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141. Mame (1966 Original Broadway Cast)
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142. Scores: Songs From Copacabana
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143. The Sound of Music (1959 Original
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144. Les Miserables Original London
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145. The Full Monty: The Broadway Musical
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146. Crazy for You (1992 Original Broadway
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147. The Pajama Game (1954 Original
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148. Little White Duck & Other
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149. 2 Nights Live
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150. Cabaret: The New Broadway Cast
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151. A Year with Frog and Toad (Original
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152. Children Of Eden (1998 New Jersey
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153. Jekyll & Hyde - The Gothic
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154. Sullivan: The Pirates Of Penzance
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155. Man of La Mancha (2002 Broadway
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156. Cyrano (1973 Original Broadway
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157. Li'l Abner (1956 Original Broadway
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158. Live From Las Vegas
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159. Candide (1956 Original Broadway
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160. Passion (1994 Original Broadway

141. Mame (1966 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $11.98
our price: $8.99
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Asin: B00000J28R
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2920
Average Customer Review: 4.76 out of 5 stars
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With her beguiling presence, Angela Lansbury belts out the playful lyrics of Jerry Herman's 1966 musical, Mame, based on the hilarious and outrageous Patrick Dennis novel Auntie Mame. Lansbury plays the ribald flapper Mame, bucking her age and station to live her life as she pleases, with her young nephew Patrick in bewildered tow. Lansbury's mature yet chipper singing voice is perfectly complemented by the vocals of Bea Arthur as Mame's best friend, Vera. Arthur's hearty, irascible voice adds a classic edge to the lighthearted musical fare, while Frankie Michaels as Patrick provides a youthful purity, conveying an awe and admiration for the aunt he follows through life. The relentlessly carefree theme of this musical diminishes as Mame ages and Patrick grows up, but they are singing zestfully to the end. The 1999 remastered version includes five demo recordings by Herman and Alice Borden, with Herman at the piano. --Bryony Angell ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars Get it today!
From the first bars of the Overture,to the Finale,this is a delightful CD to listen to again and again.

You really get an idea of the musical miracle that occured in 1966 at the Winter Garden Theatre.

Angela Lansbury is a triumph as Mame Dennis,the madcap for whom 'life is a banquet',and tells all to 'live,live,live!'.

Jane Connell is hilarious as Agnes Gooch,with Frankie Michaels in his Tony-winning performance as Young Patrick.Their version of 'St Bridget' is marvellous.

Bea Arthur as Vera Charles is magic.Her Tony-winning performance is captured forever with her 'Man in the Moon',and her duet with Mame,'Bosom Buddies'.

Jerry Lanning as Older Patrick,Sab Shimono as Ito,Charles Braswell as Beauregard and Angela Lansbury all shine,in her Tony-winning triumph.

The show ran for almost five years on Broadway,and while Angela toured the country in the road version,Janis Paige,Ann Miller and Celeste Holme followed each other on Broadway as Mame.

The London production starred Ginger Rogers as Mame,and the Broadway Anniversary revival reunited Angela as Mame,Sab Shimono as Ito and Jane Connell as Agnes at the Gershwin Theatre in the early eighties.

Sadly,Bea could not do the show,as she was doing the 'Golden Girls' TV show,and her marriage to MAME's director,Gene Saks,had since dissolved.

Put this disc in the player,and experience the magic of MAME!

5-0 out of 5 stars Uplifting and Energetic
Fans of musical theatre won't want to miss this one... You'll Laugh, You'll Cry and You'll Listen to this CD over and over again. The album stars Angela Lansbury who truly captures the wild, exploratory, youthful yet sincere spirit of Mame. It's hard to say whether this album is so wonderful because of the score, the level of energy or the chemestry that shines through even on this cast recording. Also in the cast are: Bea Arthur as Vera Charles, Jane Connel as Gooch, Frankie Michaels as Young Patrick and Jerry Lanning as Older Patrick. - Included with this CD are 5 bonus tracks of Jerry Herman (the writer of the music and lyrics) at the piano singing his heart away.

5-0 out of 5 stars A scintillating album from start to finish!
MAME contains Jerry Herman's best score. The songs are perfectly suited to the characters and situations. Angela Lansbury is larger than life as the irrepressible Mame, belting out the songs with a confident air. No wonder she won the Tony award for this performance and listening to this cast album you regret even more that she was not cast in the film version. Bea Arthur is a wonderfully acidic Vera (at least she DID get to do the movie) and the rest of the cast provide spirited support.

As always, Sony has done a first rate remastering and provided excellent notes and reprinted the detailed synopsis from the original Lp cover.

All in all a scintillating package.

5-0 out of 5 stars Two of my favourite women
A very good musical cd, songs performed by the thrilling lady called Angela Lansbury! She simply does a fabolous job potraying the sassy women known as Mame.
Angela's vocal is strong and clear, very mature singing voice, she cuts through with the peak of emotions.

Vera Charles, Mame's best freind is being portrayed by the wonderful golden girl Bea Arthur! You haven't lived until you've heard Bea belting out "Bosom Buddies" with Angela Lansbury, and her big theatrical number "The Man In The Moon.
Her vocal is deeep and throaty, but can reach to an surprising high key, matched perfectly with Angela's chipper vocal.

As the title implies, two of my favourite women ever!
I simply adore them.
Angela Lansbury I've been kind "reserved" about, her long career in both stage and movie performences are all to be remembered, and Angela has even starred opposite Judy Garland once in the movie "The Harvey Girls". And of course her legendary performence in A Murder, She Wrote.

Bea Arthur has also done quite a bit of theater work, she started her career in the Off-Broadway show called The Shoestring Revue, and has since then participated in such legendary shows as The Threepenny Opera and Fiddler On The Roof.
She's also starred opposite a legend, Lotta Lenya, the legendary german cabaret singer in The Threepenny Opera.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is what a show album should be!
Great, memorable songs. Phil Lang's orchestrations and Donald Pippin's choral arrangements are spectacular. Pippin's musical direction is positively energetic.

Lansbury, Arthur, et al, are superb. The ensemble sounds super-charged. The title song is one of the greatest production numbers ever recorded. You want to give it a standing ovation just listening to the recording.

The CD, just like the old LP, does justice to the score.

In short, brilliant (both in the smart and the radiant sense of the word.) If you've only seen the movie, forget about it and get this CD. If you're unfamiliar with the show, get this CD. An absolute must for anyone who likes musical comedy. They don't make them like this anymore. ... Read more

142. Scores: Songs From Copacabana and Harmony
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Asin: B0002VL10K
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 471
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Like many pop artists of his generation, Barry Manilow has long wanted to find a home for his tunes on the theater stage---and as Bette Midler's longtime music director and arranger, he was more fitted than most. On this recording, he performs excerpts from two shows he wrote in collaboration with lyricist and book writer Bruce Sussman; overall he comes across a lot better as a composer than a performer. Manilow starts by letting loose on the seven tracks from the flashy Copacabana. Like the song of the same name, on which it is based, that show is an all-out cry for razzamatazz entertainment. "Sweet Heaven (I'm in Love Again)" feels Bacharachian, while "Bolero de Amor" uses Ravel's "Bolero" as a foundation and "This Can't Be Real" is a smooth duet with Olivia Newton-John. The second show, Harmony, strikes a different mood---after all, it evokes not a snazzy nightclub but pre-WWII Germany. The tunes are solid and sport lovely arrangements, though one gets the nagging feeling they would have been ever better sung by more versatile interpreters. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

143. The Sound of Music (1959 Original Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B00000AG6Y
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5570
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most of the civilized world identifies this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic with the Robert Wise film, one of the most successful movie musicals of all time ("The Sound of Money," critic Pauline Kael termed it). Which is why this recording can be so disconcerting. Not only are there different tunes ("How Can Love Survive," "Laendler," "No Way to Stop It," but no "Confidence" or "Something Good," both written for the film), but Captain Von Trapp is played by heavyset folksinger Theodore Bikel, a far cry from young Christopher Plummer. Mary Martin was not only much older than the film's Julie Andrews, she wasn't even British! Then again, neither was the real Maria--and the stage version is, in many ways, more faithful to the Von Trapp Family Singers' true story. --Bill Holdship ... Read more

Reviews (24)

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't Compare it to the Soundtrack!
I know there is no Julie Andrews. I know some songs written for the movie are missing. I know Mary Martin is 20 years to old to play Maria. But despite all of this, the original cast recording of "The Sound of Music" is a delight, and every bit as good as the soundtrack. Wonderful songs such as "How Can Love Survive" and "No Way to Stop It" are included here, and the treatment of standards such as "My Favorite Things," "Do, Ri, Mi," and "Climb Every Mountain" are given first class treatment by the supurb cast. As I mentioned, Mary Martin is 20 years to old to play Maria, but she has an elegance, charm, and power that make her a pleasure (though not as good as Andrews). Theodor Bikel is still the definitive Captain Von Trapp. A superb recording for the whole family, and a look at an American institution in it's original format.

5-0 out of 5 stars PURE BROADWAY MAGIC!
Nowadays most people are familiar with the SOUND OF MUSIC from the wonderful 1965 motion picture starring Julie Andrews, which just received it's DVD debut this August. The DVD along with the 35TH Anniversary Edition (2 CD) Motion Picture Soundtrack, also recently released, are real winners.

But how many people have heard the 1959 Original Broadway Cast recording starring Mary Martin? Not as many, I suspect. The subject of this review is a treasure that any true SOUND OF MUSIC buff MUST own. This digitally re-mastered recording sounds so fresh and vibrant that you would think it was just recorded!

Mary Martin's singing is lovely and constrasts nicely with that of Julie Andrews. As with most Broadway musicals, there are several songs that were not in the movie: "How Can Love Survive", "No Way to Stop It", and "An Ordinary Couple", which are all great. You won't find "I Have Confidence" or "Something Good" here, since these songs were written by Richard Rodgers alone (Oscar Hammerstein had already passed away) for the motion picture. No big loss in my opinion, as these songs are rather weak anyway.

The liner notes that come with the CD are informative, complete with cast photos. Along with the soundtrack come two bonus tracks which are like icing on the cake. My favorite is a beautifully performed orchestral medley lasting 16 minutes called "The Sound of Music-A Symphonic Picture for Orchestra". The other bonus track is a lively rendition of "Do-Re-Mi" performed by the Mitch Miller choir and the Sound of Music kids. Did I mention that this CD is at a bargain price too?

With all it has going for it, this SOUND OF MUSIC is worth it's weight in gold. This is a disc that you will return to often with the greatest of pleasure. HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

5-0 out of 5 stars As seen and heard on stage
This is another of those fine Columbia original cast recordings (lovingly remastered by Sony) that puts you front and centre for a performance of the show.

It is true, Mary Martin may have been too old for the free-spirited Maria (she was 47 at the time) but remember too that it was while appearing in SOUND OF MUSIC that she taped the TV version of PETER PAN where she played a 12 year old boy. She had that star quality! Theodore Bikel was a folk singer himself and knew exactly how to sell "Edelweiss."

The movie is a rare case where a stage show was improved on its transfer to screen, but for listening purposes the story and charcters come alive better on this cast recording. Get both albums... there is much to enjoy either way!

5-0 out of 5 stars No need to choose..enjoy both!
It is the most complete version of the original stage score. True, "How Can Love Survive" and "No Way to Stop It" would have no place in the movie, but they are enjoyable on the cast album.

R & H were probably rushed on this one. FLOWER DRUM SONG opened Dec 1, 1958..which gave them just 9 months to get SOUND OF MUSIC ready for rehearsals in August 1959. Some of the ideas Ernest Lehman came up with for the film, especially the song placements, were improvements that might have occurred to Rodgers, Hammerstein and company had they not been rushing to make an opening night.

Mary Martin maybe was too old..she looks too old in the pictures, but the warmth in her voice is unmistakable. Remember too that while starring in SOUND OF MUSIC on Broadway she taped the 3rd TV version of PETER PAN and pulled off playing a 12 year old boy! A great actress!!

Theodore Bikel was perfect as the Captain and as a folk singer himself he knew what to do with "Edelwiss." (Even though Christopher Plummer was dubbed in the movie by Bill Lee the song is better sing here by Bikel!)

I think the chief objection people may have to this cast recording is the very fact that it sounds theatrical... the kids especially seem to go for volume and enunciation. Those not used to theatrical performances might find this a little disconcerting.

One bit of trivia for opera fans: In the list of ensmble singers is the name Tatiana Troyanos who would later become a major opera star!

***Correction.. Matt Ballinger is on the RCA album from the 1998 revival with Rebecca Luker, not this album. From his picture in the booklet for that recoirding I suspect he was not even born in 1959. (Or 1969. Or 1979.) This is the recording one other reviewer says the Maria sounds too much like a soprano... No one ever said that about Mary Martin!

5-0 out of 5 stars Hills are really alive with the Sound Of Music!
WOW, This Cd of the Sound of Music is really wonderful in every way!!
I was amazed to see such talent in this recording, each character was brought to life by its great cast. Mary Martin as Maria was a very good choice. Her voice was such lovely that I almost cried of joy!
If you buy this recording you will be touched by the Sound of Music! Get it today, and let the Sound of Music touch your heart!! ... Read more

144. Les Miserables Original London Cast
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Asin: B0002E5L5S
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 57974
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145. The Full Monty: The Broadway Musical
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Asin: B000053UB0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7103
Average Customer Review: 4.28 out of 5 stars
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We braced ourselves when we heard that a musical version of thepopular movie The Full Monty was in the works--recent movieadaptations have not exactly set new quality standards for Broadway.While Terrence McNallydid a fine job with the book (transferring the action from industrial Englandto Buffalo), special kudos should go to newcomerDavid Yazbek, whowrote a versatile and gloriously fun score. A million miles away from thehigher brows of a MichaelJohn LaChiusa or anAdam Guettel, Yazbek'ssensibility is unabashedly pop. His songs servenarrative purposes but are also the kind of tunes youcan sing in the shower. And the cast gleefully sinks its teeth into Yazbek'srock/pop/funk score: Emily Skinner is hilarious on "Life with Harold, andAndré de Shields positively steals the show with "Big Black Man."Finally, a new show where you're not ashamed to enjoyyourself. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (50)

5-0 out of 5 stars Exciting, energetic, tuneful!
With the help (on book) of Terrence McNally, David Yazbek has written an excellent musical, and it translates extremely well to disc. His lyrics are witty and raw. Unlike many of the "new" young theatrical composers, Yazbeck's songs are easy to listen to, and alot of fun, right from the first listen. It is hard to pick favorites (there are so many!), but "It's a Woman's World", "Man", "The Goods" and "Let it Go" are great fun. They all are! Emily Skinner shines in "Life with Harold", and Jason Daniely and Ramon Fruge are beautiful and touching on "You Walk with Me". All the voices are strong and the orchestra sounds great. My only complaint would be, the mixing. For me, the voices could've been mixed a little better with the orchestra- they are over powered sometimes. If you haven't seen this showon stage yet, run to the Eugene O'Neill Theater in NYC. It is one of the funniest and most enjoyable musicals to hit the stages in many years.

3-0 out of 5 stars Live or on CD, "The Full Monty" Has its Moments
If you've already seen "The Full Monty" on Broadway (after the official opening, I caught the third performance), then you'll fully understand David Yazbek's pungent, serviceable score. In particular, "Scrap," "It's a Woman's World," "Big Black Man" and "Let It Go." If you haven't, these songs and others, might not satisfy one's taste for show music. They're still fun. But this isn't "Carousel" or "My Fair Lady." These songs and others fit within the framwork of the three hour show. A few stand alone, but are not the kind of songs one sings full force in the shower, in the car or romping about the kitchen. If you're planning to see the show in New York, grab this album three weeks before the performance. Pop it into your CD player. Read the liner notes. Read the lyrics. And listen to the score over and over. Believe me, it makes all the difference in the world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Can A Show Be Unbelievably Touching, Moving, Sexy and Funny?
The answer is, "The Full Monty" can. I got this cd before I saw the show, and after listening to it, wasn't really impressed that much. I was actually kind of regretting paying (...) for my ticket. But after seeing the show live, this is one of my favorite cds. "The Full Monty" is a show that you must see live in order to appreciate its brilliance. The story is of course funny, and of course sexy. But what some people don't see, is that behind the strippers, and the g-strings, and the nudity, "The Full Monty" is about unconditional love, and the lengths that people will go to to keep a family together. "The Full Monty" was one of the most touching musicals in Broadway history. There were several parts when I teared up, and one particulare scene where I brokedown crying. "The Full Monty" is brilliant!

4-0 out of 5 stars The Full CD Monty
This is a great CD. Fun, catchy and insanely funny. There are many standouts on this CD. The standout songs include "Michael Jordans Ball" "Big Ass Rock" and "Man". You can catch Patrick Wilson in the upcoming feature film "The Phantom of the Opera" which is a video version of Andrew Lloyd Webbers Classic musical. He is starring as Raoul.

5-0 out of 5 stars Genius
Rarely do you find a musical score that is upbeat and funny that still conveys a message. This show does just that. The score by David Yazbek will give a thrill to any music lover, including people who love musical scores or people who enjoy listening to music with a more pop feel to it. The lyrics are hilarious and the tunes are catchy, every song is worth listening to over and over again. The principals in the cast, including Tony Award-nominated Patrick Wilson and Andree Shields offer outstanding performances, some that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter, and others that will bring a tear to the eye. This CD is a must buy for everyone who enjoys a laugh and listens to music of any style. You will not regret purchasing this item. ... Read more

146. Crazy for You (1992 Original Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B000002SK5
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4535
Average Customer Review: 4.77 out of 5 stars
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If you're looking for one do-it-all Gershwin cast recording, Crazy for You fits the bill. Touted as "the new Gershwin musical comedy" when it hit Broadway in 1992, it's actually a substantial reworking of the Gershwins' Girl Crazy, the story of a New York song-and-dance man who conquers the West (and a fair maid there) by putting on a show. (The original 1934 cast featured Ginger Rogers and a Broadway novice named Ethel Merman.) Crazy for You preserves the best of the songs from the original (including "Embraceable You," "I Got Rhythm," and "But Not for Me") and adds a number of later songs from Fred Astaire films as well as some undiscovered gems, resulting in an embarrassment of riches. Harry Groener and Jodi Benson (The Little Mermaid) are in strong voice (and they danced too!). The only shortcoming of this recording is that it couldn't capture Susan Stroman's dazzling choreography. The booklet includes a synopsis, full lyrics, and a historical perspective. Not an innovative show, but a rollicking good time. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars CRAZY FOR YOU Is a Gershwin Feast!
I saw this fun-filled musical comedy, a "reworking" of the Gershwins' 1930 GIRL CRAZY, on Broadway with most of the original cast. The show comes over superbly on CD; I know of few recordings of any musical that capture so vividly the sense of a live stage performance (complete with tap dancing!) Harry Groener and Jodi Benson in the leading roles both have voices of very fine quality and convey many shades of feeling in songs ranging from "I Can't Be Bothered Now," "Things Are Looking Up," and "Someone to Watch Over Me" to "I Got Rhythm," "They Can't Take That Away from Me," and "But Not for Me." The entire cast performs with infectious energy in each and every number, and the recorded sound matches the quality of the performances. A Gershwin feast!

5-0 out of 5 stars A greatest hits albem from Girshwin -what a gift!
What many people don't know is that Greshwin did not write any songs for this musical, but rather picked others that he had written already so that the show was sort of like a greatest hits albem. The cast is wonderful! I was in Crazy for You! last year in my high school. The music is fun and makes you either want to sing along or dance. Anytime i am down i play this CD. It is a muct own. A classic Gershwin. need i say more than that?

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Best
Awesome CD. You'll be singing along starting from song 2 (since song 1 is instrumental) and not stopping until the very end. The end does come quickly but only because the composition is fabulous and best of all, the singers' voices are GREAT - pleasant to listen to, pleasant to sing a long to, just strong and vibrant voices.

This soundtrack rocks because the voices and orchestra play with ENERGY.

5-0 out of 5 stars Really Good
I bought this CD to practice for my school play and was really helpful. It also has good songs to listen to.

4-0 out of 5 stars Razzle-Dazzle helps sell CRAZY FOR YOU
CRAZY FOR YOU was billed as a "new Gershwin musical" when it opened in 1992. It was not really a revival of GIRL CRAZY. Only five of the songs used in CRAZY FOR YOU come from GIRL CRAZY and the plot is a new one fashioned by Mike Ockrent. It is difficult to fit older songs into a new plot but Ockrent did a decent job creating a frothy stage music in the style of the old Fred & Ginger flicks.

Angel has done a first rate job on this original cast disc giving it a bright brassy sound and putting the singers front and centre. The cast and orchestra offer plenty of Broadway razzle-dazzle. The package has a detailed synopis and libretto.
Only one tiny error: The song "someone to Watch Over Me" is in the wrong place on the cd. To follow the show order, program this song (track #6) to come between tracks #9 and #10. ... Read more

147. The Pajama Game (1954 Original Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B00004THLZ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7602
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Based on the novel 7-1/2 Cents by Richard Bissell, The Pajama Game hit Broadway in May 1954 and ran over 1,000 performances. The plot revolves around a labor dispute at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory, with two couples (Eddie Foy Jr. and Carol Haney, John Raitt and Janis Paige) in the middle of it. The score, by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, includes Raitt's classic ballad "Hey There" (dueting with himself as recorded on a dictation machine), the humorous "Think of the Time I Save," and "Steam Heat" and "Hernando's Hideaway," both set to memorable choreography by a Broadway novice named Bob Fosse. The following year, the Adler-Ross-Fosse team would team up again with Damn Yankees.

The 2000 remastered version of The Pajama Game features vastly improved sound and bonus tracks taken from a 1954 radio show: Raitt's "The World Around Us" (dropped from the show) and Raitt and Paige's "There Once Was a Man," both with a rehearsal pianist, and Adler and Ross themselves singing "Hernando's Hideaway" with Ross at the piano. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Recording of a Great Show
Ignore the curmudgeon who only gives this recording 2 stars! I have had this CD for about five years, listen to it regularly, and it never fails to get me singing along, or laughing at its very witty lyrics. True, Pajama Game is not Oklahoma or Carousel, but it has a pretty terrific score, the great singing of John Raitt and supporting players like Reta Shaw and Eddie Foy. Songs that have become standards from this show include "Hey There," "Steam Heat," and "Hernando's Hideaway." I happen to love "I'm Not At All In Love," and "Once A Year Day" is infectious. For all lovers of Broadway, not just nostolgia buffs, this is a necessary recording! The show won Tony's for Best Musical, Best Composer, and Best Choreography.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Cat's Pajamas
Super score. Two standards of the genre: Hey There and Hernando's Hideaway, but also a number of outstanding production numbers and duets: "Seven and a Half Cents", "Steam Heat", "I'll Never Be Jealous Again", "There Once Was a Man". Most of the singing is excellent but sometimes I have to admit Janis Paige isn't on pitch and I prefer (dare I say it) Doris Day in the movie. John Raitt is the professional he always was. This is a 50's musical through and through, filled with serious love songs, comedy with a satirical bite, and endless energy. The extra tracks on this CD are nothing too wonderful, with excerpts from a pretty banal interview with composer Jerry Ross, but they do include a song you won't hear (for good reason -- despite inteviewer Mike Wallace's glowing support it is a pretty bad song) in the show. Want to know why this show was so good: George Abbott, John Raitt, Bob Fosse, Harold Prince, Adler and Ross, Eddie Foy, Jerome Robbins, Carol Haney, Peter Gennaro. Yes, there are shows with a power-packed line-up like that, that have been bad, but not many. Enjoy the memories this will bring back.

4-0 out of 5 stars A great recording, with the best cast, but...
"The Pajama Game" is a truly great musical. Although it's most popular songs have truly been immortalized, such as "Hernando's Hideaway" and "Hey There", the show itself seems to be sadly forgotten by many (depite winning both Best Score and Best Musical in the Tonys). It remains very popular with amateurs and high schools, though.

This recording of The Pajama Game, a remastered version on the original cast, has VASTLY improved sound and some great extra tracks. Despite the new tracks, though, a lot of the score is completley missing from this recording, and a lot of the songs have been abridged, cutting out dialogue sections and a lot of dance music, like the wonderful "Jealousy Ballet" number, but the loss can be both a blessing and a curse.

The cast is the best recorded, in my opinion.

John Raitt as Sid - I'm not sure if this show was Raitt's star turn or Carousel was, but regardless, he is a fantastic talent and it really shows on this recording. His solos on this recording are superior to any other renditions. "Hey There", "A New Town Is a Blue Town", and "There Once Was a Man"(my personal favorite) are just fantastic. Great all around.

Janis Paige as Babe - Ok...she grows on you. If Paige is not singing in a more characterized voice, than she needs to be shot because she sounds like a wounded animal, BUT for the role her funky voice is very well suited. Her belt voice doesn't use much vibrato or any classical broadway norms, but her much grittier voice brings a more "real" feel to her character. "I'm Not At All In Love" is great and her comedic-like turn in "There Once Was a Man" is also fantastic.

Eddie Foy Jr. as Hines - I just recently finished performing as Hines in a production of "The Pajama Game" so I know the role well. Foy is my favorite recorded Hines, he has such a different voice and personality to his character that simply cannot be imitated. It's a shame so much of his role was cut from the movie. "I'll Never Be Jealous Again" is pleasantly comic, "Think Of The Time I Save" is cute and pleasant, and the opening is also great. An excellent performance.

Carol Haney as Gladys - Gladys is THE show stealing role of "The Pajama Game", and the underrated and underused Carol Haney stole this production way back when. Haney is cooky, lovable, and on stage, a fantastic dancer. Haney stepped into the role originally envisioned for Gwen Verdon and made it the role it is today, funny and wonderful. Haney sings two of the show's classics, "Steam Heat"(the best recorded), and "Hernando's Hideaway" both totally wonderful.

Stanley Prager as Prez - A really great performance. Prager gives a rough, growling voice to Prez and it comes off as a great perfomance. "Her Is" is great, as is "Seven and A Half Cents"(although Prager's voice humorously cracks in mid-verse). A good performance.

Reta Shaw as Mabel - Can't pull off a cute and perverted old lady any other way. Shaw's performance is solid in "I'll Never Be Jealous Again" with Foy. Pleasant to listen to.

Well, all in all, this recording, though very abridged, has the best cast and is just as good as a choice for a recording of the show. Both is better, but for casual and curious listeners, this one beats the London cast. For those who really want the full score, go London. If I had to pick the superior, I would very reluctantly choose this one(reluctantly, due to the abridged score and Ms. Paige. One thing is for sure, every theater lover must own a copy of this wonderful show.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent of the best
I love the Pajama Game. First of all, it had an immense influence on me, having been the first musical I ever heard and the force that originally set in motion by fixation on Broadway musicals.

I also have to _deeply_ disagree with Mr. Stuart Howard, and to suggest that he in fact has no idea what he is talking about. All the musicals he said were "more important" than the Pajama Game only seem that way because they have been revived time and again. "Pajama Game" simply had the bad luck to become hopelessly dated due to cultural changes, and thus nearly impossible to revive successfully. Still, I personally think "Hernando's hideaway" and "Think of the time I save" still qualify as modern classics, and certainly it's hard to argue that "Once-a-year-day" hasn't been absorbed into our cultural consciousness.

As for Ms. Paige, I _love_ her cynical, witty delivery and extremely unique voice and style of singing, and I tend to believe that anyone who can't see her appeal has, to be blunt, outlandishly poor taste in music.

I love the Pajama Game, and, incidentally, I _highly recommend this CD. John Raitt's voice is a little cold, but it is also amazingly beautiful. The three comedy relief roles will all have you howling, Janice Paige is, as stated before, a genius, and unlike in my musicals, the songs will give you a sufficient idea of not only the story, but the characters...and "The Pajama Game" has deeper and more complex characters than any of the other old-fashioned musical comedies I can think of.

3-0 out of 5 stars It was okay....
Geez....this was an okay CD and some of the songs such as Hey There and A New Town Is a Blue Town were great because John Raitt has an excellent voice but Janis Paige I couldnt' say the same about. I'm sorry but those high notes were torture...she seemed as though she was having a horrible time herself trying to reach them. The songs are all classics but I would look into maybe buying a different version of this classic. ... Read more

148. Little White Duck & Other Chil
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Asin: B00000253F
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2797
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars A third generation American classic
I remember many of these songs and Burl Ives' warm and friendly voice from my own childhood, played on a heavy vinyl LP. My children and I listened to a tape of Little White Duck over and over. Now I am buying this classic recording of American children's songs, in CD form, for my two year old granddaughter.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest childrens albums of all time
"Little White Duck" is a compilation that was first released on LP on CBS's Harmony budget imprint in the 1950's, recorded in the 1940's and features some of the greatest childrens songs about animals including the title track, Froggie Went a Courtin', The Grey Goose and Two Little Owls plus tracks about other topics that kids are interested in such as "The Little Engine That Could," a medley of Mother Goose songs, and "Fooba Wooba John." Quite a few of the tracks do have Burl telling stories behind the songs as well. The artwork on this CD is the same as the 1974 LP reissue of the album, not the original Harmony album pressing, and uses "rechanneled" sources for all the songs so while this CD isn't exactly "audiophile" quality as quite a few of the songs do have surface noise, it serves the purpose of a great childrens album in Burl Ives fashion. It is a great album to learn nursery rhymes as well, just like another reviewer said, so if you come across this CD or LP anywhere, please pick it up and enjoy. Even older people can enjoy this album as well as children.

5-0 out of 5 stars The soundtrack of my childhood!
I almost cried when I found this CD. I never thought it would be available after all these years. I had the LP as a child and my brothers and sister and I listened to it constantly. It was THE soundtrack of my childhood. Even as adults, we'd sometimes comment about this song or that song. It made such an impact on our growing up years. So when, just on a lark, I did a search for it and actually found it I was ecstatic! I've now had the opportunity to not just tell my kids about these songs, but to let them experience them for themselves. And they love them today just as much as we did 30 years ago. And I think what I like most about it is that it is just a man singing. And unlike so many other kids albums, it is not high pitched and sugary, like so many adults do when they talk to kids. He just uses his regular, beautiful voice to talk and sing, this time through songs kids (and adults) love over and over and over again. Theses are timeless. THIS IS A MUST HAVE CD!

5-0 out of 5 stars I got tears in my eyes
just listening to sample of this album that provided. I remember the LP vividly from my childhood - my sister and I listened to it over and over. One time our mother sat on it and broke it and we cried so much that she went out that same day and bought a new one.
Now I have my own 3-year old son, and the other day I sang the song about Sarah the whale for him as well as I could remember it. He wants to hear it all the time now! I didn't really expect that the album would be available after all these years, but there it was! Since I now live in Germany, I'm just sad that it's not listed on, only on the US
I can only recommend this album. The songs are clever and fun for adults as well as kids, and Burl's voice is just magical. I hope it will be around for a few more generations!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great songs!!!
I bought this CD for the song "Little White Duck" but I found much better songs included on it. My daughter has loved this since she was 3 months old, the songs have lots of fun sounds like trains and whistles, besides how can you go wrong with Burl Ives singing children's songs! ... Read more

149. 2 Nights Live
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Asin: B0001JXQ9W
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1848
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (42)

5-0 out of 5 stars Maybe his best album yet!
2 Nights Live! is simply a great record. Over two hours of music and 41 songs, all performed LIVE. If you've ever been to one of his shows, you know the power, heart and soul that Barry puts into all his performances. Every song on this 2-CD set is masterfully done. This album is worth owning just for the 6 previously unreleased songs, such as "Forever and a Day", which are rarely ever performed and usually reserved for his concert tour catalog. If you are looking for mainstream Barry Manilow, though, you will not be disappointed-- the LIVE versions of classics like "Mandy" and "Weekend in New England" on these disks are some of the best recordings of the songs I've heard. If you thought he sounded good on tape, wait until you hear him LIVE! Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Barry Shines In 2 Nights Live!!!
Barry Manilow's 2 Nights Live is an excellent live recording from the Manilow Live! 2002 Tour at the PNC Center in New Jersey. Barry's voice is in top form, and his voice sounds clear and strong throughout the CD. Barry sings many of his hits that have become synonymous with the name Barry Manilow such as: Mandy, Weekend In New England, I Write The Songs, Even Now and Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again just to name a few. There are also six previously unreleased tracks on this 2-CD set, including Harmony, the title song from the musical "Harmony," You're There, We Live On Borrowed Time, Every Single Day from "Harmony," That's Life and Forever And A Day. This 2-disc set contains 41 tracks divided into Night One and Night Two. In addition, there are six dialogue tracks by Barry. There are also some great photos in the booklet, as well as Barry's own thoughts and comments on his 35 years of touring. In my opinion, the only kind of disappointing track in this set is Can't Smile Without You. First of all, the duet version (with two kids named Britney and Jimmy) included with the 2 Nights Live set was not indicative of how the song was done most of the time during the Manilow Live 2002 Tour. I attended several Manilow concerts during this tour, and more often than not Barry did Can't Smile Without You as a sing-a-long and not as a duet at all. I also know there are many veteran fans who have not been picked for a CSWY duet with Barry, and they have been trying for 20 or more years. It is disappointing (in my opinion) that these two children were picked, especially after their mother was picked to be a CSWY Girl in a previous show. On a more positive note, 2 Nights Live is an excellent collection of Barry's music, and it is definitely a must have for any Manilow fan.

4-0 out of 5 stars Could Have Been Better
I have been waiting for years to get a definitve live sampling of Barry Manilow. His 1977 live album is said to be fantastic, but for now I shy away from it since I like a lot of his 1978 and over work, which is not inlcluded there. I can't find the other three he made prior to this one, so today I went to Best Buy and decided to buy this 2 - disc set. Well, my reaction to "2 Nights Live" is mixed.

Disc 1 is the weaker of the two discs. Right from the opening you know this cd won't be that great. While the medley is very good, when you come to a concet, you rather here the whole song than just select pieces. Also, he tends to leave out verses on sevrals songs, especially evident on "Can't Smile Without You" (though the adorable duet with two kids more than makes up for it) and "Mandy". And "It's A Miracle" is done just by repeating the chorus over and over again, while one of my favorites, "Could It Be Magic", is presented in just mere instrumental pieces.

Howver, there are more than a few saving graces on this cd. His performances on the standards "Looks Like We Made It", "Even Now" and "Weekend In New England" are strong, further proof of Barry's amazing vocal strengths. He gives the newer track "Turn The Radio Up" an extra zing. The ballads "You're There" and "We Live On Borrowed Time" are also good. The standout is an energetic "Bandstand Boogie", which sounds as fresh and lively as it did in 1975.

Disc 2 is by far the better. It opens with three relatively uknown songs rarely heard: "I'm Comin' Back", "Sweet Heaven (I'm In Love Again)", "Who's Sleepin' In My Bed", the latter one of Barry's best uptempo numbers. Next comes strong renditions of two of his most popular hits "Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again" and "Somewhere Down The Road". Both songs are better than the studio versiosn, which still remain timeless in their own right. He sounds vibrant on "That's Life", and does the song "Every Single Day" from "Harmony" well. I enjoyed "New York City Rhythm" immensely. Just a great, upbeat song. "I Made It Through The Rain", another all - time favorite, just is further proof of Barry's great voice and marvelous showmanship. The "Mayflower" numbers "She Should'a Been Mine" and the exhillerating "They Damce" are excellent live. Then comes the highlight of the whole album on either disc. He gives a haunting rendition of the 1984 Johnny Mercer collabaoration "When October Goes" from the album "2:00 A.M. Paradise Cafe". This perfromance is worth the price of the cd alone. "If Tomorrow Never Comes" sends out a great message to people: tell your loved ones how much you care before it's too late. Then comes the double winner of "Copacabana" and "I Write The Songs". It was the nice the hear the former song without the cheesy female midsong section, and the latter is the definitve version of the song. The brief "Old Friends" is a great segue into the closer, "Forever And A Day.

There are just three songs I wish he did that he didn't do: "The Old Songs", "Ships" and the aforementioned "Could It Be Magic". If I'm the only one who misses these songs, I'll shut up.

Is this cd among Manilow's all - time best? No. But as a cd in genrral, is it worth the purchase? Yes. For all its flaws on the first disc, it's still a great live sampler of Barry's career up to this point.

5-0 out of 5 stars brought back so many good memories
2 Nights Live is a great CD.

it has so many Manilow classics, I listened to the two cd-roms for 2 days striaght and loved it.

so will any manilow fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's Got Everything!
Yes, this CD does contain many of Barry's greatest hits, but they're GREAT! And you've never heard a Barry song until you've heard it live! Songs like Mandy, Even Now, and Weekend in New England sound fabulous, and Barry puts so much feeling into them, you couldn't guess he's been singing them for 25+ years.

2NL also contains some of the "sleepers", like Sweet Heaven, Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed, and The Best of Me. Unless you own some of Barry's rare albums, you haven't heard these more than a couple of times.

And there are songs on here from Barry's RECENT and ORIGINAL album, Here at the Mayflower. Turn the Radio Up and They Dance sound awesome live, as does the slow, beautiful She Shoulda Been Mine.

DO NOT think that this is just another compilation or greatest hits CD from Manilow. It's a recording of two live nights, capturing nearly 30 years of the old favorites and soon to be ones. A pure delight for the entire two hours! ... Read more

150. Cabaret: The New Broadway Cast Recording (1998 Broadway Revival)
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Asin: B000007QGL
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5113
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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The 1998 Broadway production of Cabaret is that rarest of revivals, one that feels like an utterly new show. Despite their incredibly familiarity, the songs of Kander and Ebb sound as lively and lascivious as ever, and the revised score augments the original with several tunes written specifically for the Oscar-winning 1972 film ("Mein Herr," "Maybe This Time"). In the central roles of deluded chanteuse Sally Bowles and the MC, respectively, Natasha Richardson and Alan Cumming have big pumps to fill; they successfully do so with distinctive flair, eschewing the ham-fisted tendencies of Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey to impart this complicated yet enthralling vision of 1930s Berlin with a fiercely individual spirit. --Kurt B. Reighley ... Read more

Reviews (81)

5-0 out of 5 stars Here life is beautiful...
This recording represents the glorious 1998 revival of Kander & Ebb's masterpiece Cabaret, which I consider at least among the top contenders for best American musical of all time. Though the show has to be seen to be believed, there is a lot to appreciate on this disc.

Alan Cumming steals the show as the Emcee, in an extended "Willkommen" showing off a lot of the patter from the stage version. Cumming's Emcee is so radically different from Joel Grey's (Grey, of course, is on the original recording and in the film) that they're not even comparable, and I think both of these wonderful renditions of the role stand on their own. Natasha Richardson as Sally Bowles - could there be a more famous character? - is not a perfect Broadway singer, but this is intentional. She infuses all of her songs with a great acting quality, though I think Jill Haworth's renditions on the OBC recording are better for casual listening. Her Cliff, John Benjamin Hickey, is barely on the CD, having lost the solo from the 1966 production. It's made up for by some songs from the movie - specifically "Maybe This Time," "Mein Herr," and "Money" - and the added "I Don't Care Much."

Mary Louise Wilson and Ron Rifkin are Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz, respectively. Rifkin is excellent, and Wilson is very good - but she does not measure up to Lotte Lenya on the OBC. (Those are very, very hard shoes to fill; I don't wish the burden on anyone.) The chorus is great, adding to the sleazier atmosphere of the recording. It's particularly amusing how one of the "ladies" of "Two Ladies" is blatantly a man in this version - one of the bigger comic value bits that's pulled off well on stage. Michelle Pawk as Fraulein Kost gets some unexpected, but excellent, moments - including a German version of "Married" and the initial solo in the act closer "Tomorrow Belongs To Me." Wonderful stuff.

Every version of Cabaret is different; this revival owes a lot to both the original stage production and the film, but it is entirely its own animal. I can't really pick between the various versions, but I would say that no fan of Cabaret should be without this CD. Or the OBC CD. Or the film DVD. But if you haven't encountered the beautiful music of Cabaret yet, this is a great starting point for the modern listener.

5-0 out of 5 stars A new spin on a classic musical
The current Broadway revival of Kander and Ebb's 1966 musical CABARET is not entirely faithful to the original production. Some changes are based on Bob Fosse's 1972 film version, while others date from more recent revivals. Gone are the songs: "Meeskite", "Why Should I Wake Up?" and "The Telephone Song" and the film's "Money Money" has replaced the original show's "Money Song" - but we gain from the addition of "Mein Herr" and "Maybe This Time" from the film score, and "I Don't Care Much" cut from the original show during previews.

Natasha Richardson handles Sally's songs well - but not too well: You never lose sight of the fact that Sally is a second rate singer in a tacky Cabaret. John Benjamin Hickey isn't given a lot to do on the recording: Aside from a few lines of dialogue he shares but one duet with Ms.Richardson. Pity, as he seems to exhibit a fine singing voice.

The real star of the disc is Tony winner Alan Cumming as the Emcee: Comic and terrifying all at once. While Joel Grey presented a leering Emcee, Cumming is much darker: more decadent - Listen to him relish the word "beautiful" not once but three times in a row during the opening number..

Lotte Lenya brought such depth to the characterization of Frau Schneider, that others have paled in her wake, but Mary Louise Wilson gives the character a quiet dignity and resists any temptation to mimic her celebrated predecessor.

RCA Victor has again done an outstanding cast recording capturing the look and sound of one of Broadway's biggest hits. The accompanying booklet offers several color shots of the production and all the lyrics - but, unfortunately, no synopsis to provide the uninitiated with any kind of story link. It's the only flaw in an otherwise first rate package.

Columbia's classic original cast album (recently reissued on CD by Sony in their Columbia Broadway series) remains definitive - but this new darker more abr! asive production has yielder a very fine CD that crackles with theatrical excitement.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic! Go see it for yourself!!
"Cabaret" is one of my all time fav musicals. The music is fun, sad, catchy, meaningful and the choreography and vocals are also amazing! I'm so glad they decided to tape this recording DURING the show. You can hear the audience getting excited and having fun at the show. It makes it a lot more fun if you havent had the privlege of seeing this anazing show on stage. I saw the tour with Leah Thompson ("Caroline In The City") and she was phenominal, as is Natasha Richardson in this recording. I'm glad they added "Maybe This Time" which wasn't on the original score. If you love the movie Cabaret check out the Broadway revival version. I really hope they make another recording soon! All of my "Cabaret" Cd's (original, movie, this one) are being played out!!

5-0 out of 5 stars best cast recording of cabaret yet!
I have three of the cast recordings of cabaret and this is by far the best one!

1-0 out of 5 stars wretched
This album is a TRAVESTY.

The small amounts of spoken dialogue indicate a poorly acted, melodramatic debacle. The singing is weak, passionless and uninspired. The accents are horribly done. Compared to the remarkable Lotte Lenya, whoever plays the Fraulein's part is not the strong, interesting person of the original production. Instead, we have a fraulein that is just plain old and drab. The revision of the master of ceremonies is decidedly unwelcome - harsh and unforgiving. Sally Bowles has a completely unattractive voice. Everyone sings amateurishly, and it's obvious that they were trying to go for a harsh/realistic tone. The problem is that the way they do it it just plain sucks. This new Sally Bowles can't even hit some of the notes that I heard on the original broadway album. Combined with, again, HORRIBLE accent work that should be used as a textbook example for every actor on what NOT to do.

The point of Cabaret was great beauty and fun existing in the midst of tremendously tumultuous times. The 1998 reimagining of Cabaret as a production MIRRORING tumultuous and hard times is boring, ugly, in short a complete and utter failure. A 1/10. When I consider that it is an INSULT to the original broadway production, I lower that rating to 0/10. Then I reconsider - how can I give anything that incorporates such wonderful (written) music a 0/10? So I raise it back up to a 1/10. However, you'd never know that it was wonderful listening to this debacle. It's like listening to Tchaikovsky sung by a thirteen year old with no vocal training in the throes of puberty. Just plain awful. ... Read more

151. A Year with Frog and Toad (Original Cast Recording)
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Asin: B0001IN0LW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2791
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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A winning combination of a talented cast, appealing music and lyrics by Robert and Willie Reale, and Arnold Lobel's classic children's books made A Year with Frog and Toad a Broadway success that earned 2004 Tony nominations for best musical, best book, and best original score.The brainchild of Adrianne Lobel (the author's daughter and a veteran stage designer) and the Reale Brothers, Frog and Toad was originally produced at The Children's Theater of Minneapolis, turning Lobel's stories into entertaining vignettes starring the titular amphibians (played by Jay Goede and Mark Linn-Baker, Adrianne Lobel's husband) and colored by jazzy '30s-style music."The Kite," for example, is an energetic Charleston, "He'll Never Know" is a soft shoe, and "Seeds" illustrates Toad's gentle love of plant life in a lyric ballad.This recording captures the original cast from Minneapolis (which transferred intact to Broadway, except Jennifer Gambatese replaced Kate Reinders as one of the birds) and adds an attractive 32-page booklet filled with photos, lyrics, and notes by Adrianne Lobel and the Reales.A Year with Frog and Toad deserves a long life in the repertory of children's theater alongside such fare as You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for everyone!
This CD is great for kids and everyone else. I'm seventeen and I have to tell you, it's great! My friends and I took it along with us on a road trip and had a blast with it (especially Snail with the Mail and Toad Looks Funny in a Bathing Suit). The songs are jumpy and beaty and kids will love its fast pace. It's got really great songs like Kooky eating Cookies and more. Hope you buy it and enjoy. I already bought one for myself and another to give to a friend!

5-0 out of 5 stars fun for everyone!
We got to see Frog and Toad in Minneapolis and loved it, so we were overjoyed to get the CD from a friend. It's one of the very few kid-appropriate CD's we've found that my husband and I can listen to over and over without wanting to slit our wrists. But that's actually faint praise--I listen to it (and sing along!) even when the kids aren't around--it's fun and jazzy, the lyrics are clever, and the cast is terrific, especially the "Snail with the Mail".

5-0 out of 5 stars It kept the kids quiet in the car.
Our friends saw the show on broadway and recommended we buy the cd. Our three kids 8, 5, and 3 are all familiar with the Frog and Toad books already and were excited about hearing the songs. We took a 4 hour car trip and listened to the cd three times. We did the same thing on the way home. The best of it is, my wife and I actually like listening to the songs too. Most of our kids' music we merely tolerate.

5-0 out of 5 stars Frog and Toad--The Best!
I went to go see this show before it was on Broadway-in the New Victory Theater in Manhattan. It was the best show I've ever seen. At the time, they didn't have a soundtrack. But then, about a month later, I received a CD that had four songs on it from the show in the mail. I knew that I had to get the whole soundtrack. I couldn't find it anywhere for about a year, and then I looked on and-there it was! This is the best CD I've ever gotten. It's very unusual because that I'd never seen (or heard) anything like this before. Now I go to school singing the songs, and my friends sing with me (at least the parts they know). I love Turtle and Mouse, the way they sing--they have such strong voices. The lyrics to every song are catchy and humorous, and are just happy. I would recommend this CD for everyone who likes catchy, jazzy, funny songs. You just gotta love Frog and Toad!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for kids and Parents alike!
Even if you are not familiar with Arnold Lobel's Classic duo - you will enjoy this witty musical. If you do know the Frog and Toad books - this will enhance enjoyment of both musical and books. The music has a sophisticated 30's sound - Great jazzy orchestrations and the lyrics are giggle for both kids and adults. There is not a lot out there that is this good for children and entertaining for adults - rates with the best of Disney and Pixar. My two year old loves the show - but it is appropriate for ages 2 to 92. ... Read more

152. Children Of Eden (1998 New Jersey Cast)
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Asin: B000006OP3
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 9837
Average Customer Review: 4.51 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (74)

Last summer, I saw a shortened production of this show. The performers were absolutely amazing, especially the girl who played Eve. That show gave me a feeling for the music, so I decided to buy the full CD. Well, actually, I first bought the highlights to see if I really liked it, and then I purchased the full version. This is a terrific CD with a variety of styles of music. It's difficult to choose favorite songs, but some include: In Pursuit of Excellence (w/a 5 part harmony), Spark of Creation, A World Without You, Children of Eden, Stranger to the Rain, In Whatever Time We Have, Ain't It Good, and In the Beginning. I truly enjoy this wonderfully composed music and cleverly written lyrics, and hope that you do too! This is an amazing show!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Music that touches the heart
I first saw this amazing musical at Toby's Dinner Theatre (New Jersey I believe) on a choir trip back in December of 1998. I was moved by it from the start. The songs really hit home with me, and the cast was incredible.

Since then, I was given the opportunity to be a part of this musical. My school, Jefferson High School, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, did "Children of Eden" just 2 short months ago. I was fortunate enough to be cast as Yonah. The entire cast had the most wonderful time putting it together, and we had a blast both in practice and performance.

The music from "Children of Eden" touched everyone in our community. People young and old left our auditorium in tears because the music moved them so much. As a member of the cast, there was not a single performance that wasn't exhilariting. On the final night, the entire cast left the stage weeping because the production had moved us so and brought us closer together.

This music is not just for people who are already "into musical theatre". It's for anyone with a heart and soul that has felt the power of music. It's a great buy and a soundtrack no one should be without!

5-0 out of 5 stars Let There Be...Great Music
Much music requires multiple listens for full appreciation, and Children of Eden grows on you as well. However, I fell in love with "Let There Be" almost right away. Wonderful.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great music, so what if its not "Broadway"?
I have not been in this show, but I have sung some of the songs from it (most notable "Lost in the Wilderness" in a recent concert and "In whatever time we have") and this is great stuff.(...) If you want homogenous, boring, typically and unerringly "broadway" music, then see something old. Shouldn't we be looking for music that doesn't fit the mold? I agree that this show won;t make it to broadway, but thats not for musical reasons. stephen schwartz may not be the most original or greatest of composers, but this is still good stuff and few people writing musicals these days are actually original. I'm not a huge fan of the synthesized sound, but its the music thats on trial here. Buy this CD if you want interesting biblical music and some great voices. If you want to here Hello Dolly...then BUY hello dolly. Its that simple.

5-0 out of 5 stars Such a beautiful show
I was lucky enough to see a wonderful production of this show over the past summer. I, personally, am an atheist. This did not stop me from being incredibly moved at this show. The story is (of course) wonderful, but the way that it is created for the stage is brilliant, and the characterization that Schwartz put into the songs is beautiful. Anyone can enjoy and appreciate this show.

This recording is a wonderful recording. The songs "Children of Eden" and "Return of the Animals" are so beautiful. I cannot say enough wonderful comments about this show. It is absolutely amazing. I recommend it to anyone who loves Pippin or Godspell or good theatre in general. It's wonderful! ... Read more

153. Jekyll & Hyde - The Gothic Musical Thriller (1994 Concept Cast)
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Asin: B000002J3K
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6020
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (111)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best show ever! This one has a little of everything!
THis is my favorite musical of all time!! I love broadway, but for a lot of the broadway soundtracks that I buy, I don't love them till after I have seen the show and it has been like that for about 10 or 15 shows. THis show was different, the minute I heard it I fell in love with it!! THis was also my first experience listening to the amazing Linda Eder. Ever since this album I have been a big fan of hers, she shines as her role of Lucy, with songs like "someone like Me", "A New Life", and "NO one knows who I am". Anthony Warlow does a great job as the sensitive Jekyll and the evil Mr. Hyde. He has a role that is perfect for this part and some songs that show this is "THis is the moment", " The world has gone insane", "How can I continue on", and my favorite "Confrontation". THe duets are also great and one of the most well know is "IN his eyes" which has two great singers and a great melody. THis has a little bit of everything for it has your ballads, uptempo songs, and some that are a little rock. It has a real pop feel to it since Frank Wildhorn before his broadway writing days was a pop song writer. If you buy this album, I promise you will not be dissapointed, it is the best new broadway album ever!

5-0 out of 5 stars There's such a fine line ...
The Complete Works album is a necessity for a Jekyll and Hyde fan. This pre-Broadway score includes crowd-pleasing songs that were cut from the OBCR. (Bitch, Bitch, Bitch; Bring On The Men; Possessed; I Need To Know) This album also includes much of the dialogue from in between the songs, which makes the storyline easier to follow. (The voice-over prologue, Board of Governors, and The Wedding Reception)

Linda Eder is phenomenal. Her performances in the lewd Bring On The Men and the hopeful Someone Like You are exceptionally good. Finding a female lead to sing opposite Eder must have been a task. Unfortunately Carolee Carmello just can't cut it, and is a real disappointment after hearing Christiane Noll on the OBCR. Carmello is a belter, and only a belter, but most of Lisa's songs are soft ballads. Luckily Anthony Warlow more than makes up for her awkward handling of the songs. Warlow IS Jekyll and Hyde! People refuse to believe me when I tell them he sings for both characters. His rendition of the "duet" Confrontation is why I give this album five stars instead of four.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Recording
This IS the best recording of "Jekyll and Hyde." Anthony Warlow is the key element in making it so, and the show itself is a fabulous break from the Broadway mold. This was the first recording of the show that I heard, and I was simply astounded, more by the power of the songs and the show itself than the actors in it, but Warlow is, as has been noted, amazing. This CD is worth your money, just keep an "Anything Goes" or "Bye, Bye Birdie" soundtrack handy when you listen to it for the first time because you'll want something happy when you're done with it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Far better than the Broadway version
My introduction to Frank Wildhorn's Jekyll & Hyde was the Broadway cast recording. It was impressive enough with so many terrific songs to motivate me to see the stage play on Broadway. That was something of a disappointment, as the plot seemed a bit incongruous and poorly conceived. Finally hearing the concept recording that resulted in the original Houston play explained a lot. Plainly the producers had to condense and truncate in order to get financing to get the play to Broadway, making numerous compromises along the way. The original concept recording contains enough to indicate that the earlier version of the play was much better organized and well explained, and much closer to Stevenson's story as well.

An additional pleasant surprise was the heightened richness in Wildhorn's original concept recording. Many of the songs have more subtlety and imagination in the orchestrations, and some have extra verses, as well as several songs entirely absent from the Broadway production. The pacing is much better, slowing down some of the songs, and in comparison revealing the Broadway version as rushed to fit it into a time frame. Only the tale end of In His Eyes seems to have been improved for Broadway.

My conclusion is that the original version of the stage play must be superior to the Broadway effort. I will keep my eyes open to find it being performed somewhere so that I can finally see it as Wildhorn and company intended it to be.

While I liked the Broadway cast recording a great deal, this version is even better. I heartily recommend it to all aficionados of Jekyll & Hyde.

5-0 out of 5 stars Actually I'd rate this 4 1/2
When I first heard this album (or the highlights cd) back in 1999, I was paralyzed. My surrounding life became obsolete and I was totally enveloped. If it wasn't Anthony Warlow's feverish prowess, it was the spectacular numbers. One after the other, one after the other, one after the other of this thrilling, feverish emotional exciting rollercoaster ride through insanity and adventure. I really regret this wasn't brought to the stage (in the style of this album) because it would've been a better success. I feel that the Broadway show destroyed the potential of this stellar concept. I STILL haven't heard the complete, and am dying to. I'll receive it next week (from a friend) and come back with another review. But, the highlights album already demonstrates the spark, the power and the amusing passion this extraordinary epitaph to gothic opera demonstrates. The one thing I have qualms with, though I try not let it bother me, are the pop arrangements of some of the songs. "Someone Like You," "This is the Moment" and "A New Life" sound a lot more authentic and 'in the moment' on the Broadway recording than they do here. The ritzy arrangements weren't necessary. The audience didn't need to be 'drummed down' by this needless pop. All we needed was the songs in themselves - in most cases - but, all in all, it's not too distracting. I probably skip (most of the time) to the more exciting parts. The transformation with the screaming Warlow is astonishingly inspirational. The seduction routine in Alive is more frightening than the Exorcist. You can sense the desperation of Jekyll in every number, particularly No One Must Ever Know. When this album's not an atmospheric triumph, it's an exciting rollercoaster. I dare Andrew Lloyd Webber to come up with something as good as this! ... Read more

154. Sullivan: The Pirates Of Penzance
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Asin: B000002GXE
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5350
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Producer Joseph Papp's Broadway spin on Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance cannily employs pop firepower in its casting, adding an inviting Yankee accent to roles normally associated with (and sometimes embalmed in) plummy English locution. Erstwhile country-rocker Linda Ronstadt, who by this point had already proven she could tackle pre-rock pop standards, stretches successfully as its heroine. Rex Smith, then dismissed as a pop-rock heartthrob, proves he could be a "legitimate" musical leading man, a niche he's since inhabited comfortably. And Kevin Kline returns to his stage training as the hearty King of the Pirates.Onstage, Papp celebrated the slapstick possibilities of the deliberately silly plot, which weaves reliably tart observations about class consciousness and gender politics into a pirate band's invasion of a Cornish coastal town.A faithful big-screen adaptation added Angela Lansbury for marquee clout, but even without that grande dame of the Great White Way, this original stage cast is a corker, the music glorious and the performances spirited. --Sam Sutherland ... Read more

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Take heart...Frederic, Mabel, the Pirate King, Ruth live on!
Finally the Broadway version of Gilbert & Sullivan's masterpiece is in CD form! Last summer, I played Mabel in a summer stock production of the Broadway version and grew to love the music. Unlike the film version of "Pirates", the CD does not have Angela Lansbury in the role of Ruth:( The CD does include all of the original music, including "Sorry Her Lot" which was borrowed from "that infernal nonsense Pinafore". Truly Gilbert & Sullivan at its best!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Broadway Triumph
This version of a classic show takes a funny show and transforms it into a side-splittingly funny masterpiece. Linda Ronstadt's vocal range and the nuances of her performance amazes me every time I hear it; Rex Smith brings a stunningly beautiful and lyric tenor to the role of Frederick; as the Pirate King, Kevin Kline rates a hysterical and absolute A+. This show is a delight and not to be missed. Not just for Gilbert and Sullivan fans, nor for fans of operetta in general, this Pirates of Penzance truly swashbuckles its way into the realm of the classics - accessible and enjoyable for all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Oh Gilbert, Oh Sullivan
With their mockery of British society, Gilbert and Sullivan truly bring a wonderful score to the stage. Between the masterful and witty lyrics and the catchy tunes, one cannot help but hum them to oneself when leaving the theater, or rather, after listening to the CD. Myself having experience performing Gilbert and Sullivan's work in such pieces as "HMS Pinafore", "Pirates of Penzance", "Iolanthe" and "Princess Ida", working on them is just as much, if not more, enjoyable that viewing a performance. I highly recommend all of Gilbert and Sullivan's work, "Pirates" in particular.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite movie
I have loved this movie since it first came out twenty years ago or so. I was delighted when the CD was finally released. The production is superb and the music is wonderful. G & S themselves would be pleased with Papp's presentations.

5-0 out of 5 stars My absolute favorite of all opera's
The first time I saw the movie of the broadway version(Kline, Ronstadt, Lansbury) I was hooked, more, obsessed with the show. It was hard to believe at first that Kevin and Linda tackled their performances so brightly, for operetta. However, Linda impressed me with her accomplished performance as "Mabel Stanley" smoothly landing all those sweetly high octave notes. And Kevin certainly shined in one of his finer, sexier screen roles as the dashingly, buffoonish, pirate king. Rex Smith made me melt with his succullent, syrupy, yet smooth tenor vocals as the pirate apprentice. Some of the sceneplay, I felt could have been directed much smoother, as a few shots appeared to be either filmed choppy, or plain poorly edited. But, in the end - the soundtrack is top-rate, and the movie I graded a B-. ... Read more

155. Man of La Mancha (2002 Broadway Revival Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B00007GZM1
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5559
Average Customer Review: 3.85 out of 5 stars
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Brian Stokes Mitchell belongs to a rarefied species: a male lead who can steal scenes from his female counterparts in a Broadway musical. As if his impossibly rich and evocative voice weren't enough, Mitchell is a charismatic actor who inhabits his roles with panache. After turns in Kiss of the Spider Woman, Ragtime, and Kiss Me, Kate, he is back in the popular 1965 show about Cervantes and his fictional alter ego, Don Quixote. The show has become a bit creaky over the years. The revival probably wouldn't have a chance without Mitchell, and he does turn in a spectacular performance. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio's Aldonza feels a bit forced--compare the smooth way in which Mitchell's songs flow with her sometimes choppy delivery--but she also possesses a welcome old-timey quality, never more so than in "What Does He Want from Me?" As for "The Impossible Dream (The Quest)," well, Mitchell injects something that feels emotionally fresh into the chestnut. And that may be the greatest achievement of all. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (39)

2-0 out of 5 stars A poor recording of a brilliant score.
This is one of the few cases where the representation of the score in the theater is actually superior to what was preserved for posterity on the disc. This is a very poor, almost unlistenable recording; it captures every flaw in Brian Stokes Mitchell's singing voice and delivery (his acting choices make some sense in the greater context of the show, but are completely disconnected from reality on the recording), it presents Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as completely wrong for the part (never once does she sound like a gutter whore, a "kitchen slut reeking of sweat"), the sad deterioration of Ernie Sabella's once more robust instrument, and even the bizarre decisions made by director Jonathan Kent or musical director Robert Billig (the most horrendous being the mutilation of "The Impossible Dream," changing it from a solid character number into a shameless, untruthful applause-grabbing attempt on Mitchell's part). Only Mark Jacoby, in his small role as the Padre truly comes off well on the disc, but he--and every other performer on the disc, without exception--is surpassed by the fantastic original cast members, whose thrilling renditions live on in the 1965 recording. That one is a must-own for all musical theatre (and music) lovers, but this recording should only be purchased by die-hard fans of this production. Everyone else will find it an embarrassing, soulless attempt at capturing on record one of the most moving and rapturous of musicals.

1-0 out of 5 stars Another Disappointing La Mancha
This version of La Mancha is another disappointment. I haven't seen this ensemble live, so I can't make that comparison. I am however assuming that the physical assumption of the roles by these performers is much more engaging in person, as they were probably picked for the way they look as much as how well they sing.
Instead of the beautiful overture, they decided to have some woman moaning and screeching to a Spanish guitar accompaniment. It sounds vaguely "Spanish", and I assume it was to give the recording some exotic flavor, but this does not continue and the performers sound blatantly American from the beginning. Whatever possessed the producers to decide to throw out the marvelous overture and replace it with this oragasming woman is beyond me, but it sounds misplaced since there is nothing Spanish or exotic about the rest of the performance. In fact, the performers' pronunciation of the few Spanish names and words is unintentionally hilarious.
The orchestra sounds congested as recorded, with little detail revealed. The conducting is prosaic, dry, and with little feeling for shape and texture of the musical writing. It's all very "matter-of-fact" with almost no excitement.
Stokes Mitchell's voice doesn't have the amplitude, reach, or sense of mystery or madness that the role requires. He sings in a pop-gospel style that is totally inappropriate to the mood of the piece. His "Dream the Impossible Dream" is a travesty. He milks the ending with an unconvincing key change worthy of Barry Manilow in order to "wow" the audience, presumably with his one or two good high notes (or what, for him, are high notes). But he turns the piece into an "America The Beautiful" vocal showcase instead of trying to interpret the song for what it is. His baritenor simply doesn't fill out the music and his spoken dialogue verges on the inane. I refuse to believe Stokes Mitchell was the best person to audition for this role.
Mastrantonio is clearly overparted as Aldonza. She sounds whiney, bored, and diffident throughout most of the piece. Her technique isn't up to the job--she sings all the notes, but with no room to spare. Interpretation is not a word that can be applied to her performance, except in Don Quixote's death scene where she is more "alive" for the first time, and he adds a bit of power and emotion into her singing; she finally shows what she could have done with the role had she tried. She falls into all the vocal traps the composer sets for this role--traps set to show the desperation and vehemance of the character. Unfortunately, her desperation is her own and doesn't emerge by artistic choice.
Sabella is another miscast character in this dreadful production. The role sounds too high for him and he shouts for emphasis. He's unmusical and not funny at all.
The rest of the cast sounds small-scaled and amateurish. The Inn-keeper's voice sounds scarily damaged and the Padre sounds worn.
It's a shame the current emphasis in music theater is for the performers to be "triple-threats" (singer/actor/dancer), because this has apparently diluted the talent down to a minimum standard when it comes to vocal display. I can only assume these performers bring something more to their live performances that sadly does not come across on recording.
This CD set can easily be bypassed. Acquire the original cast recording to see how hypnotic and intriguing this music can sound with professionals.

4-0 out of 5 stars Brian Stokes Mitchell heads the Broadway revival cast
Since the original Broadway cast album of "Man of La Mancha" is one of my all time favorites it was probably impossible for the 2002 Broadway Revival Cast to even come close and while it has its moments, due mostly to the performance of Brian Stokes Mitchell, it is just not in the same league. My verdict is not based on "The Impossible Dream (The Quest)," because I actually like what Mitchell does with the Broadway classic, but rather on "Aldonza" and the "Final Sequence: The Death of Alonso Quijana." Those two tracks on the original cast album are two of he most powerful moments I have ever heard on such albums; I am not talking about seeing them in performance on stage, but the effect they had on my just listening to them on the record (and then on the cassette and then on CD).

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio does a nice job on "What Does He Want of Me?" but does not capture the raw rage of Joan Diener's "Aldonza," an amazingly adult song for a 1960s musical. Nor is the tearful chemistry there as Aldonza tries to will Don Quixote back to life. All the live performances of "Man of La Mancha" I have seen have suffered in comparison as well, so I am pretty consistent (and, yes, I usually enjoy traveling companies and community theater musical productions, so I am not being elitist here). But those two tracks are the heart and soul of this musical so they really do make all the difference in the world as far as I am concerned.

Apart from those two critical points in the production, the rest of the songs are fine. We do get all of the music this time around, which includes the "Opening," "The Knight of the Mirrors," "I'm Only Thinking of Him (reprise)," as well as more of the dialogue from the "Final Sequence" and "Finale." But the chief attraction remains Mitchell's vocals as he infuses new power into all of his songs. The story remains interesting because Dale Wasserman manages to take the two quite different parts of Cervantes "Don Quixtoe" and make them work together, which is one of the reason that whenever I taught the classic novel I made a point of playing the original cast album for the class.

5-0 out of 5 stars I really shouldn't rate this because...
People I know are on this album, and my view is a bit prejudiced in their favor. Even so, I think I'm objective enough to review it.

This is a great recording of a powerful and moving piece of Broadway theater. Brian...well, I can never say enough in praise of his talent or his execution of it. (I'm more of a fan than a friend these days.) It's wonderful to see him filling in the void left when we lost some of Broadway's legends (i.e., Kiley, Drake) as well as paving his own new path (e.g., Ragtime). While Ms. Mastrantonio lacks Joan Diener's raw power and punch, she exposes a vulnerability in Aldonza that makes it believable that she would capitulate and embrace Don Quixote's vision where I always had a bit of difficulty believing Joan Diener's Aldonza capable of such a change of heart. Jamie brings a wonderful skepticism as well as good-humor to the barber. The Padre on this recording far surpasses the performance of the originating cast - a truly moving interpretation of the character. This show was definitely well cast, the CD was well-recorded, and I would have loved to have seen it on Broadway.

5-0 out of 5 stars Maybe Better Than Kiley
With the 1965 Original Broadway Cast Recording of "Man of La Mancha" to compete with, any new offering has an "impossible dream" of a challenge. This 2002 recording by the cast of the Tony nominated "Best Revival of a Musical" Broadway production proves it is not impossible.

Brian Stokes Mitchell, Tony winner and nominee for Best Actor in a Musical for this role, sings wonderfully. I cannot compare him as an actor to the original Don Quixote, the magnificent Richard Kiley, who took home the 1965 Tony for this role, but he does have the pipes to claim to be a better singer. He also benefits from a new arrangement for "The Quest" which uses his talents to their best advantage.

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is every bit a match to Joan Deiner as Aldonza/Dulcinea.

Ernie Sabella and Paul Jacoby as Sancho and the Padre. are charming. Rather different from Irving Jacobson and Robert Roundsville, buut no less entertaining.

Perhaps the only weak spot is Don Mayo as the Governor/Innkeeper. Ray Middleton was better.

Don Quixote's death plays better in the original thanks to Kiley's more convincingly aged voice.

This recording has the advantage of being a digital original. The CD of the 1965 cast suffers from being a digital recording taken from a degrarded analog tape original. There is an unintentional vibratto like sound to the 1965 cast recording.

My only real complaint about the new version is that the Overture has been omitted. That is an inexcusable omission, but does not detract from the virtues of this version. ... Read more

156. Cyrano (1973 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $16.98
our price: $16.98
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Asin: B0007KIGIG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7129
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Not to be confused with Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire's 1958 version nor with the Dutch one that briefly played Broadway in 1994, this musical take on Edmond Rostand's classic tale opened on Broadway in 1973. Christopher Plummer plays the titular man with the nose, while Mark Lamos (who'd go on to become a celebrated stage director) and Leigh Beery complete the love triangle at the heart of the show. It's easy to see why this Cyrano, by composer Michael J. Lewis and lyricist Anthony Burgess (yes, the novelist), doesn't get revived much. The songs aren't that memorable. Except, that is, for Beery's splendid "You Have Made Me Love," which should be picked up more often by adventurous cabaret singers. More interestingly, the CD documents almost the entire performance, meaning you get huge chunks of dialogue in addition to the songs. This should be of particular interest to theater students interested in studying Plummer's impressive take on an iconic part. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
I first heard this cast recording in 1974.I fell in love with it, and made a taped version.Up til now that old cassette tape has had to make due.I had no idea that they would release this wonderful recording in CD.It just goes to show that good things are worth waiting for.

It is my opinion that this is the best of all musicalizations of Cyrano de Bergerac.The melodies are beautiful, the story line is fun to hear, and Christopher Plummer is a treat as Cyrano.He won the Tony award for his role in this show.

The show did not run long on Broadway, and it is a good example of a score outliving the show. I recommend this CD to anyone who loves the story and enjoys some story line as well as songs on a cast recording.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Nose By Any Other Name
This is one of my favorite musicals. While it is not a plus to put songs into "Cyrano", this is probably the best example of a nobel try. "Cyrano" as a play is so musical in it's wonderful words that the addition of music is not nesessary. Of course much depends on the translation - I prefer the Burgess version to the familiar Hooker one.There has never been a really successful musical version of "Cyrano". It would take a rare genius to provide one, but any of those would realize that the play really stands on it's own and would only need background music not actual songs. However, this is an excellent way to introduce the original Cyrano to those who would go to a musical but not a straight play. After hearing the CD with some of the scenes acted, it could easily wet the appitite for the original work.

This said, the CD is wonderful, first of all, there is Christopher Plummer, probably the best Cyrano ever (he won a Tony for this role) - evcn better than the famed versions of Jose Farrer. He may not be a great singer (after all he was dubbed in the film "Sound of Music") but there is a lot of the dialogue from the show featuring his electric performance.(Example, the "nose" number) Leigh Berry is a ravishing Roxanna (or Roxanne). What a marvelous voice. (I was lucky to haver seen her in a tour of "Kiss Me Kate" with Robert Goulet). Her numbers alone are reasons to have this recording.

This is not the greatest musical on CD, but it is certainly an enjoyable one. ... Read more

157. Li'l Abner (1956 Original Broadway Cast)
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our price: $8.99
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Asin: B000067ARR
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6136
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Such were the riches of a Broadway spoiled by the successes of Show Boat and Carousel in the 1950s that many a worthy show could get historically short shrift. That may well have been the case with the stage musical adaptation of Al Capp's wildly popular syndicated comic strip, which had a run of nearly 700 performances starting in 1956. The show (music by Gene de Paul, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, book by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank) leaned smartly on Capp's hillbilly-humor-as-contemporary-satire bent, even if its well-crafted songs and score belied a musical sophistication that was anything but Ozarkian.

Mercer's lyrics are playful and sharp (particularly on the political jab "The Country's in the Very Best of Hands"), and he and de Paul provide the show with both comic showstoppers (Stubby Kaye's "Jubilation T. Cornpone") and romantic ballads (highlighted by the zest of veteran trouper Edith Adams and newcomer Peter Palmer's "Namely You"). Previously released on CD only briefly in 1990, this newly restored and supplemented edition contains a wealth of rare materials: a rehearsal recording of the "Sadie Hawkins Day Ballet," a rousing reprise of "Jubilation T. Cornpone," the brief "What's Good for General Bullmoose." There are also two songs cut before the show's opening: "The Way to a Man's Heart" and "It's a Nuisance Having You Around," performed by Percy Faith and Rosemary Clooney, respectively. The "Hawkins Day Ballet" and overture are both presented in their original '50s binaural recordings.--Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars In the very best of hands
A great cast offering some lively performances make this a most enjoyable musical comedy. It was the first (of many) musicals adapted from the comics. Al Capp's delightfully zany characters had been entertaining readers for two decades when the musical stomped onto the stage of Broadway's St James theatre in November 1956. After a successful 2-year run, the cast went to Hollywood to translate the show into a very faithful film. The Lp was a steady seller as many colleges and regional theatre kept reviving the show. Sony Special Products released the record on CD in 1990 but apparently without clearing the release with Sony. They were told to withdraw the CD because it was slated for reissue in the Sony Broadway series. That never happened and the first CD issue became a highly prized collectors' item ($100 or more!) Now, Sony has finally restored the title to the catalogue. The remastering is first rate (as noted, some orchestral tracks are in true stereo) and the bonus tracks most welcome. It does seem odd that Sony did not re-print the synopsis from the original LP jacket: The film version is available if you're curious about the convoluted plot. The show is a noisy, lively and lacking in subtlety. Exactly the way a musical version of LI'L ABNER should sound!

3-0 out of 5 stars Li'l lacking
Sure, the lyrics by Johnny Mercer are fun (and very dated, due to their topical nature), but the music is forgettable.

My sense is that the movie, which is considered one of the most faithful transfers of stage to screen, is more enjoyable. The choreography by Michael Kidd was one of the musical's strong points, and obviously, that just does not come through on the cast recording. Hopefully, the DVD will be released eventually.

If you can't wait, then by all means purchase this CD. Columbia has done a wonderful remastering job and the extra tracks are a plus (especially the number by the greatly missed Rosemary Clooney).

5-0 out of 5 stars Kickapoo Joy Juice!
It's great to have "Li'l Abner" back in print and sounding so good. Columbia has pulled the stops out, and the overhauled sound is excellent. What's unusual is the inclusion of some true stereo tracks. (Until now, only the soundtrack from the 1959 film version, with many of the same performers, had been released in stereo). "Abner" was the last Broadway cast LP recorded by Columbia in mono, but eager stereophile engineers (who would record "Bells Are Ringing" a few weeks later in the label's first complete stereo recording) mulitracked some of the "Abner" tracks. Wisely the numbers with vocals, recorded with orchestra on one channel and vocals on the other) were not used here and the original mono versions were retained. But there are full stereo versions of the show's Overture and, glory be!, "The Sadie Hawkins Ballet," recorded at a rehearsal session and included here for the first time. Other material has been slightly expanded, a song added after the Broadway opening is included and other Columbia artists' renditions of two songs cut from the score are here too. Johnny Mercer and Gene de Paul has worked together the previous year in Hollywood on "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," another project for choreographer Michael Kidd, and are in sharper form here. Too bad it was their final collaboration. The songs are true toe-tappers, and Mercer's lyrics are still as sharp as ever. Grand Americana and grand Broadway.

5-0 out of 5 stars well worth the wait
I have been hoping this CD would be re-released, as I missed it when it came out a decade or so ago, and my vinyl version has been worn out over the years. It was certainly worth the wait. Mercer's lyrics are top-notch, and the tunes are the kind that stay in your head long after you've heard them. The bonus material on this CD is loads of fun; hearing Rosemary Clooney croon a song cut from the show is a joy. I only wish that the lyrics to the other cut number, "The Way to a Man's Heart", had been included in the booklet. But, there are some nice publicity stills in the booklet, and an informative commentary as well. Any fan of either Al Capp's comic strip or Broadway shows will love this CD.

5-0 out of 5 stars MERCER AND DEPAUL
Although he is well recognized as one of AMERICA's best songwriter,BROADWAY has often eluded JOHNNY MERCER during his lifetime.LI'L ABNER was one of his most successfull show with a run of 693 performances in 1956.Written with composer GENE DE PAUL with whom MERCER had collaborated on the movie SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS,it is filled with marvellous songs like NAMELY YOU and THE COUNTRY'S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS.Who but the man from SAVANNAGH could have written such a satiristic song like JUBILATION T.CORNPONE?Needless to say that this reedition is a must for any MERCER devotee,with several added tracks.The original cast was full of beautiful girls.Some reedition are worth waiting for,this is one of them.Just beware of that CORNPONE,he may influence the current politicians. ... Read more

158. Live From Las Vegas
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our price: $13.49
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Asin: B0002VYPCG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 238
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While the sales of Sarah Brightman's ambitious, Middle Eastern-themed 2003 album Harem may have fallen short of its predecessor, the veteran UK chanteuse's popularity as a live performer has only mushroomed. This live recording of her ambitious, sold-out Harem World Tour engagement at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Arena is testament to that appeal, begging the question: Will Brightman become the Grateful Dead of classical crossover? Indeed, abetted by the rich sonic textures of longtime producer/collaborator Frank Peterson, the worldbeat conceits of her recent studio recordings are folded into a larger, even more expansive live vision here. Brightman's overt dramatic instincts and oft-chaemeleonic vocal abilities drive a slate of material that stretches from the Arabian Nights/Madame Butterflypastiche of Harem's seductive "It's A Beautiful Day" through surprisingly effective classical/rock reinventions of Kansas' "Dust in the Wind" and The Moody Blues' chestnut "Nights in White Satin" to expected classical bowings "Nessun Dorma" and the obligatory nod to "Phantom of the Opera"Harem's East-meets-Eurodisco sensibility will also welcome the melodic new studio bonus cut, "Snow in the Sahara." --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

159. Candide (1956 Original Broadway Cast)
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our price: $10.99
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Asin: B0000996FW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10337
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

Additional lyrics by John LaTouche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and Leonard Bernstein. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars a Broadway milestone
Leonard Bernstein's CANDIDE was a Broadway flop when it first opened in 1956 at the Martin Beck Theatre, shuttering after an abysmal 73 performances. Though the show has never quite achieved the greatness it deserves, the Overture is considered to be one of the greatest, most thrilling ever written. The original 1956 cast album of the show has now been reissued on the Columbia Broadway Masterworks label.

Based on the play by Voltaire, the show starred Robert Rounseville ('Mr Snow' in the film version of CAROUSEL) as Candide, with Irra Petina as the Old Woman with One Buttock and Max Adrian as Dr Pangloss. Barbara Cook (the City Center revival of CAROUSEL, PLAIN AND FANCY) stars as the young ingenue Cunegonde.

The score, by Leonard Bernstein by lyrics by Richard Wilbur, John LaTouche and Dorothy Parker, is superb. The musical is best known for the devilish 'jewel song' aria "Glitter and Be Gay", sung by the clarion soprano of Barbara Cook, who infuses it with all the vocal pyrotechnics that it calls for."I Am Easily-Assimilated" is comically performed by Irra Petina, whilst the baritone of Robert Rounseville is showcased in "It Must Be So".

As a bonus on this new reissue, there is the majestic sweeping Overture as performed by the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Leonard Bernstein himself. There are also brand-new liner notes including an essay from Barbara Cook.

As well as this landmark recording, I also recommend the 1997 Broadway revival cast album (which features Harolyn Blackwell as Cunegonde and Jim Dale as Dr Pangloss). Buy them both today!

4-0 out of 5 stars Delightful
Excellent music, witty lyrics, this is a really fun recording. The criticism of this work is that it didn't work very well on stage. I can't comment because I have never seen a production. As a recording, however, Candide is very successful with much better music and much more enjoyable songs than the great majority of musicals.

5-0 out of 5 stars "I'll show my noble being Bright and Cheerful!"
"And yet, of course, these trinkets ARE endearing..."

"Weren't you clever, dear, to survive!"

"Poets have said, Love is undying, my love...
Don't be misled...they were all lying, my love."

"I cannot entertain your shocking proposition...
How could I regain my virginal position?"

"Bon voyage, dear fellow, dear...benefactor of
your fellow man...may your luck continue, do
come again and see us when you can..."

On the PBS station, tonight, there was an excellent
program presented titled "Changing Stages." On the
program was a segment dealing with the British stage
between the wars -- 1920s and 1930s -- and the
brilliant, classy, stylish, clever, sophisticated,
ironic plays of Noel Coward.
If there was ever a time when the American stage
came to the same level of stylish, clever, sassy
sophistication and wit -- then surely it had to be
in 1956 when "Candide" was presented.
Unfortunately it is impossible to present Leonard
Bernstein's bright, sparkling, sprightly score
which is every bit as clever and sophisticated as
the lyrics which it dances and cavorts with...never
merely accompanies.
This has got to be the version which one has to
have. The duet singing...the ensemble singing...
cannot be matched again. Robert Rounseville and
Barbara Cook have such incomparably harmonic and
well melded voices. Barbara Cook's singing in
"Glitter and Be Gay" is coloratura artfulness...

especially when she goes to the high "Ahhhh...
singing of a sorrow, nothing can assuage." That
section reminds me very much of Harolyn Blackwell's
beautiful voice and singing of "Summertime" in
the Glyndebourne Festival Opera's recording of
*Porgy and Bess* on EMI Classics, conducted by
Simon Rattle.
I saw a memorial documentary on the life of
Bernstein, and at the end of it they played
"Make Our Garden Grow" was a very moving
tribute to a brilliant, but sometimes ego-
driven and obsessed titan...I also cannot forget
another documentary in which he was recording
"West Side Story" with Jose Carreras and Kiri
Te Kanawa. His hectoring of Carerras was
painful to watch...but instructive and
insightful of the nature of the man, as well.

"We're neither pure...nor wise...nor good...
We'll do the best we know...we'll build
our house...and chop our wood...and make
our garden grow...and make our garden...

5-0 out of 5 stars Flawed, but still a masterpiece!
I grew up listening to this album (my parents having been among the enlightened few who saw the original production) and have always considered it fascinating and brilliant. Sure, there have been a half-dozen attempts to revise the show over the years, with much music added later on (some of it very good), but you really can't go wrong with this original version.

First of all, in Cook and Rousenville, it has two FANTASTIC singers. Max Adrian's Pangloss is also a delight. The quasi-operetta orchestration is more full-bodied and satisfying than some later versions, feeling much more like the 1700s. Throughout, the music and lyrics are intelligent, inventive, and enchanting - on par with West Side Story, if a bit less easy to relate to, being in an older idiom. (In fact, one of the best songs of West Side Story, the breathtaking wedding duet "One Hand, One Heart" was actually written for Candide, but not used because the irony of "Oh Happy We!" suited Candide better.)

Anyway, this albums is a flawed masterpiece that preserves a spectacularly creative production, and is a must-have for any serious fan of American musicals!

5-0 out of 5 stars credits
Anna Sokolow who has done the Choreography is not mentioned on the cd on this original production,although she had a very important role in it,as in everything that she had touched. The original dancers are mentioned. I'm waiting to see it on dvd and judge for myself, I hope that somewhere this production that preceded it's period was pictured like other sokolow's work. Meanwhile I have to enjoy only the music. ... Read more

160. Passion (1994 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000002SLC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10950
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Based on the Italian movie Passione d'amore, Stephen Sondheim's Passion is a story of obsessive love. Giorgio (Jere Shea), a soldier, and Clara (Marin Mazzie), a woman with a husband and child, are deeply in love, but their idyllic happiness is disrupted when Giorgio is transferred to another post. Here, he meets Signora Fosca (Donna Murphy), a homely and ill woman who is the cousin of the regiment's commanding officer. Fosca soon falls in love with Giorgio and pursues him relentlessly, saying "Loving you is not a choice / It's who I am." He is repulsed and resists her advances, but eventually, he succumbs to the power of her love.

Rather than a succession of individual songs strung together by dialogue, Sondheim's score is a constant flow of gorgeous music. (The original theater program listed no individual songs.) The plot is conveyed by song, some dialogue, letters between the characters, and a group of soldiers that serves as a Greek chorus. The result is more of a chamber opera than a conventional musical. Passion won Tonys for Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book of 1994, and Murphy also won a Tony for her powerful performance as Fosca. Mazzie is in glorious voice as Clara, and Shea brings a pretty voice and a wooden personality to Giorgio. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful recording, finally back in print.
Passion is one of Sondheim's unrecognized gems. Many deride it for its lack of feeling, but how can you really hold anything against this classic piece of theatricality? The Passion OBC soars to the heavens with the voices of Marin Mazzie and Donna Murphy as the opposed Clara and Fosca, with Jere Shea solid as the soldier Giorgio. As Giorgio slowly loses interest in his neat affair with Clara and becomes fascinated by the haunted, tormented, chronically ill Fosca, we see this tale of dark obsession grow along with its lush score. Mazzie's voice has every light and airy quality, and Murphy goes through the raw, dark life of Fosca with style.

Passion contains a good deal of dialogue, and the story flows fairly well if you're reading your synopsis. Some of the spoken material that isn't on the recording is available in the written script, and I'd recommend it if you want to know more about this fascinating tale. It's not to everybody's taste, but Passion will shine for those waiting for just such a recording. At twelve bucks, I think it's a worthwhile gamble for any musical lover looking to expand a bit.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sondheim explores aspects of love in PASSION
"Why is love so easy to give/and so hard to receive?" sing the leading characters in the final momens of PASSION - the 1994 Tony award winning musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. The same question can be asked of this show which was offered to an un-caring Broadway in the spring of 1994. A chamber opera with a rhapsodic score that is so gorgeous to listen to on records, yet made so many audience members laugh, squirm or snore througfh its intermissionless performance. Yet even those who disliked the musical, had to admire Donna Murphy's chilling performances as the obsessive Fosca who ultimately teaches the handsome army captain Giorgio the true meaning of love.

It's a fascinating performance - preserved both on CD and on Video. Even if we never quite understand Fosca's single-minded pursuit of her love, it is difficult not to respond to the show's final moments whe she reminds us that no matter how ugly her apperance, she is "someone to be loved."

This is a dark show - even by Sondheim's standards, and at times unrelenting in its own single-minded obsession with developing musical themes and variations. Do not let the light-hearrted romanticism of the opening song fool you: Listen to the opening line: "I'm so happy I'm afraid I'll die here in your arms..." sings Giorgio's beautiful mistress. Later Fosca vows "I would die for you" which she ultimately does. Sondheim may not be the first playwrite to explore the love = death theme, but it has seldom been a popular concept for a musical.

That is what makes PASSION such a fasinating theatre piece. A show where the audience spends the entire time rooting for the hero and heroine to NOT get together. Even the darkness of her opening aria ("I Read") is unlike anything heard outside of the opera house since the "Epiphany" in Sondheim's black operetta SWEENEY TODD. In PASSION he takes the through-sung musical to new extremes. Few of the songs have conventional ending! s, drifting instead back into dialogue. On stage there is a seamlessness about the piece.

Unfortunately in condensing PASSION to one 60 minute CD there are occasional continuity gaps that are only partially solved by the libretto included with Angel's original Broadway cast recording. Phil Ramone produced the disc and while little actual music is omitted, there are times when one has the feeliing that some important details have been skipped. The packaging, however, is first rate with many color photos and some excellent background notres on the production.. The libretto is rather hard to read being printed so small and against a beige background.

Those in search of the whole show would do well to get the video, or better yet wait for a production by one of North America's more daring opera companies where, no doubt, PASSION will have a deserved long run. But no one should attend PASSION without being somewhat familiar with its complex score and the excellent cast album is great introduction.

5-0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece
>And the lyrics. It's just not fair to rhyme words with themselves. Example: "Here I am wrapped in your arms. I just love being wrapped in your arms" or however it goes in the show. (I'm obviously not going to buy the album so I can't quote it.)

Guess what? This is called I-D-E-N-T-I-T-Y, and it's just as venerable a lyrical device as rhyme. It was used conspicuously well by Stephen Sondheim's mentor, Oscar Hammerstein (maybe you've heard of him, eh?), and it is used spectacularly well by Stephen Sondheim himself, here and elsewhere.

By the way, since you're "obviously not going to buy the album", you shouldn't be REVIEWING it EITHER.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Sondheim's greatest scores
Using a glittering language that owes a debt to Ravel, Stephen Sondheim has created one of his most ravishing scores, that in actual performance seems more like a tone poem rather than a conventional musical. In a single arc, the music flows seemingly straight through from beginning to end, with small motifs appearing, combining in intricate patterns and then receding. The sensuous result is some of the composer's best work.

The story here is an odd one, that some listeners may find a bit puzzling: a sickly woman (Fosca) falls in love with a much-healthier soldier, who eventually leaves his (also much-healthier) girlfriend to be with the sicklier one. Not the most believable scenario -- on paper, that is -- until the great Sondheim illuminates the touching emotions lurking just below the surface.

As Fosca, Donna Murphy (who won a Tony Award for her portrayal) makes a strange character come to vivid life, and sings the aching songs with a luster that drills them into the memory. A highlight is the searing "I Wish I Could Forget You," in which she dictates an imaginary letter to Giorgio, played by the wonderful Jere Shea. The incandescent Marin Mazzie plays Shea's girlfriend Clara, and is also in beautiful voice in her many "letter scenes," as well as those in which she combines her liquid voice with others. The score is chock full of Sondheim's soaring melodic lines and his usual heart-rending lyrics.

The recording quality is excellent -- quite natural, with realistic balances between the orchestra and the singers evoking an actual stage production. If I recall, the original Broadway orchestra was augmented with extra musicians for the recording, resulting in an even more sumptuous sound -- an excellent decision. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Passionate!
Sondheim has done it again. How anyone cannot love this show is beyond me. First of all, there is the irony in the name. Though Fosca has a passion for Georgio, everyone else merely has lust. Clara lusts for Georgio, Georgio lusts for Clara. Secondly, the brilliant cast of this show is stunning. No one can ever top Donna Murphy's "Loving You"! It is one of the great highlights of the show, as is the opening number sung by Marin Mazzie and Jeremy Shea. Finally, the Greek Chorus of soldiers is genius. Sondheim could not have made this show any better. Also, pick up the VHS or DVD of the show as James Lapine's staging is not to be missed. ... Read more

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