.

Anyone who sees "Movin Out" will want this CD. Heck, I wanted it just for the Burgi drumming. But if you forgive the choppy edits and instrumental dance bits thrown in for no reason, you can enjoy [this] band. When I saw the show, the dancing was fine but it was the band that brought the audiences to their feet every night. Billy Joel could do worse than to take these guys on the road with him next time.

3-0 out of 5 stars Better than Joel
I've never been a big Billy Joel fan, but I enjoy this CD, partly because Michael Cavanaugh's lead vocals are much better than Billy Joel's! Cavanaugh brings a fresh and much-needed energy to songs you've heard over and over again for years. The reworking of "We Didn't Start the Fire" flatters the song and bring the life of the show to the CD. A good purchase if you enjoy Billy Joel and would like to hear a new spin on the classics.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good
I have tickets to see the show and already like Billy Joel's songs. I wanted to see if the songs would be any different from what I already knew. Pretty much this is a collection of Billy Joel songs sung by a guy with a really good voice. Unfortunately some of the songs are arranged a bit differently (i.e. "We Didn't Start The Fire"). I still rate it highly overall because they're really great songs and the singer is really good. Even though this is less of a musical than I thought...then again you might as well purchase a Billy Joel CD if you don't care about the show...

5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic!
I saw the Broadway show, and it was fantastic! I had to buy the CD, becasue I just couldn't get the songs out of my head! This is a MUST BUY! ... Read more

37. The Last 5 Years (2002 Off-Broadway Cast)
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B000065CXP
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1265
Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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Jason Robert Brown burst on the musical-theater scene with a bang when his first Broadway show, Parade, won the Tony for original score in 1999. This new offering is more modest in scale than Parade, but it allows Brown to refine his skills. A two-character, one-act play, The Last 5 Years retraces a relationship through a complex structure that involves varying viewpoints and a chronology that unfurls backward and forward. Brown himself plays the piano and leads a small ensemble, while Norbert Leo Butz (Thou Shalt Not) and Sherie René Scott (Aida) sing the composer's heartbreaking melodies. Brown's lyrics need a bit of work (he can be oddly crass at unexpected moments), but he knows how to write songs that incorporate a pop sensibility and a distinctly theatrical narrative drive. That in itself is quite an achievement. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (77)

5-0 out of 5 stars Jason Robert Brown- need i say more?
if you have heard any of jason robert brown's work, you will understand what i mean by that title. his work captures amazing music and modern lyrics and subject matter beautifully. an example of that is the song "See I'm Smiling" where the music is so beautiful and captures you in an instant, and yet the lyrics are modern and make you feel as though this could be your friend just talking to or in front of you- they dont feel contrived for rhyme. (ex. "I think you're really gonna like this show/ I'm pretty sure it doesn's suck...") Brown beautifully delivers on humorous tracks like "Shiksa Goddess" and somber tracks like "Still Hurting". the other amazing aspect of this recording is how the music truly allows you to understand the complicated storyline of a couple's five years of marriage, with the woman, Cathy, beginning at the end, and the man, Jaimie, starting at the beginning of the relationship. this device portrays both stories without boring the listener, but still capturing the truth of relationships. i would highly suggest this to any musical theater lover, as well as all of Brown's work. if you love Songs For A New World, then youll adore The Last 5 Years.

5-0 out of 5 stars Complex, Beautiful, and Brilliant
Whether he meant to or not, when the score to Parade knocked down every standing wall around theatrical music, composer Jason Robert Brown made a promise to the Broadway community. He promised to breathe new life into a dying art form, to shake up that which took pride in being sedentary, and to make audiences reexamine everything they thought they knew about musicals. The Last Five Years keeps every promise made by Parade, and proves that Mr. Brown is more than capable of reinventing the entire genre of musical theatre.

L5Y is, at first glance, a very simple story: actress Catherine and novelist Jamie meet, fall in love, marry, have conflicts, and divorce over the course of five years. With so uncomplicated a plot, then, the characters must be incredibly complex and real in order to keep us interested in their lives, and fortunately for us, Mr. Brown specialises in creating a three-dimensional character in just one song. From the beginning, we know and understand these people and their underlying conflicts: Catherine is painfully insecure and needs Jamie's reassurance, Jamie is an egomaniac who needs Catherine's undivided attention. This is a gross oversimplification of these wonderfully vivid characters, but I would need much more space than allotted here to accurately describe them.

What takes L5Y beyond greatness and makes it a work of genius, however, is its presentation. Catherine tells her side of the story backwards, from the divorce to the first meeting. Jamie tells his side forward, from first meeting to divorce. This allows us to see patterns in their lives that might otherwise be hidden- for example, Jamie gets an eager agent and watches his career skyrocket, as we see that Catherine cannot even get her agent on the phone. Every song (save two) are solos, letting Norbert Leo Butz and Sherrie René Scott shine as individuals in their roles.

This excellent recording contains almost the entire show (on stage, it ran 83 minutes; the album is just a little shorter), including the long instrumental interludes in the middle of some songs. It is a true gift to experience such talent, and to hear it rising to still greater hights.

5-0 out of 5 stars A good sign for the future of musical Theatre
As a HUGE fan of Jason Robert Brown, this album didn't leave my cd player for a month. You can't help but become absorbed in the story of two people falling in and out of love. The lyrics and plot seem to mirror image the realtionship of people in america of how a relationship can start out so well, and end up broken. Great lyrics and voice talents only enhance the magnificence of Jason Roberts Brown's creative genius

5-0 out of 5 stars Genius, Pure and Simple
With "The Last 5 Years," Jason Robert Brown is three for three as far as composing goes. Once again, he has produced a virtually flawless score that is at once beautiful, inventive, poignant, and emotionally powerful. It is one of the handful of theatre scores where I would not remove a single song, and that is one of the highest complements I can pay a composer.

"The Last 5 Years" also shows Brown's growth and willingness to take risks as a composer. Attempting a sung-through musical with only two people is incredibly ambitious, and if nothing else runs the risk of becoming boring. But Brown's score is so inventive you forget the rather predictable flip-flopping of performers (she sings, then he sings, then she sings, etc.) or the fact that with the exception of "The Next Ten Minutes" all the songs in the show are solos, some of them over seven minutes long.

Also ballsy was the decision to tell half the story backwards. The show chronicles the relationship, marriage, and divorce of Jamie and Kathy, and Jamie's song are in order from their first date to their divorce. However, Kathy's story is told starting AFTER the divorce (with the haunting, heart-wrenching "Still Hurting") and goes backwards to thier first meeting. Although this can be initially confusing, ultimately it works in the show's favor, switching the emotional gears enough to keep things fresh.

Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie Renee Scott both do an excellent job with the roles of Jamie and Kathy, respectively. Although she can sound a bit thin-voiced at times, Scott acts the hell out of her songs and scores big time with numbers like the emotionally volatile "See, I'm Smiling" to the hysterical "Climbing Uphill" (at least it's funny if you've ever been at an audition) to the aforementioned "Still Hurting." Meanwhile, Butz runs the gauntlet from cocky schoolboy (the incredible "Shiksa Goddess") to disillusioned husband ("Nobody Needs to Know") and everywhere in between. And the one duet, "The Next Ten Minutes," is THE most gorgeous and emotionally honest love ballad written for the theatre.

In fact, therein lies the show's greatest triumph. Based in part on Brown's own marriage and divorce, "The Last 5 Years" tells to story of two REAL people experiencing the real emotions of love. The show is never sappy, but instead honors love in a way so emotionally truthful that you really feel for the characters. This is due in no small part to Scott and Butz, who portray both Kathy and Jamie as real people with real flaws, yet who are both trying their best to make things work.

"The Last 5 Years" isn't Brown's best score; that honor goes to "Songs for a New World." It also isn't his best show; that honor goes to 1999's "Parade." Yet it is his most daring show to date, and for that alone deserves attention and praise. If the show doesn't quite work in places, it's such a daring and immensely personally undertaking that the fact it turned out as good and truthful as it is proves Brown's mastery of his craft. We will be hearing a lot more from this man. I guarantee it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A True Musical For Today's World
When I say that this musical is one for today's world, I mean it. As a musical it has advanced beyond generation constraints and become not only a timless piece of work, but a piece of work that really reflects our generation of people right now. It captures the spirit and spunk of relationships today and it combines it with brilliantly written lyrics and fun, clever semi-modern music. Jason Robert Brown is an up and rising composer/lyricist in the theater world and has broadened our view of entertainment with his very own style of presentation. When asked if he thought that he was the "new" Stephen Sondheim he replied, "Sondheim is a genius, I just write some good songs." This show is basically about a couple, Kathy and Jaime, who meet, get married, and then eventually break up. Kathy starts her story at the very end and progressively works her way backwards. Jaime starts at the beginning and works his way back. It is packed with emotion and power that really hits home. The lyrics are amazing as I have said and so is the music. Both Sherie Rene Scott and Norbert Leo Butz have amazing voices and put so much into it, it becomes hard to believe they did this almost every night. They are true rising stars as well as Jason Robert Brown. Somebody must of thought so as Butz is in the original Broadway cast of Stephen Schwartz's Wicked. I can't wait for Brown's next musical, because even if it is only half as good as this, then it will be spectacular. ... Read more

38. Aida (2000 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004RCVM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1419
Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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For his second Broadway musical (and first time out writing a full show directly for the stage), Elton John certainly set his sights high by turning to one of the grandest of all operas as a source. His continued collaboration with lyricist Tim Rice has produced a work far closer to the agreeable pop style and formula of the team's Disney musical, The Lion King, than to the majesty and tragic passion of Verdi's opera. But the compelling tale of conflicting loyalties and star-crossed lovers--retooled in part by acclaimed playwright David Henry Hwang--inspires some of John's signature melodic felicity, as in "Elaborate Lives" and "Every Story Is a Love Story." And the original cast recording marks a dramatic leap forward from 1999's dreary mishmash studio concept album, thanks to the heat generated by Heather Headley and Rent star Adam Pascal as the forbidden lovers. Sherie René Scott can turn on a dime from a parodic stance ("My Strongest Suit") to sad resignation ("I Know the Truth"), while the three get to blend in the ensemble "A Step Too Far"--a pop counterpart to the intensity of operatic ensemble. The score touches on reggae and gospel, and on all-out rock balladry (where it's fun to hear Pascal clearly imitating John's characteristic vocal inflections), but it's most touching in the more reflective moments given to Headley's dignified Nubian princess. --Thomas May ... Read more

Reviews (220)

5-0 out of 5 stars Elton John and Tim Rice are the perfect collaborators ever!
Ever since The Lion King, I have loved Elton John and Tim Rice, they're the perfect team! They prove that, yet again, with this wonderful musical; Aida! Heather Headley has proved her talent with, my favorite musical, Julie Taymor's The Lion King! She has the most beautiful voice and acting talent! And I'm so glad to hear her singing again, and still in full power and beauty. Adam Pascal made an amazing transformation from RENT to Aida! He plays Radames perfectly, besides the fact that he sings wonderfully! The songs on this CD are all great, absolutely NO FILLER! Every song is perfect! The Elaborate Lives song (original & reprise) are possibly my favorites. We hear two full length songs that are absolutely perfect! I LOVE THEM~! I also truly love the songs Every Story is a Love Story, Written in the Stars, Not Me, The Gods Love Nubia, and Easy as Life! Not to exclude the others, but those ones are my favorite, but I never skip any of the songs, for they are all perfect. The musical has so many different sounds, the music is so different from itself...but they bind superbly! You'll love this CD! Enjoy!

One more thing....I think the Tony people should be ashamed! What is their problem! They didn't even nominate Aida for best musical! What's up with that? Huh! AAAAH! 'Cause I can think of some other musicals that could AND SHOULD be excluded from the category! Aida is wonderful and should have been nominated! At least Heather Headley one best actress in a musical! Dang straight! Go Heather! And to the voters...Grrr...

4-0 out of 5 stars it has its good points....
first off, lemme just say AIDA is my third favortie musical of all time. It really is a good cd (if you ignore the screeching of Heather Headleys voice). I admit, at first i bought this just to hear my all time favortie guy, Adam =) i fell in love with him from my RENT cd, and thank goodness his voice is still just as sexy and powerful and moving! his voice alone if worth the price of this cd. He is amazing!!! Another outstanding (and usually overlooked) performer is Sherie Rene-Scott. She is so cute!!! I love her to death, she is a true performer with a wonderful voice, one that i must say far surpasses that of Heathers. Ive also seen the show, so i can say Sherie is also more pleasing to look at than Heather is =P Adam and Sherie together make for some wonderful songs on this cd, and the Elton John music isnt bad at all. I dont like the Zoser songs on this cd (Another Pyramid, Like Father Like Son) but other than that the music is quite good. If you just ignore Heather, this cd is 100% enjoyable =)

3-0 out of 5 stars Pretty overrated, but decent.
I write this review as someone who has not seen the actual show but has listened to the soundtrack, so I will not be commenting on the quality of the show itself -- especially considering this is supposed to be a review of the actual soundtrack rather than the show as a whole, correct?

I have heard a lot about Aida, as many seem to be taken under its spell, if you will. I will admit that I was relatively unimpressed upon listening to the soundtrack. Many of the songs resemble another on the album...there are plenty I could have done without. I especially looked forward to hearing the seemingly phenomenal Heather Headly in the role of Aida, but I was also unimpressed by her as well. I will admit, she has a good voice, but that's about it. She is certainly no match to someone like Idina Menzel (Wicked), or Linda Eder, who is famous for a reason. Heather Headly is good, yes, but in my opinion, not nearly as good as everyone makes her out to be.

The person on this album who I feel overshadows her (and everyone else) is Sherie Rene Scott (Amneris), who I had heard virtually nothing about prior to listening to the recording. Perhaps she shines because she is the only character with any real DEPTH to work with, as the story is generally flat and at least she manages to entertain. Her voice shines in "Every Story is a Love Story" and especially "My Strongest Suit." She keeps your attention, and I am glad she is given the first and last songs in the show.

My favorite songs on this recording: "Not Me," "My Strongest Suit," "Every Story is a Love Story," & "Radames' Letter."

Songs the album could have done without: Most of the others, especially Zoser's songs (as most reviewers have mentioned). Most of Aida's songs are overrated and sound the same, as with Radames' songs. Basically, once you've heard one of them, you've heard them all.

I wouldn't spend money on this recording. I myself checked it out from the library and am content to have done so. I've heard it, there are a couple decent songs, but all in all, I could have gone without it. If you are looking for a great recording of a Broadway show, go with something like "Wicked" or "Miss Saigon."

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect...
This IS musical theatre. Gorgeous, beautiful, rich soundtrack, amazingly talented actors, and a wonderful story to work with makes this one of my personal favorites. Those who criticize this obviously don't know what they're talking about and should keep their mouths shut if they have nothing better to do than put down what can only be described as perfect.

1-0 out of 5 stars The worst POP concert I've ever seen!
This is a pop concert that masquerades as musical theater. And not even a good one at that. The voices aren't good and the lines so trite I wanted to laugh while the actors were delivering them seriously.

Just go see The Lion KIng. Nothing beats the original. ... Read more

39. Camelot (1960 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $11.98
our price: $8.99
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Asin: B000007OHW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1025
Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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For one brief, shining moment, there was a place known as Camelot--and this 1961 recording is the only document available of JFK's favorite musical, the one that's been used to describe his presidential administration ever since. Truthfully, Lerner and Loewe's musical score for this retelling of the King Arthur story doesn't measure up to My Fair Lady, which was still playing when Camelot opened on December 3, 1960. That being said, the three principals here were stronger musically than their 1968 film counterparts--Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet (who became a star as Lancelot, thanks to "If Ever I Would Leave You") could sing, while the pre-Liz Richard Burton could recite those great lines with Shakespearean flair, even if he never scored a hit with "MacArthur Park." --Bill Holdship ... Read more

Reviews (39)

5-0 out of 5 stars simply the best, by far
Now with improved sound, the original Broadway version blows away the competition. Richard Burton, a remarkably good singer considering that he had never taken a singing part before, is the definitive King Arthur, Julie Andrews is unsurpassed as Guinnevere, and Robert Goulet is wonderful as the self infatuated Sir Lancelot. After his "C'est Moi" (featuring the title line of this review), why would anyone else bother to perform it? The musical itself is of course one of the greatest of all time, with the title number, How to Handle a Woman (sounds a bit sexist, no? but it really is a beautiful love song), and What Do the Simple Folk Do? being my personal favorites. Even if you are not nostalgiac, this is great, great music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely beautiful--a work of genius
Where to begin with this lovely work of art? Well, I suppose we must begin with the actors...

Richard Burton, as Arthur, is stunning in his powerful, lordly acting, is incredible, and he sings so well that I find it astinishing that this was his first singing role. Julie Andrews is as wonderful as Guinevere as she is anywhere else, perfectly distilling both the joy and wit of "Lusty month of May" and "You may take me to the fair", and the quiet melancholy of "Before I gaze at you again" and "I loved you once in silence". Roddy McDowall is impishly delightful as Mordred in the deliciously profane "Seven deadly virtues". But Robert Goulet's proud, passionately performance, very reminiscent of Richard Kiley's Don Quixote a decade later, has made Lancelot, potentially a boastful, insipidly sappy boor, into my favorite character from "Camelot".

Since there is little of the play's dialogue on this CD, the other aspect of its greatness is the songs. Guinevere's slow, tragic romantic ballads are a bit bland, but they have quite clever lyrics and are stunningly well-performed by Julie Andrews. Still, my favorite songs remain "Ce'st moi", Lancelot's self-praising solo, and the heart-rending finale, "Camelot (reprise)". Ironic, isn't it, that the song I like the least is the original version of the song "Camelot".

Also high on the list is the sardonic, maliciously hilarious "Fie on goodness", which is sung by Arthur's traitorous knights, and which gives a rather persuasive argument in favor of the human need for sin and guilt. Yet more favorites are the bitterly tragic "Guinevere" and the joyous "Lusty month of May", both of which are a true joy to listen to. The only songs that are lacking are "Camelot" (although, as I said, the reprise was stunning), and "The simple joys of maidenhood", whose brilliantly witty lyrics are marred slightly by a rather lackluster tune. Still, this CD comes highly recommended, as even those two songs are quite adequate efforts, and there is not a single song truly lacking in value. Get this CD; you'll almost certainly enjoy it (unless you're a cretin entirely lacking in good taste), and it is certainly the best performance of this musical available anywhere, at any place or time. Richard Burton IS Arthur! Julie Andrews IS Guinevere. And Robert Goulet is DEFINITELY Lancelot! Ce'st moi forever! Camelot forever! And for the last time--leave this review, go back to the top of the page, and GET THE CD! _NOW_!

5-0 out of 5 stars Julie Andrews and Richard Burton in fine voice
CAMELOT, the ravishing musical re-telling of the King Arthur legend by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, has never sounded better than in the original 1960 Broadway cast album, now happily reissued on the Columbia Broadway Masterworks label. Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet lead the cast as the troubled love-triangle of King Arthur, Queen Guenevere and Sir Lancelot. Julie Andrews, fresh from the London production of MY FAIR LADY, is in glorious voice and sings some of the score's best numbers like "The Simple Joys of Maidenhood", "The Lusty Month of May", "Then You May Take Me to the Fair" and the achingly-poignant "I Loved You Once in Silence". Richard Burton has an attractive singing voice (remember, he was a Welshman!), and has a ball with numbers like "I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight?" and the Title Song. Robert Goulet delivers the definitive "If Ever I Would Leave You". CAMELOT enjoyed a modest run of 873 performances (modest in that the composers hoped to outdo their MY FAIR LADY success. MFL ended up running over 2, 000 performances). Out of the myriad of CAMELOT cast albums available, this is still the best of the bunch.

4-0 out of 5 stars Spectacular voices, beautiful score, flawed, but lovely
The level of talent helped to elevate this overlong work to "classic" status. This is an unwieldy piece - it aspires to be operatic, but falls short. The book isn't wonderful, but the scope of the story is. It's one of those musicals, like Man of La Mancha, that has as many supporters as detractors. I love parts of this show, and these beautiful voices preserve it as it should be, not like the filmed musical drek that came later. I always get a little farklemt at the end....

5-0 out of 5 stars Far from day, far from night...
I absolutely loved this recording and would reccomend it to any potential buyer. Even though i have never seen it performed, or watched the movie, Lerner and Loewe's brilliant musical has become one of my favorites, entirely on the strength of this recording. The music is sweetly pretty, and the lirics are superb, but it is the stars that make this recording such a timeless classic. Being a confirmed Julie Andrews fan means that I invariably enjoy her singing, but in my opinion she is at her personal best in this recording. The shine and the sparkle that shines through in such songs as The Simple Joys of Maidenhood and Take Me To The Fair, is unquestionably wonderful, even to those who dislike Julie Andrews. The other stars are equally talented. Richard Burton's voice is perhaps not astonishing, but his enthusiasm and energy fully makes up for this. Robert Goulet fully deserved the fame he recieved for If Ever I Would Leave You. The company songs are equally good. Guineviere, for example, is an excellent song. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that there is not a single song on this recording that is not a classic. A must have. BUY IT! ... Read more

40. West Side Story (Original 1957 Broadway Cast)
list price: $11.98
our price: $8.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000056TB2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 837
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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What is there left to say about this musical, deservedly one of the most famous in the canon? Created by what lyricist Stephen Sondheim described as "a unique concatenation of people" (Leonard Bernstein, Sondheim, Arthur Laurents, Jerome Robbins), the show remains as explosively vibrant, daring, and modern as it was decades ago. Bernstein integrated Latin percussion and jazz into his electrifying score, dazzlingly translating New York's unique vitality into a musical idiom. West Side Story has been adapted for jazz and interpreted by pop and opera singers, but you owe it to yourself to check out the original version to see what the fuss was all about. This new reissue adds over 20 minutes of "symphonic dances" as well as liner notes and production photos. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars a Broadway masterpiece
WEST SIDE STORY is indeed one of the greatest Broadway musicals. Rarely has it been better-sung than on the glittering 1957 original cast album, now reissued on the Columbia Broadway Masterworks label.

The young, vibrant cast was made up mostly of unknown actors, who all went on to make big names for themselves on the stage. The musical launched the career of triple-threat Chita Rivera, as the fiery Anita. Carol Lawrence (SARATOGA, SUBWAYS ARE FOR SLEEPING) played Maria whilst the role of Tony was essayed by a young Larry Kert (COMPANY, FOLLIES).

The Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim score is simply gorgeous and includes "Maria", "One Hand One Heart", "Somewhere" and "The Jet Song". Chita Rivera adds her brassy belt to the showstopping "America"; Carol Lawrence's clarion soprano is perfectly showcased in "I Feel Pretty"; Larry Kert is the picture of youthful longing in "Something's Coming". Equally thrilling is the energetic "Quintet", which is a major highlight of the colorful score.

Chita Rivera went on to star in the equally-successful London production, and went on to appear in both the Broadway and London companies of BYE BYE BIRDIE. Other lauded Broadway appearances came in BAJOUR and her Tony-winning roles in THE RINK and KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN. As of this review's writing, she's winning a whole new generation of fans in the 2003 revival of Maury Yeston's NINE.

WEST SIDE STORY continues to be recognised as one of Broadway's landmark musicals. This new remastered edition of the peerless 1957 production is a must-have in every cast album collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Romeo and Juliet on the West Side
I was born six years after West Side Story premiered on Broadway, and I have only seen the movie version, so for me this CD is the next best thing to building a time machine to see the original stage production of the Jerome Robbins/Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim modern take on Romeo and Juliet.

While an original cast recording is no substitute for having seen West Side Story on the New York stage, hearing the cast (which included Larry Kert, Chita Rivera, and Carol Lawrence) gives 21st Century listeners an aural glimpse into the brilliance of composer Bernstein and lyricist Sondheim's musical constructs.

While I love the "standards" associated with West Side Story (Tonight, Maria, Somewhere), my favorite songs are Something's Coming, which reflects Tony's optimistic outlook as he looks to the future rather than to his past as a member of the Jets. The complicated quintet "Tonight" expresses the conflicting dreams and desires of the major characters and mixes the romantic aspects of the two pairs of lovers (Tony and Maria; Anita and Bernardo) as well as the hostility between the "American" Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks.

My favorite song, Gee Officer Krupke, is a sardonic ode to the cluelessness of adults as seen through the cynical eyes of teenage gang members. I remember this song vividly because when I was a member of the glee club at South Miami High, Gee Officer Krupke was in our repertoire for the first concert I performed in. Its wry humor never failed to make us laugh while we were learning it, and afterwards I wanted to hear the entire playlist from West Side Story.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Essential Original cast Album!
Recorded just days after WEST SIDE STORY opened on Broadway this original cast disc is one of the best from the golden days of Goddard Lieberson at Columbia Records. He knew exactly how to translate a stage musical to records. The prologue needed more excitement so he added the sonds of the gang members and had the orchestra increase the tempo. Not every note would fit (the Lp was very long for its day: 57 minutes!) so some trims were made here and there but done with such skill that they are hardly noticed. On the other hand, the entire "Somewhere" Ballet is heard here. It was not used in the movie.

Some people prefer the movie soundtrack for its beefier orchestrations. It too is a very fine recording of the score. But this is the first, the original. The way WEST SIDE STORY sounded when it premiered.

Sony's reissue sounds sensational: crisp, and clear with every orchestral texture. The bonus tracks are a symphonic suite of dances that Bernstein extracted for concert performances.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Musical Theatre Classic
The remastered recording of the original Broadway cast of West Side Story is one of those purchases I am happy I made. Go ahead; compare this to the movie soundtrack - you'll find that this cast, these actors definitely give most of the movie cast a run for their money. (I say "most" because Rita Moreno and Chita Rivera are both strong performers, so there's no weakness with Anita. The B'way cast's Tony and Maria beat the movie by a longshot.) I agree with a lot of other people, Larry Kert is the definitive Tony. In the recording he transmits a huge amount of youthful exuberance and hope. Just listen to "Something's Coming," which is definitely a beautiful moment in the show. Even from this recording you get the sense of longing and wishing for "something" that Tony expects to come soon. An excellent, excellent album, and a great purchase for anyone who loves musical theatre or opera.

5-0 out of 5 stars Neither "popular" nor "classical"--simply great!
Leonard Bernstein, more than any other 20th Century composer, bridged the somewhat artificial gap between "popular" and "classical" music. To wit: the transition from the Broadway show music (tracks 1-16) on this CD to the Symphonic Dances performed by the New York Philharmonic (tracks 17-25) is seamless. Columbia is to be congratulated on this inspired coupling.

Stephen Sondheim's lyrics--especially the insightful "America" and "Officer Krupke"--are brilliant. Perhaps surprisingly for social commentary of this nature, they have worn extremely well with time; they are just as apt now--not to mention downright funny--as they were back in the '50s.

In summary, this album is everything that good music should be, regardless of the category you may choose to place it in. ... Read more

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