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81. The War Of The Worlds (1976 Studio
$14.99 $11.99 list($18.98)
82. Urinetown (2001 Original Off-Broadway
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83. Godspell: Original Motion Picture
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84. Company - A Musical Comedy (1970
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85. Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor
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86. The Wild Party (Lippa) (2000 Off-Broadway
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87. South Pacific (Original 1949 Broadway
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88. Somewhere over the Rainbow: The
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89. Pippin (1972 Original Broadway
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90. Bounce (2003 Original Cast)
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91. Chicago - The Musical (1996 Broadway
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92. 42nd Street (1980 Original Broadway
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93. The Phantom Of The Opera (1986
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94. Les Miserables (Highlights from
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95. Miss Saigon (Original 1989 London
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96. Little Shop Of Horrors (1986 Film)
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97. Guys and Dolls (1992 Broadway
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98. Riverdance: Music From The Show
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99. Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well
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100. Bye Bye Birdie (1960 Original

81. The War Of The Worlds (1976 Studio Cast)
list price: $19.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B0000025CO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2524
Average Customer Review: 4.76 out of 5 stars
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Album Details

20bit Digitally Remastered Edition of the First of the All-star Soundtracks for Soundtrack's Sake. Featured Players Include the Late Richard Burton, the Late Phil Lynott and the Moody Blues'justin Hayward, Whose "Forever Autumn" from this Album Became his Biggest Solo Hit. This Collection also Includes Four Bonus Tracks:a Remix and Dub of 'forever Autumn' and a Remix of 'eve of the War' and a Dub of 'spirit of Man". ... Read more

Reviews (126)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thrilling and Beautiful...
I first discovered this masterpiece over 20 years ago in a record store and thought its cover was quite unique. Started playing it and my family sat in and listened as well. The music was quite haunting especially "Forever Autumn". Needless to say WOTW was played a great deal. Fast forward to this past July, I again found the CD in a Book/Record store and immediately purchased it. The young man who worked at the cash register was quite impressed with the names behind WOTW's production. I encouraged him to buy a copy and listen seriously. Two days later my sister, her seven-year-old daughter and I were on a 2-hour road trip to participate a 5K race. What better way to pump ourselves up than to "imagine" the Martians chasing us!

Hearing the opening lines of "Thunder Child" brought tears to my eyes. You cannot help but imagine seeing the tripod figures striding through the Thames bearing down upon a lone ironclad vessel which had no hope of winning such an ill balanced battle. This is a wonderful CD. I highly recommend it to everyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Timeless Interpretation of a Timeless Story
Like another reviewer, my introduction to Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds was on Halloween night, probably on WNOR-FM (Norfolk, VA), in the late 1970's. War of the Worlds is one of those incredible performances that should not be limited to the memories of the "70's generation".

Like Tommy, The Wall and even Thick as a Brick, it is a timeless piece of theatrical work. I've always felt that WOTW is highly worthy or reintroduction every few years so that up and coming generations can experience Richard Burton's evocative storytelling, the haunting vocals of Julie Covington as Beth, the madness of Parson Nathaniel (the late Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy) and the Artillary Man (David "Rock On" Essex), and can once and for all hear Justin Hayward's lyrical Forever Autumn in its proper context.

I have even dreamed of a WOTW revival with new artists performing - Patrick Stewart as the Journalist, and some more contemporary vocalists in the key roles - suggestions anyone?

2-0 out of 5 stars Needed some work
Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds is one of those albums whose legend far surpasses it's content. This album is well known and well recieved within prog rock circles, but not well known outside of them. I remember being very taken by it upon first listen as a young man (the artwork accompanying the album is priceless). It was quite the novelty hearing a rock opera with Sir Richard Burton narrating. But beyond the novelty, there isn't much substance.

In 1978 this album had what seemed to be a stellar cast. But in hind-sight, most of these performers had passed through the apex of their popularity and rellevance. Most all the muscial performers had spoken dialog as well as singing parts, except Heyward, who does most of the vocals. And of course there is Richard Burton, whose classically trained, stacatto voice is perfect for this style of recording. His performance carries the show, which doesn't say much for a rock album. Most of the dialog using Lynott, Essex and Covington ranges from banal to over-rought (Lynott's 'parson' is played way over the top and is somewhat embarrising given how big a Thin Lizzy fan I am).

That is not to say that there isn't some fine moments here and there. Heyward's Forever Autumn and Thunder Child are the only two songs that really stand out musically speaking. Forever Autumn is a wistful lament expressing seperation and loss, and while not directly related to the story, it does serve the plot well. Thunder Child is a minor masterpiece, melding story line lyrics and Burton's impecible narration with pop/rock hooks. If most of the album resembled this work, it might actually be the classic everyone thinks it is. But the people behind the console have to take a hit here as well. A superb, etherial instrumental like The Red Weed is marred by narration instead of being a stand alone song, save for the lead-in by Burton. The mixing job as a whole is somewhat clumsy. The goofy dialog (along with the disco trappings) should have been scrapped and more attention paid to the quality of the music.

Jeff Wayne may have had the vision and the ambition, but lacked the chops and flair of a Rick Wakeman, nor did he have the composition skills of an Alan Parsons. And I'm afraid that time hasn't been kind to this release. Instead of being a period as it was intended to, it's sound is inexorably linked to the year in which it was recorded. Maybe an updated version of this story is in order-((hello Rick Wakeman...)) It was a good idea that never was realized to it's best potential.

5-0 out of 5 stars CLASSIC
I am still only 15, but I heard this when I was nine, and thought it was the best thing since chocolate. It introduced me to many, many other albums and bands. I owe it all to Jeff Wayne, and also to Rick Wakeman as I soon after heard his Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
This is a very powerful album in many respects, not only for it's famous narration by Richard Burton and its even more famous DUM DUM DUMMM, DUM DUM DUMMM, you get the picture. (I hope!) I truly believe that anyone who likes any form of music from the 70's will like this. I wont pretend that todays younger generation will appreciate it as the masterpiece it is, but all the rest of us should proudly own a copy of 'JEFF WAYNES MUSICAL VERSION OF THE WAR OF THE WORLDS.' It's a true classic, up their with Mozart and Haydn, well done Jeff! H.G. Wells would be proud.

5-0 out of 5 stars a life long LOVE!
I was introduced to, "War of the Worlds," in 1978, by my older brother who had been introduced to it through his 8th grade math teacher. This album is one i still play quite often. My kids have grown up with this musical and know every line and all the changes in the music, and i plan on sharing this album with my grandkids. Yes, to me, its a classic. What can i say, Richard Burton, if i had the awful chance of not being familar with this ablum, and i was told Richard Burton was the narrator, i would flip! Richard Burton has a way pulling our mind strings, alerting to us that every word he will say is one to cling onto. The music: I have always been a huge disco fan. The guitar wah wah sounds OUTSTANDING!!! The crys (leads) of the guitar in the background of the second song, "Horsell Common and The Heat Ray", creap me out and prepare the listener for the evil that is coming upon the earth. The chills i get with the quiet solemn sadness of, "The Red Weed", pt1 and 2., and "Dead London", how tired and fightened the journalist was and the music protrayed the uncontrolling desire for death. I feel Jeff Wayne was ahead of his time with his ideas, yet still stayed within his own era, where he can be appreciated within his own gerneration and many to come. I loved everything that was done in this album. So, for me this album has been one i grew up with and am very parcial too, but in a small part in the back of mind i dream of a modern version of this classic, but i worry of how it may come out. I would hope nothing would change at all, and the feel of the orginal would come through. ... Read more


82. Urinetown (2001 Original Off-Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B00005LZR8
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3992
Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

"How about a bad title?" wonders Spencer Kayden's Little Sally in "Too Much Exposition." "That could kill a show pretty good." It's a tribute to the skill deployed by the Urinetown creative team (Mark Hollman, music and lyrics; Greg Kotis, book and lyrics) that its title doesn't kill the show. Set in a near-future in which water depletion has led to a ban on private toilets, this may be the only musical in history in which one of the leads makes a fortune on pee. But the show (which originated Off-Broadway before graduating to the big league) limits its subversive intent to subject matter and is refreshingly classic in approach and structure--think Weill-meets-Lewis Carroll. Backed by a small ensemble, the cast (with John Cullum in a turn nothing short of brilliant as the evil urinal magnate) has a field day with Kotis and Hollman's frequently hilarious score.--Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (69)

5-0 out of 5 stars one of the best Broadway musicals of recent years
URINETOWN is one of the best Broadway musicals of recent years. Featuring a killer score by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis, it has shades of the political, anarchic musicals written by Brecht and Weill (THE THREEPENNY OPERA), as well as Marc Blitzstein (JUNO) in the 50's.

The story recounts the troubled province of Urinetown. Due to a crippling water shortage, the town is forced to ban toilets, instead having to pay the frazzled Miss Penelope Pennywise (Nancy Opel - TRIUMPH OF LOVE) to use the cramped urinal which has to accommodate the entire population of the town. Toilet mogul Cladwell (John Cullum - ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER) keeps the town under his forceful thumb, until his headstrong young daughter Hope (Jennifer Laura Thompson) and local boy Bobby Strong (Hunter Foster - LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS) decide to rally the township to revolt.

Acting as our 'tour guides' are Officer Lockstock (Jeff McCarthy) and Little Sally (Spencer Kayden). Standout numbers include "Follow Your Heart", "Snuff That Girl", "Too Much Exposition", "We're Not Sorry", "Tell Her I Love Her" and the showstopping "Run Freedom Run".

URINETOWN first began life off-Broadway, but later moved up to the Henry Miller's Theatre on the main stem. If you have yet to discover this show (or if you are just put off by the name), forget your qualms and buy it - you won't be disappointed!

5-0 out of 5 stars A most unusual musical
Urinetown: The Musical is a unique production. As Hollmann and Kotis notes, the musical was never intended to be produced. It was their own little laboratory experiment that they never could put away. Over the years, their obsession finally led to concessions which brought it Off-Broadway and finally on to Broadway.

For even the casual fan of musical theater, you will be able to spot Hollmann and Kotis' deep understanding of the form. Throughout Urinetown: The Musical, they continuously satirize the stock characters (e.g. the dim-witted naive heroine; the unbelievably precocious child), conventions (e.g. exposition techniques), and production numbers (e.g. the Act I Finale which is particularly reminiscent of Les Miserables) familiar to theatergoers. Going beyond satire, they are also unafraid to turn musical theater on its head by breaking the rules (e.g. the "very bad title" among other interesting secrets I will not reveal in the review). In addition to being clever, Hollmann and Kotis provide us with very enjoyable songs with my favorites being "Don't Be The Bunny" and "Tell Her I Love Her".

In closing, the CD provides an excellent introduction to the musical, but musical theater is supposed to be seen and heard so I recommend seeing the production live. It will further your appreciation and provide better context beyond reading the libretto.

2-0 out of 5 stars Eh...
I can't believe this moved up to Broadway while [the far superior] Bat Boy never made it! Urinetown is, like it's obnoxious title, pretty awful. Usually, I enjoy a musical that dares to be different, so when I heard of Urinetown, I bought a copy of the cast recording without having seen the show before.

Here's what I thought:

As with most musicals, there are a couple of winning songs (Look At The Sky, Act One Finale) but the majority are barely listenable. I'm sorry but for me, a musical needs at least nine good songs in order to redeem itself, not just two or three. Now, it has an interesting plot but that doesn't make up for the BAD singing (with the exception of Hunter Foster), annoying voices (Jennifer Laura Thompson, John Cullum), horrible lyrics, and true let-down of an ending. I give this original cast album two stars for effort.

Check out Wicked, Aida, or even Seussical if you want a musical that delivers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Urinetown ... you'll keep going back for more!
The first exposure I, like many others, ever had to Urineotwn was its 2002 appearence on the Tony awards performing "Run Freedom Run." Just comparing the selections shown that night of "Throughly Modern Millie" and "Urinetown" it is a complete mystery why Urinetown is not still running today with the Tony for Best Musical in its tow. The book along with the music full of quirking lyrics ('so let's live it up...eat the oyster and the pearl!')and boiling over with spunky similies ('my heart is like a stallion racing through a great expanse...preforming coronary somersaults!') keeps many a listeners singing along. Also, the Tony award winning score is more then complimented by the fantastic performances of Spencer Kayden (Little Sally) and Hunter Foster (Bobby Strong) who is now playing in "The Producers." This is a CD has a one of a kind sound that is addictive leaving you comming bakc for more. No matter how many soundtracks you own there is always room in your stereo for the unique tunes of Urinetown.

5-0 out of 5 stars Urine Heaven Every Single Second of "Urinetown"
"Urinetown" is so many things. Hysterical, touching, exhuberant, joyful, and above all, it is sheer brilliance. "Urinetown" was one of the best theatre-going experiences I have ever had. I actually wasn't too hot on seeing it, but was convinced to go by a relative, and I was enchanted by the pure magic of this show by the second or third bar of the overture. And a great thing about this cast recording, is that it is one of the best shows to transfer from stage to cd. Every number on the cd, is almost as good as seeing them live. Of course, nothing can match the live theatre experience, but this cd comes close. Unfortunately "Urinetown" has now closed on Broadway, but this cd is an absolute must for Broadway enthusiasts. Don't miss out on one of the most joyful musicals ever written! ... Read more


83. Godspell: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
list price: $13.98
our price: $13.98
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Asin: B000002VDU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3767
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars CLASSIC
Godspell, that well-worn 70s quasi-religious clown musical, was transformed into a wildly creative movie musical in 1973. This soundtrack streamlines the raw, original cast album into a sleek pop recording that is infinitely listenable. The arrangements are gorgeous, and feature, in most cases, better vocals than the original. The sound is pumped up, and the orchestrations now include lush strings and thick, fat horns and soaring vocal harmonies. Beautiful City, written for the film, is beautiful; the finale, with its seamless transition into Day By Day, is truly moving. For my money, this is the best representation so far of Stephen Schwartz' brilliantly hooky and melodic score. FYI, Jesus is played by the luminous, young Victor Garber, whom most people now know as the architect, in the film Titanic.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best recording of "Godspell" there is!
I dare say that this is definitely one of the best recordings of "Godspell" ever recorded. Not only does it have over half of the original Off-Broadway Cast, but it also has fresh new voices that may even top the ones they replaced. I speak mainly of Marrell and Lynne in their renditions of "All Good Gifts" and "Bless the Lord." I'm a bit thankful that Lamar's operatic is gone, because Merrell is just great with it! And I've never heard "Bless the Lord" sound so good! I absolutely love it! Go Lynne Thigpen! I love the new version of "Save the People" with it's new guitar solo in the middle. I think Victor Garber is great as Jesus, so all of his songs are wonderful. All the cast is remarkable with their songs. This is a great companion to the movie, which you should also pick up. If you any bit of a "Godspell" fan, this is a CD you have to buy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent CD!
Everyone must own this CD. I dont enjoy the movie, but I did enjoy the songs. Stephen Schwartz must be a geinus, and it shows here, and in his Current "Wicked". The song that is worth the price of the Cd is the tuneful "All For The Best". I will probally wear the CD out before I have listened to that enough.
The performances are top notch. I have never listened to the Broadway Cast Recording, but if it is better than this,(which I doubt), I will gladly buy it. The late, great, Lynne Thigpen is wonderful. Victor Garber (SWEENEY TODD, TITANIC)is great as the good sheperd. Get this recording if you like gospel music, good music, or just plain uplifting music.

5-0 out of 5 stars This rocks!
I'm just 14 years old, and I fell in love with the play at school. The way I always am,when I fall in love with a play (ex.Grease,guys and dolls) I search every thing on it. So I got this sound track and I have not stopped playing it since I got it. My favorite songs are Day by Day, Beautiful city,and Bless the lord. I'd definetly get this soundtrack.

5-0 out of 5 stars God Save the People!
As others have said, whether one is a religious person or not, this soundtrack makes you feel good. And if you are a follower of Jesus, it should remind you why. It's joyous and uplifting, and there's not a bad track to be heard. The performances are all first rate and are actually superior to the original Broadway cast recording, IMO.

If you only know Victor Garber from television or movies, you must listen to this recording! He has a beautiful, mesmerizing tenor voice that is filled with all the emotions that Jesus goes through in the film (Buy that too, if you haven't already!). Particularly good is his first song, "God Save the People" as well as the duet with David Haskell (John/Judas, also in the Broadway original) "All For the Best" and the heart-wrenching finale, where he sings, "Oh, God, I'm dead" as he breathes his last. Sadly, David Haskell is no longer with us, so listening to/watching his performance is a poignant experience. The women are wonderful as well, with Lynne Thigpen shining on "Bless the Lord," Katie Hanley's encouraging "By My Side" and, perhaps the most recognizable, "Day By Day" by Robin Lamont. Every track is wonderful, beautifully sung and gently reverent in its own way.

I find myself listening to this CD over and over, whenever I'm in need of an emotional boost. It's cheaper than liquor and much better for you. Fat-free too! ;-) ... Read more


84. Company - A Musical Comedy (1970 Original Broadway Cast) [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED] [CAST RECORDING]
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Asin: B00000DHSN
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2494
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Stephen Sondheim's Company still sounds as modern as it did when it opened in 1970. Donna McKechnie, Susan Browning, and Pamela Myers spoof the Andrews Sisters with gusto in the tongue-twisting "You Could Drive a Person Crazy," while Browning and Dean Jones's "Barcelona" is filled with longing and heartbreak. And, of course, Elaine Stritch reigns supreme, proving once more that you don't have to be the best singer to steal a musical. An extra track features Larry Kert (Tony in the original West Side Story) singing "Being Alive." Kert had replaced Jones early in the run but wasn't on the original cast recording. It would have been nice to finally get the lyrics, though. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Sondheim masterpiece
COMPANY is one of the greatest musicals to emerge from the 70's, which proved to be a rather thin decade for Broadway and the musicals.

COMPANY is a "concept musical" in the best sense of the word, where the songs act more as vignettes than form a scene-to-scene story. The cast, headed by Dean Jones and Elaine Stritch, has never been truly bettered.

Dean Jones, in his brief time as Bobby, displayed for the first time his rich and beautiful singer voice. After years playing the goofy leads of Disney comedies like "The Love Bug", "Monkeys Go Home" and "That Darn Cat", Jones was established as a Broadway star to be reckoned with. His renditions of "Someone is Waiting" as well as the life-affirming "Being Alive" are fantastic.

The supporting cast is headed by Elaine Stritch as Joanne, the sardonic older woman who sings the masterpiece "The Ladies who Lunch" (still yet to be equalled). Beth Howland, as kooky Amy, sings the difficult patter-sing "Getting Married Today" with gusto. Pamela Myers, in her Tony-nominated role as Marta, sings a mean rendition of "Another Hundred People". The rest of the cast; Barbara Barrie, Charles Kimbrough, Merle Louise, Charles Cunningham, Teri Ralston, George Coe, Steve Elmore, Charles Braswell, Donna McKechnie, Susan Browning, Cathy Corkill, Carol Gelfand, Marilyn Saunders and Dona D. Vaughn; all sing with gusto.

Stephen Sondheim certainly created what is considered one of his most polished and questioning scores; including "Barcelona", "Have I Got a Girl For You", "Sorry-Grateful", "Poor Baby" and the dance arrangement for "Tick-Tock", which provided a showcase for the galvanising dance talents of Donna McKechnie (who would go on to create the role of Cassie in the original cast of A CHORUS LINE).

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Musicals
"Company" -- along with "Follies", "A Little Night Music", and "Sweeney Todd", represents the pinnacle of Sondheim's achievement and a bastion of the greatest music Broadway has ever sponsored -- both from a musical and literary perspective. "Company" itself is by turns warm, acerbic, amusing, frantic, and is a magnificent expression of the convoluted emotional lives of modern urbanites. (Indeed, it has one of the most perceptive songs ever written about New York City--"Another Hundred People".) The ambiguity of the human spirit is a major theme running through Sondheim's ouvre of lyrics. (Which are, in my opinion, arguably the greatest body of lyrics composed for the stage, Gerschwin, Berlin, Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein & Hart AND the rest notwithstanding.) Such brilliant songs as "Sorry-Grateful", "Someone Is Waiting", and "Being Alive" attest to that. The words reach down into the gut, and even when cynical they ring true (as in the wonderful "The Ladies Who Lunch"). Although there have been alternative casts and revivals and numerous concert performances of the score, in whole or part, this original cast recording still towers above them all: Dean Jones' magnificent performance, fraught with all the pain and bemusement and alienation (the role nearly caused him to have a nervous breakdown, it affected him so much); that national treasure, Elaine Strich, in "The Little Things You Do Together" and the incomparable "The Ladies Who Lunch"; Beth Howland's tour-de-force panic attack while "Getting Married Today"; the wonderful cast (including Charles Kimbrough of "Murphy Brown" fame and Barbara Barrie, and alumnus of "Barney Miller"). Even the ostensibly "Big" crowd-pleaser numbers, like "Side by Side by Side", for all their conscious nods to popular tastes, have an edge-- how Bobby, at the end, finds himself alone when his married friends pair off with their spouses-- beside the wonderfully witty and insightful lyrics; in "Barcelona" -- one of the most realistic "post-coitus" numbers even written -- where Bobby, after insincere and fulsome praise of his recent bedmate, at a climax calls her "June" -- and she quietly corrects him-- "April" -- there's nothing quite like it, or many of the numbers, elsewhere in Musical Theater. ALL IN ALL -- this album is a classic, probably not for people with bubblegum tastes whose preferences run to the simpy or bathetic-- but for people of intelligence and introspection. It cannot be recommended too highly.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Company"-The zenith of Sondheim wit and knowing?
Marked for over 40 years as the single most observant, wittiest, most revealing composer/lyricist of the Broadway stage, Stephen Sondheim distills every iota of his remarkable talent in this multi-faceted piece of commentary of the human condition and the human willingness to commit that pulls off the extraordinary trick of being refreshingly- and painfully- honest at the same time.

"Company," the 1970 Tony winner for Best Musical, still stands as a marvelous example of music, cast, and production blending together to create something modern and uncommonly great. The plotless story dealing with the concern of five Manhattan couples for their mutual friend Bobby (Dean Jones) and his romantic life (or lack thereof) is as relevant today as it was to 1970's audiences. As the friends discuss their concerns, we learn that not only has the domestic life they picture for their friend not worked out well for them, but what would they do without Bobby to support them? Bobby himself is ambivalent about committing to a serious relationship, while trying to supplant his friends' concerns for him and themselves.

Just about any married couple will recognize themselves in one of the show's intricately sketched couples, and the uncertain bachelors out there will certainly identify with the angst-driven Bobby. As Bobby, Dean Jones creates a wholly likable character, and a realistic one that can be sympathized with and understood. There are other standouts in the cast: Pamela Myers, Donna McKechnie, and Susan Browning as Bobby's frustrated girlfriends. There are also wonderful performances to be enjoyed from Elaine Stritch, Beth Howland, and Charles Kimbrough.

Each of Sondheim's songs gives us a wry, telling look into the lives and thoughts of the characters. From the bombastic opening of "Company" on, the score never fails to capture interest. The ambivalent "Sorry-Grateful" sung by Bobby's married male friends, is a perfectly integrated mix of the regrets and consolations of the married man. "You Could Drive a Person Crazy," an amusing triplet sung by Bobby's girlfriends, sprinkles laughs throughout its breathless pace. Bobby's plaintive "Someone Is Waiting," in which he dreams of his ideal woman (which can not be lived up to) is still a beautiful dream. Myers' commentary on the connectionless, empty existence of New Yorkers is straightforwardly expressed in "Another Hundred People." Bobby's friend Amy (Howland) suddenly finds herself in a hilarious (and understandable) panic at the prospect of "Getting Married Today." "Barcelona," Bobby's duet with one of his girlfriends, April (Browning) ranks among the most heartbreaking, poignant soliloquies ever composed for the Broadway stage. And as Bobby's elderly married friend Joanne, Elaine Stritch creates a show of her own with the arsenic-filled "The Ladies Who Lunch," a tour-de-force from simmering start to bombastic finish. And there is the wonderful, wonderful eleven o'clock number, "Being Alive" which Jones sings with every ounce he has to give, bringing the emotional heart of "Company" full circle.

These vivid characters and resonating attitudes make "Company" a stark, uncompromsing vehicle in the Broadway canon. But it is a brilliant show at the nth degree of brilliance. It is a show to think about, to be moved by, and to contemplate in everyday life. Because it still is life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just Go Buy It Already
Company from the very first chords of its opening, is very much a product of it's time, but that in no way condems it to being anything but brilliant. It's amazing how you can go to the happy, and comical Side By Side, and then go to the melancholy, and slightly haunting Another Hundred People, but this is Sondheim, so could you really expect anything less? Every song is worthwile, which is surprising, because on all of my cd's there's atleast one song that I don't like. My only problem with it, if I had to have one, is that Dean Jones's voice really bugs me, not much mind you, just enough to sometimes make me cringe a little bit, especially on Being Alive, his voice is wavy and seems to be all over the place. Also, the same song being sung by Larry Kurt, the original Tony from West Side Story and Jones's understudy, who actually took over the role on Broadway since Jones left after doing the premier and this cast recording. Kurt has a smooth voice and is a welcome change to Jones's, but you gotta give the guy credit, he was going through a mental breakdown. When I bought this cd, I wasn't quite sure what I had gotten myself into, I listened to the title song, thought it was ok, and just let it sit on my shelf for a few months. I decided to take it on trip to Europe, and on a train listenening to it, it finally clicked and I kept listenening it over and over again. If I haven't convinced you to buy it, then either you've already made up your mind, or dumb, BUY THIS NOW.

4-0 out of 5 stars I Love a Stephen Sondheim
I can see why everyone proclaims COMPANY the ignition of modern musical theatre. It's a great score that could stand on its own if (magically) it didn't need a cast of names. Sondheim and Jonathan Tunick, the orchestrator, are probably the only remaining artists who know how to use an orchestra the way it wants to be used (although, said skill is only demonstrated occasionally on this recording, such as the pulsating "Have I Got a Girl for You").

I could ooze more and more compliments for Sondheim's score, but I'm going to focus on my critique of the performances. I saw PUTTING IT TOGETHER and was captured by Jim Barrowman's interpretation of some of Robert's songs (he later portrayed the entire role at the Kennedy Center): he's young and attractive with a pure, no-nonsense voice. Dean Jones and Larry Kurt do not have that intensity. Jones sounds too old, too cautious for the desperate Robert; Kurt, in his one song on the CD, sounds like he's not thinking too much, which goes against the character. To me, yes, Robert is careful, but he wants to and tries to be spontaneous and exciting, and on this CD, he just isn't given that specific flavor.

The colorful cast around him is also problematic in my view. Is it just me, or does everyone sound too old? They all have that geriatric quiver in their voices: they all sound like they know too much about marriage when they should just be spouting off what they think they know. Amy should be more of a belter and Beth Howland isn't. Teri Ralston's soprano (especially on "Poor Baby") is delightful--she's probably the best sung in the cast. Pity the important songs go to Elaine Stritch.

What did I just say? Am I criticizing Elaine Stritch? Sadly, Elaine Stritch is probably the least appealing to me on the recording. Yes, I know, everyone knows she can't sing, but why give her such pivotal songs as "Little Things..." and "Ladies Who Lunch" if she can't bring out the music that completes them? I much prefer Carol Burnett's "Ladies...": even when she can't hit the high notes, she carries and uses the melody to the devastating suicidal effect that Stritch doesn't find beneath the music.

Nonetheless, COMPANY is a five star score that would be a five star CD with a younger, more vocally powerful cast. Maybe the 1995 revival is worth investigating. This CD is still worth having: the original has the power of the full orchestra and Sondheim's direct influence on the production, and therefore is priceless to musical theatre. ... Read more


85. Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1982 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000003JAN
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4246
Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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It's well known that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice cut their teeth on Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat before shifting to the New Testament and hitting the big time with Jesus Christ Superstar. And thanks to the box-office clout of Lloyd Webber, as well as the rather sparse supply of new tuneful musicals, this charming little show has reached audiences far beyond the schoolchildren it was intended for. The score shows off Rice's clever lyrics and Lloyd Webber's wide eclectic tastes, with his takes on country, calypso, French café music, Rudy Vallee, and Elvis. The show also includes some simply very fine songs, including "You Are What You Feel/Jacob and Sons," "Close Every Door," and the peppy "Go Go Joseph." Leading the 1982 Broadway cast is the enormously appealing Laurie Beechman in the role of the narrator. Joseph has been subsequently revived in bigger, bolder incarnations starring Donny Osmond and then Sam Harris, presumably to justify a big ticket price for what at heart remains a small-scale show--proof that you don't always get what you pay for.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (26)

3-0 out of 5 stars My First Joseph
This was my first recording of Joseph. I owned it even before I saw the play on stage for the first time. Before I got the revival recordings, I would listen to this one sometimes as much as three times a day. I thought it was perfect. Now, I don't find it perfect anymore, but I do like it. Bill Hutton has an absolutely beautiful voice.I've never heard anyone do vibrato quite like him. But I don't think that he has quite the right kind of voice for his role. I think Donny Osmond's voice is much better suited for the role of Joseph. Laurie Beechman sounds as if she comanded the stage more than Joseph did. She does such an amazing "Pharaoh Story," that sometimes I just skip to that track on the CD and leave the rest unlistned to. And she gets very in to the songs. I'm sure that if she hadn't been a woman, she probably could have played Joseph. The brothers here are just the opposite of the ones on the revival recordings.While the revival brothers basicly sound good as individuals, but not so good as a group, these sound great as a group, but only so-so as individuals. Napthali sounds so much like a woman that I thought he was the narrator until I read otherwise. I don't know who's idea it was to have Potiphar do his own song, but it is interesting. I don't own the recording that has a male narrator, but with this CD, I get a taste of what it might be like. Tom Carder does an almost perfect Elvis impression, but I just don't like him as much as some others. This recording may not be the best of the bunch, but it was my first. It helped me get hooked on an amazing musical.

5-0 out of 5 stars Joseph's review
I thought that this CD was an incredible comelation of melody, tune, and lyrics.

5-0 out of 5 stars Adding to the debate, this is my favorite version
I like this version much better than the Canadian cast with Donny Osmond. First, the sound levels are not so extreme - in the Canadian version, I have to up the volume to hear the intros to the songs, then lower it when they get into the full-chorus productions, very annoying. In this version, it all flows smoothly. Donny Osmond is good, but I think Bill Hutton is just as good, and Laurie Beecham is so much stronger than the Canadian narrator. I had this version on LP and asked for the CD as a gift; unfortunately, I got the Canadian version so I am now buying myself this one. Next, I guess I need to try the London cast...

Re: the debate about whether this is a "real" musical. Just like TV and film, theater is NOT always about sophistication, and among "just for fun" musicals, this one certainly ranks near the top! And it is not only because it is usually a big, flashy production -- I have seen it performed on Broadway, dinner theater and in amateur productions by a high school, a mixed-ages community theater group, and an under-12 drama troupe. All were excellent! The high school performance had to be done in a gym because their auditorium was under renovation, and even without a lot of sets to change or fancy lighting, it was awesome (lots of creative ideas and props like Groucho Marx nose & glasses on the Ishmaelites go a long way in a simple story with such fun music!) And while the storyline is simplistic and somewhat confusing (what is the moral anyway? the egotist wins? oh no, that's right, follow your dream), and the use of canned song genres like Elvis, country, calypso is pretty cheesy, I find most of the songs to be pretty clever, i.e., the list of colors in the coat is a very interesting composition. And the lyrics have lots of sophisticated lines and humor, the butler as the "Jeeves of his time" for example.

Oh, and now that I'm a mom of a 3- and 1-year-old, I'm glad to have at least one musical that I can play without getting a request for a change to a children's CD! Go go go Joseph![*]

5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Still Fresh; Great Performance by Beechman
This CD of the Broadway version from more than 20 years ago is still fresh, entertaining, and features singing that is top notch! In particular, Narrator Laurie Beechman's performance is superb--she has one of the best singing voices you will ever hear! The songs are very catchy, and will stick in your head all day. The audio quality is also quite good. I enjoyed the 1990's Canadian version (with Donny Osmond and Maria Friedman), but this is the CD to buy--because of Beechman's incredible performance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Go-go-go Joseph!
This is the musical which introduced me to musical theater, so Joseph will always be a personal favorite. I much prefer this recording to the harder rock edge of the concept album, or the overdone, glitzier Broadway remake versions with Donny et al. If you are looking for a recording which captures the small-scale heart of Lloyd Webber's creation, THIS is the one to get. ... Read more


86. The Wild Party (Lippa) (2000 Off-Broadway Cast)
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00004TY8Y
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 8270
Average Customer Review: 4.22 out of 5 stars
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Some 70 years after being written, Joseph Moncure March's 1928 Jazz-Age poem, The Wild Party, proved it still knew how to inspire: a pair of musicals dedicated to the sultry tale of excess were produced virtually concurrently. Too bad good parties, like good jokes, are often hard to recount. While the Tony-nominated, star-studded, and short-lived Wild Party by Michael John LaChiusa embraced the dark side of the Prohibition-era fête, this off-Broadway production by Andrew Lippa tries too hard to have a good time. March's poem is a seething, seedy work filled with internal struggle, but on this disc we never sense that underbelly. It's not until Taye Diggs, as Black, sings the touching "Poor Child" that we sense any tenderness at all in this morality play. For lighthearted good times, Julia Murney as Queenie and Brian d'Arcy James as her abusive lover Burrs do the job. On the fun, upbeat numbers ("What a Party," "Raise the Roof") this cast shines. But, despite its fascinating premise--a life-changing, epic event in the lives of a bunch of Prohibition-era misfits--this musical somehow still suffers from shallowness. --Jason Verlinde ... Read more

Reviews (55)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wild Party Indeed
What a difference a New York Times review can make -- unfortunately. This show was one of the most electrifying and inventive I've ever seen, on Broadway or off. Interestingly, I heard three different groups of people whispering at intermission words to the effect of "WOW, this show is much better than the Times reported."

Yes folks, it's MUCH better even than that. And the same is true for this absolutely sterling soundtrack, which showcases a brilliant adaptation and score by Andrew Lippa led by golden-voice newcomer Julia Murney. Her turn on "Out Of The Blue" (track #2) is worth EVERY PENNY for this CD; in the same way, Murney's "Queenie Was A Blond" number sets a wondefully accurate and sexy tone for the show. As if this first "Queenie" number is a promise on which the rest of the program delivers on multiple fronts.

A few other examples of sterling writing and performance can be found in "Love Affair" -- a show-stealing number in which a lamenting lesbian surveys the room for a mate; and the title track "Wild Party," which is quite simply some of the most emotionally agile material to which I've ever had the pleasure of listening -- on a Soundtrack or otherwise.

In sum, if you are familiar with this material or have seen the "other show," this one is the clear favorite.

3-0 out of 5 stars A fun, exciting CD.
Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to see this musical, so I can only review it from what I hear and what I know of it.

This CD is musically great. It's fun and energetic, abounding with catchy melodies. The lyrics are playful and creative, especially in songs like "Two Of A Kind" and "An Old-Fashioned Love Story" (which is probably one of the best songs on this CD). Idina Menzel shows off some of that belting voice we got a taste of in RENT in songs such as "Life of the Party", a great character number.

Unfortunately, this musical seems to suffer from a number of major problems. Reading the synopsis, it appears that too many songs do not move the plot along but are there simply because. Songs like the amazingly catchy "Wild, Wild Party" and "The Juggernaut" seem to have little to do with story and, in my opinion, are theatrically useless, despite being great numbers filled with energy and excitement. If Lippa tried harder at incorporating the songs into the plot, it would've been far more effective.

As far as the performances go, this recording is brilliant. The actors and actresses are all incredible, especially Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel, both of whom show that their talents can go beyond the limits of RENT. Menzel's singing is so full of energy that her songs alone are worth the price of this CD. Taye Diggs has a beautiful voice, one that he never really got to showcase in RENT. His "I'll Be There" is powerful and touching, emotions that might've been lost with another singer.

All in all, this is a highly enjoyable CD that deserves to be on the shelves of all theatre-lovers. Now if only Lippa would fix some of those plot problems...

5-0 out of 5 stars SEXY!!
This music is so amazingly electric that it will jump right out of your cd player and weasel its way into your life! It is impossible to listen to the songs without dancing ("Wild Wild Party," Raise the Roof" and "the Juggernaut," for starters), or listening in stunned silence to the emotional power of "Make me Happy," "Maybe I Like It This Way" and "Poor Child" (as highlights). EVERY SINGLE SONG ON THIS CD IS ADDICTIVE and powerful (with the exception of the boring and droning "Old Fashioned Love Story"). This is the kind of music that pulls you in. Michael John LaChiusa's version, simultaneously performed on Broadway, has about half the power of Lippa's version. Lippa's show received mediocre reviews, but these reviews, I believe, are relevant to the show but not the music, which is first-rate. Do yourself a favor and BUY AT ONCE!

5-0 out of 5 stars The most UNDERRATED/OVERLOOKED piece of Fabulous Brilliance!
One of my Absolute Favorite musicals of all time!!

Andrew Lippa's Wild Party is a lusty cocktail with strong flavors of Chicago and Cabaret, a hint of Rent, all mixed in with Lippa's own musical brilliance, visceral emotionality, raw s=xual power, and fantastic drama! This show SMOLDERS, shakes, spins, smiles and SCREAMS.

To put it bluntly, this show is HOT.

Brian Darcy James' portrayal of "Burrs", the violent, rough lover of Queenie is incredible. This guy is a powerhouse...his intensity, his vocal talent, his acting, his pitch-perfect portrayal of a tormented, troubled man, full of lust and jealousy, who is on the verge of losing it, is PHENOMENAL!

It's an All-Star cast with huge, belty, vocally demanding performances from all... Every song is strong and entertaining with few exceptions.

The most stand-out songs being:

--"What is it About Her?"- Burrs' main solo and probably one of the best male Tenor musical solos in existence. Gauranteed to make any woman (or man) hot under the collar.

--"Make Me Happy"- the dramatic climax. The intensity of Burrs' acting and vocal performance in this, and the brilliant vocal interplay between Burrs, Black and Queenie, make this the 2nd best piece in the whole show.

--"Poor Child" is a great Four-some sung by the Love Quadrangle- Queenie, Burrs, Black and Kate. (the main characters of the show) Again, musically outstanding... the notes the four hit in harmony pack a punch and will have you hitting the rewind button again... and again.

--"How Did We All Come To This"- Queenie's lament and the closing song of the show. Beautiful, poignant, and, of course, deliciously dramatic.

--"Juggernaut"- A raucous, dancy song that starts off with Queenie's smooth seduction of Black, and then quickly kicks into high gear with Kate, (played by Idina Menzel), leading a swingin' good time and ending with some great, wailing, Menzel riffs.

If you like fast-paced drama, intense emotion, raw sensuality, and scary vocal talent, then Lippa's Wild Party, (a musical ahead of its time), is for you!

This CD is worth every cent of its price- and then some!!

5-0 out of 5 stars A roller coaster
When the director of the theater I've been performing at offered me a small part in a show I'd never heard of called "The Wild Party" I said sure, just excited to be part of another show. I had no idea that I was getting myself into what may be one of the most exciting shows I will ever perform in. I am thrilled to play Nadine (that's right: "the minor; oooooh'") in the Midwest premiere of "The Wild Party" and let me say, this CD doesn't even include ALL the music in the show. It is INTENSE!! But it is some of the most facinating music I have ever heard.

I bought the CD as soon as I accepted the part, and even though Nadine only has one line throughout the show, I was thrilled that I was going to get to be involved in some of those big chorus numbers. This score has everything- rocking charleston-type numbers, vaudville tunes, and slow, sensual jazz.

The only way I can describe this show/CD is a roller coaster. It never quite lets you catch your breath. You get these huge, smashing ensemble numbers, and then it slips into a slow song, but then that gets dramatic and intense, and then a calm song will show up... but then you're swept right back into the intenseness. Let me also say that the whole show in general is like that- and I can tell the audience feels that too. There's no telling what will happen next.

I've listened to the other version, and I definitely like this one better. There seems to be a much wider variety of musical styles in this version, whereas the LaChuisa version seems to meld together and almost get boring. Which should NEVER happen in a show this intense and this wild.

I've made all of my friends listen to this CD, and now they want to buy it, even the ones who don't necesarily like show tunes- that's how good it is!!

http://beam.to/otwp (my theater) ... Read more


87. South Pacific (Original 1949 Broadway Cast)
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00000DHSL
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2000
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Based on James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Pulitzer prize-winning South Pacific is one of the most beloved musicals ever to hit the stage. The appeal is simple: a collection of stunning compositions--immense symphonic sound orchestrated by Rodgers collaborator Robert Russell Bennett--and characters with a simple though cohesive through-line. On this original Broadway cast recording, the lovely, girlish Mary Martin (Peter Pan, Annie Get Your Gun) is the heartily feminine American nurse Nellie Bly to the dashing former Metropolitan Opera bass Ezio Pinza as French plantation owner Emile de Becque. This release takes from the original high-quality tapes cut in 1949 (rather than the acetates, which were recorded simultaneously for the vinyl release of the day). There are alternate takes of a few songs and the restored original version of the hard-hitting racial commentary number "Carefully Taught." Pinza's "Some Enchanted Evening" is tender and lovely without being cloying. Martin's confidence and warm vocal expressiveness on numbers such as "Twin Soliloquies" and the bonus track, "Loneliness of the Evening," are stellar, and the choral numbers are both solid and spunky. --Paige La Grone ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Phenomenal
No recording of this score will EVER replace this original cast album. "South Pacific" deserves to be heard this way, and no other. Accept no substitutes! Mary Martin shines on "A Cockeyed Optimist," "Twin Soliloquies," "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair," "A Wonderful Guy" and "Honey Bun" and is well supported by Ezio Pinza. Although many critics find fault in his performance, Pinza is very effective on "Some Enchanted Evening" and "This Nearly Was Mine." But aside from the star performances from Martin and Pinza, the score is best-remembered from Juanita Hall's haunting "Bali Ha'i." What a number! I still remember the first time I ever saw the film. I couldn't believe they had the nerve to dub Hall with Muriel Smith. I've sinced learned that Rodgers & Hammerstein preferred Smith's singing and Hall's acting, but that seems preposterous to me. Hall's delivery of this number is dead-on and cannot be surpassed. Whether you are a fan of American musical theatre or not, you should own this album. It is THAT good!

2-0 out of 5 stars Nothing to shout about. It was better on stage, right?
I think the recording I listened to was the original, unrestored version, which may affect my opinion.

There really is nothing in this recording that gives you the sense that you are listening to one of the greatest musicals in Broadway's history. The only word I can think of to describe it is vague. (Even that doesn't sound quite right.) "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair," "Cockeyed Optimist," "A Wonderful Guy," and "Honey Bun" are vaguely tuneful, and mary martin is vaguely energetic in her delivery. The same goes for the sailors' two songs, "Bloody Mary" and "There Is Nothin' Like a Dame." Ezio Pinza and Juanita Hall are vaguely mesmerizing in "Some Enchanted Evening" and "Bali Ha'i," respectively. "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" isn't even vaguely searing in its commentary, because it only lasts about 30 seconds. (Is the the song actually longer, or is this all there is?)

Since this has been hailed for 50 years as one of the greatest of all Broadway musicals, I assume it probably is. But there's really no evidence of that in this recording. I guess the restored version must do it better justice. I'll just have to keep an eye out for that one...

5-0 out of 5 stars Sterling-quality SOUTH PACIFIC with some minor demerits
This world-premiere recording of South Pacific is justly regarded as one of the best recordings of this classic Rodgers & Hammerstein score. Although it was recorded in 1949, way before today's digital technology, it still sounds magical, seductive and wonderful, until it allows other performances to pale in comparison. The score is wonderfully served by the original Broadway cast, still immersed in the glowing reviews that were given for the show and the score. And, the Sony recording, deapite being a constricted and rough-sounding mono recording, sounds much better than ever before thanks to a sparkling 20-bit remastering of the original source tapes.

The highlight of this recording is Mary Martin's full-throated, sassy and spunky portrayal of Nellie Forbush. Every song she sings is a delight from first note to last, and she carries with her an infectuous and winning persona. Her renditions of "A Cockeyed Optimist" and "A Wonderful Guy" are delightful and charming, and she is able to bring out the comic relief in "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair" and also a truncated version of "Honey Bun." Martin's outstanding performance is ably matched by Ezio Pinza's sonorous Emile. He dives into Emile's numbers with a full-throated operatic fervour, and gives us ravishing performances of "Some Enchanted Evening" and a somewhat edited version of "This Nearly Was Mine." He is also magical on his duet with Mary Martin, the "Twin Soliloquies." The rest of the cast is just as superb, with William Tabbert showing the romantic and prejudiced sides of his believable portrayal of Lietunant Cable, when he sings 'Younger than Springtime" and "Carefully Taught." And, Juanita Hall makes a characterful and colloquial Bloody Mary. She is superb in dhe dreamlike quality of "Bali Ha'i" and the lightly frolicsome "Happy Talk." The sailors are full-throated on their numbers, but perhaps there needs to be more comedy in their version of "There is Nothing like a Dame", something like the version in the film soundtrack.

This reissue of this recording is graced by some bonus tracks that make it feel more complete. Mary Martin's honeyed alto voice shines on her renditions of the cut songs, "Loneliness of Evening" and "My Girl Back Home". She sings them wonderfully until you wonder why these two songs were cut from the final version of South Pacific. It also makes you yearn for a professional production that restores these two cut songs. Those wto listen to these recordings will undoubtedly feel that Mary Martin's voice has never sounded lovelier on record than on these numbers. Ezio Pinza tries his vocal cords at "Bali Ha'i", even if, for an opera singer, it may not be as dreamlike as Bryn Terfel's cover version, but even then, Pinza sings it wonderfully, even if the song may not be within his range. These three bonus tracks, which had incidentally been included on the previous Sony Broadway reissue of the recording, show up here again and help to make the recording more complete. And, to round off the experience, Andre Kostalanecz leads the Philadelphia Pops Orchestra in a sumptuous and atmospheric "Symphonic Scenario for Concert Orchestra." They do it wonderfully, even if it is slightly truncated. Besides the wonderful and gorgeous remastered sound, the real icing on the cake comes in the deluxe packaging. There is a well-written and insightful essay, and synopsis, by Marc Kirkeby that runs through the booklet pages, and it is jam-packed with rarely-seen photographs from the Broadway premiere.

If I had any qualms about this recording, it would be about the cuts that were made at some points in the score. Because this recording was made for 78 rpm discs and for vinyl at the same time, some songs had to be cut to fit the 78 sides. "Honey Bun" has lost its choral refrain, and ends only after Nellie finishes her verse, just as the sailors and Luther Billis are about to join in the fun of the performance. There are also cuts in the middle section of Emile's "This Nearly Was Mine," and in the overture (which can be heard complete on the outstanding Mauceri disc of the complete Rodgers & Hammerstein overtures.) But these cuts were only minor, considering the limitations of the recording media at the time. The other qualm I have is about the comic numbers, "There is Nothing like a Dame", "Honey Bun" and "I'm Gonna Wash That Man." Because of the slow speeds, they come off as staid, stoic and stiff, lacking in an extra degree of humour. Listeners like me can find compensation in the fact that this recording's finale makes use of the "Some Enchanted Evening" ending when Nellie and Emile sing the song together after the children finish "Dites-moi." It makes me wonder why Hammerstein did not write his script for that song to have the last word, and it makes me long for this more ravishing ending to be the standard for all South Pacific productions and recordings.

Overall, though, this is a wonderful gem of a Rodgers & Hammerstein cast recording, well-deserving of the acclaim that it has heaped up through the years. This is definitely a magical, essential and (as some might add), compulsory cornerstone of any Rodgers & Hammerstein collection, and can be recommended to any beginner of R&H musicals, or to any newcomer to this glorious musical that is South Pacific.

5-0 out of 5 stars SOUTH TERRIFIC!
A first-rate score by Rodgers & Hammerstein; four sensational and perfectly cast leads; and an ensemble (orchestra and chorus) that does more than just support the stars. The album always has been a joy from start to finish! In just under 46 minutes you get all the key musical moments from the score. The Cd includes 4 bonus tracks: Mary Martin's solo recordings of the cut songs "His Girl Back Home" (Originally to be sung by Cable as "My Girl Back Home") and "Loneliness of Evenng"; Ezio Pinza's solo recording of "Bali Ha'i" and a Symphonic Scenario for Concert orchestra conducted by Andre Kostelanetz. Best of all the CD re-produces the original artworked that was on the first LP issue in 1949.

That leads to my one very minor quibble: The mono sound is a little "old" sounding. The top end is just a little brittle. Still, miles ahead of Decca's OKLAHOMA and CAROUSEL or Victor's ALLEGRO. And a far better recording of SOUTH PACIFIC than any subsequent cast or sountrack album.

5-0 out of 5 stars The original is still the greatest
Growing up in the musical wasteland of the 1980s, I often raided my parents' record collection out of sheer desperation for songs with meaningful lyrics and real instruments. Among the many wonderful discoveries I made that way was an exotically titled soundtrack album with a pretty yellow and green cover, which my grandfather had apparently bought new in 1949. Perhaps intrigued by the record's vintage, or maybe by the vague familiarity of some of the song titles, I brought it back to my room...and it hasn't left my collection since.

It's hard to pinpoint just what makes this album so majestic from start to finish, because every song is a gem in its own way. This is perhaps the only soundtrack on which the overture holds my attention just as much as the vocal numbers do (on most other soundtracks I skip through the overture), and it provides the perfect segue into the childish innocence of "Dites-Moi," still a favorite of mine years after I finally became proficient enough in French to decipher its pidgin pronunciations.

While the songs fit together flawlessly and tell the play's story, most of them also stand well on their own. Perhaps "There is Nothin' Like a Dame" and "Honey Bun" are less than politically correct (though still harmless) by today's standards, but they're still a lot of fun all the same. "You've Got To Be Carefully Taught," on the other hand, was decades ahead of its time and is still all too relevant, as Americans are once again at war with "people whose skin is a different shade." On the lighter side, "Bali Ha'i" can always be counted on to take you to Your Own Special Island - just close your eyes and see! Then there's that Broadway staple, the spine-tingling, move-you-to-tears love song. Not all musicals have given us even one of these. This one offers three, and after more than half a century, "Some Enchanted Evening," "Younger Than Springtime," and especially "This Nearly Was Mine" are just as touching as ever.

The bonus tracks, while they naturally sound somewhat out of place alongside the original songs, are surprisingly enjoyable. "My Girl Back Home" sounds rather dated (in contrast to the rest of the album), but it is a fascinating piece of circa-1950 Americana in any case. Overall, though, there's nothing "old" about this album. It's timeless! ... Read more


88. Somewhere over the Rainbow: The Golden Age of Hollywood Musicals
list price: $19.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000066RO5
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3143
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The "Golden Age" referred to here spans The Jazz Singer and the advent of the talkies to the death throes of the old studio system in the 1960s. So vast was the era's musical landscape that even this 42-track, double-disc anthology can't encompass all its peaks. Not surprisingly, the bulk of this collection originated with the Tiffany's of the screen musical, M-G-M, a body of work whose riches here encompass both pop-cultural bedrock ("Over the Rainbow," "Singin' in the Rain," "There's No Business Like Show Business," etc.) and some less familiar, if equally delightful star turns: Clark Gable gamely "Puttin' On the Ritz"; the sassy, 1948 original of "The Lady Is a Tramp" by Lena Horne; and a loopy duet of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban. Fred Astaire's elegant, epochal reign at RKO and M-G-M is represented by"Night and Day," "Let's Face the Music and Dance," and three others, while Metro mainstays Gene Kelly and Judy Garland share equal time and billing. It's not perfect--Cagney's "Yankee Doodle Boy" and/or some Sinatra seem more logical choices than the odd "bonus" duet of Casablanca's "As Time Goes By" and "Lara's Theme" from Dr. Zhivago that close out disc one--but it's a stunning, surprisingly comprehensive primer on the Hollywood film musical nonetheless. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hollywood at it's Best
The music on this double CD is excellent, as is the sound quality. Every song brings a smile to my face. I love Classic Rock, and although I'm not going to compare apples to oranges, I love to just stop rocking now and then, and listen to the great music from this era. Over the last few years I have been adding great music from the likes of Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Glen Miller, etc. to my library, and this one ranks very high on my list for a compilation of great Hollywood musicals. Crank up the volume and enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Wundebar!
This is a a fun-filled walk down Memory Lane!

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Good
I've been writing a musical comedy for awhile, and needed some music for the scene segues. It takes place in Hollywood circa 1940s, and I'll tell you, this captures the era perfectly. It wasn't the classics like "Singin' in the Rain" or "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" that really impressed me. Some of my favorites are "Going Hollywood", an upbeat and hopeful tune...Astaire's "If Swing Goes, I Go Too", Brilliant! Stop reading this review already, and add this to your cart. You'll be the envy of all your friends-Ok, maybe not. But who the heck cares, its a great CD.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must for any musical nuts!
That's it, guys! This two CDs will make us return to the golden era of musicals, it selects the most famous songs of movies of 30's, but mostly 40's and 50's.
Some people say it should have been more Fred and Ginger musics, others say there should have been more Bing Crosby... but one thing is undeniable it's a true masterpiece that I never get tired listening.

It includes some classics that I had already known- "Singin' In The Rain", "There's No Business Like Show Business" (the original, not the Ethel Merman version), "S'wonderfu"l, "That's Entertainment"(4 people singing!), "Lullaby of Broadway", "Night and Day"(a gem, even today!), "They Can't Take That Away From Me", "Over the Rainbow"(moving), "The Trolley Song", "Gigi", "I Got Rhytm", "The Lady Is a Tramp" (I knew the Sinatra version from Pal Joey), "Cheek to Cheek" (immortal), "A Kiss To Build A Dream On" (I prefer other orchestration, this one is too calm), "Let's Face The Music And Dance" (not by Diana Krall!), "Be a Clown, Embraceable You, On The Atchison, Topeka and The Santa Fe" (I knew the Crosby version), "One For My Baby" (I knew the Sinatra version).
But there where a lot of musics that I didn't know and I began to love- Easter parade (too bad there wasn't "It Only Happens When I Dance With You"!) True Love (I'm a huge Crosby fan), "Baby It's Cold Outside" (Delicious! Fantastic! No wonder it earned the 1949 oscar!), "Bless Your Beautiful Hide", "Taking a Chance On Love" (very beautiful), "Wunderbar" (I adore Cole Porter), etc.

There are two tracks that some guys might say that they aren't from musicals- "Lara's Theme" from Dr. Zhivago and "As Time Goes By"- but I was happy to found them here, cause I'm not going to buy the complete soundtracks.

A word to describe the CDs-TIMELESS!

5-0 out of 5 stars You won't be able to stop listening to this gem. A WINNER!!
Take all the greatest songs from Hollywood's greatest musicals, use top modern technology to make them sound amazing (while maintaining faithfulness to the original sonics), put them all together in a beautifully designed double CD, and you've got SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW.

I've had this for over two weeks now, and still don't want to listen to anything else. All my favorite performers are here from Bing Crosby to Doris Day and everyone else in between. There are great liner notes, wonderful pictures, and at this price, getting so many songs for so (relatively) little money is an amazing bargain. I highly recommend this CD set. ... Read more


89. Pippin (1972 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B00004YNGH
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3126
Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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A young man graduates from college and wonders how to find real meaning in his life. What's an heir to the 9th-century Holy Roman Empire to do? If you're Pippin, son of Charlemagne, you decide to dabble in war, sex, and politics before finally finding love. When Bob Fosse directed the original Broadway production of Pippin in 1972, he transformed what had originally been a relatively innocent college project for composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz into a burlesque filled with broad comedy, bawdy characters, and magical but dark situations. John Rubinstein (best known for his TV work and son of pianist Artur) plays the title character, and Ben Vereen kick-started his career (and won a Tony) as the narrator figure known as the Leading Player. Schwartz's combination of Godspell-like ensemble energy with various pop-rock styles makes for a snappy, tuneful score, including the soul-driven opener "Magic to Do," the soaring "Corner of the Sky," the lovely ballads "With You" and "Love Song," and the romping "No Time at All" (delivered with saucy conviction by The Beverly Hillbillies' Irene Ryan as Pippin's grandmother).

While the original CD release was somewhat notorious for its lack of liner notes, the 2000 remastered release includes an essay on the show's creation, a detailed synopsis, and full lyrics, as well as three bonus tracks. Pippin was originally released on the Motown label, so some of its songs were cross-promoted by Motown stars: The Supremes deliver a conventional take on the gentle "I Guess I'll Miss the Man," the Jackson 5 deliver a blast of high-pop energy to "Corner of the Sky," and Michael Jackson solos on "Morning Glow."--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (54)

5-0 out of 5 stars After 34 Years, Pippin still makes Spirits Soar
It took 34 years for me to discover the magic of Pippin. After recently watching the vidio, I immediately bought the original cast soundtrack. As an aging boomer, Pippin still hits home, square in the soul of my generation. His search for meaning, the amazing music, complete with riffs and harmonies so familier in the 70's, lifted my world-weary soul, and I too almost fell under Ben Vareen's spell. The songs, "Magic to Do", "Corner of the Sky", and the "Finale" gave me goose bumps. "Simple Joys" hit a little too close to home, and Irene Ryan's "No Time at All", made a lot of sense to this 47 year-old. Not since the "Man of LaMancha" has a musical moved me so. The eternal quest for meaning and purpose - brought a little closer. Not bad for a musical. As The Leading Player says, "Join us..." You will be glad you did.

5-0 out of 5 stars an "extraordinary" musical
I was not familiar with "Pippin" until it was chosen for my high school's annual spring musical and I was cast as Fastrada. I received this CD for Christmas and was captivated by it. I am relieved and thrilled that I discovered "Pippin" when I did. Ben Vereen, widely praised for his Tony-winning performance of the Leading Player, gives an amazing, intoxicating portrayal, especially with "On the Right Track". John Rubinstein is wonderful with the powerful "Corner of the Sky" and the upbeat "Extraordinary". Leland Palmer and Jill Clayburgh give solid performances on "Spread A Little Sunshine" and "Kind of Woman" respectively. But nothing can live up to Irene Ryan's smashing rendition of "No Time At All". Ryan, who died offstage during the Broadway run after completing this showstopper, is incredible. The ensemble exhibits its strength with "Magic To Do", "Morning Glow" and the chilling "Finale". 30 years later, Stephen Schwartz continues to strike gold with this coming-of-age story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining!
I am a musical-going person, and when I saw Pippin at a local high school's senior play, I immediately bought the CD. Don't listen to anybody else's review! For as young as I am, I have seen a lot of musicals, you will be completely delighted with it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Pippin is the best!!!
The cd "Pippin" is the best i've heard in a while. I love the music and how it varies in style. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Definetly for the conneissiuer
Why 4 instead of 5? I reserve 5 stars for something truly spectacular that leaves me unconcious & quivering with delight & fulfillment.
Call me biased, having played in Pippin & the high school production being one of my fondest memories, but I love this music! Let's face it; more likely than not, if you're looking at this then you already wanted it. Pippin isn't exactly at the forefront of the American pop culture conciousness. Still, honesty compels me to admit that the recording quality is a bit shabby, but I always chalked that up to it happening in 1972, when the state of the art was considerably less sophisticated than we enjoy today. I still sing the music, I still love the show. My family forbade me to buy the karaoke issue! If for no other reason, you ought to buy this to hear Granny Clampet as Pippin's grandmother, singing about seducing men! Since you're less likely to get a copy of me singing these quirky, fun for the sake of themselves songs, go ahead & buy this one. ... Read more


90. Bounce (2003 Original Cast)
list price: $19.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B00011FWWY
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2143
Average Customer Review: 3.19 out of 5 stars
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Bounce is a pretty accurate title for this Sondheim show, which receives a cast album after having been seemingly everywhere but Broadway. In a way this is fitting for a musical that's been on Sondheim's mind since 1952, when he first read about the adventures of the two Mizner brothers in The New Yorker. Based on this Fall 2003 Kennedy Center production, figuring out why Bounce doesn't quite click is tricky. Is it the heard-it-before quality of the material? The title track is disappointingly by-the-numbers Sondheim, for instance. Or is it the uneven cast? Howard McGillin lacks the outsize personality needed to infuse life into scheming Wilson Mizner (a part played by Nathan Lane in a 1999 Off-Broadway "workshop" of the show, then titled Wise Guys). But then Michelle Pawk does wonderfully in the sultry ballad "What's Your Rush?" before eclipsing McGillin in their duet, "The Best Thing That Ever Has Happened." Got it! Bounce may not work as a show, but a few of its songs are bound to show up in a cabaret near you sooner rather than later. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (32)

4-0 out of 5 stars TALENT!
The original cast recording of BOUNCE is all that fans of the show could wish for.

If you saw the production last summer in Chicago or last fall in DC, you'll know that it was a show richer in promise than execution. There were great moments in BOUNCE, side by side with some less than great and downright awful. But, when you compare BOUNCE with some of the other garbage that passes itself off as musical theatre these days...well BOUNCE looks like, to borrow one of its song titles, gold!

Sondheim has been wanting to write this show since the early 1950s, and in many ways the score sounds like his songs for SATURDAY NIGHT: Tuneful musical comedy fare that would have been quite at home in a show playing just down the street from THE PAJAMA GAME and DAMN YANKEES: two shows originally produced by Hal Prince.

Prince directed BOUNCE and much of it is in the style the George Abbott employed in those mid-50s hits. That is to say a big cartoon of a musical, with cartoon sets and oversized performances.

The result was funny, interesting and frequently entertaining.

And that is exactly the feel of this original cast recording.
It gets off to a good start with... an Overture. (There was a time when all shows had overtures, but that was long ago.) The title song is an amiable soft shoe, "The Best Thing That Ever Has Happened to Me" the kind of song that Kern wrote. And there's plenty of Sondheim here: "Opportunity", "The Game", "Boca Raton" and others.

As always his lyrics are perfectly suited to the characters and stituations. Some of the music is deceptively simple, other sections more complex but it is all Sondheim who is never less than his best. The book is not up to that lavel but it is the score we are dealing with here.

Nonesuch has done a good job translating the show to a 74 minute CD, though the sound is very dry unlike the spacious sound that RCA and SONY give their cast albums. Packaging is first rate.

The performances of the leads: Richard Kind, Howard McGillin, Michelle Pawk and especially Gavin Creel all shine in their numbers: Gavin Creel in the great number "Talent" and the soaring "You", McGillin & Pawk with "The Best Thing That Ever Has Happened To Me" and Kind with "Addison's Trip Around the World." Jane Powell has little voice left but uses it to good effect at the Mizner's mamma. The orchestrations by Jonathan Tunik are, as always, first rate.

Between Chicago and DC some material was cut and is therefore missing from this CD but as a bonus there is a track of the song "A Little House for Mamma" that was used in the workshop of WISE GUYS but did not make it into BOUNCE. As is usually the case with Sondheim outtakes, it's a gem!

Bottom line? While not a score of rich emotional depth like PASSION or the stinging cynicism of COMPANY, there is much to enjoy here and hopefully with a few more revisions BOUNCE will find its way to Broadway. In the meantime enjoy this wonderful recording and give thanks that Sondheim, Prince and company - despite crippling gossip, negative reviews, and Michael Reidel - persevered in getting BOUNCE this far.

Nationalistic pride makes me add that there is one GLARING error in the show when the brothers go prospecting for Gold. They mention going to Dawson City but Addison states it is in Alaska. WRONG! The gold Rush and Dawson city were in the Yukon which was then and still is part of Canada. Alaska has nothing to do with it! I am surprised that Sondheim who is usually a stickler for facts let this mistake slip by. Still it won't mar your enjoyment of his latest score one bit.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Misunderstood Score
I would like to bring up a few points regarding both Bounce and the recording that may shed some light on why I feel this musical is both a fantastic piece of theatre and a truly beautiful score. It is difficult to separate an author's reputation from his or her work. The artist who is disliked will be glossed over when he paints his masterpiece, the novelist who is celebrated will be tolerated when she writes a mediocre book, and the composer who is considered a maverick will be misunderstood when he writes something traditional.

Stephen Sondheim is considered a "world-class talent." It has been said that he is "predictable in his unpredictability." For some reason, his latest show, Bounce, failed to meet the expectations of its audience. The reason being: Sondheim was not writing another "Sunday in the Park with George" or "Sweeney Todd" or "Into The Woods." He was writing a simple musical comedy: A tale of the Mizner brothers and their pursuit of the American dream.

If the listener puts away all pre-conceived notions of what Sondheim's music "should be," this score is truly captivating. Reminiscent at times of "Assassins," the music is deeply American, firmly rooted in the themes that the main characters face. Sondheim returns to more conventional methoods of theatre songwriting, and the payoff is incredible. "What's your rush" is a delightful, seductive ballad sung by the charactar of Nellie. "The best thing that ever has happened" is a remarkable and touching love duet; a simple melody becomes a truly gorgeous oblique harmony between the characters of Wilson and Nellie. In "You," (in my opinion the best number in the score) The slow duet between Addison and Hollis atop the pizzicato clamor of the ensemble builds to one of the most amazingly written cathartic moments I have heard in a long time. The album contains hundreds of other beautiful moments that would take too long to discuss in this review.

Bounce is a delightfully written show, and I guarantee that if you take the show for what it is, you will enjoy the original cast recording. This is not an edgy, innovative show. Nor is this a huge, fluffy, spectacle hoopla. This is instead a very true, very sentimental, very traditional story of two people searching for success.

1-0 out of 5 stars THen you've never heard saturday night
FOr the guy who was surprise about the mediocre quality of bounce. Sondhiem is a genius but he has made some bad scores the score for a show called Saturday Night is a clear example of another one. but we buy the cd's for postarity as much as for entertainment. And having any musical recording could prove to be handy.

2-0 out of 5 stars I never thought I'd ever hear a mediocre Sondheim score
I did not see the production upon which this recording is based. However, my love of Sondheim's music has originally come from hearing the Original Cast Recordings from his shows.

I never thought I'd ever hear a mediocre Sondheim score, until I put this on for a listen.. just some thoughts..

1) For a show that's supposed to be quasi vaudvillian in style, this recording has precious little energy.
2) If there is a 30 + person orchestra playing Mr. Tunick's orchestration, then why does this all sound so muted?
3) Mr. Sondheim is definitely recycling stuff.. I can hear things from several shows, especially "Merrily" "Passion" "Assassins" and "Forum" but most of this material doesn't seem to feel like it has completeness.
4) I'm not getting the sense why we should care for these brothers..
5) Like Merrily, and Into The Woods, the score seems to be made of "I've learned this" and "I know this now" kinds of songs, but most of the sentiments about bouncing back and trying to succeed have been heard before in other Sondheim shows..

I'm wondering whether the earlier versions of this show was better... almost as if time and too much work has killed the excitement.

Ahh well....

1-0 out of 5 stars Heard This Cast at the Kennedy Center
I'm a major Sondheim fan, but save your money. This show - and the mediocre score - is a dud. And that's being kind. To say this is the worst thing Sondheim ever wrote is not an exaggeration. No redeeming social (or entertainment) value. Explore ANY of Sondheim's other shows... "Assasins", "Little Night Music", "The Frogs", "Company", "Pacific Overtures" -- ANYTHING else. ... Read more


91. Chicago - The Musical (1996 Broadway Revival Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B000003G7W
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2210
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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"Chicago's plot was cynical and satirical in 1975, but today feels like a documentary." So says Walter Bobbie, the director responsible for this revival of the Kander, Ebb, and Fosse "musical vaudeville," which began as a minimalist concert staging for New York City Center's Encore! series before moving on to Broadway, critical acclaim, and Tony Awards. Actually, it'd be hard to go wrong with any production, no matter how it's staged, because the Roaring '20s jazz-based music here is simply great. Some people actually prefer the original's Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera as Roxie and Velma to Ann Reinking and Bebe Neuwirth, but no matter. Joel Grey is perfect as Amos Hart, James Naughton matches Jerry Orbach's original Billy Flynn, and again, the music here is wonderful. A near-flawless classic. --Bill Holdship ... Read more

Reviews (88)

5-0 out of 5 stars a dynamic recording
For many, this was their introduction to the galvanising score of Kander and Ebb; the delightful cast-recording to the 1997 Broadway revival that would have never been possible without the now-legendary Encores! concert version in 1996.

The cast is uniformably excellent; Ann Reinking is a playful powerforce as Roxie Hart, Bebe Neuwirth's dry wit serves her well as the bitchy Velma Kelly, James Naughton is the epitome of suave as crooked lawyer Billy Flynn, Joel Grey is the perfect foil for Roxie as the henpecked Amos Hart, Marcia Lewis' powerful voice brings Matron 'Mama' Morton to life, and D. Sabella's breathtaking operatic chops are put to the test with gender-bending sob sister Mary Sunshine.

Rob Fisher's unparalled musical direction enlivens each and every recording that he conducts for, and CHICAGO is no exception. Brassy, well-paced and evocative, his direction is fantastic under the renowned Coffee Club Orchestra.

Ann Reinking's vocal style is fine; her singing is quite character-driven, and one can forgive her lack of singing finesse on the fact that she IS Roxie Hart, and danced the role for all its worth.

Numbers like "All That Jazz", "Funny Honey", "Cell Block Tango", "When You're Good to Mama", "Mister Cellophane", "Nowadays" and "Roxie" are all show-stoppers. I've said it many times; this score is simply dud-free, and in my opinion only rivals CABARET as Kander and Ebb's greatest score.

5-0 out of 5 stars A WONDERFUL RECORDING!!
First of all, this is the recording that got me interested in Chicago. Velma, (my favorite character)is played by the beautiful and talented Bebe Neuwirth. She is a wonderful and witty Velma Kelly. Ann Reinking is a great Roxie. I actually prefer her raspy voice over Renee Zellweger's soft Roxie. James Naughton is SUPERB as Billy Flynn, he can make you laugh without hardly trying. Joel Grey as Amos Hart was a wonderful choice, and finally, Marcia Lewis as 'Mama' Morton and D. Sabella as Mary Sunshine were also great contributions to this album. Here is a list of the songs and their ratings.

1.Overture- Great music, 4 stars

2.All That Jazz- Love Velma's voice, great kaereoke song, 5 stars

3.Funny Honey- Lovely song about Roxie and Amos's love, 5 stars

4.Cell Block Tango- Film version of this song is better, 3 stars

5.When You're Good to Mama- Marcia's voice is perfect, 5 stars

6.All I Care About- Better version than the film by far, 5 stars

7.A Little Bit of Good- Interesting..., 3 1/2 stars

8.We Both Reached for the Gun- One word... fun, 5 stars

9.Roxie- Ann Reinking's best performance, 4 1/2 stars

10.I Can't Do It Alone- I love this song, 5 stars

11.I Can't Do It Alone (reprise)- Not really a song, 3 1/2 stars

12.My Own Best Friend- Roxie and Velma's duet, 4 stars

13.Entr'Acte- Fun to listen to, 4 stars

14.I Know A Girl- Witty song about Velma's jealousy, 4 1/2 stars

15.Me and My Baby- Cute song about Roxie's new "baby", 5 stars

16.Mister Cellophane- Amo's life story, very sad, 5 stars

17.When Velma Takes the Stand- Self explainable, 4 stars

18.Razzle Dazzle- Interesting song, 5 stars

19.Class- Powerful and funny song, 5 stars

20.Nowadays-Good song, 4 stars

21.Hot Honey Rag- Very fun music, 5 stars

22.Finale- Great ending, 4 stars

4-0 out of 5 stars A fun album
If you love the musical CHICAGO, then you will love this album. I was introduced to the musical by the movie like many people so I didn't like it that much at first because I was prejudiced because of the stellar performances in the movie, but then I realized that the quality is no less than that of the movie, it's just different! BeBe Neuwirth is excellent as Velma- she is sexy and sassy (I like her slightly more than Ute Lemper on the London Cast because Ute Lemper can drain out the sexiness of Velma in some of her songs, such as in "I can't do it alone." But I like Catherine Zeta Jones's performance the best!) I like Ann Reinking's Roxie slightly better than Renee Zellweger's sweet rendition because Ann's voice is tougher and rougher than Renee's and is more fit for the part. AN AWESOME ALBUM WITH EXCELLENT MUSIC AND A STRONG CAST! In Order of my liking: the movie album, this album, then the London Cast.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is one score that keeps your mind and toes engaged!
When I first saw the revival of "Chicago" (originally conceived as a star turn for Gwen Verdon by her ex-husband, who just happened to be the great Bob Fosse) I could not believe how absolutely hypnotic it was. I found myself wanting to dance in the aisles and shout the choruses like a crazed fan. I of course immediately bought the recording but, unlike most, it did not turn out to be an impulese purchase as I still play it many years later as it works just as well as a stand-alone piece as it does if you saw the revival, which had many other treats.

Some may not know that this show flopped when it was initially released in 1975, and it apparently was two decades ahead of its time as it hit a home run the second time around. The new Chicago was funny, sexy, and totally contemporary in its depiction of political greed and corruption for its late 1990s audience. This wonderful recording captures the marvelous new cast which consists of Ann Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth, Joel Grey, James Naughton, and Marcia Lewis, all at the peak of their powers matched by an astonishing score, featuring "All That Jazz," "Roxie," "Razzle Dazzle," "Class," "Nowadays," and Grey's solo, "Mister Cellophane,". All true showstoppers that seem like a best of many musicals, but are all from the very same one. It should also be noted that Fosse's magic is generally seen solely as a creator of sensual and athletic dances that are virtually impossible to perform except for a chosen few, but this score proves that the music can prosper w/out the amazing dances that are to be found throughout this entertaining musical.

I can't think of a musical that manages to be so memorable across the board. And for those who have not seen the play or movie, the score tells the story just as well. A true must have for any fans of intelligent musicals with unparalled sizzle and a tongue in cheek cynicism that is as wicked as it is funny.

1-0 out of 5 stars Vulgar and degrading to the human soul
I found it shocking that music like this could ever become so popular. Saw the show on broadway, finding it very distasteful and wondering how low American popular culture can get in its taste and class. ... Read more


92. 42nd Street (1980 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B000002W5Y
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6920
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Legendary Broadway impresario David Merrick had his last (and longest-running) hit in 1980 with 42nd Street, an adaptation of the 1933 RKO film best known as one of the classic backstage musicals, as well as a vehicle for Busby Berkeley's jaw-dropping choreography. The stage version preserves the film's terrific Harry Warren-Al Dubin songs, including "You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me," "Shuffle Off to Buffalo," and the title tune, plus ringers "We're in the Money" and "Lullaby of Broadway." Jerry Orbach plays down-and-out director Julian Marsh hoping for a comeback, and Tammy Grimes is the star Dorothy Brock who gives way to ingenue Peggy Sawyer (Wanda Richert). 42nd Street is fun listening (including a herd of tap dancers in the opening auditions), and even if it seems quaint compared to the grittier backstage look taken in A Chorus Line, which debuted five years earlier, the two shows coexisted on Broadway for many years. 42nd Street is also well known for one of Merrick's most infamous stunts: when director Gower Champion died the morning the show opened, Merrick kept the information to himself so he could announce it to a shocked audience and cast after the final curtain call.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars A tap-dancing, toe-tapping delight!
This recording session was tense! Producer of the show, David Merrick locked horns with album producer Thomas Z. Shepard and the session ground to a halt. Eventually order was restored, Shepard left and Jay David Saks took over. Happily, the resulting album plays very well.

From the thunderous taps of the opening "Audition" number right through the glorious "Lullaby of Broadway" number the score is just one gem after another. Jerry Orbach is the hard-boiled director, desperate to have one more hit. Tammy Grimes is his over-the-hill "star" and Wanda Richert as the young innocent who goes on for the leading lady at the last minute, saving the show and becoming a star herself. The leads, the suporting performers, the orchestra are all first rate here.

A few curiosities: The songs "Shadow Waltz" and "Young and Healthy" are reversed from their stage order as are "Dames" and "We're in the Money." Also, the song "I Know Now" was left off the recording. On the other had a lengthy dance interlude for the title number is included but since the story is acted out in dance, it's not clear to to those who have never seen the show exactly what is going on in this segment.

Fortunately, the synopsis helps the listener follow the plot of the show itself. The Harry Warren songs are pretty much self-explanatory: "Gettin' Out of Town"; "Go Into Your Dance", "Sunny Side to Every Situation" etc. Also, there are some short bits of dialogue here and there.

All in all, a fine document of an entertaining, old-fashioned muscal comedy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tammy Grimes AND Wanda Richert; it doesn't get better!
The original Broadway production of 42ND STREET marked a renaissance following the 'wilderness years' of the 70's. The classic movie musical translated effortlessly to the stage, with a few extra songs thrown in, not to mention superb direction and choreography from Gower Champion, who fatefully died on the morning before opening night.

The original cast includes Tammy Grimes (THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN) as the flamboyant diva Dorothy Brock, Wanda Richert as the young and naive Peggy Sawyer, Jerry Orbach (CARNIVAL!, CHICAGO, THE FANTASTICKS) as the washed-up director Julian Marsh and Lee Roy Reams (APPLAUSE) as the handsome hoofer Billy Lawlor.

Carole Cook impresses in the comical role of Maggie Jones, whilst Karen Prunzik (GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES) is delightful as Anytime Annie.

Tammy Grimes' husky, velvet voice is perfectly-suited to the role of Dorothy Brock, Wanda Richert brings a glowing innocence and sincerity to the role of young Peggy.

The luscious score includes "Young and Healthy", "Shadow Waltz", "Go Into Your Dance", the elegant eleven o'clock number "About a Quarter to Nine", as well as the showstopping Title Number.

In addition, I also recommend the FABULOUS Broadway revival cast album featuring Christine Ebersole and Kate Levering, which in many ways tops this recording. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars You'll Love This One!
If you treasure the great Broadway and Hollywood musicals of the Golden Age, you'll love this recording. It is a nearly perfect cast album, recreating and preserving for all time what it was like in the theatre on opening night. If you've seen the show in any venue, the opening overture and audition will put you right back in your theatre seat as those fantastic tap dancers stop the show in the first two minutes! Tammy Grimes has a voice completely suited to the fading star she plays, and Jerry Orbach is truly one of the best at singing a musical comedy role and selling his likeable persona. The chorus puts every ounce of energy into singing-and dancing-these vintage and timeless songs. Guaranteed to lift your spirits and get you humming or singing along every time you listen!

5-0 out of 5 stars Allentown!? Did you say Allentown!?
When I was a kid, anytime our local theatre company would put on musicals, my Mom would always buy me the soundtrack prior to the show so I could know the songs. This is easily one of my favorites. There are a few songs on it that everybody knows like, "We're in the Money," and "Lullaby of Broadway." Others are hardly known at all like "I'm Young and Healthy," which I sang in my first grade talent show. But I really get a kick out of the dialog about Allentown, spoken by Wanda Riechert and Jerry Orbach prior to "Lullaby of Broadway."

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Broadway
This is probably the classic backstage musical with great Harry Warren music and Al Dubin lyrics. The dialog has become a little cliche over time, but it still works well, and the songs certainly hold up, particularly, the title song, Lullaby of Broadway, and Shuffle Off to Buffalo. Also, as you listen to the tap numbers, you can almost see the dancers. This is an enjoyable musical that's fun to experience. ... Read more


93. The Phantom Of The Opera (1986 Original London Cast)
list price: $35.98
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Asin: B000001FLC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 19976
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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What's left to be said about Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera a decade after its premiere? That it's maddeningly ubiquitous? A stitch-up of various themes shoplifted from the Italian operatic repertoire? A critic-proof crowd pleaser that's probably being staged somewhere in the world as you read this? A megahit that will likely outlive Titanic in the pop-culture pantheon, Phantom has largely redefined--for better or worse--the manner in which modern musicals are conceived, staged, and marketed. Its influence has reached far beyond the traditional confines of London and Broadway. A favorite example: an abridged version that was the centerpiece of Los Angeles's longest-running transvestite revue, replete with 14-inch chandeliers and a man-playing-a-woman-playing-a-man in the title role. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (261)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy this CD because it is worth every penny!

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

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


94. Les Miserables (Highlights from the 1987 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B000084TRM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1594
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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While not overly generous at 55 minutes, the highlights album of the 1987 original Broadway cast recording of Les Miserables is intelligently selected and likely to prove satisfying to most fans. It includes the best-loved numbers of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's score, beautiful ballads ("Bring Him Home," "I Dreamed a Dream") and rousing anthems ("One Day More," "Do You Hear the People Sing?") alike, but eliminates some choral numbers ("Lovely Ladies"), redundancies ("Red and Black"), and connective tissue that propels the plot along ("Valjean Arrested," "Come to Me (Fantine's Death)"). Sure, a more perfect selection could have lasted longer than half of the two-disc set's 104 minutes by adding "At the End of the Day" and "In My Life," among others, but it's still a good representation on a convenient single disc. Of course, those who always want to re-create the theatrical experience will never be satisfied with a highlights album.

Re-creating their roles from the London production, Colm Wilkinson plays the heroic Valjean and Frances Ruffelle is the despondent Eponine. Randy Graff (Fantine), Terrence Mann (Javert), David Bryant (Marius), Judy Kuhn (Cosette), Michael Maguire (Enjolras), and Leo Burmester and Jennifer Butt (the Thénardiers) fill out the cast.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Don't even bother to get this
Les Miserables is an outstanding production. With so many excellent versions out there (particularly the 10th Anniversary Concert recording), you'll be missing a lot if you get only the highlights. Get any of the full recordings, so you'll have a true feel of this great show.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Highlights CD
All the best songs from the show are on this CD. Terrence Mann is the only Javert, and Colm Wilkinson is THE Valjean, their counterparts on the CSR are HORRIBLE!! I can't stand Phillip Quast as Javert, he is unbearble! Gary Morris is OK, but not as good as Colm Wilkinson.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This music really brings the play to your home. Every song is sung beautifully and makes you want to listen to it over and over again. This is a must for anyone who loves Les Misarables or show songs!! ... Read more


95. Miss Saigon (Original 1989 London Cast)
list price: $35.98
our price: $32.49
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Asin: B000000ORS
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1742
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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It's probably best known for raising the stakes for 1980s blockbuster shows by landing a helicopter on stage, but Miss Saigon is also a good show with good music. As a follow-up to their international smash Les Misérables, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg (with an assist from Richard Maltby Jr.) adapted the tale of Madame Butterfly to the Vietnam War, realized here by the original 1989 London cast. While it may seem overheated at times, the despair and passion fit the tragic story, and Schönberg's pop-flavored style receives its most appropriate setting. Leading the cast are Jonathan Pryce as the Engineer (a Eurasian character whose casting generated some controversy when the producers wanted to have Pryce, a Caucasian, reprise the role on Broadway), Lea Salonga (in her first major role) as the young Vietnamese bride, Simon Bowman as her lover, and Claire Moore as his American wife (and a young Ruthie Henshall as one of the sweaty bargirls). The songs include the bawdy opener "The Heat Is on in Saigon," "The Movie in My Mind," "Why God Why," the romantic duet "The Last Night of the World," the female duet "I Still Believe," the male chorus number "Bui-Doi," and the Engineer's mocking "The American Dream."The booklet includes photographs and full lyrics. It's also available in a 58-minute highlights version. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (97)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, heart-wrenching, and haunting!
Miss Saigon is a beautiful musical. There is a variety of characters that make it well worth listening to. Firstly, there's Kim, the main character, portrayed beautifully by Lea Salonga. Her voice expresses Kim's joy in her love with Chris, an American GI, hatred and contempt for Thuy, who she's engaged to by her parents, her anger towards Ellen (Chris' wife three years after Vietnam) and her hope that Chris will someday return for her and the son she has borne him. Simon Bowman is perfect as Chris, who you love, pity, and at times, despise. Claire Moore has a lovely voice, and the duet, "I Still Believe," with Lea is marvelous. Although, in my opinion, the most gorgeous song on the cd (and there are many of them to choose from) is "The Fall of Saigon," and when Kim and Chris are trying to reach each other, I can almost guarantee tears. Jonathan Pryce is fabulous as the Engineer, a pimp who runs a bar with showgirls. He's not at all likeable, but you find yourself feeling sorry for him in spite of yourself. Overall, Miss Saigon is probably my favorite cd, with the possible exception of Les Miserables.

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't Pass This Up
Easily the most touching and beautiful recording of Miss Saigon ever. Lea Salonga is infallible as Kim - the emotional strength and innocent hope she portrays leaves her voice etched in one's mind. Simon Bowman is amazing as Chris..."Why, God, Why?" is one of the most beautiful tracks. Peter Polycarpou's rendition of "Bui-Doi" is probably my favorite track...it never fails to bring tears to my eyes. Jonathan Pryce is the epitome of sleazy business...sorta reminds me of Joel Grey's 'Emcee' from Cabaret...hah. Except sometimes, after hearing about his life, you can pity him.
Claire Moore's duet with Salonga ("I Still Believe") is heartbreaking, especially since we know that Chris has since married, but Kim still believes he'll return...
Keith Burns is a convincing Thuy. His voice brings character with it, and fits absolutely perfectely in "What's This I Find?" Also, his counterpoint with Salonga in "This Is The Hour" can easily send chills up your spine, same as Salonga and Polycarpou's duet in "Please".
Other Notable Tracks - "The Morning of the Dragon" is a very strong track, I personally think its one of the best. "The American Dream" makes a wonderful mockery of our system...its absolutely ingeneous. "Sun and Moon" is gorgeous, as is "Last Night Of The World"...and "The Sacred Bird" never fails to bring me to tears. I also love "The Telephone Song", Polycarpou also shines in this one.
I could go on and on...
In fact, this isn't a single track on this CD that isn't good.

One Warning, though...some of these tracks have some pretty foul language, especially "The Heat Is On In Saigon", however, that doesn't change the fact that its a great song :P

So to sum it up:

DON'T PASS UP THIS RECORDING!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, very moving musical!
Just saw the show at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Wow! What a great musical! Heart-wrenching story, emotionally-laden songs, powerful performances.

The cast was superb! Now, I wish I had seen it when the amazing Lea Salonga was doing Kim.

See the show on tour and definitely grab a copy of the original recording!

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant!
The musical is powerful and touching while the cast is superb! Lea Salonga performs to perfection one of the most difficult roles ever created in pop musical history.

The show is a must-see (U.S. and U.K tours plus productions around the world still ongoing) and the original album a must-buy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
A very powerful and touching musical INSPIRED by M. Butterfly and performed by a first-rate cast. If pop opera were to give Puccini a tribute, this would be the most respectful and the most inspiring production that any topnotch theater can mount. Bravo! ... Read more


96. Little Shop Of Horrors (1986 Film)
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B000000OQ7
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4512
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars Horror in Motown Style
The movie was great, but the soundtrack is awesome. Hear some of your favorite songs from Little Shop of Horrors and sing along. My personal favorite is "Suddenly Seymore" where big comedian Rick Moranis shows off that he's not just a comedian, but he's also a big-time singer. Other hits such as "Mean Green Mother" and "Skid Row" also add spice to the whole CD. With a motown sound, the CD gives listeners a wide variety of examples of this music era at the same time express the feelings of the characters of the musical...

5-0 out of 5 stars This Movie Rocks the House!!!
Ok, I've got to admit that "Little Shop of Horrors" has got to be one of the best movies I have seen the 14 years of my life. I mean with the fact that Rick Moranis was the PERFECT person for the lovable Seymour Krelborn, and Ellen Greene was absolutly fabulous with her role of Audrey. The plant however really was one of my favorite characters. I haven't bought the movie or CD, I just know about the movie because I had to watch it in my school. I, personally, think that "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space" was one of the best songs of this movie. "Suddenly, Seymour" could have been better, I just don't know how. I'm in love with this movie so much, I watch scenes of it in my dreams. (Sorry, that was a little cheesy, but it's true!!) I seriously think that people who don't like this movie really haven't even seen the whole thing! Anyway, the lyrics were wonderful, and I do think that this movie has got to be one of the best I have ever seen! So please buy this movie and enjoy it as much and I did! Oh, and remember, don't feed the plants!!

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
This isn't really the film soundtrack at all. Best I can tell it's a studio recording using most of the movie cast. Not only are some tracks vastly different than the film versions, there are tracks here not even included in the final film. That might sound good at first but because of these tracks, things like the Supper Time reprise are missing. Also, the sound quality is awful. There are times when you can barely hear certain singer (especially in The Meek Shall Inherit). Before you buy this CD, know that it's incomplete, poorly recorded, and different from the film. It does have the movie cast though, so if that's what you're after then this is the CD for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Little Shop" was the 80's at its best!
I LOVE this movie!!! It was all apart of that 80's magic I remember so fondly. The special effects were HOT and Techina Arnold, Tisha Campbell, & the other lady (insert name here) were even HOTTER! All these songs are classics, but my personal favs have to be the ones that are sung by the trio. The Intro & "Some Fun Now" are ones that I remember boppin' my head to while walking to class. "Suppertime" (my absolute fav) just has that dark haunting mood I love so much. You know the feeling you get when you know something bad is about to happen? "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space" is another classic, musically & cinematically! That's when movie climaxes were truly at their BEST! Funny, disturbing, & a damn good time all rolled into one... this version of "Little Shop of Horrors" is more than a classic, its a treasure!

4-0 out of 5 stars It's GREAT! (but....)
I absolutely love this movie... I put the movie on just to hear the songs sometimes. However, the movie soundtrack's songs are different than the actual versions of that in the movie. An example would be the voice of the introduction during "Little Shop of Horrors" at the beginning of the movie. Or on "Skid Row" the different singers on the street in the movie are not on the soundtrack, like the black man that sings "down on skid" real loud, or the heavy set man singing "down on skid roooaaad" These things you may not notice, but after being a fan of the movie for so many years, I was a bit disappointed the songs were different. Even if only slightly. It's kinda like going to a concert & hearing you favorite song sung differently, or only an accoustical version of it. Does anyone know if in the movie, the songs were sung live during the filming? That would explain alot! ... Read more


97. Guys and Dolls (1992 Broadway Revival Cast)
list price: $16.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B000003FBL
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2966
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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This 1992 revival cast rewrote the standard for Guys and Dolls, with costumes and sets decked out in splashy colors, a crack pit band conducted by Edward Strauss, and a perfect cast. In the classic setting of Damon Runyon's tales of the New York underworld, Peter Gallagher and Josie de Guzman excel in their respective roles as the suave Sky Masterson and the innocent but hopeful Sarah Brown, but Nathan Lane and Faith Prince are even better as the hopeless couple Nathan Detroit and Miss Adelaide. Walter Bobbie brings the house down with the grand showstopper, "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat," and the other ensemble numbers, including "The Oldest Established," are also thrilling. Frank Loesser's score, of course, is one of Broadway's greatest ever, with "Luck Be a Lady," "Fugue for Tinhorns," "I've Never Been in Love Before," "A Bushel and a Peck," "More I Cannot Wish You," and "Marry the Man Today." The list goes on, as does Guys and Dolls, in this definitive recording.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (36)

3-0 out of 5 stars Guys and Dolls Revival not quite up to the classic
I borrowed this CD from the library after having seen the play performed in my homewtown and having seen the movie. I've heard people say that the movie was horrible, but I loved it. Therefore, this CD was a disappointment as Peter Gallagher just didn't seem Sky Masterson-ish. Especially during his "Luck Be a Lady" (although the background is wonderful). He seems to rush through the song as if he's nervous that he's going to be boring. The song is never boring. Josie de Guzman (I'm sorry if I got the name wrong) also disappointed me. Her voice is very nice, and she has the anger at Sky in "Marry the Man Today" down very well, and hits all the notes nicely, but to me, she just doesn't have the thrilling voice of a Broadway singer. Faith Prince has a wonderful voice but squeaks a little too often for my taste. Although, I must say, her "Marry the Man Today" was just stupendous. I loved it.
Nathan Lane of course, is wonderful. He's got the act down pat. But his voice, while being very entertaining to listen to, did not sound like Nathan Detroit should sound to me.
The music in this play is superlative, the lyrics witty, the plot amazing, and I love it to death, but this is not the recording of it that I would recommend.

5-0 out of 5 stars A real help, and a great album to boot!
I bought this CD to help me memorize the songs I needed to know for my high school's production of "Guys and Dolls", as I was thrown into the show just 3 weeks before we took the stage. Well, the CD helped me do just that. After the production, I began to listen to the songs for pleasure. It was amazing. The only con I found was Nathan Lane. Don't get my wrong, he fits in perfectly with the cast, but at times, it is almost painfull hearing him hit some notes. But, since Nathan Detroit is supposed to be a comical character, he works.

Not having seen the 1992 revival, I could not see how the actors worked on stage. But, I have seen the movie. If you could combine the two casts, it would make the ultimate production, from a musical standpoint. Imagine: Peter Gallagher as Skye, Frank Sinatra as Nathan, Jean Simmons as Sarah, Faith Prince as Adelaide. Perfection!

Aside from my dream production, this is a great album, a must-have for Broadway fans. I highly suggest this title, especially if you need to memorize the songs quick! Pick this up immediately!

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Ever!!!
To the "Music Fan" from Washington D.C. If Frank Sanatra was the greatest Nathan Detroit, you could at least give him the honor of spelling his name right.
This is THE Best recording of Guys and Dolls available.
The movie sucks!!!! They took out some of the original songs, and Stubby Kaye in the movie is the BORING and FLAT one, not Nathan Lane.
Know what you're talking about before you write a review. This is the best recording of Guys and Dolls, its colorful and livley. A perfect 10!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Luck be a great CD
First off, "Guys and Dolls" is an awesome musical. Secondly, this recording is incredible. All the voices are excellent, and the orchestra complemnts eveything very well. Actually, this is one of the best balances of voices and instruments I have ever heard. My Personal Favorites are "Fugue for Tinhorns", "Guys and Dolls" and "Luck Be a Lady". The People playing the characters of Nicely-Nicely pretty much steal the show with "Fugue" and "Guys" but the Nicelyl comes out and does "Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat" which just blows everything away. He has an awesome accent and he performs the song so well that you can almost see him performing it on stage. It is also a handy reference tool. I was trying out for the show and before hand I listned to it. I think my familiarity with the music definitely helped land me a part (I got Benny). Over all this is just an awesome soundtrack and a must buy for any lover of Broadway shows.

4-0 out of 5 stars a fine revival
Although nothing will come close to the greatness of the original Broadway cast, this 1992 Broadway revival of GUYS AND DOLLS is a worthy addition to any collection.

For a start, the recording is quite complete; it includes the entire "Havana" scene (complete with the 'Bacardi milkshake' dialogue), the Entr'acte, and the dialogue that links the "Havana" scene with "My Time of Day", "If I Were a Bell" and "I've Never Been in Love Before".

The performers are uniformably strong; Nathan Lane is the perfect smarmy Nathan Detroit; Peter Gallagher has the right amount of urbane coolness for Skye Masterson; Josie de Guzman's glowing voice and attitude is perfect for the holier-than-thou Sarah Brown; and Faith Prince puts her own stamp on Miss Adelaide.

This production was the hottest ticket in town when it opened on Broadway in 1992; the first full-scale revival of the show since a somewhat souped-up revival production in the 70's. The cast album captures a superb cast that is more than capable of portraying Damon Runyon's characters for a new generation.

Highly-recommended. ... Read more


98. Riverdance: Music From The Show
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B000005B2O
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3241
Average Customer Review: 4.72 out of 5 stars
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Based on Irish folk dancing styles, Riverdance was originally devised as a 20-minute intermission entertainment for the Eurovision Song Contest. There, its phenomenal reception inspired composer Bill Whelan to expand the piece into a full-length stage show, still centered around Irish music, but now telling a loose story of many different peoples who in the 20th century have found themselves émigrés. The paradoxically formal yet expressive, sensual, and exhilarating energy of traditional Irish dance and Irish folk music is only the beginning. A work full of strong melodies, excitement, romantic dreams, and nostalgic longing, the full Riverdance show is a spellbinding spectacle. Complete with orchestra, Whelan brings influences from Irish classical music, incorporates the haunting sound of vocal group Anuna, and adds the diverse folk sounds of Nova Scotia, Macedonia, Russia, and Andalucia to his rich cultural melting pot. Playing on the album are some of the finest folk musicians around, including piper Davy Spillane and Eileen Ivers on fiddle. The result is not just a tuneful souvenir of a great stage show, but a most enjoyable release in its own right. Whelan also has worked on the Rob Roy soundtrack and composed The Seville Suite and The Spirit of Mayo. --Gary S. Dalkin ... Read more

Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Modern Celtic" with a twist
Well, out of the three Irish Shows (Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, and Feet of Flames) I'm afraid this one ends up last, even though it is still pretty good. Some of the songs are almost a mix between celtic and other types of music and thus the essence of the irish music is lost(wouldn't you buy the CD for that reason?)and therefore this one is last (buy Lord of the Dance instead! MUCH BETTER!)
Reel Around the Sun:the best song on the CD and captures the essence of irish music! PERFECT!
The Heart's Cry:a pretty bad vocal that I always skip
The Countess Cathleen/Women of the Sidhe:probably tied for second on my best song list, the first half is really pretty, while the second half has alot of energy to it!
Caoineadh Cu Chulainn (Lament):a very generic irish song and rather boring
Shivna:kind of strange lyrical song in another language (gaelic?) and not the best of songs...
Firedance:a mix of Celtic and Spanish music that tends to get better as the song progresses
Slip into Spring: pretty and uplifting, but not memorable
Riverdance:the title track, and thus one of the best, once you get past the vocal at the beginning it just gets more and more enjoyable!
American Wake (THe Nova Scotia Set):honestly this song has nothing to do with the title, it's very uplifting and beautiful, and just all around great!
Lift the Wings:tolerable vocals and great lyrics
Macedonian Morning:almost a waste of space, generic and hardly mermerable
Marta's Dance/The Russian Dervish:a mix of Celtic and Russian music, different but repetative near the end so much you just want to bite off your nails!
Andalucia:what seems to be another mix of celtic and another style of music, just blurs together with the other songs
Home and the Heartland:annoying vocal that only has to be skipped..
The Harvest:very pretty and uplifting but again, blurs into the rest of the music without so much as a memory
Riverdance Remix:just what the title suggests
Overall, most of these songs blur together and are hardly memorable on there own and could never stand alone, but make a nice collection for any "modern celtic" fan

5-0 out of 5 stars In A Word! Perfection!
Can I give it a GAZILLION stars?

Riverdance is simply THE MOST BEAUTIFUL music I have ever heard! The songs I like the best are Reel Around The Sun, Silver Figures, The Countless Cathleen/Women Of The Sidhe, The Lament, Firedance, Lift The Wing ,and, of course, RIVERDANCE!

The music and the dancing are so interwoven that I cannot imagine one without the other. And their interweaving is sublimely right!

This truly Magickal experience called Riverdance was inspired by the Great Goddess Herself! FOR...SHE IS LIVING TO NOURISH US, CHERISH US...I have written countless poems to and about RIVERDANCE, I have painted the walls of my Temple indigo and silver because those are the colors of the music of Riverdance. I frequently use the music from Riverdance in my rituals and I have birthed into being a beautiful ritual called Timedance, Moondance, Womondance which includes as an integral part of the ritual a viewing of Riverdance-The Show!

5-0 out of 5 stars Irish Dancer
I've been an Irish dancer for two years and when i tell people i Irish dance, the first word they say is "Riverdance" I must say i do not take offense. THis a great show and the music is superb. I think all the songs, instrumental and vocal are truly inspirational amd relfect the Irish culture very well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Off Of The Charts.....
I got the opportunity to witness the show last night in Savannah,GA. Never have I seen anything as beautiful as this. The "Dance" is a universal lanquage but not everyone can...(Like Me).
RiverDance the music sent chills up and down my spine. The soundtrack that I bought home has been played over and over since last night.
This is for everyone that enjoys beautiul music.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
I watched Riverdance on PBS,,, loved it live! This is a studio remix without the performance feel. The dancing is almost non-existent, but the music is dead on. Make sure the music is what you wanted,,, otherwise you'll be disappointed. Still a great grouping of Irish music. There is no song more evocative or haunting than "Caoineadh Cu Chulainn (Lament)", performed by Davy Spillane on Uilleann Pipes. It always makes a chill go up my spine. ... Read more


99. Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (1966 Original Off-Broadway Cast)
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000067AS5
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3149
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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At the time of this show's 1968 Greenwich Village debut, French singer-songwriter Jacques Brel's body of theatrically insightful ballads was already an obscure but deeply influential treasure trove for many American musicians. The revue's success would go on to influence artists as diverse as Leonard Cohen, Bowie (who covered "Amsterdam" shortly thereafter), and Sinatra, and it may even be responsible for one-hit wonder Terry Jacks's revival of "Seasons in the Sun".

More important, the pioneering musical-without-a-book helped introduce Brel's oft-brooding, ever evocative art to a wider American audience--and arguably had an evolutionary influence on Broadway itself. This complete reissue of the 1968 boxed set cast album offers up a rich cross-section of Brel's songs about life, death, and love--and typically sharp-eyed observations about the human follies that season them--deftly performed by a cast that includes Elly Stone, Alice Whitfield, Shawn Elliott, and, crucially, rock pioneer, Brel associate, and co-producer Mort Shuman. This new edition fleshes out the set with the sessions' only unreleased song, a sprightly take on the deliciously cynical "The Middle Class."--Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars JACQUES BREL for the ages
JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS brought Brel back into the spotlight (if indeed he ever left). The original off-Broadway production of 1966 became the toast of New York when it first appeared and featured a cast including the delicious Elly Stone.

For Elly Stone fans, this reissue is a must-own. For Jacques Brel fans, it is equally so. The masterful song-stylings of Stone with Mort Shuman, Alice Whitfield and Shawn Elliott cannot be beat.

Elly Stone delights with "I Loved" and later tears at the heartstrings with "You're Not Alone". Mort Shuman delivers the sobering "Next" with all the anger of innocence lost, and Shawn Elliott is superb with "Bachelor's Dance".

Highly-recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brel better than ever on this remastered CD
... This just released remastered version of the original Off-Broadway cast brings back memories of the first time I heard it on vinyl in the mid-70s, only here the sound is better and an extra song ("The Middle Class") makes this a must-have CD for any fan of show music, Brel and French cabaret torch songs...with that Brel edge of course.

4-0 out of 5 stars --
For those of us English-speakers, it's a bit tough to really 'get' what Jacques Brel did and how good he was, so it's necessary for us to see this production and/or buy it, along with Scott Walker's English interpretations. There will always be criticisms of how well the cast represented Brel and his energy but I don't think that was really the point of the show. Shuman and Co. wanted to be as accurate as possible as far as conveying the spirit of Brel's work, but the intent of the production was to introduce the English-speaking world to Brel's work, and in that respect they succeeded.

You can't commend Mort Shuman enough for how seamlessly he translated Brel's original French into English without compromising any of the content or rhythm and it speaks volumes about how talented he was as a songwriter in his own right. Future generations are, and will be, grateful to him for it. Regardless of how one interprets the work of this cast, Shuman will always be responsible for anybody's English version of a Brel song because he was the one who sat down with Brel himself and worked it all out.

One thing this project experimented with to a good deal of success was using a female as Brel's voice for some of the more tender and vulnerable songs. I think 'Timid Frieda' and 'Old Folks' outshine Brel's originals due to that element and 'You're Not Alone' at least matches Brel. The two female cast members, Stone and Whitfield, sing throughout, but those solo performances are a nice touch.

Although Shuman and Elliott perform admirably, I find myself preferring Scott Walker's voice and sneer on 'Mathilde', 'Jackie', 'Amsterdam' and 'Next'. Walker projected more power and anyone who's into Brel should really seek out Walker's work if they haven't already.

Mortality is the foremost theme in all of Brel's work, and what made him so great is how he made death and poverty beautiful and not so much a tragedy. Still, for all the songs about dying and aging he'd still throw in a jaunty trot like 'Madeleine' or 'Brussels' to balance things out.

Moods aside, the music strikes the North American as very European and somewhat exotic for it has a richness of tradition and history that the Americas lack. Not necessarily in terms of time, but in terms of critical experience and culture. We don't know what it's like to live in a country that lost a war or to experiment with different forms of government or socialism on a grand scale. Brel's music comes from just such a place and it's interesting, leaving the listener somewhat jealous.

Brel's greatest talent in my opinion though is how he dealt with challenging and complex issues using such simple language that anybody can understand them, and not only that, but feel it in their heart. You just can't find anything more heartbreaking than 'Old Folks' and 'Fanette' anywhere and neither of them ever get dense or particularly poetic. They're like a raw feed, so to speak, from the center of existence.

Brel himself gets five stars anywhere but this particular interpretation gets four. That's a good four though.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sparkling, engaging music, spirited lyrics, smart cast
Introduced to "Alive and well" in a college production in fall 1972, this album has captivated me for years, from young adulthood to middle age. The music is timeless, the energy is magnificent, the translated lyrics are moving, irony-filled, funny, spiteful, insightful and a whole lot more.

With this superb four-person cast, supported by a small number of instruments, the voices and lyrics make this a full-bodied hit. Mort Shuman's "Amsterdam," Brel's dedication to the night life in the port of the Dutch city, haunts and enlivens me. His "Next", a sad memory of his first sexual encounter, provided gratis by the army, makes it clear why he never wants to be "next" ever again. Elly Stone's voice leaves me near tears. Shawn Elliott and Alice Whitfield have slightly smaller roles and receive lesser accolades, but their contributions are memorable and make the production full, rich and well-rounded. The closing, "If we only have love," is a tribute to the author and to the cast. With 23 stylish numbers, this CD is one you can play endlessly, enjoying. Adding "The middle class" to this version is not only a nice 'extra', it is one of the best numbers, a memorable tribute to the terror of first despising the middle class, only to later find you are part of it, and despised as well.

These are 'show tunes' in the best sense of the term, and although there is no linear plot to follow, the music makes the show one worth repeating. Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Jacque Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris - SUPERB
I've been looking for this CD for years and am delighted that it has finally been made available (and remastered!). You must listen to the words; then the music will just envelop you, and you won't be able to get the songs out of your mind. I was lucky enough to see the play when it ran in San Francisco with the original cast. ... Read more


100. Bye Bye Birdie (1960 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $11.98
our price: $8.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004THM0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4551
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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A lighthearted romp reflecting the Elvis revolution,Bye Bye Birdie follows Albert Peterson (a pre-MaryPoppins Dick Van Dyke),the manager of rock & roller Conrad Birdie (Dick Gautier), who issweeping through the town of Sweet Apple on a publicity stuntsurrounding his being drafted into the Army. Meanwhile, Albert'sfaithful but exasperated secretary (Chita Rivera) hopes he will give up showbusiness to settle down with her and become a respectable Englishteacher. In CharlesStrouse and LeeAdams's energetic and tuneful score, Van Dyke sings the standard"Put On a Happy Face," the high schoolers are high schoolers ("A Lot ofLivin' to Do," "The Telephone Hour," "One Boy") and bewilder theirparents ("Kids"), Gautier thrusts his hips ("Honestly Sincere," "OneLast Kiss"), and homage is paid to that icon of home entertainment, EdSullivan ("Hymn for a Sunday Evening"). Bye Bye Birdie won the1961 Tony for Best Musical, and Van Dyke reprised his role in the 1963film version. The 2000 remastering features outstanding clarity as wellas a bonus track of Strouse himself introducing and singing "Put On aHappy Face" at a Smithsonian lecture in 1978. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Original Version - Original Charm
What bad thing can you say about the original version of the musical that stole America's heart? Dick Van Dyke, Chita Rivera, and Susan Watson are all magnificant! This C.D. has the original charm, which makes it special every time you listen to it. I've done this play, and when I first heard this C.D., I knew this was the musical for me!

5-0 out of 5 stars We Love You Conrad.
Out of all the various versions of this beloved musical, this is the best BYE BYE BIRDIE album to own. Starring Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera, this album captures the comical and satirical essence that is BYE BYE BIRDIE. Some of my favorite songs include:

"An English Teacher"

"The Telephone Hour"

"Put on a Happy Face"

"Honestly Sincere

"Hymn for a Sunday Evening"

"Kids"

"Rosie"

This is a great album to listen to if you have ever been in the play and is the most true to the script. Avoid the movie version, unless you want to hear Ann-Margaret.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Nostalgic Classic
One of the classics of the American Musical Theater. In 1960, between the Elvis craze and Beatlemania. And Dick VanDyke's breakout role - that led to his TV show with MTM. Some parts of our culture from "Telephone Hour" to "Put on a Happy Face" to "Kids" and "A Lot of Livin' to Do". I did the show in college and my favorite part of the score is the dance break in "Put on A Happy Face" - great big-band arrangement that got lost in the movie. Close your eyes and see VanDyke's physical comedy/dance/slapstick at its best. (And yes, the sad little girl laughs - with a 'happy face' after all the shenanigans!)

3-0 out of 5 stars cute work but not outstanding
I liked this album but I wouldn't classify it as one of the best OCR around. Dick Van Dyke is not a great singer but I'd imagine he was dynamite to see on stage. Chita Rivera does her usual great job and Dick Gauthier's singing will surprise folks who only know him from "The Love Boat" or "Fanatasy Island". Worth owning if only to complete your collection of Broadway shows.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very underappreciated musical
With an outstanding cast headed by the great Dick Van Dyke, Chita Rivera and Paul Lynde, and many wonderful songs including Kids, Whole Lotta Livin to Do, Spanish Rosie, and my personal favorite Hymm for a Sunday Night, this semi-spoof of a late 50s rock star (Conrad Birdie), a songwriter, his overbearing mother and the woman he loves and almost loses is in my opinion a highly underrated and entertaining musical. As grounded as it is in its time period, at the same time it explores timeless themes and is as fresh today as when it was first released. The movie version is fine too, with the amazing Ann Margaret in her prime, but musically the Broadway recording is the best. ... Read more


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