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121. The Phantom of the Opera (Highlights
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122. Oklahoma! (1998 London Cast)
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123. Sweet Charity: A New Musical Comedy
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124. Bombay Dreams (2002 Original London
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125. Dreamgirls (1982 Original Broadway
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126. Ultimate Broadway
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127. Once Upon A Mattress (1959 Original
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128. Fine and Dandy (2004 Studio Cast)
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129. The New Moon (2003 Encores! Revival
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130. Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs Of
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131. Jesus Christ Superstar [MCA Original
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132. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang [London
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133. The Best of Broadway - The American
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134. Grease: A New 50's Rock 'N Roll
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135. Sweet Charity (2005 Broadway Revival
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136. Tick, Tick... Boom! (2001 Original
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137. Parade (1998 Original Broadway
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138. Bat Boy (2001 Original Off-Broadway
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139. The Wiz - The Super Soul Musical:
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140. Oliver! (Deluxe Edition) (1963

121. The Phantom of the Opera (Highlights from the 1989 Original Canadian Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B0000072VS
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 14791
Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

A few years after The Phantom of the Opera debuted in London, Harold Prince unveiled Andrew Lloyd Webber's gothic musical in Canada, in 1989. It was so good that this recording of highlights from the Canadian cast is--dare we say it?--more enjoyable than the equivalent London cast highlights album. No, it doesn't have the authenticity of London principals Sarah Brightman (for whom then-husband Lloyd Webber wrote the role of Christine) and Michael Crawford, but it doesn't have their idiosyncrasies, either, and it does have the richer voices of Colm Wilkinson and Rebecca Caine (who played Jean Valjean and older Cosette, respectively, in the 1985 London cast of Les Misérables). At 69 minutes, the Canadian album is also 10 minutes longer than the London, allowing inclusion of the prologue and dress rehearsal for Hannibal. Of course, Lloyd Webber's melodies--"Angel of Music," "The Music of the Night," "All I Ask of You," "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again"--are scrumptious on any continent. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (59)

5-0 out of 5 stars Colm Wilkinson IS The Phantom
I have seen The Phantom on Broadway, and I have heard the Michael Crawford CD, and I was not impressed. I was curious when I found the Canadian cast version on-line. When I saw Colm Wilkinson listed as the Phantom I knew I had to purchase the CD. Colm Wilkinson was the definitive Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. He was superb on the 10th Anniversary show. I couldn't wait to hear his interpretation of the part. When I first listened to the CD I was a little disappointed. I thought his voice was "off". But after giving it a second chance and then a third, I realized he wasn't just singing songs from the show, he was performing the songs as he would on stage. In that context, his interpretation was right on the money. Because it is only a highlight CD it made it hard to put his performance in perspective. I wish they had recorded the entire score. Nonetheless, this version of the Phantom is definitely the best. Sorry, Michael, but Colm's performance puts yours to shame. Sarah Brightman, move over, Rebecca Caine's voice is divine. Thumbs up for both performers.

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing recording of a wonderful show
Phantom of the Opera is one of my favourite shows, and has been ever since I was young. It has been blessed with an amazing range of foreign cast recordings with some incredible performers; but unfortunately neither of the official English language recordings really live up to their potential- in particular, this Canadian recording. The music itself sounds wonderful, much tighter and clearer than on the OLCR. The performers, however, are rather weak. Colm Wilkinson is probably my least favourite Phantom; he tends to use falsetto far too much and he lacks the power of other Phantoms I've heard. Rebecca Caine has a pleasant enough voice, but far too operatic in parts, and she also seems to be the victim of some rather appalling over-acting, especially in the Final Lair scene. Rather than being moved when she sings "Angel of music, you deceived me; I gave my mind blindly..", I have to stop myself laughing at her attempts to show emotion. Byron Nease is a rather bland Raoul, he doesn't stand out in any way.
The choice of songs on this recording also seem rather odd to me; its good to have music such as the Hannibal Ballet- but why put that on the CD when they left out the beautiful Angel of Music? Instead we move straight from Think of Me to the Mirror scene. And why add Christine's part before Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again as a separate track? Entitled The Graveyard here, its lovely to hear, but it seems rather short and pointless as a track on its own; but that really is a minor quibble. The main problem with this CD has to be the performers. Phantom badly needs a new English-language CD, with performers who can do justice to the roles.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great!!!
I started listening to Phantom when I was about 12, now I'm 14 and still am a Phantom nut! I first got the OLC soundtrack and loved it. I just got the Canadian soundtrack and had to admit it just was not as good as the OLC, but still is great! It was just a little weak and seemed a bit rushed. Here's what I think:

Colm Wilkinson(The Phantom)had a great voice, but when he sang quietly or deeply it sounded strange. It sounded like he had something in his mouth, or was at least jutting his jaw out really far. He was more frightening during his threats and rages, and was very heartbreaking at the sad songs. Michael Crawford had a more smooth, hypnotic and tender voice, but was not has emotional as Colm.
What really disappointed me was that they didn't have him do his trademark laugh after "I Gave You My Music"! That was one of my favorite parts!

Rebecca Caine(Christine)...she has been called many things, from "amazing" to "breathtaking" to even "a vibrating train wreck". I don't think she is a vibrating train wreck, but I don't think she's the best Christine on the planet, either. It was very hard for her to hit that high A at the end of the theme song. She squeaked that note instead of singing it loud and clear like Sarah Brightman. But she is very understandable, unlike Sarah. She does have a good voice. She is also more emotional than Sarah.

Byron Nease(Raoul)has been called "boring" by many reviewers, but I don't think he's that bad. His voice is too operatic, though, when it should be just normal. He would of made a great Piangi, but not a Raoul.

Carlotta, Piangi, the managers and the other actors were also nice, Carlotta was wonderfully irritating, and I like that she didn't roll her "Rs" all the time like Rosemary Ashe. Piangi was also good.
The managers also played their part wonderfully.
Madame Giry sounded a little young for her role, Meg had a good voice and a pretty good scream, and the autioneer sounded like a robot to me.

Okay, now for the music! The orchestra was great, I just think it was a bit weak, since there are not as many instruments as in OLC. Another weird thing: some of the music is from OLC! They just added some more of their own instruments.
The overture was great(when is it not?), but it sounded strangely quiet. They also added more cymbals, drums and a flute to it, all of which I enjoyed.
"The Dress Rehearsal of Hannibal" was also wonderful, as it is a rare song to hear on any Phantom soundtrack. The brass was excellent!
"Think Of Me" was a good example of the range of Rebecca's voice. Very nice.

"Angel of Music" was fine, this is also where Colm comes in with "Insolent boy...", which is not as echo-y or as powerful as Michael does it.
"Phantom of the Opera" is also quiet, but sounds great nonetheless. I LOVED the timpani drums they added near the end.
"Music of the Night" was great, Colm's jaw-jutting voice is throughout the whole song, but I got used to it soon. One impressive thing is that Colm sang the last "night" about 6 or 7 seconds longer than Michael, who sang for about 22 seconds.
"Prima Donna" was nice, "All I Ask Of You" was okay but didn't sound as good as OLC, "I Gave You My Music": a tearjerker! Intermission, great but a little rushed, and "Masquerade". Now that was the one song I really didn't like. It is usually one of the best songs of the soundtrack, but this entire song sounds like it was recorded in a tiny recording studio! It is also kind of weak.
"Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" was not very emotional, unlike OLC. "Point Of No Return" sounded strange.
"Phantom's Lair" is great. Colm gets pretty scary.
Advice: If you've never heard or seen Phantom, get the OLC Highlights first. If you like it, get the OLC 2-disc soundtrack, and then get this. To my phellow phans: buy!!!

2-0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Measure Up
Simply put, Michael Crawford is a god. Good old Colm can't measure up. Without even knowing the lyrics or the musical itself, you could tell the pain the Phantom was going through just through Crawford's voice. Colm sings with no or forced emotion, while Crawford's voice flows majestically and soulfully over the notes and the words.

Sara Brightman's pure soprano is angelic, as opposed to the other Christine's vibrating train wreck.

That and the words were changed for this CD...

I'm sorry...this is a disappointment. Buy the original, people!

4-0 out of 5 stars The Best English-Language Cast By Far
I own both the original London cast recording (the double CD) and this one and I've listened to a friend's copy of the London cast highlights CD and I have to say that I think this recording is the best I've ever heard. I have yet to hear any of the foreign-language recordings, although I understand some of them are fantastic. The only thing that keeps me from recommending this recording above all others is that this CD is, after all, only a highlights recording (which is why I'm only giving it four stars) and the original London cast double CD does contain most -- but not all -- of the music in the show (it's also a very good recording, just not nearly as good as this one). But the performers on this recording far outshine the performers on the original London cast recording. The London cast highlights recording isn't even worth considering. It's an abbreviated selection of songs performed by an inferior cast. You'd do well to forget it even exists.

By the way... As you may or may not know, Colm Wilkinson, who sings the role of the Phantom on this recording, was Andrew Lloyd Webber's first choice to play the Phantom on stage in London, but he was performing in another show and couldn't do it. ... Read more


122. Oklahoma! (1998 London Cast)
list price: $17.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B00002EPLJ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4086
Average Customer Review: 4.05 out of 5 stars
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Following up their landmark 1993 revival of Carousel, London's Royal National Theatre delivers another pillar of the Rodgers and Hammerstein canon with their 1998 production of Oklahoma!As on the earlier CD, Oklahoma! provides a generous amount of music (74 minutes) by including integral dance music (including Laurey's dream ballet and passages of "Kansas City") and connecting dialogue, resulting in a more complete theatrical experience than most recordings provide. It also includes two songs that were cut from the film, the grammatically incorrect but vigorous chorus number "It's a Scandal, It's a Outrage" and Jud's powerful lament, "Lonely Room."Hugh Jackman excels as Curly, while Josefina Gabrielle is an effective Laurey. Filling out the strong cast are Maureen Lipman as Aunt Eller, Jimmy Johnston as Will, Vicki Simon as Ado Annie, and Shuler Hensley as Jud; and thankfully, British accents are not prevalent on this plain. The booklet includes production notes and a synopsis with photos, but no lyrics. Of course, the question in most minds might be whether you need to make room on your shelf for another recording of Oklahoma!When it's this well done, the answer is yes.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally, a truly "complete" recording!
I never tire of defending "Oklahoma!" to those willing to dismiss it as merely musical comedy fluff. No show which changed the format of the Broadway musical can be dismissed so casually, and let us not forget that it contains issues of sexual harassment, territorial rights, and includes an onstage death at the end.

This particular recording is the first ever to include the "Dream Ballet," another important historical aspect of the show. That fact alone puts it at the front of current recordings of the show. In addition, spoken sections within numbers are included, giving the whole album a more theatrical feel than most. The only major musical segment not included is Ado Annie's encore verse of "I Cain't Say No," but this fact shouldn't deter listeners.

It also helps that the cast is excellent. Hugh Jackman is more a tenor than the high baritone the role calls for, but is engaging nonetheless, giving full rein to the character's machismo and tenderness. Jimmy Johnston and Vicki Simon are perfect as Will and Annie, utterly beguiling and believable in admittedly two-dimensional roles. The always delightful Maureen Lipman is great as Aunt Eller. Josefina Gabrielle as Laurey is a fine actress, but her head voice and chest voice seem to be two separate entities and a break is evident between them. Admittedly, Laurey is a tough role vocally, being a soprano in a very low tessitura. However, Gabrielle makes up for any vocal shortcomings with her truly winning performance.

The sound is fantastic, and this is one of the few British cast recordings of an American musical in which the accents are uniformly excellent. For devotees of Rodgers and Hammerstein, for lovers of classic musicals, and for anyone who may be curious, I highly recommend this new recording.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Recording of a Broadway Legend
I was fortunate enough to see this National Theatre production after it transferred to Broadway. This album is based on the 1998 London Cast and captures the essence and more of Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic score. Their songs and melodies literally sweep you off your feet. All of our favourites are here that we have heard time and again over the years and never tire of - Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin', The Surrey with the Fringe on Top, Many a New Day, People Will Say We're in Love, Out of My Dreams, The Farmer and the Cowman and the stunning title song, Oklahoma.

Australia's own Hugh Jackman is born to play Curly: his wonderful tenor wrapping the lyrics in a warm romantic glow. Other cast highlights include - Josefina Gabrielle as Laurey and Maureen Lipman as the delightful Aunt Eller.
There are also some excellent orchestral highlights including the Ballet music following Out of My Dreams and the Overture medley.

The CD booklet features many production stills that are also in the souvenir program. There is also a short history of the musical that makes for an interesting read.

It was a privilege to see this legendary musical that has become part of American theatrical folklore, actually performed live on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre featuring a stellar cast supported by a huge orchestra on stage. The rousing Finale as featured on this great CD really goes off with a BANG: Seeing Oklahoma on my last night in New York following an amazing visit, was the ideal way to say farewell...until next time! This CD is a treasured memento of an incredible show, production and city!

4-0 out of 5 stars once a hater, now a lover
I used to hate oklahoma! i am a fan of a large range of musicals but oklahoma never interested me. it has a good story line but before now it bored me to tears. then my boyfriend made me watch the new one and it was amaizing! this cast rejuvinated the story and made you feel for the characters. i like the ado annie/will turner storyline a lot better than the laura/curly storyline; however, hugh jackman was an amazing curly. the actress who played aunt eller was amaizing. this is a great album to add to your broadway colection.

3-0 out of 5 stars A variety of talent, aspiring to a great show
My first exposure to Oklahoma! was via the 1955 film production starring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae, so I'm always comparing other examples of the musical to this particular rendition. The 1998 London Cast has an unquestionably more entertaining instrumental arrangement, so this allows a person to hang on with some of the weakness in the casting. Next to MacRae (or by himself, for that matter), Hugh Jackman is not such a convincing Curley. There isn't as much of the cowboy in him. It is tough for anyone to go up against Shirley Jones, so Josefina Gabrielle does all right, and I'd perhaps even give the nod to Vicky Simon over Gloria Grahame in pepping up and feminizing the role of Ado Annie. Shuler Hensley, with that powerful, operatic voice of his, really brings out the anger that is the central trait of Jud Fry, but perhaps it helps that he gets to sing "Lonely Room" where Rod Steiger did not in 1955. I enjoyed getting to hear "It's a Scandal, It's an Outrage", from a performer more authentic with the way you'd expect a "Per-si-an"'s accent to sound than Eddie Albert. The voice of Maureen Lipman is a little too gravelly for my tastes as Aunt Eller, and the character of Mr. Carnes sounded too old and crochety. Mr. Skidmore in the film had a presence that tended to go missing in this edition, but then we didn't have to listen to as much of him as that old cow-punching man of his. So I guess I have to rate this one in relative terms. I've listened to it many times while I've been driving my pickup truck in city traffic, so perhaps that's something of a testimonial. The music carries you past the singing, pretty much. One of the first entries into the era of the modern musical comedy is still giving folks something to have happen to them, in the act of listening.

3-0 out of 5 stars This Oklahoma is worth listening to
I have always hated the musical Oklahoma ever since I was a child, to me it was like listening to nails on a blackboard and the story was not interesting. After hearing this cd at a friends house and purchasing it shortly after, I actually want to see Oklahoma with this particular cast. Maybe the reason why I liked this version was because nobody in the cast affected a really bad southern accent like in previous versions. While I still cannot say that I love Oklahoma at least I can say is that I now find it tolerable. ... Read more


123. Sweet Charity: A New Musical Comedy (1966 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B00000J28T
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 8055
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

This document of Bob Fosse's 1966 Broadway production is almost enough to make one forget the dreadful and dated 1968 film version with Shirley MacLaine (who, though brilliant, never rose above the film's concessions to the era--who'll ever forget Sammy Davis Jr.'s "psychedelic" production number on "The Rhythm of Life"?). Ironically, it was the late, great Fosse's film debut. More's the pity he simply didn't just provide a visual document of his original Broadway show; after all, it was Fosse who'd conceived the notion of a musical comedy based on Fellini's 1957 film Nights of Cabiria as a vehicle for Broadway star Gwen Verdon (Mrs. Fosse at the time) and then put writer Neil Simon together with composer Cy Coleman and lyricist Dorothy Fields. Onstage, it simply worked great. The score produced two huge hit standards--"Big Spender" and "If My Friends Could See Me Now"--and proved that fantasies about hookers (even though Charity's called a "taxi dancer" here) with hearts of gold could provide mainstream entertainment years before Julia Roberts became Pretty Woman. Sony gives the rerelease its regular Broadway Masterworks series update treatment, with previously unreleased tracks, elongated songs (featuring material cut from the original album), interviews from opening night, and even composer Coleman performing three songs from the show with an orchestra for a long-unavailable album he cut in the late '60s. --Bill Holdship ... Read more

Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars Delightful showacase for the great Verdon
Directed and choreographed by the one and only Bob Fosse, who repeated those assignments in the film version, with a wonderful score by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields, "Sweet Charity" is also a tailor-made vehicle for the late, great Gwen Verdon, dancer, actress and singer (in that order) extraordinare. A fellow amazon.com reviewer has been quick to point out in other posts that no cast recording made in a studio can really capture what Ms. Verdon was like onstage. I never saw her onstage, I'm sorry to say, but of all the recordings of her that i've heard, I think this one does the best job of capturing that. She is full of energy, personality, and emotion and is always endearing as the dance-hall hostess who is always a sucker for love. And she has a collection of great songs to wrap her voice (Which is not especailly great in itself but is full of such zest and personality that you can easily forgive it) around, from the standards "If My Friends Could See Me Now" and "I'm a Brass Band" to the delightful "I'm the Bravest Individual" (A duet with the wonderfully neurotic John McMartin as her strait-laced boyfriend), the emotional "Where Am I Going?" and the interesting "Charity's Soliloquy." And judging by the film, which starred Shirley McLaine, she also had plenty of oppurtunitites to show off her legendary dancing abilities, such as her "See Me Now" strut, her exuberant "Brass Band" march (In the film, McLaine dancing in her band uniform looks a lot like Robert Preston in "The Music Man!") and a joyfully defiant tap dance in "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This." Speaking of that song, it is one of the best in the score and is one of the most memorable moments on this recording, with even Verdon having to take a back seat to the wonderful Helen Gallagher as Charity's hard-as-nails friend at the Fandango Ballroom, who leads Verdon and Thelma Oliver as their other friend in dreams of a life away from "all these jokers." Gallagher, Oliver, and the other Fandango dames (sans Verdon) are also great in the other standard, "Big Spender," a defining moment in the Bob Fosse catalogue. The score (And exciting orchestrations by Ralph Burns) pulsates with inredible energy even if you can't see the dancing. What must have been one of Verdon's most defining roles, and is considered to be just that by many, is delightfully preserved on this cast recording for all to enjoy. Spend a little time with her, and you won't be dissapointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars What can you say...
...about a score that includes "Big Spender" and "If My Friends Could See Me Now", but in which they aren't the best songs?

Cy Coleman's other work has been distinguished and attractive enough, but it was with this show that he left a permanent mark on the history of the American musical theatre. The story of Charity (essayed unforgettably by the late Gwen Verdon) is an uproarious and very moving fable about love, trust and their implications. This potent mix of emotions didn't entirely translate to the movie (where Charity's humiliation was a bit too realistic for comfort), but it emerges fully from the original cast album.

Coleman's score (with fine lyrics by Dorothy Fields) is dazzling, ranging from the aforementioned standards to the haunting "Where Am I Going?" to the exhilarating "I'm a Brass Band". And this recording, despite its small omissions (the third part of the "Rich Man's Frug" dance sequence, for example), stands as the definitive account, and would do so even without the interesting bonus tracks.

5-0 out of 5 stars the original and still the best; Gwen Verdon's greatest role
SWEET CHARITY is one of the greatest of Broadway musicals. Very rarely has it been bettered than in the original 1966 cast album.

Gwen Verdon found her greatest stage role in Charity Hope Valentine, the down-on-her-luck dancehall hostess with a heart of gold. Verdon's performance would have won her yet another Tony, but she lost to Angela Lansbury's equally-good performance in MAME.

Verdon is joined by a dream cast including John McMartin (INTO THE WOODS), Helen Gallagher (NO NO NANETTE), Barbara Sharma, James Luisi, Ruth Buzzi, Thelma Oliver and Arnold Soboloff.

Gwen Verdon belts out her numbers in her own trademark style. Verdon could sing out entries from a phonebook and stop the show. She's quite fetching in the quirky character pieces "You Should See Yourself" and the snappy wordplay of the clarifying "Charity's Soliloquy". She later brings down the house with the certifiable showstoppers "If My Friends Could See Me Now", "I'm a Brass Band", "Where Am I Going?" and "I'm the Bravest Individual".

As Charity's two gal pals Nickie and Helene, Helen Gallagher and Thelma Oliver sing the caustic "Baby Dream Your Dream", and join Verdon for the showstopping "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This".

An essential cast album in any collection, this reissue of SWEET CHARITY on the Columbia Broadway Masterworks label includes rare audio of Fred Robbins interviewing the cast at the opening-night party as well as a longer 'first release' version of "I Love to Cry at Weddings".

3-0 out of 5 stars Best version of CHARITY available
A Cy Coleman score sung by Gwen Verdon and staged by Bob Fosse. A book by Neil Simon. Why did it only run a year and a half? Quite possibly because it is never quite as good a show or score as it ought to be. There are moments that sizzle: "Big Spender"; "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This" and especially "Where am I Going?" But some numbers are pale: "Too Many Tomorrows" and "I'm the Bravest Individual" are just not showing the authors in top form. That said, Columbia gave the cast album its usual first class production values and the CD transfer is excellent. Certainly far better than the (now out-of-print) 1986 revival with Debbie Allen.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hey Big Spender Buy This Cd
This was one of the first cd's i bought from amazon and may i say that it was worth buying. From the overture to to the bonus tracks it was a treat to listen to. Sweet Charity came out at the same time as Mame and Man of La Mancha (which i also own as well)so it had alot of competition. Gwen Verdon lost the Tony award to Angela langsbury in Mame and Sweet charity lost to Man of La Mancha for musical of the year of 1966. The sad thing about it is that we would never get to see this great musical with its original cast. The closest thing to seeing Sweet Charity is by watching Shirley Maclaine's movie version and watching broadway's Fosse which shows Hey Big Spender and the Rich Man's Frug and Gwen Veerdon's performance of "If They Could See Me Now" on the Ed Sullivan show. The songs I liked from thre cd are: "Hey Big Spender", "Rich Man's Frug", "Too Many Tomorrows" (which I may add is a lovely overlooked ballad which was never recorded by singers of the day), "There's Gotta Something Better Than This" and the very inspspirational "Rhythm of Life" which after listening to would definately "leave a tingle in your fingers and a tingle in your feet". So what are you waiting for? stop reading this and buy the cd and thank me later. Trust me you would not be disappointed only when the cd finishes. ... Read more


124. Bombay Dreams (2002 Original London Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006GO7F
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1779
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Just when you thought Andrew Lloyd Webber was stuck in a rut, he pulls off a new success. But maybe the reason Bombay Dreams is so lively is that Lloyd Webber only acted as a Svengali producer, helping Indian composer A.R. Rahman (Lagaan) make his debut on Western stages. And that move proved to be inspired.

Indeed, at a time when many people complain that new musicals have become dreary and have lost all sense of fun, Lloyd Webber imported talent from the one place where entertainment for entertainment's sake is still alive and well: Bollywood. The Indian film industry cranks out hundreds of movies every year, a huge number of them deliriously gaudy musicals, and so it was a natural resource to mine. The plot of Bombay Dreams is on par with your usual musical-theater fare, but the songs are unlike anything ever heard on Broadway or the West End. Sure, the lyrics by Don Black (Sunset Boulevard) flirt with sheer idiocy, but the music that surrounds them is so irrepressibly lively that you'll simply focus on it and it alone. Borrowing both Indian (ragas) and Western (electronic dance music) elements, Rahman and his co-producer, Marius de Vries (who's worked with Björk), have come up with a delicious musical treat. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beam me up to Bollywood
I saw Bombay Dreams in London with my family this past Boxing Day. A silly plot but a wonderful spectacle and fantastic music. The whole family enjoyed it, including all three of our teenagers!! We've purchased 3 copies (1 for each teenager) and have been listening to it ever since; a great recording that captures the enthusiasm and vibrancy of the show. We highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys musicals.

5-0 out of 5 stars NY Recording?
I have to agree with the reviewer who asked where is the NY recording of Bombay Dreams. I recently saw this show and was eager to buy the NY album featuring that cast. Actually this is the second time this has happened to me. The first time was when I went to purchase Mamma Mia and found the only recording available was again with the London cast only. And from friends who saw this show in London, it does sound to me as if the NY and London offerings are a bit different.

That said I found this show to be one of the best I have seen in recent years. The songs, dancing, energy on stage and costumes are worth the price of admission. Even if the story line is rather predictable, I still suggest this show to anyone who loves live theater. It confirms to me what I have been thinking about for some time. That is the world becomes a bit smaller and more familiar as we learn about other cultures through the medium of theater, books and movies. Treat yourself to tickets to this show. I don't think you will be sorry.

5-0 out of 5 stars "The Journey Home" is a masterpiece.
The music in this show is wonderful but I esspecially love the songs that sound like normal music rather than all the Indian chant type music. I think the soung "Journey Home" should become the signature song of the show. It's absolutely beautiful and know it has been recorded again by Sarah Brightman and hopefully more will.

5-0 out of 5 stars Memorable, energetic, compelling
When I attend a new musical and I'm not familiar with the tunes, it's rare that they stay in my head very long, but these songs did. I love the energy and rhythm and the catchiness. Some reviewers here have referenced the "silly lyrics" or "silly plot," but it's important to remember that Bombay Dreams is deliberately sending up the Bollywood musical as a genre, and "silly" lyrics and plot are a part of that genre. Never mind that; these tunes will get you going on a sluggish day, will get your party rolling, will lift your spirits.

As for the reviewer who calls this "Arabian" or "Middle Eastern" music. Hello? Bombay is in INDIA. Perhaps part of that reviewer's dislike has to do with his/her unfamiliarity with India, its music, culture, films and traditions. Approach it with an open mind and a desire to learn, rather than lumping anything that's different into a wastebasket category of "foreign."

4-0 out of 5 stars Where is the NY recording?
I saw the show on July 4th, 2004. It is excellent and the music is unforgettable.
I want the Broadway recording because it seems that the London version is different.

I can't wait to buy the CD-hopefully its in the works! ... Read more


125. Dreamgirls (1982 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B000000OM9
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 9319
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (27)

4-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, thrilling, inspiring
And I am telling you, you will love this! DREAMGIRLS is a fictional story of the rise and rise of a sixties crossover girl group (parallels to Diana Ross and the Supremes are purely coincidental, wink wink). This is one of the all-time great musical scores-if you love Motown, you will love this CD. The entire cast-Jennifer Holliday, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Obba Babatunda, many more-is superb. So why only 4 stars instead of 5? They recorded less than half the score! The show is practically an opera, and more than an hour of great music is missing from this recording. Of all the shows being re-recorded nowadays, this is the one that most deserves a double CD complete recording. Theatre lovers everywhere: write your congressman and demand a DREAMGIRLS reunion concert!! Until then, this CD is pure joy.

4-0 out of 5 stars not perfect but still the best
This came out as an LP when I was a freshman in high school and still gets regular play as an upgraded CD on my player today. It wasn't until I actually saw the Broadway musical that I realized how truncated this version was. The recent live release with Audra McDonald, Lillias White and Heather Headley rectifies that problem by including all of the missing material but it's still not as fresh and fiery as the original cast recording.

From the cowbells leading into Move (You're Stepping On My Heart) to the harmony of Hard to Say Goodbye My Love, this recording hits all the right notes. Jennifer Holliday is superb as are Sheryl Lee Ralph and the woefully underutilized Loretta Devine. All three women have gone onto varying degrees of success in television and music but it's pure magic here. These three could have given any real life female singing group a run for it's money. With the recent success of Chicago the movie, there are rumors that Dreamgirls might finally make it to the big screen. Too bad the studios didn't do it when Holliday, Devine and Ralph were all still young enough to play the roles they originated.

Let's not forget the Dream Guys either...Ben Harney, Cleavant Derricks, Obba Babatunde and Vondie Curtis Hall. Like the women, the men have had varying degrees of success although Harney seems to have disappeared. Fake Your Way to the Top and Steppin to the Bad Side will have you moving.

This is the CD to get.

1-0 out of 5 stars defective CD
I purchased Dreamgirls from Amazon.com twice. It is a Decca Broadway production. Both CDs have the same defect and needed to be returned. They are missing the first track and only play the remaining tracks on one CD player in my car.

1-0 out of 5 stars Dreamgirls defective
I love the album, but both copies of this CD that I bought through Amazon are defective. Both CDs have the same defect and needed to be returned. They are missing the first track and only play the remaining tracks on one CD player and not on any other CD player.

4-0 out of 5 stars DREAMGIRLS --- hard to say Goodbye ...
I saw the original Broadway cast a few days after opening night. I probably hold the Texas record for seeing the original production close to 50 times. "Probably", a pair of Dallas Shrinks claim they saw it almost that many. As the director of a local production told the audience, "... this musical hits people hard, people identify with it, they see their lives in it."

Other reviewers are right: the original cast album is far superior to the "one night only" from 2001. And, the "one night only" is absolutely essential to understanding what DREAMGIRLS is all about. You must have them both!

If you've heard either you can understand why the Imperial Theatre was packed with DREAMGIRLS junkies for the final performance on an August Sunday afternoon in 1985. State-of-the-art was cassette tape, something approaching 100% of us had brought in an illegal recorder to try to fill the void of the original cast album. From the stage, "thank you, and ... Goodbye!" I'll never forget the man in front of me, gushing tears, yelling back "Goodbye ..." To have seen DREAMGIRLS that many times in 4 years required relatively frequent trips. For me, the realization that NYC would never be the same was walking South on Broadway an hour or two after the final performance. The sign "almost reaching the sky ..." D-R-E-A-M-G-I-R-L-S, was turned off.

The staging ... Michael Bennett (his brother Frank DeFilia was the company manager, Frank sometimes played a Press Agent or Movie Producer) kept tweaking it ... one of the neatest effects was added a year or two into the production, a screen would raise in the rear of the stage during the final number, an entire orchestra with shiny instruments would suddenly appear.

Can one musical affect you that much? Yup. But don't take my word for it. Go listen. ... Read more


126. Ultimate Broadway
list price: $24.98
our price: $22.99
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Asin: B000007SNS
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1183
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (26)

4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing...recommended for anyone who likes musical theatre.
This is my first Broadway cd but it brought me into a genre that I now could not possibly live without. I listen to only half the songs on each cd; however the songs I do listen to on these cd's I enjoy immensely. From the first disc, "Oklahoma" is a rousing opening number; other enjoyable songs include the pair of famed songs from 'West Side Story' "Tonight" and "Maria", "The Sound Of Music", "I Could Have Danced All Night" & "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face." My personal favorites from that disc are the songs from 'West Side Story' and "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from 'Gypsy.' The second disc doesn't fail to disappoint. The most upbeat of these songs are "One" from 'A Chorus Line', "Tomorrow" from 'Annie' and "All That Jazz" from 'Chicago.' But some of the better ones include a dazzling "Seasons of Love", a pretty sounding "Send In The Clowns" and "I Dreamed A Dream", which sounds different but still well done. I love the intensity of some of the songs on these discs; you feel as though you are there, with much of the music having intermittent background chatting between notes. I highly recommend this disc, because it's something I listen to daily. Only two drawbacks...not enough 'Les Miserables' or 'West Side Story'!

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding collection of 50 years of Broadway hits
A 2-disc set worthy of its "ultimate" title, this compilation pleases casual and serious musical fans alike. It's a great introduction to over 50 years of Broadway hits, and it captures the spirit and change of American musical theater through the twentieth century - from Rodgers and Hammerstein's pioneering "Oklahoma!" to Jonathan Larsen's ground-breaking "Rent," and every hit in between. This collection not only allows you to sample the great shows and songs but also the premiere recordings. Featured artists include Carol Channing, Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Julie Andrews, Chita Rivera, and Elaine Paige among many other brilliant stars. Most tracks come from the original Broadway cast recordings, with some surprises. Aretha Franklin has a smoky, and stunning, rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables."

There are too many notable performances to list them all, but among the standouts are: "Oklahoma" - Alfred Drake, "There's No Business Like Show Business" - Ethel Merman, "Some Enchanted Evening" - Ezio Pinza, "Shall We Dance," - Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner, "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" - Rex Harrison, "Tonight" - original cast of "West Side Story," "Seventy Six Trombones" - Robert Preston, "Camelot" - Richard Burton, "If I Were a Rich Man" - Zero Mostel, "The Impossible Dream" - Richard Kiley, "All That Jazz" - Chita Rivera, "Tomorrow" - Andrea McArdle, "Memory" - Elaine Paige, "Music of the Night" - Michael Crawford, and "Rent" - original cast.

This is a solid compilation album that won't disappoint with its breadth of talent, variety, and style. Nor is it top heavy with any one artist, composer, or lyricist. You'll also find a fair set of liner notes that attempts to place the musical and songs in context; includes some original production photos.

5-0 out of 5 stars A WINNER FROM BEGINNING TO END
Over 50 years of Broadway magic comes blazing forth in this amazing comprehensive CD set. "Ultimate Broadway" lives up to its title, treating listeners to 40 of the most heart-stopping, thrilling, and sensational show-stoppers of the greatest shows the stage has ever seen.

Beginning with Alfred Drake's lusty "Oklahoma!," the show credited with revolutionizing the Broadway musical, we are taken along for a dazzling two-hour ride through Broadway history. There are the unforgettable classics: Ezio Pinza's magnificent baritone wrapping around "South Pacific"'s treasured "Some Enchanted Evening," and Gertrude Lawrence exuding charm with Yul Brynner over the musical question "Shall We Dance?" from "The King and I." There is Julie Andrews' soaring coloratura flying with "My Fair Lady"'s "I Could Have Danced All Night." The ethereal beauty of "West Side Story"'s "Maria" and "Tonight." Robert Preston crashing his way through "Seventy-Six Trombones" from his star-making performance in "The Music Man." The queen of the Broadway musical, Ethel Merman, turning into a paramount with "Gypsy"'s "Everything's Coming Up Roses." Mary Martin's plaintive paean to the most beautiful sound in all the world, "The Sound of Music." Robert Goulet shows why he will always be the penultimate performer of the love ballad "If Ever I Would Leave You" from "Camelot." And Carol Channing's unforgettable swagger into the Harmonia Gardens to the tune of "Hello, Dolly." The irrepresible Zero Mostel winking his way through "Fiddler On the Roof"'s "If I Were a Rich Man."

And that's just the first side.

Barbra Streisand becoming Barbra Streisand with "People," her showstopper from "Funny Girl." John Cullum's glorious "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever." Richard Kiley's faithful knight Don Quixote, vowing his eternal conquest for "The Impossible Dream" as the "Man of La Mancha." "Mame," the irrestibly catchy title tune of the 1966 smash. Liza Minnelli, who was not in the original Broadway production, but who thrills with her sensational rendition of the title song from the 1972 film soundtrack of "Cabaret." Judy Collins, another performer not in the original cast of "A Little Night Music," but who is intensely moving with her rendition of Stephen Sondheim's popular hit "Send in the Clowns." Before Catherine Zeta-Jones electrified movie audiences with "All That Jazz," Chita Rivera smirked and cackled it to fantastic effect in "Chicago." "One," the unforgettable production number from "A Chorus Line." Andrea McArdle with "Tomorrow" from "Annie." "Memory" from "Cats"...Michael Crawford's haunting "The Music of the Night" from "Phantom of the Opera." Elaine Page stepping in for Glenn Close with a rhapsodic "As If We Never Said Good-bye" from "Sunset Boulevard." And the undying "Seasons of Love" from "Rent."

The classics are well represented, but there are also many delightful sides to this musical feast. Ray Bolger's inimitable "Once In Love With Amy," from "Where's Charley?" is an old-time treat, along with Carol Channing gnashing her way through "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" from "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." There is also a pre-"Law and Order" Jerry Orbach, waltzing through the lilting "Try to Remember" from "The Fantasticks." There is the spinning "Aquarius," as originated in "Hair," the divine Patti LuPone in the performance of her career as "Evita," pleading "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina." Jennifer Holliday's jaw-dropping "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from 1982's "Dreamgirls." And there is Aretha Franklin shining with "I Dreamed a Dream" from the epic "Les Miserables."

This is not only the perfect collection of Broadway memories, but it is a wonderful introduction to the genre for newcomers. And they will be as intoxicated and enchanted by these glorious performances, all beautifully preserved on these sharp, clear soundtracks. There is something for everyone here: from the sentimental theatergoers of years past to the new generations finding a whole new world through the musical theater. Trust me: for theater buffs, this is the only Broadway CD you'll ever need. And for the rest of you: welcome to a wonderful, wonderful ride.

3-0 out of 5 stars good, but not enough sondheim
A good CD for people who are just starting to appreciate broadway. the first CD is pretty good, but the second CD falls down. I think that their should have been less Andrew Loydd Webber and more stephen sondheim. I like that they kept to the original cast. One of the reviewers said that there were only two recordings that didn't have original cast. Well how about liza minnelli, or did you just forget about Jill Hayworth. favorites include (onc in love with amy, people,I'm not going,if I loved you, and try to remeber

5-0 out of 5 stars There's no business like show business, indeed.
At 16 years old, I am officially a Broadway aficcionada. I've been involved with musicals and shows all my life, so purchasing this CD (even at $$$) was a real treat.
An interesting tidbit about this album is that the 2-disk set goes chronologically (i.e. in the order of that particular show's debut on Broadway). The first songs on the album, even if included in wonderful shows like "Carousel" and "Oklahoma!", do not strike my interest, maybe because the quality of the recording isn't that great. My favorite songs are around the middle of each album, particularly those from "The King and I" and "West Side Story" because the audio is so clear and crisp. Disc 2 is a bit more risky with its selection of songs, including non-traditional Broadway singers like Aretha Franklin and more offbeat, less mainstream showtunes.
Overall, a great CD set with an awesome selection of tunes. A perfect gift for any theatre snob. :) ... Read more


127. Once Upon A Mattress (1959 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $11.98
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Asin: B000002ONH
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6718
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Based on Hans Christian Andersen's tale The Princess and the Pea, Once Upon a Mattress opened in May 1959 and was a solid success, if not a huge blockbuster. It did well enough, in any case, to warrant a 1997 revival starring Sarah Jessica Parker. The show was far from revolutionary, but it provided a really fun vehicle for a cast of top stage personalities, including black actress Jane White, who played Queen Aggravain (a part originally written for comedienne Nancy Walker) in whiteface. But of course, Once Upon a Mattress's heart and soul was Carol Burnett, who, in her Broadway debut created the part of Princess Winnifred and delivered two of Mary Rodgers's best songs, the hilarious "Shy" and the spunky "Happily Ever After," which sounds a bit like Jule Styne at his most rhythmic. Burnett's timing and performance remain as sharp as they were 40 years ago. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars a classic Broadway delight
ONCE UPON A MATTRESS is the classic Broadway musical version of the fairytale "The Princess and the Pea" and features music by Mary Rodgers and lyrics by Marshall Barer.

The story concerns Princess Winnifred (played by the legendary Carol Burnett in her first Broadway leading-role), a princess who is given the ultimate test; to sleep on twenty mattresses and be sensitive enough to feel the tiny pea that lies underneath them. Prince Dauntless and his mother, the Queen Aggravain (played in whiteface by Jane White) eagerly await the result...

The score is perfectly performed here (forget the Broadway revival recording which features Sarah Jessica Parker, completely out of her depth as Winnifred), and is regarded as the best recording available. Stand-out songs include "Shy", "The Song of Love", "Sensivity", "Happily Ever After" and "Yesterday I Loved You".

Even in this earliest of performances, Carol Burnett shows her incredible Broadway belt, and sings her songs with impressive comic timing and verve. She later played the role in two live television versions (one in black and white, the other in color).

Highly-recommended.

3-0 out of 5 stars It was good...
I thought the soundtrack sounded really good when I first heard it even though I didn't love the songs all that much. Then I was involved with my highschool production of "Once Upon..." and I realized that we sounded better than the Broadway version most of the time. One of the reasons was that the Jester in our play was played by a girl. "Normandy" was my favorite song in out musical, yet it sounds terrible in this CD because it is just more pretty with a girls voice I guess. That is true for the other songs as well. It is ashame they won't make a CD with a girl Jester. The two girls in both casts that played Winnifred sounded just as good a Carol and it was the same with most other singers as well. Maybe it was due to the fact that it was live, and I will keep the CD because it is a good memory, but still I wish they would make a new soundtrack (besides the one with Sara Parker.

4-0 out of 5 stars You can almost see them---
The wonderful music & lyrics, expertly performed by this talented and expressive cat, makes a soundtrack album so alive you can almost SEE them onstage! Unfortunately, the sound quality due to the recording capabilities of the time are less than perfect, but otherwise this is a fantastic collection of toe-tappers from one of the silliest, funniest examples of American Musical Theatre. No wonder Carol Burnett became a star!

5-0 out of 5 stars AWESOME
I'm 16 years old, and you may say that i dont know what true music, and stuff like that, but i love music. i love the theatre. I've seen multiple shows on broadway, my favorite movie is grease. I love musicals, and all theatrical productions. I'm involved in my school Drama program, and we have quite a reputation for putting on great presentations. Recently we did the play Once Upon a Mattress. We did an awesome job, and i love the music, and you would think after all the rehersals we would all be sick of it...but we are all still singing it and still loving it. The music is great, and the show is awesome!

5-0 out of 5 stars in a far off land. . .
One of the first musicals to usher in the era of slightly off-beat, quirky, grown-up fairy tales we came to expect from Sondhiem (Into the Woods) and Stephen Schwartz (Pippin); "Once Upon a Mattress" is absolutely perfect from beginning to end.

I played Lady Larken with a semi-professional production and fell in love with the music and the humor of the piece. It pokes fun at the very conventions associated with musical theater, right from the big opening number "Opening for a Princess" (which has slightly medieval chord progressions, but a definate Big Band swing!) to the hilarious "Man to Man Talk", which explains the facts of life as mimed by the King and sung by his slightly under-educated grown-up son.

All the conventional Broadway ballads are assigned to the romantic couple Larken and Harry, who are caricatures of the gullible damsel-in-distress and the stuffed-shirt stage hero, respectively. Larken is slightly less than a traditional damsel, as she is pregnant with Harry's baby (although he gallantly admits that they should not both suffer all their lives because *she* had a "moment of weakness"!).

Only Carol Burnett could endow Winnifred with just the right combination of honesty, goofiness and charm. Watch out for her biggest and funniest number: "Shy".

Other great songs are "Normandy", "Yesterday I Loved You", "Swamps of Home" and "Song of Love".

The revival album is good too, but Sarah Jessica Parker is simply an inferior Winnifred. This is one of those must-have Broadway albums... pretty much every song is funny and/or gorgeous. Enjoy! ... Read more


128. Fine and Dandy (2004 Studio Cast) (World Premiere Recording)
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0001XAQDM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 8457
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Mary Rodgers is usually heralded as musical theater's sole woman composer, but this new recording of a long-lost gem introduces us to another brilliant member of Broadway's thin female ranks: Kay Swift. Collaborating with her husband, lyricist James Paul Warburg (writing as Paul James), Swift penned a splendid collection of tunes-in turn touching, daffy, percolating and tender-for this 1930 show. Taking place in the unlikely setting of a tool-and-die factory, Fine and Dandy is a bubbly jazz age musical full of melodic invention and lyrical twists. Fans of the Gershwins' 1920s oeuvre will adore this world-premiere recording, and in fact George is namechecked in the wonderful title track, in which Carolee Carmello and Mario Cantone compete in spirited one-upmanship. The CD also includes four songs written by Swift between 1929 and 1950; like Plain and Fancy, they serve to remind us that Swift was one of Broadway's unsung heroes. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not To Be Missed
Kay Swift, best-known for her close association with George Gershwin, was one of the few female composers to write for Broadway. Fine and Dandy was her first book musical, featuring lyrics by husband Paul James, and became one of the biggest hits of Broadway's 1930-31 season. However, like many musicals of the era, most of the original performance materials were lost over the years. In the mid-'80s, Swift began to reconstruct the score, assisted by orchestrator Russell Warner, who continued the work following her death in 1993. The new recording is a revelation, for the songs are, as the title says, fine and dandy--clever and romantic by turns, and always tuneful. Those who love Gershwin's "Strike Up the Band" and "Of Thee I Sing" will find a similar feel here, helped by strong performances from Carolee Carmello, Gavin Creel, Mario Cantone, Mark Linn-Baker and Jennifer Laura Thompson, bolstered by a full orchestra. The CD also includes several other songs by Swift, including the classic "Can't We Be Friends?"

5-0 out of 5 stars fabulous discovery!
This is an amazing score: witty, clever, fantastically inventive music -- fans of Gershwin et al will be delighted to discover this delightful show. More information about Kay Swift, who wrote the music (which made Fine and Dandy the first Broadway musical with a score by a woman) can be found at www.kayswift.com. What a great contribution to the American songbook. And hats off to PS Classics for this debut nonprofit historical recording, which has impeccable production quality. Can't wait for the next one they release. ... Read more


129. The New Moon (2003 Encores! Revival Concert Cast)
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our price: $13.99
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Asin: B000640XRA
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4800
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If you want an introduction to Broadway-style operetta, this recording of the 2003 Encores! production of The New Moon is an excellent place to start; if you're already a fan, the CD is an essential purchase. Set in late-18th-century New Orleans, the action-packed plot features revolutionaries and their adversaries, star-crossed lovers and of course disputes based on false assumptions. But the show, originally a hit in 1928, is all about the loveliest tunes from Sigmund Romberg, king of Viennese-syle operetta. As the romantic leads (i.e., the Jeanette McDonald/Nelson Eddy roles), versatile soprano Christiane Noll and classically trained baritone Rodney Gilfry are perfectly paired. (Noll's "Lover, Come Back to Me" is particularly vibrant.) Also of note are spectacular contributions from the booming chorus. This album is the first complete recording of The New Moon; barring a surprise operetta revival, it could also be the last for a long, long time. Good thing it's so scrumptious. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more


130. Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs Of Leiber And Stoller (1995 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $29.98
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Asin: B000002J4V
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5121
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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As good as Pomus and Gordy were, they can't compare with the premier rock & roll songwriters of the pre-Beatles era: Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Chuck Berry, and Percy Mayfield. The team of Leiber (the lyricist) and Stoller (the composer) created such enduring standards as "Kansas City," "Hound Dog," "Stand By Me," "Spanish Harlem," "Jailhouse Rock," and many more. Those songs and 33 more were assembled into a bookless Broadway musical called Smokey Joe's Cafe, which was nominated for eight Tony Awards. If this soundtrack album is any indication, the show was an abomination, an act of self-betrayal by Leiber and Stoller, who not only participated in putting the show together but also co-produced the album with Arif Mardin. Instead of remaining true to the songs' rock & roll roots, the soundtrack producers have allowed the obscure stage performers to commit Broadway's worst sins: excessive earnestness, undernourished rhythms, and bombastic over-singing. Everyone in the cast has a good singing voice, but no one has a distinctive musical personality. Michael Park's Presley parody on "Jailhouse Rock," B.J. Crosby's confusion of vocal power for vocal attitude on "Hound Dog," and Victor Trent Cook's syrupy version of "I (Who Have Nothing)" prove Broadway chorus dancers are no substitute for real rock & roll singers. --Geoffrey Himes ... Read more

Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars My original copy is wearing out, so I'm buying a second!
Was AMAZED at the Hines "official" review. I disagree vehemently. (His initial statement seems to indicate that he did NOT see the show ... Major Bummer for Mr. Hines, I'd say.)

Saw the show in NYC in December, 1996 -- bought the CD in the theatre lobby on my way out, as I KNEW I had to own it. It's worn from use (by myself and by my 22 year old daughter).

Yes, I own the original versions of many of the songs ... have a big collection which includes many CD's, tapes, and LP's (Yes, I'm THAT old...) of the Drifters, Coasters, and Ben E. King. I have loved all these songs since dancing to them at my high school sock-hops 30+ years back. Classics. What's not to like?

I see no reason to make a comparison between the original artists' renditions, and the versions found on this album. I frankly find it absurd to judge artistic works (or various interpretations of the same works) as if they were in competition with one another.

I receive just as much enjoyment from listening to the songs on "Smokey Joe's Cafe" as I do listening to the original artists' renditions. And this CD offers a compilation and variety that is hard to resist.

I recommend this HEARTILY, whether or not you ever see the show.

5-0 out of 5 stars An incredible taste of the best songs ever written
The combination of Leiber and Stoller is amazing. Together they created some of the best known hits of the 50s and 60s. Who could forget "Jailhouse Rock"? Along with "Jailhouse Rock" many other songs grace the stage in Smokey Joe's Cafe. Get this CD. It is one of the best Broadway musicals I have seen. The talent displayed by this cast is unparalled... even better than the original recording in some cases! I highly recommend this to ANYONE. Heck, I've been listening to it for 5 years... and I'm only 20!

5-0 out of 5 stars The show was even better
There was no book for the show. The songs, and their delivery by the cast is everything. And they deliver. The four guys who serve as a blues quartet harmonize like they've were singing together since high school. B. J. Crosby's "Hound Dog" doesn't just deliver power; there is plenty of attitude as well. The biggest problem is that some of it is delivered visually on stage and the soundtrack can't capture all of it.

My biggest problem is limiting myself to a top 10 of the 38 songs.

5-0 out of 5 stars A 50s& 60s-Romantic&Energetic Collection
I first heard the CD about 4 years ago and listened to it countless times. Then the road tour came to Olympia, WA, and I went to see it. What a pleasure it was to see it, the singers have great voices and just bring the music alive, making it enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed "Little Egypt", and "I'm a Woman..." I recommend this CD to anyone who loves listening to the good times of the 50s and 60s and anyone who has to the chance to see the performance, go and see it! You won't regret it :)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you don't love it you don't like Great music
I had heard many great things about this musical when it first appeared on Broadway. I had the privilege of seeing it in London in 1997 and bought the sound track as soon as I returned to the US.
The audience in london was tapping toes and clapping hands from start to finish, as were myself , and my family. Even my Teenage son once he heard the soundtrack it was difficult to get it back from him. I've since seen a pay perview video and the musical again. My spouse has seen it now three times never ceases to please. The soundtrack just keeps the pleasure current. I'd listen to it until the CD Wears out if possible, and see it again and again. ... Read more


131. Jesus Christ Superstar [MCA Original Cast Recording]
list price: $24.98
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Asin: B000002OCS
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 78313
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars The origional is the best by far!!!!
I am a huge fan of all the versions of JCS but the origional is the best. I feel it captures the esscence of what Weber and Rice were trying to create. The main thing I love about this CD is the vintage sound. It really captures that early 70's sound. Those fuzz guitars and moog synthesizers just send chills down my spine. Ian Gillan of Deep Purple is by far the best Jesus. I know this will upset fans of Ted Neely, but He has a way to make you feel the part. His voice is just amazing.This is the best version of Gethsemane Ive heard. I also feel that Murray Head does the part of Judas justice. Other highlights are Yvonne Elliman as Mary and Barry Dennen as Pilate. I highly recommend this gold master disc for the best reproduction of this classic recording yet.

5-0 out of 5 stars The original concept album is still the best version of JCS
Believe it or not, I first heard this recording of "Jesus Christ Superstar" when it was played for us in my freshman English class in high school (I think our student teacher was trying to show he was cool, because there was no assignment to go with spending two days listening to the album). I also recall trying to remember how the theme for the title song went so I could keep it in my mind and thinking that this really was an opera because the two main characters are both dead at the end, certainly a traditional ending in many operas. Of course, in addition to the music there was the controversy over this two-album studio production. The public firestorm and focused on two key issues:

First, there was the uproar over the fact that rock music was being used to tell a religious story; you have to remember that this was a time when having a folk mass or service was seen as being cutting-edge long-haired radicalism in Christianity. But Andrew Lloyd Webber's music involves much more than rock, although certainly the guitar that opens the "Overture" is a definitive statement. "I Don't Know How to Love Him" is a traditional pop ballad, as Helen Reddy proved with her cover that hit the charts, while "John Nineteen Forty-One" is a classical piece played entirely by strings. "King Herod's Song" stands out as one of those stylistic pastiches that Lloyd Webber loves (as we would later see in "Cats" and "Phantom of the Opera"). More importantly, it seems to me that the rock music is used strategically. Certainly Judas has songs that are more rock oriented (e.g., "Heaven on Their Minds," "Damned for All Time") when compared to those for sung by Jesus (e.g., "Gethsemane"), which makes sense in terms of character dynamics. Rock music is also used selectively within songs, most particularly "Everything's Alright," where the pop chorus by Mary Magdalene and the other women finds a dramatic counterpoint in the rock style versus of Judas and Jesus. The whole controversy on this score is certainly moot now because within a few years many denominations offered new liturgies with "modern" music, which certainly did not go as far as rock music, but certainly shifted the music to the 20th century and away from classical music in the mode of Bach.

Second, there was a charge that "Jesus Christ Superstar" presented a secular version of Jesus as man, rather than as divine (a similar charge was leveled against Zefferelli's television mini-series "Jesus of Nazareth"). It is certainly true that Jesus does not perform any miracles during the story being told, but then there are not any miracles recorded in the Gospels for the last week of the life of Jesus, which is the time frame of this rock opera: It begins Friday night in Bethany and ends pretty much one week later as the body of Jesus is lain in the tomb. Miracles aside, the Tim Rice libretto is as faithful to the Gospels as any other dramatic account of these events I have ever seen, whatever the religious beliefs of Rice and Lloyd Webber (which were hotly debated at the time). Some took the show to task for ending with the "Crucifixion" rather than the Resurrection, but I find it powerful to ask audiences to make a judgment on the divinity of Jesus on the basis of how he lived and died (Note: I was in production of the show in which we actually did the Ascension at the end as the music ended). I would also point the end music of "John Nineteen Forty-One" and have people go back and pay attention to what lyrics that same music is used for in "Gethsemane" as a way of assessing what is ultimately being emphasized in this rock opera.

Ironically, "Jesus Christ Superstar" created a resurgence of interest in both Jesus and Christianity among youth. The concept album, as it came to be known, was turned into a Broadway show that offered outlandishness that made "Hair" look like a Medieval mystery play. It might be insightful for you to compare the concept album of "Evita" with the Broadway version to ponder what would have happened if someone had enforced a similar revision on "Jesus Christ Superstar" (the production I was in had to find creative ways, such as having banners unfurl with quotations from Scripture, to deal with the problems of songs that fade out). Purely from a listening standpoint my preference remains for the original concept album with Murray Head and Ian Gillian as Judas and Jesus. I know part of this is the residue of the excitement that was generated when this came out, but I happen to thing everything is alright with that.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Original Superstar And Still The Best
There are atleast 10 to 15 recordings of this great Rock Opera circulating the world perhaps more but this is the original and still the best. The cast in this recording is absolutely wonderful especially Ian Gillan as Jesus and Murray Head as Judas, they are both superb and their voices are incredible. I had the rare opportunity to see a production of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR with Ted Neely as Jesus and Carl Anderson as Judas from the original 1973, film and they were both fantastic. This recording is a marvel to listen to and the 76 piece orchestra that they used in the studio is also fantastic. This is the absolute best recording of this Opera and it also makes for a great Rock album as well. I'm not too much into religion at all but you don't have to be to realize that this is a superb album full of great songs and a great classical score provided by a top orchestra as the London Symphony. There is even one song that topped the U.S. charts in 1970, before this legendary Rock Opera made its debut on Broadway in 1971. "Superstar", was release as a single and it climbed the Pop and Rock charts of the United States and England so by the time this production premiered on Broadway people already knew about JCS in a way. Don't be fooled by the other recordings of this production this is the original and still the best. I doubt very seriously that another recording of this material will ever top this one. This double album rocks with awesome power and this classic reocording has already proven to be timeless. So if you want to listen to JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, the way is was meant to be than get this one the original and still the best.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Original Classic Recording
This double CD is by far the best of the number of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' recordings to date. It is the original. Gillan as Jesus and Head as Judas still send out the chilling and emotional vocals that started the entire phenomenom. Of course, another highlight is Yvonne Elliman, a soon to be superstar. Her renditions are priceless. The chorus and orchestration are exactly what you heard when this set came out in the early seventies on the radio. Don't mess with an original unless you plan on improving it. This is the first and this is the best.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great!
Ian Gillan is a true big balls Jesuschrist. Lots better than the movie one.

Don't mind if you are atheist, this is a great rock album :) ... Read more


132. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang [London Cast Recording]
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Asin: B00006I628
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 9851
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

Originating from the 1968 novel by Roald Dahl, this is a truly magical musical following the adventures of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a revolutionary, all sailing, all flying machine created from an old neglected car by an eccentric Professor. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a classic of our time and one that never fails to delight. Original London Cast. Mr Bang Bang label. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars altogether a fine cast album
CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, the cheerfully-mindless musical by the Sherman Brothers, was mounted for the stage in 2002, opening at the London Palladium and enjoying a run of nearly three and-a-half years.The Sherman Brothers score sparks either rapture or revulsion depending on whom you ask, but the musical does offer some quaint charms.

The stage version of CHITTY operates almost like a glorified pantomime, the story remains the same but the score has been re-jigged and altered.In this cast album of the original 2002 London Palladium cast, Michael Ball adds his own special touch to the eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts, with newcomer Emma Williams as Truly Scrumptious.Ball is at his best with the plaintive lullaby of "Hushabye Mountain".Emma Williams doesn't get all that much to warble as Truly (her big movie number "Lovely Lonely Man" was mercilessly cut from the stage score), however Williams has a charming way with "Doll on a Music Box".

Brian Blessed and Nichola McAuliffe push the `camp' gear into overdrive with their performances as Vulgaria's hideous Baron and Baroness ("Bombie Samba", one of the additions to the stage score, has to be heard to be believed).Richard O'Brien of ROCKY HORROR fame plays the equally-odious Child Catcher with yet another bland addition, "Kiddy-Widdy-Winkies".Carrie Fletcher and George Gillies play Jeremy and Jemima.Stage veteran Anton Rodgers is wonderful as Grandpa Potts.

Happily though, all the best movie songs ("Me Ol' Bamboo", "Toot Sweets", "Posh", "The Roses of Success" and the Oscar-nominated title song) are all here, making the new additions to the score even more inferior by their presence.

A fine cast album. ... Read more


133. The Best of Broadway - The American Musical (PBS Series)
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Asin: B0002W4T9E
Catlog: Music
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A companion to the fabulous PBSseries, the 21-song, 77-minute The Best of "Broadway: The AmericanMusical" provides about as good a single-disc compilation as anyonecould hope for. (There's also a five-CD version.)What setsit apart from so many other "best of Broadway" collections is itsbreadth--because it had access to a variety of record-label vaults itdoesn't have to try to disguise gaps by using revivals or solo recordings.Here you get all the authentic stuff, including: Paul Robeson singing "Ol'Man River" from the first modern American musical, Show Boat; EthelMerman singing "You're the Top"; the title song from Oklahoma!;Julie Andrews singing "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My FairLady; West Side Story's "America"; Betty Buckley singing"Memory" from Cats; Hairspray's "Good Morning Baltimore"; and"Defying Gravity" from Wicked, the newest show discussed in the PBSseries.And it's hard to argue with the songwriters represented: IrvingBerlin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Frank Loesser,Lerner and Loewe, Leonard Bernstein, Bock and Harnick, Kander and Ebb,Stephen Sondheim, and Andrew Lloyd Webber, among others.Obviously, nosingle-disc compilation could ever please everyone (did we really needtwo ALW songs?), but as a sampler intended for people who watchedthe series and want to hear more of the Great White Way, The Best of"Broadway: The American Musical" can't be topped.--DavidHoriuchi ... Read more


134. Grease: A New 50's Rock 'N Roll Musical - The Original Broadway Cast Album
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Asin: B000001FG6
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 24273
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars Much Different Experience Than the Movie
When I found out that my high school was putting on a production of Grease, I rushed out and rented the movie (seeing as how I'd never seen it), and found that I'd already heard most of the songs in the movie from random other places.

However, the Original Broadway Cast Recrording introduced me to a couple of my favorite songs from Grease: Those Magic Changes, Freddy My Love, Mooning, and Alone at the Drive-In.

While a couple of the songs are in the movie, it really took this CD to truly discover these songs. Those Magic Changes is now one of my favorite musical songs of all time. It's immensely catchy (and it even gives you the chord changes so you can play along on your guitar!).

However, the blemish on this otherwise awesome album is, unfortunately, the big finale song, All Choked Up. Just so I could stand listening to this CD from start to finish, I had to reburn the CD without All Choked Up on it. Luckily the movie remedied this horrible song with the catchy You're the One That I Want (and thankfully so did my school's production).

Here's my ratings for each of the tracks on this album:

-Alma Mater/Alma Mater (Parody): 6/10 (I hate the Alma Mater, but the Parody is really fun)

-Summer Nights: 8/10 (the girls voice are still incredibly annoying)

-Those Magic Changes: 10/10 (favorite Grease song!)

-Freddy, My Love: 8/10 (I really like Marty's voice in this song)

-Greased Lightnin': 9/10 (What I don't get is that this is a recording of the original production of Grease, and they're already changing the lyrics to this song)

-Mooning: 7/10 (Who wouldn't love a song about mooning that ends with the line, "There's a moon out tonight?")

-Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee: 6/10 (Not my favorite song and a lot of the references went over my head (at least in the movie version I knew who Elvis was))

-We Go Together: 9/10 (Who doesn't know this song?)

-It's Raining On Prom Night: 5/10 (What a boring way to start the second Act of the show, not to mention the really hooky lines in the middle of it)

-Born to Hand-Jive: 8/10 (Very fun song, it's really hard not to jump up and start hand-jiving when you listen to it)

-Beauty School Dropout: 8/10 (Probably the best moral in the play right here, telling Frenchy to go back to high school)

-Alone At A Drive-In Movie: 10/10 (Hilarious lyrics (there's a line about an Intermission Elf) and catchy melody)

-Rock 'n' Roll Party Queen: 6/10 (Not my favorite song, but still a decent rendition of it)

-There Are Worse Things I Could Do: 9/10 (As much as I love Stockard Channing, she's not that great of a singer. I like this version much better)

-Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee (Reprise): 8/10 (I really like how her voice quality changes over the course of the song)

-All Choked Up: 3/10 (Most. Annoying. Song. Ever. Truth be told it has a cool opening, but it just goes downhill from there.)

-We Go Together (Reprise): 8/10 (Thankfully, this song was there to saved the end of the show)

4-0 out of 5 stars It Grows on You
I didn't know much about the original musical until this summer, when I was cast in a production of it. So listening to this soundtrack, I found some dissapointments, some great songs, and alot that grew on me.
'Alma Matter' is fun...but its so strange to not here 'Grease' opening the CD
'Summer Nights' is one of the best numbers on the CD, but I wish the tempo was as fast as the movie version.
'Magic Changes', 'Freddy My Love', are both cute and beware- they get stuck in your head easily.

'Greased Lighting' is great as always
'Mooning' is fun lyrically, but the tune sounds like any popular song you'd hear in the 50s.
'Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee' is ok...but Stockard Channing does it so much better...this Rizzo doesn't make it very fun.
'We go together' is not much different from the movie (i never liked the song)
'It's raining on prom night'- Is good, but Sandy sounds rediculous when she starts speaking the words
'Born to Hand Jive' is a great dance number
'Beauty School dropout' Is good but I miss Frankie Avalon
'Alone at the Drive-In' It bores me...I like 'Sandy' better.
'Rock & Roll Party Queen' This song is alot of fun...and It really grew on me
'There are worse things I could do'- I love this song, but I want to see a little more passion from Rizzo
'All Choked Up' - best number of the musical- it makes the CD worth buying. Although I didn't think anything could beat 'You're the one that I want', this song is almost as good if not better...but you have to listen to it more than once to get into it...

Overall, I thought the CD was boring the first time I heard it. But it really grows on you & All Choked Up makes it all worth it.

3-0 out of 5 stars GREASE ... version one
GREASE began at an off-Broadway theatre on Valentnes Day 1972. At first it didn't look like a hit, but it was a cheap show to run: Small cast, small orchestra, and a basic unit set and althouh not selling out, it was attracting enough of a crowd to warrant a move to the Royale theatre on Broadway where it ran..and ran..and ran. It was still running in 1978 when the movie came out and suddenly GREASE became a huge hit on screen and on stage. When it finally closed in 1981 it had become Broadway's longest running show. (A few years later A CHORUS LINE would overtake that record.)

The original cast album was done by M-g-M records and was not a well produced affair. Sound is not well balanced and the performers really seem to be overdoing it but after all, the stage show is a satire on the 1950s.

On CD the sound is acceptable and the whole score is here except for the opening of Act II (In the show, "Shakin' at the High School Hop" segues into "It's Raining on Prom Night." On the recording, just the latter song is heard.)

While GREASE wil never be ranked as one of Broadway's great shows, it is still frequently performed by community groups and high schools (though often with a censored script: the original is quite filthy!!) Because of the popularity of the songs written for the movie ("Grease", "Hopelessly Devoted to You", "You're the One That I Want" and "Sandy") many modern productions try to incorporate these songs. Its a mistake because the move script was re-written to set these numbers up and they don't really work in the stage production.

5-0 out of 5 stars grease the orignal
This is so much better than the movie. It is much more fun to listen because it has more songs and more of a choice. I think the play people had better voices and had a feel for the music so they knew what to do.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not for all the grease fans
It's growing on me, but still I wish I had not bought it. The female lead singer is great, but the female chorus seems flat, especially on the high notes. Perhaps that's intended, as they are supposed to be quakey-voiced high-school kids. It seems hard to find a volume setting that is not too much in some places, but not enough for others. Overall: Gosh-darn annoying if you are into the music. If you are into theatre, then you might like this more than I do. ... Read more


135. Sweet Charity (2005 Broadway Revival Cast)
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Asin: B00080Z732
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3460
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136. Tick, Tick... Boom! (2001 Original Off-Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B00005NQK5
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7377
Average Customer Review: 4.77 out of 5 stars
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Rent is usually treated as Jonathan Larson's one and only show, but the truth is that he had a career--albeit a hitless one--before that blockbuster. There was a musical titled JP Morgan Saves the Nation with lyrics by Jeffrey M. Jones and music by Larson. And there was Tick, Tick... Boom!, an autobiographical piece that Larson workshopped for a while before setting it aside and finishing Rent.

In 2001, Tick, Tick is getting a full off-Broadway production, and it's a rather endearing one. Lyrics have never been Larson's strong point, but he was a hell of a melodic composer--and the score here is even poppier than that of Rent (think Top 40 rather than Sondheim). It's hard to pick favorite songs: "Green Green Dress" is built on a rollicking piano boogie, for instance, and "Real Life" and "See Her Smile" are the kind of elegiac ballad that Larson would later perfect with "Seasons of Love." Luckily, this show has a lot more to offer than mere youthful musings. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (64)

4-0 out of 5 stars No need to come to your senses while listening.
Far better than the overblown Rent, with which Jonathan Larson truly made his name, tick, tick...BOOM! is a human-sized musical, and has produced a heartfelt, human-sized recording. The disc contains practically the entire score heard in the theater, presented more or less as a pop album, so if you're expecting to get a really good idea of the story just from listening, that's not going to happen. But the theatricality of the music comes across on the recording, and the music itself is excellent. From the driving rhythm of "30/90" through the hilarious "Sunday" and the haunting, moving finale of "Louder Than Words," there are almost no musical missteps here. Raul Esparza, Amy Spanger, and Jerry Dixon are all superb, and it's impossible to imagine the music being sung by anyone else, let alone performed in a one-man show as it originally was (a track of Larson performing a song entitled "Boho Days," which was not present in the final version of the show, is included). The disc doesn't bring across all the drama and emotion of the actual show, which prevents it from receiving a higher rating, but is one recording every lover of Rent or contemporary musicals must have in their collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars This shows off Larson's abilities as a writer wonderfully!
Most of you thought Jonathan Larson only wrote "RENT" didn't you?! Well he didn't. He wrote this show ("tick, tick... BOOM!") as well as "Superbia" a rock musical set in the future. The recording of "tick, tick... BOOM!" is wonderful. Raul Esparza captures Jonathan Larson wonderfully. Jerry Dixon supports Raul very well. Amy Spanger has a little difficulty belting out her ballad ("Come to your senses"), but makes up for it with emotion. A cool little extra is "Boho Days" near the end of the CD. This track was recorded as a demo by Jonathan Larson and it shows you what he really sounds like. It was originally the title of this show, but was changed and the song was eventually cut from the show. Also, this show used to be a one-man show performed by Larson, but after his death it was made into a three-person show.

As far as the songs go, they are mostly up to par with "RENT". Because this was Jonathan's side-project, the songs didn't get developed as much as they probably should have, but they're still well-written. The two worst songs on the track are definitely "Green Green Dress" and "Sugar". It seems like they were thrown together. The rest of the songs though are very well done. Larson's spoof of Stephen Sondheim's "Sunday" is a wonderful tribute to his real-life mentor. "Cages or Wings" is the obvious similarity to "RENT" being the inspirational and motivational song of the show. Although it is so similar to "Seasons of Love" from Larson's other show, it is very good, especially the lyrics. The other song that I love but wish was given a better recording was "Come to Your Senses." A great song from Larson's "Superbia" was kind of ruined at the climax by Spanger's inability to belt. But the rest of the song was great. Finally, one of the best songs I think Larson has ever written is "Real Life" a haunting song wonderfully sung by Jerry Dixon.

... Overall, the songs are well-crafted and they are sung very well. I love the CD and listen to it all the time. The CD and show are obviously not showing off the singers (although they are exceptional), but is a tribute to Larson's work and what could have been.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant stuff
One of the things that is fascinating about Jonathan Larson is his ability to taking introspection and put it to music. This is an autobiographical musical--Larson's father ostensibly says so in the liner notes.

Like most of the other reviewers, I find "30/90" to be a fantastic song, one that in a fair world would have made it to mainstream radio as a major hit. The rest of the album is excellent as well. My other choice for a standout is "Therapy" which is an amusing lesson in communication, amongst other things.

If you like to sing along, there's all sorts of good stuff on this album. This is an easy album to give five stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Jonathan Larson scores again!!
As a RentHead, I was obsessed with Jonathan Larson's works. I knew he wrote another musical called Tick Tick Boom, and I went on a mission to find it. Amazon.com was the only place that sold it.

There are some amazing tracks on this cast recording. "30/90" is definately one of the best, along with "Come to your Senses" and "Louder than Words" which is one of the best songs I've ever heard.

This is definately a cast recording that all musical fans should have in their collection!!

5-0 out of 5 stars A moving wonder from the mind of Jonathan Larson
Before there was the musical sensation "Rent," Jonathan Larson wrote several great songs and shows, some that have been heard (such as "Love Heals" recorded on Sherie Rene Scott's album "Men I've Had") and some that have been performed in New York, but not made available (like the Larson gem, "You call my name" sung at a benefit concert by Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel, and the rock-opera "Superbia"). In 1990, Larson performed a one man show called, "tick, tick...Boom!" several times in several incarnations. It told the story of himself and his fear of turning 30 without having made an impact. A few years after Larson's tragic death, his close friend and filmmaker Victoria Leacock and director Stephen Schwartz compiled the different versions and made it into a 3 person show, recorded here by its original off-broadway cast. And the result are wonderful. "30/90" displays a very "rent-ish" quality of setting the story up. Other highlights include "Johnny can't decide," "Sunday (a humerous take on a piece from Stephen Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park with George")," "Louder than Words," and the beautiful "Come to your Senses," memorably sung by Amy Spanger. But it's the hanting and humerous "Boho Days," recorded by Larson himself sometime before his death, that really got to me. Jonathan Larson was an enormous talent, and it's really a shame that he'll never write any new musicals for us in the future. It really is our loss. ... Read more


137. Parade (1998 Original Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B00000IMFL
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3507
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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The big winners at the 1999 Tony Awards were revivals or old dance numbers recycled into new shows.Yet earning the most nominations, nine (and taking home two awards, for book and original score), was an honest-to-goodness new American musical by a young American composer-lyricist, Jason Robert Brown (who was 28 when the show premiered at Lincoln Center in December 1998 and was best known for his song cycle Songs for a New World).In addition, the subject matter is serious and dark, based on the true story of Leo Frank, a New York-born Jew living in Atlanta who was falsely accused of raping and murdering a young girl, and not surprisingly, the run was limited to 84 performances.

The original cast recording survives, however, and from the stirring opening anthem, "The Old Red Hills of Home," Brown's score is full of riches, mixing period American styles with strong melodies, intricate counterpoint, selective dissonances, and natural lyrics that give their characters true, expressive voices. Leading the strong ensemble cast are Tony nominees Brent Carver and Carolee Carmello as the persecuted Leo and his wife, Lucille, who had been drifting apart before the wrenching events pulled them back together. They express their relationship in some of the show's best songs ("Leo at Work/What Am I Waiting For," "You Don't Know This Man," "All the Wasted Time").Masterfully evoking scene and character through his beautiful, bouncy, or harrowing music, Brown depicts youthful abandon ("The Picture Show"), the city's hysteria, the tender memories of the girl's mourners ("It Don't Make Sense"), and the murder trial, including its fantasy scenes of false testimony. Parade is a powerful work that will long linger in your memory, and it's one of the most important musical theater releases of 1999.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (129)

3-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating failure?
I love Jason Robert Brown's SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD. I've really been looking forward to hearing PARADE but it's a bit of a disappointment after SONGS.

What is the point of this show? To remind us over and over that anti-Semitism and lynching are bad? We all knew that already, didn't we?

Brown leans too heavily on tired Sondheimesque obligatos and ominous dissonant chords that say in the most cliched way "behold injustice!" For all its showy complexity, the score is really too intricate to be theatrically effective -- it leaves little clear impression and too often sounds fussy and constipated.

Sure it convinces me that Brown is a tremendously fluent and resourceful composer, but the emotional effect is zip. Gussying up this simple tale of injustice with tons of flashy dissonance and tricky counterpoint, Brown loses track of the characters and story. We want to hear the characters and feel their story; instead we hear a virtuoso young composer showing off.

George Abbott used to say in musical theatre the most important question is not "is it good?" but "does it work?" Judging by this beautifully-produced, performed, and sung record (kudos to the brilliant leads and the rest of the cast) PARADE is good, but it doesn't work. It comes across finally as a cold, obvious lecture/guilt trip heavily underlining points like "BIGOTRY IS BAD" that have been made more concisely and effectively in hundreds of other shows and movies.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely incredible!!
Wow...the score to Parade has left me utterly speechless. I have been purchasing most major cast recordings as soon as they are released for the past several years and I have yet to be more impressed by a score than I am by Jason Robert Brown's melodic, amazingly emotional score to this fantasitc musical. Unfortunately, I was not one of the lucky ones who got to see Parade when it was playing at the Vivian Beaumont. I'll admit that I, too, was deterred by the mixed to negative reviews. Oh, how mistaken those critics were. However, I have a feeling that Parade will be returning either on Broadway or as a national touring company sometime in the near future. Granted, Parade did lose the Tony for Best Musical of the year, but this is the same award that they gave to The Lion King over Ragtime and Phantom of the Opera over Sondheim's brilliant Into the Woods. Please..."I'll take 'lack of any credibilty whatsoever' for 500, Alex...". I refuse to believe that the public will allow what has the potential to be one of the greatest musicals of our time simply fade away into the darkness. Please, buy 'Parade' immediately! Don't let this overwhelmingly powerful experience pass you buy because of a few lousy reviews. Parade is an amazing creation. Believe it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Parade walks fine line with both score and book
Parade is undoubtedly one of the finest scores to grace New York stages in the last five years. Many of the other reviewers slam critics for causing the close of the show. Truthfully, the show closed because the producers for the show (the same who produced Ragtime) went bankrupt due to unsound accounting practices.

The book (written by "Driving Miss Daisy's Alfred Uhry) for Parade is indeed dark, but I must say genuine in fact and well organized. The score is of a new generation and marks a grand Broadway premiere for Jason Robert Brown. Brown uses a sort of rock ostinato to build tension and emotion throughout the score. This is not his only trick in his bag however. He tends to use the rock ostinato as a foundation for melodies, countermelodies, and harmonies from other genres to provide a folk authenticity.

In general, Parade is passionate about its subject matter and hands the lynching of Leo Frank to the audience unapologetically and makes no judgements other than facts.

5-0 out of 5 stars WWWWWOOOOOOOWWWW
Incredible, the critics who kicked this off broadway should be ashamed, they don't know what they are talking about. This and Ragtime are my 2 favorite musical

5-0 out of 5 stars Parade is one of the greatest musicals, ever
I own the recording of Parade, and have listened to it countless times. It might be impossible for me to stress how great this musical is. I was introduced to Parade, because my mom bought it off Amazon.com. I was very distraught when I found out that it only showed on broaway for a matter of weeks. The show is filled with a lot of emotion, and wonderful music. My favorite songs are "How Can I Call This Home," "It Don't Make Sense," "People of Atlanta," "The Factory Girl/Come Up to My Office," "It's Hard to Speak My Heart," "This is Not Over Yet," "All the Wasted Time," and "Finale" (Basically the entire CD). I will continue to love this musical and wish that it was still avaliable to see. Brent Carver, who plays the leading role of Leo Frank, is amazing. His voice is flawless and makes you want to melt. The musical should make you cry, but also has its own sense of humor. "Come Up to My Office" is a very funny song, as long as you do not take it literally. It is a great musical, that receives my highest regards. I have also enjoyed the musicals of "Aida," "Les Miserables," "The Scarlet Pimpernel," "Jesus Christ Superstar," and "Moulin Rouge." ... Read more


138. Bat Boy (2001 Original Off-Broadway Cast)
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005JXS7
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6976
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

As far as we know, Bat Boy is the only musical to have been inspired by a headline in the Weekly World News tabloid. It tells the story of, well, a bat boy (complete with pointy ears) found in a West Virginia cave. Adopted by the family of the town's vet, Edgar--as he comes to be known--actually goes on to acquire an education and even falls in love with the vet's daughter, all the while struggling to keep his blood thirst under control. Things end tragically--unsurprisingly, interspecies romance is still battling considerable prejudice in this country. Composer-lyricist Laurence O'Keefe came up with catchy songs that owe a lot to late 1960s and early '70s rock musicals such as Godspell and even The Rocky Horror Show. Skillfully walking the thin line between over-the-top camp and actual emotion, O'Keefe has written a wonderful little musical that cleverly deals with issues of difference and community values. As weird as it sounds, we foresee quite a future for Bat Boy in amateur productions. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (61)

4-0 out of 5 stars So absurd it just works... But I can't take it seriously!
My sister introduced this album to me. Apparently, a friend of hers at school was obsessed and insisted they use it for their Musical Theater class project. After reading about it and listening to the sometimes outrageous, sometimes stunning score, I can only say there was some inexplicable draw to it. The entire premise of Bat Boy is simply absurd, but the story is timeless (Frankenstein, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, etc.).

While the score sometimes (rarely) comes off as cheap and synthesized, I was surprised to find just how developed it was. The cast was also surprisingly appropriate, and while the Bat Boy himself sometimes gets on my nerves, the actresses playing the love interest Shelley and her mother Meredith always surprise me with their ingenuity and sincerity, especially when handed such silly subject matter.

The lyrics and songs, for the most part, are charming and likable, and even memorable, particularly Three Bedroom House, Comfort and Joy, Show You a Thing or Two and Home for You. I could definitely live without Children, Children, Whatcha Wanna Do? and even Dance with Me, Darling. Others have such corny and unbelievable lyrics, they're mostly good for a laugh. For example, the love ballad between Shelley and Edgar, Inside Your Heart, is just ridiculous. "I think you're normaler than they"?? In the opening number, they indicate how ignorant people beat the Bat Child "like a gong." Call me crazy, but isn't this metaphor somehow bizarre and absurd? Also, the Finale, with its several, rather conflicting in seriousness, morals: "Love your neighbor, forgive, keep your vows (fine so far, but still corny), "and a mountain's no place to raise cows (what??), Revenge is a thing God forbids, to scapegoat folks is wrong, and don't kill Mrs. Taylor's kids (I'll have to remember that next time I consider killing those brats).

I really don't mean to bash (remember I rated this album 4 stars), I'm just giving what I hope is a thorough review. I would recommend it, just for its whimsical and undeniably comical nature. If you get the actual message out of it, more power to you, but otherwise, just a fun romp through Contemporary Musical Land. I wouldn't say it ranks among the best of Modern Musicals, but it's definitely interesting and somehow appealing.

So, even though I can hardly take this show seriously, I'm glad to know about it to further my knowledge of Contemporary Musical Theater. Putting the often distractingly bizarre subject matter aside, 4 stars (maybe 3 1/2) for Bat Boy's inexplicable and irresitible appeal and surprisingly stellar cast.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hold Me BAT BOY
I bought this CD on a dare, and I couldn't be more happier with it. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. (Well actually I was expecting a very badly written musical that had songs that... well in a word....) This CD FAR exceeded my expectations and then some. It is a very thought provoking story about the pressures of being different. First they hate you, then they grow to love you then someone who you thought was your friend frames you for the murder of two people and eveyone wants you dead. Sound tricky? It's not. Especially the way Laurence O'Keefe blends many different style of music into one heck of a show. There is a very nice eclectic mix of styles on this CD. There is your Broadway Standard (Show You A Thing or Two), Country (Another Dead Cow, one of my personal favorites), Gospel Number (A Joyful Noise) and even an "I'm Going Crazy and Listening to the Voices In My Head" Song intermixed with the Act 1 Finale (Comfort and Joy.) If this doesn't make you want to click your mouse button and buy this CD, then I don't know what will. Oh yeah and by the way, I really like this and I think you will too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sink your fangs into this!!!
Fantabulous! This exciting tour de force will have you're belly aching with laughter one minute and your face streamed with tears the next. In the Vain of "Rent" and "Rocky Horror" this rock filled cast recording will blow your mind. Deven May amazes as Bat boy, you can feel his emotions wash over you with each passing measure. The Music rocks!, and the actors are amazing! If your a fan of off broadway and you've never seen or heard this show, do yourself a favor and pick it up, you won't regret it!

4-0 out of 5 stars Better than you might expect....
It is thanks to the reviews on Amazon that I decided to buy this CD. The album cover and premise is enough to scare someone away. Thankfully I was persuaded to get it. I absolutely love this musical.

The story, despite the silly premise from a tabloid newspaper, is very well told and developed. You really feel for the characters. The singers are very talented - particularly the title character. I can't imagine someone doing a better job playing Bat Boy. The tunes are very melodic and memorable. You will find yourself singing along with many of the songs. The musical also has a powerful meaning (told with much humor).

There are a couple weaknesses. The father's actions are not explained well. He is a bit psycho, but I never really got why. The history of the story is not fully told on the CD. You are left with a few holes in the plot progression and development. I think I generally figured out what is not explicitly told us, but I could be completely wrong. It would be nice if the CD, or at least the book, explained what is missing. Without the history, you are left guessing.

Yet these facts are easily overlooked due to the power of what is there. It is thoroughly enjoyable. I highly recommend it to anyone. Great music, great story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Light Comic Opera - Tastic!
I enjoyed this musical very much. It stands as a new
voice on Broadway in the tradition of Little Shop and
Joseph & his Techno Dreamcoat. The lyrics are light
as a feather, which masks some very good dramatic
bits in the show.

I could write a bit about Edgar's desire to belong
to humanity, a terrific theme that's been done
a hundred times before.. Let's see.

That Robot in A.I. - Spielberg's movie.
Frankenstein - Shelley
Pinnochio - Disney
Beauty and the Beast
Phantom of the Opera.. Etc.

This plot really hits the hard-wiring in people's heads.
We all feel this way sometimes - it's a very sympathetic story.
Everyone has a batboy deep inside (figuratively).

None of that's very important compared to the fact that
the songs are fun to listen to and they just Rock!
The lyrics are always clever and the performances are
also just terrific.

Talent like this is a welcome inspiration. ... Read more


139. The Wiz - The Super Soul Musical: Original Cast Album (1975 Broadway Cast)
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000002I8P
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5264
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars LIFE CHANGING
Over 27 years ago, as an 11 year old, I listened to this (album -at the time), and it changed my life forever! This may sound corny, but the lyrics moved my soul and shaped my mind in such a way that I was truly inspired by the words and the sounds. I remember nights dancing around the room and singing at the top of my lungs to this musical until the album was worn out. Now some 27 years later I have three children (All under 5 years) and just recently purchased The Wiz (Ross and Jackson) for them. I'm sitting there watching this movie and I start singing to all the songs. My children are telling me to be quite and it's funny because I remembered every word. They love The Wiz, but now I'm even more excited because when the hear this (CD - now) I have a strong feeling that this musical will impact them in a special way. I purchased several copies because I'm saving these additional CD's for them so that they will have a copy when they get older. I haven't seen very many musicals, but I saw The Wiz at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and I'll never forget It! AWESOME!!!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars A new musical Wizard of Oz eases on down the road
We all learned long ago to be leery of remakes of beloved classic (Marlo Thomas doing "It's A Wonderful Life" sticks out for me), but every once in a while you find a gem like "The Wiz," which successfully treads upon the most sacred ground of "The Wizard of Oz." What makes this Tony Award winning musical with music & lyrics by Charlie Smalls and a book by William F. Brown, is that its best musical moments do not duplicate those of the classic film, with the exception that proves the rule of "Ease on Down the Road" as the contemporary counterpart to "We're Off to See the Wizard." The finest moments in this stage musical are when Dorothy convinces one of her companions "Be A Lion," when the Wicked Witch (Mable King) warns "Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News," and Glinda the Good tells Dorothy what happens "If You Believe." The big choral number is not the Munchkins singing about the death of the Wicked Witch of the East but rather the Winkies celebrate the death of the Wicked Witch of the West. Finally, Dorothy's best song does not come before she goes over the rainbow but is hinted at once she arrives in Oz and provides the musical conclusion "Home (Finale)," replacing the heartfelt final line of the film with an equally emotional song. Of the songs that duplicate those of the film, specifically those by the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and Lion, only "I'm a Mean Ole Lion" is a decent effort, helped by Ted Ross' breakthrough performance (Ross was the only actor who got to duplicate his role in the film version). It is certainly not fair to compare Stephanie Mills to Judy Garland, but she delivers the final song and provides an ending to this musical that is as satisfying as the end of the film. Bottom Line: I do not know of anybody who has not enjoyed this musical more than they thought they would.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
This is absolutely wonderful. The songs are a mix of gospel, disco, wonderful piano anthems, and so much more. The cast is superb, led by a delightful Stephanie Mills as Dorothy who shows so much musical maturity in her performances.
Compared to the motion picture soundtrack, this is a collection of mostly mellow, laidback tunes with a lot of heart and even more soul. It does however, have its fun moments. The tornado is one such example, providing glimpses back into the prospering 70s disco scene. Any song by Andre de Shields, as the Wiz, is guaranteed to make you shake your groove thing, and the character roles (Scarecrow, Tinman, Lion) are filled with fine performances from Hinton Battle, Tiger Haynes, and Ted Ross, respectively.
Standouts include: all of Stephanie Mills's features; she puts so much feeling into her songs, Mabel King's anthem to No Bad News, Dorothy and the Lion's duet, Be a Lion, the funky Ease on Down the Road, and the unforgettable finale. At only 12 or 13, Stephanie Mills accomplished so much with her performance in The Wiz.
This is an excellent CD, and while missing a few songs, stays true to the original Broadway play. If rumors are to be believed, then a revival may be on its way. I only hope it can live up to this musical masterpiece.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easing back into "The Wiz"
I have been revisiting this rcording as a revival has been announced for Broadway but no dates are set that I know of. This is still a timeless recording even with it's middle 70's sound and lyrics. I have seen this show 3 times on Broadway. There are so many good numbers in this show! "The Feeling We Once Had" just grabs you at the beginning. The second and third time I saw this show I was teary eyed during this song. And it is the 1st song in the show! "Soon as I Get Home", with it's wonderful tempo change,is another standout. "Be a Lion" is just a plain showstopper. "Y'All Got It" is just pure fun! "Everybody Rejoice" (Written by Luther Vandross for the show) is just a great uplifting sing-along-song! And I still get chills when I think of Stephanie Mills standing on the edge of the stage in the spotlight singing "Home" at the finale. And she nails it just as she did on stage here on the recording. I suggest picking this up to familiarize yourself with the music if the show is revised. You will not be disappointed. Also in response to a review here by Lawrance M. Bernabo, Ted Ross was not the only person to recreate his role in the film version. Mabel King recreated the role of Evillene in the film. And she is one of only few reasons to buy that soundtrack. That and the fact that Quincy Jones did the arrangements and original music and the "Emerald City Sequence".

5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of both the stage and Pop Culture as a whole
The Wiz (Original Broadway Cast) is a soundtrack that is timeless inspited of its sometimes dated music. What makes it timesless is the same thing that makes all classic operas the classics that they are. Its juts damn good story telling put to amazingly beautiful and moving and at time rather exciting music. The movie should have followed the Broadway version a bit more closely but on its own the film does take on a life of its own. I would suggest either copy but would hold the Broadway Soundtrack higher as to get your eye. You dont even have to see the movie or a modern incarnation staged version of it. The CD along with your imagination will be just fine. This is a must have for everyone and anyone who knows anything about classic and everlasting works of art. ... Read more


140. Oliver! (Deluxe Edition) (1963 Original Broadway Cast) [CAST RECORDING]
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000996JO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4464
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars A truly landmark Broadway recording
I own both the film soundtrack and this Original Cast recording and this one trumps the film soundtrack on all counts. The sound is better, the singing is at least the equal of the film and in most places better, and the orchestral music is heard to better effect. Also, the young man playing Oliver in this version is easier to hear and understand in my opinion. All the key musical numbers are included here, and I just think the recording has stood the test of time. Don't get me wrong, I love the movie and I'm sure I will return to it often. But from a purely sonic enjoyment viewpoint, I recommend this Broadway version without reservation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Oliver! Original Broadway Cast-A wonderful recording!
This recording is truly one of my favorites. The songs are lively and fun, and bring this Broadway classic to life. Many memorable and well known songs are in this show, including "Where is Love?", "I'd Do Anything" and "Consider Yourself" as well as many others. The voices of the principals-especially Georgia Brown (Nancy), Michael Goodman (The Artful Dodger) and Clive Revill (Fagin) fit their parts perfectly. The belt quality of Georgia Brown in "As Long As He Needs Me" is beautiful as well as enchanting. Michael Goodman and Clive Revill bring excitement and fun to every song they perform. Overall, this recording is excellent, and one that every Broadway fan should own.

4-0 out of 5 stars A very fun soundtrack!
Although the music is not the best of Broadway, I think this is a wonderful soundtrack and well worth the money. I hadn't heard very much of the music until my high school put on the production of "Oliver!" last year, and most of the cast had this CD instead of whatever other "Oliver!" soundtracks there are. It's a little boring if you haven't at least seen the musical, but it really is very fun to listen to if you have been a character in the show, as I have. Buy it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Haunting, lovely, & Wonderful!
Oliver! is often rough and is defintely not a children's show, but the freely adapted version of the songs give The story of Oliver Twist punch and more feelings of how lonely the characters in the story. Nancy yearns for Bill Sikes, Oliver wants to find love, but he doesn't know where to look, and even Fagin soaks up the devotion of "his boys". Many of the songs on this album are wonderful especially the difficult harmonies in the beginning and the end of "Who Will Buy", and Georgia Brown's delightful renditions of "It's a Fine Life", and "As Long as He Needs Me". Michael Goodman is the perfect street-urchin gentleman, almost reminding one of Gavroche in Les Miserable. Lional Bart has done a phenomenal job using descriptive words in the fast parts of the score; such as in, "Be Back Soon" and "Reviewing the Situation" -The song where the evil Fagin is comtemplating a life without crime. "You've Got to pick a pocket or Two" is also great while being kind of sad because all these boys are being tutored in the arts of light-handed thievery. The only songs and voices I don't enjoy, are: "Oliver!"- The man who plays Mr. Bumble sounds as though he just swallowed a bee! And Bill Sikes with His "My Name" solo. But I musn't forget the haunting beauty of "Boy For Sale" which is very moving. I definetly recommen this album, not for the singing per se, but for the character that practically seeps from in between the two sides of the case. Definetly buy this wonderful example of old-fashioned musical theatre!

1-0 out of 5 stars Film soundtrack much better
Although the film soundtrack does not carry all the songs the original musical does I believe that the film's soundtrack is far superior. ... Read more


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