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1. Camelot (1960 Original Broadway
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2. My Fair Lady (1956 Original Broadway
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3. South Pacific (Original 1949 Broadway
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4. Fiddler on the Roof (1964 Original
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5. Cats (1982 Original Broadway Cast)
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6. Company - A Musical Comedy (1970
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7. The Fantasticks (Original 1960
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8. The Music Man (1957 Original Broadway
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9. Guys & Dolls (1950 Original
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10. Gypsy - A Musical Fable (1959
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11. Mame (1966 Original Broadway Cast)
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12. Oklahoma! (Original 1943 Broadway
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13. The Sound of Music (1959 Original
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14. Crazy for You (1992 Original Broadway
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15. The King and I (Original 1951
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16. Annie Get Your Gun (1946 Original
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17. She Loves Me (1963 Original Broadway
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18. Carousel: Selections from the
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19. Brigadoon (1947 Original Broadway
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20. Weill:Street Scene

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

Reviews (39)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. My Fair Lady (1956 Original Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B0000024PL
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1113
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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This recording was produced more than 40 years ago, only in mono, but from the day it was released it was a deserved phenomenon. It out-grossed the mega-hit show for months, and it still holds the record for the most weeks as a Billboard Top 40 album: 292. The reasons are many. Start with the 20-year-old Julie Andrews in peak voice, singing no fewer than eight sensational Lerner and Loewe songs, soaring most memorably to high C in "I Could Have Danced All Night." Rex Harrison perfected the art of talk-singing in a clutch of equally captivating numbers written especially for his voice, of which the most indelibly delivered is "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face." And Stanley Holloway brought the best English music-hall style to an eager American audience with "A Little Bit of Luck" and "Get Me to the Church on Time." There were no scene-changers in Frederick Loewe's best score, and Alan Jay Lerner managed to fashion his libretto and lyrics so close to the language of George Bernard Shaw (on whose play Pygmalion the musical was based) that experts couldn't tell where Shaw left off and Lerner took over. Every song created character and advanced the plot. My Fair Lady was a show you "got"--and still get--on first listening--without having seen it. The London cast album (with the same leads) can give you stereo; the movie version, a fuller orchestra, Harrison and Holloway in full sail, and Marni Nixon dubbing Audrey Hepburn. But the Broadway cast album is still the one to have, and the one absolute must in any musical collector's CD library. --Robert Windeler ... Read more

Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars Isn't this Loverly?
I was fortunate enough to see Rex Harrison in 1981 during his revival of "My Fair Lady," and even though Rex was way past his prime, the evening was magical. This original cast album from 1956 preserves forever this wondrous musical, where every single song is superb. There isn't a clinker in the bunch and that's saying something considering the record contains 16 songs, most of them standards. Julie Andrews soars, which is to be expected and it makes you tear your hair out that she wasn't cast as Eliza in the 1964 movie version.

"The Rain in Spain" is infectious and fun, you almost want to get up and dance as its sung. Even though Rex talk-sings his way through the album, he brings a charisma and charm that was his alone. Listen to the sly irony he brings to "I'm Just an Ordinary Man," and pay close attention to his show-stopping finale, "I've Grown Accustoned to her Face." The way Harrison places a poignant stress on the word "face" will stay in your memory forever.

This is a much superior version to the movie soundtrack and it should be required to round out any serious record collection, no matter what the genre. This is the soundtrack by which all others should be judged, it's magnificent!

Earlier, I had written a review of the 1959 London Cast Stereo recording of "MY FAIR LADY." Many customers seem to prefer the original Broadway Cast recording to the later London Stereo LP. I'm such a "Fair Lady" fan, I have both discs. The disc I'm reviewing here is a Gold Disc with an extra Bonus Track. Columbia Records president Goddard Lieberson conducts post-recording interviews with Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews, lyricists Alan Lerner and conducter Franz Allers. Liberson states that "FAIR LADY" is "possibly the most successful musical of this (20th) Century." He got that right! Here, you hear Rex Harrison give a full out performance, when he was still excited by the material and everything was fresh and new. Boredom set in afterwards. Harrison growls and grunts his way through Higgins' songs on the London Cast Album, and in the 1964 film version (for which he received an Academy Award), Harrison couldn't be more listless, static, and boring; giving a one-note "phoned in" performance. Much better than Harrison, in any case, is Julie Andrews; then on the brink of her brilliant career. She is best at full fire and music, exploding with fury and rage in "Just You Wait! " and "Show Me." Simply put, Julie Andrews is the best Eliza Doolittle of all time. Added to all this is a delightful dash of Stanley Holloway. For pure freshness and vitality, you can't beat this original recording of MY FAIR LADY. And the Post-Recording interviews make this an irresistable treat, not that everything else wasn't enough!

3-0 out of 5 stars The London Recording is Better
I recently purchased the Broadway recording, then turned around and got the London cast recording (both with Rex Harrision, Julie Andrews and Stanley Holloway). Though the recording has wonderful music, the recording was nevertheless just so disappointing, and not the way I remembered it. The latter recording isn't nearly so measured. It's far more vital, witty and sarcastic. I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Julie is better
If only Julie Andrews had been chosen for the movie version of My Fair Lady, this film would've swept the Oscars...not that Audrey Hepburn didn't do an amazing job, but the singing is just not the same. While Julie picked up the Best Actress Oscar, Audrey didn't even get nominated. Of course, Audrey had her voice dubbed by Marni Nixon.

But enough of my fuming, the songs:

Rex Harrison is a delight, though his singing abilities are limited, his enunciation and clear, British english makes all of his numbers absolutely delightful.

Julie is, of course, the highlight of this album. I am an avid fan and positively adore her voice. This recording was made in her younger years, therefore you can really hear the clarity and crystalline quality of her voice. My personal favorites are "I Could've Danced All Night" and "Just You Wait".

The supporting cast is also very strong. Stanley Holloway's "Get Me To The Church On Time" shows off his deep baritone. The man who plays Freddy (I forget his name) is also very good. "On the Street Where You Live" is also one of my favorites.

To those who enjoy this album, I recommend "The Music Man", "Sound of Music", "Cinderella", and "Mary Poppins".

5-0 out of 5 stars A perfect cast album from a perfect show
MY FAIR LADY is understandably the world's most beloved musical. Based on one of Shaw's great plays, with Lerner & loewe's finest score, put on stage with the perfect cast, and opening on Broadway at just the right time: late in what had been a very disappointing season for musicals.

This original Broadway cast album, made just days after the premire, captures all the freshness and excitement of the triumphant opening. (Avoid the London cast recording which has teh same cover art but printed on a gold background. The ORIGINAL original cast album with the white cover is the one to get!)

This Cd hardly needs my endorsement. It's been a best-seller for 48 years now. ... Read more

3. South Pacific (Original 1949 Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B00000DHSL
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2000
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Based on James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Pulitzer prize-winning South Pacific is one of the most beloved musicals ever to hit the stage. The appeal is simple: a collection of stunning compositions--immense symphonic sound orchestrated by Rodgers collaborator Robert Russell Bennett--and characters with a simple though cohesive through-line. On this original Broadway cast recording, the lovely, girlish Mary Martin (Peter Pan, Annie Get Your Gun) is the heartily feminine American nurse Nellie Bly to the dashing former Metropolitan Opera bass Ezio Pinza as French plantation owner Emile de Becque. This release takes from the original high-quality tapes cut in 1949 (rather than the acetates, which were recorded simultaneously for the vinyl release of the day). There are alternate takes of a few songs and the restored original version of the hard-hitting racial commentary number "Carefully Taught." Pinza's "Some Enchanted Evening" is tender and lovely without being cloying. Martin's confidence and warm vocal expressiveness on numbers such as "Twin Soliloquies" and the bonus track, "Loneliness of the Evening," are stellar, and the choral numbers are both solid and spunky. --Paige La Grone ... Read more

Reviews (27)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Fiddler on the Roof (1964 Original Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B000002WB3
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1931
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Fiddler on the Roof is one of Broadway's great classics. Based on the tales of Sholem Aleichem, the musical tells the humorous and heartbreaking story of the milkman Tevye as he tries to maintain the simplicities of his traditional life even as his daughters grow up and Russia heads toward revolution. Many of Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick's songs have become touchstones of popular culture, including "Tradition," "If I Were a Rich Man," and "Sunrise, Sunset." As Tevye, Zero Mostel leads--and at times dominates--the original 1964 Broadway cast, displaying irrepressible swagger and bluster. A young Julia Migenes plays his middle daughter, Hodel, while those who only know Bert Convy as a game-show host will be surprised by his pleasant voice as her suitor. The CD includes two previously unreleased songs but no lyrics. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Superior Original Cast Recording -- The Best!
Just as they say that the book or the play are always better than the movie, it is also almost always true that the original cast recording of a play out-shines the luster of any movie sound track - true, true, true! -- I have seen "Fiddler on the Roof" as a wonderful film, as well as a fantastic stage production. I'm also familiar with the original movie sound track. All are great entertainment. The only tangible thing to top all of it off is this CD recorded from the original Broadway stage production. Zero Mostel is THE ONLY Tevje! His rendition of "Tradition" and "If I Were A Rich Man" are priceless. The tunes "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" and "Do You Love Me?" also are done best in this recording. If you are a fan of Broadway Shows, like I am, you will appreciate this superior original that has often been copied, but never duplicated!

5-0 out of 5 stars The most beloved Broadway musical of the 1960's
It might seem an odd choice for the honor, but "Fiddler on the Roof" is undoubtedly the most beloved Broadway musical of the Sixties. The book by Joseph Stein is based upon the stories of Sholem Aleichem, with music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, the songwriting team whose earlier Tony Award winning success "Fiorello!" certainly never suggested they could create something as wonderful as "Fiddler." Zero Mostel heads the cast as Tevye, the dairyman, with Maria Karnilova as Golde, his wife, who, with "Do You Love Me?" have the best love duet between two married people in musical history.

At the heart of the story are the efforts by Tevye to deal with the way God keeps presenting him with challenges, from needing to take care of a lame horse ("If I Were A Rich Man"), to getting his oldest daughter engaged to one man ("To Life") only to see her marry another ("Sunrise, Sunset"), and finally to leave the only home he has ever known to travel to America ("Anatevka"). Throughout it all Tevye tries to remain true to the traditions of his community ("Prologue--Tradition") and his faith ("Sabbath Prayer"). The cast features Beatrice Arthur as Yente the matchmaker ("The Rumor"), Austin Pendleton as Motel the tailor ("Miracle of Miracles"), Bert Convy as Perchik the student ("Now I Have Everything"), Joanna Merlin as the eldest daughter Tzeitel ("Matchmaker") and future opera star Julia Migenes as the second oldest daughter Hodel ("Far from the Home I Love").

I understand now from those who should know that Mostel butchers the pronunciation of anything not said or sung in English, but I have to admit that does not really detract from my enjoyment of this album; I do not pay attention to pronunciation when listening to opera either, so I am at least consistent. This CD version features two previously unreleased tracks, the "Wedding Dance" music (including the famous bottle dance) and "The Rumor," both of which are welcomed additions. Bottom line: If you own a dozen musicals on CD, then this is one of the ones that has to be in your collection

4-0 out of 5 stars A Landmark Zero Mostel
Ahhhhh...what can you say about "Fiddler on the Roof" that hasn't already been said. This landmark in American Musical Theater (and in theater in general) is forever perserved in this timeless recording. Bock and Harnick songs vividly bring the story of Tevye, the poor milkman, to life. The songs are so touching and reflect the emotions of all, while entertaining even the most avid musical-hater (shame on you).

However, the greatest accomplishment belongs not to Bock, Harnick, Harold Prince or Jerome Robbins (who directed). The man who personifies and carries (and downright dominates) this show is the great Zero Mostel. His acting, voice and comedic timing are greatly shown in this, his definitive role. He makes "Fiddler on the Roof".

In the interviews with Sheldon Harnick (lyricist) that are on this CD (another reason to buy it), he mentions that Zero recorded "If I Were A Rich Man" in only ONE take. Amazing. As is this CD.

Even if you are the most avid musical-hater, or a musical theater junkie like me, you will enjoy the classics like "If I Were A Rich Man", "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Tradition", while savoring songs which they cut, like the histerical "When Messiah Comes".

All-in-all, a fabulous CD! Well worth the price.

******Also, make sure you see and listen to Zero Mostel in Stephen Sondheim's "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum." Either buy the movie or the cast recording! You'll be glad you did!

5-0 out of 5 stars Mazeltov!
Having had some history as a performer in this production, I can't recommend this soundtrack highly enough. If you've seen the film version, the music will bring you back. And of course, Zero Mostel is the "star," and there's no question about it, and his renditions as "Teyve" actually lay the foundations for the ensemble to play to.

In this collection, we hear:

Matchmaker, Matchmaker
If I were a Rich Man
Sabbath Prayer
To Life
Miracle of Miracles
Teyve's Dream

Sunrise, Sunset
Now I have Everything
Do You Love Me?
Far from the Home I Love

What more could you want? Just go out and get the film, right? Or wait for the local community theater to do a revival production of this wonderful story.

It warms the heart, it does, and I highly recommend it!!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Recording of Fiddler EVER!!!!!
I listened to the other Fiddler recordings and even played a part in our community theater and still this was the best. Zero Mostel brought the whole production to life! I grew up with it and have lived by it my entire life. ... Read more

5. Cats (1982 Original Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B000001E3P
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2158
Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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Andrew LloydWebber'sadaptation of T.S. Eliot's poems may not have become Broadway's longest-runningmusical without the original cast to begin the raves. Which is why every aficionado ofthis theatrical classic will tell you that this is the one you have to own (although they'llprobably tell you that you need the import Original London Cast album as well,the show having originated on London's West End and all). But this is the one with BettyBuckley singing "Memory"--the song that turned her into a star--and the two discs areappropriate for the musical that helped set off Broadway's "operatic" phase. The show isnow also available--in its entirety--as a home video, but the music still stands on its own,though some cynics have wondered why so much music only produced one hit standard.--Bill Holdship ... Read more

Reviews (87)

5-0 out of 5 stars THE BEST MUSICAL EVER WRITTEN!!!
CATS is an awesome musical; a lot better than most people realize! It's very upbeat and fun. My favorite songs are The Overture, Prologue: Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats, The Invitation to the Jellicle Ball, The Rum Tum Tugger, Bustopher Jones, Mungojerrie and Rumplteazer, Old Deuteronomy, Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat, Macavity: The Mystery Cat, Mr. Mistoffelees, Memory, and The Journey to the Heaviside Layer.

A lot of the people who don't like this musical is because they don't understand it (they're looking for a non-existent plot). But the thing is is that to understand CATS you have to let go of all reality for two hours and just enjoy the music and the show. The musical is actually about the naming of Jellicle cats and the choosing of what cat will journey to the Heaviside layer (heaven) and will cone back to a new Jellicle life. I definately recommend this CD!! Enjoy!

2-0 out of 5 stars It was okay, but I wasn't awed by it!
I bought this CD before I saw the musical, well I still haven't seen the play live but I saw it on tape and I didn't really enjoy it and the cast recording just didn't do any thing for me I had bought it because since I loved the Phantom of the Opera I figured (Wrongly) that I would also love Cats. Cats is Ok but it just didn't thrill me as much as Andrew Lloyd Webber's wonderful The Phanom of The Opera did or as much as the non webber musicals Les Miserables and Miss Saigon did and since I didn't enjoy the Cats cast recording I recently gave it away to a relative who loved Cats and will get better use of the CD's. I'm not saying that people shouldn't go see Cats or listen to the cast recording and that they shouldn't like it I'm just saying that I personally didn't care for it.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not NEARLY as Good as the London Recording
I am Sorry if you like the Broadway Version, but it sucks. I was raised on the London version, may be that is why I prefer it. The Broadway version doesn't even compare. I heard it and I was like, "This is Broadway?" Community Theater is better than that, and more believeable. They just try too hard, and it just sounds stupid. I guess my main problem with this recording is Growltiger's Last Stand. That is my favorite number, and I just HATE it when the Broadway cast sings it. They just make it REALLY stupid. I mean, they start to SING OPERA for crying out loud, OPERA??? What the heck is up with that? I just can't stomach it. If you are looking to buy CATS, and I sincerely hope that you do, buy the London Cast Recording from 1981. It is much better in every which way.

4-0 out of 5 stars CATS, N&F
This is the first recording (Not counting the video) of CATS I received (And I owe a 57% on a math test to it:-P), and I love it. I must admit I'm prejudiced to other recordings because of it, although there are a few faults about it (What recording is without?) For one, the music seems . . . lame and unenthusiastic. The voices of the singers drown it all out. Which, being that they are wonderful voices, isn't bad, but it sounds weird being almost-a cappella. So the prologue sounds a bit empty and oldie. But it's not bad.
Timothy Scott is on this recording as Mistoffelees/Quaxo, and does a remarkable job at it. His voice may not be the best, but it's just right for the conjuring cat. Oh, for Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer fans, Misto sings all the lyrics.
Terrence Mann as the Rum Tum Tugger wasn't the absolute best choice, but he really does a good job. He really sounds like he's having a good time, and, if you get the book, you can see just how well he got into his part. Don't be fooled, he's a really great actor.
Betty Buckley as Grizabella really isn't thrilling. Her voice just doesn't hold the sadness and despair and hope and hatred that her character is supposed to have. It's too strong. Period.
Ken Page is here as Old Deuteronomy, and, as far as it goes, he is the best Deuteronomy. His voice is deep and kind and stern and old and perfect for this role.
OoH, let me just say something about the Jellicle Ball. In the middle, when the music goes from a soft chime to the CATS theme music . . . it's the best . . . no weak music there!
Let me say that Growltiger's Last Stand is terrific. Bonnie Simmons is the best Jellylorum I have heard, her voice is beautiful. Growltiger (the actor's name escapes me) seems to me a great actor, although he hasn't the greatest voice.
And Macavity . . . Demeter (Wendy Edmead) just didn't seem right, don't ask me why. Bombalurina (the actress's name escapes me) seemed to be too tame to play the fiery, spirited queen.
In this review I have mentioned the aspects that I figured stood out most. If you want the best recording, this wouldn't be my top choice. The original Australian cast is good . . .
Don't let my review make you think that this recording isn't good . . . it *is*, just not the best. (Hey, it's still my favorite). Believe me, if you buy it, you won't regret it.
~~purzz, Mysta =^_^=

5-0 out of 5 stars CATS IS AWSOME!!!

6. Company - A Musical Comedy (1970 Original Broadway Cast) [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED] [CAST RECORDING]
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Asin: B00000DHSN
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2494
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Stephen Sondheim's Company still sounds as modern as it did when it opened in 1970. Donna McKechnie, Susan Browning, and Pamela Myers spoof the Andrews Sisters with gusto in the tongue-twisting "You Could Drive a Person Crazy," while Browning and Dean Jones's "Barcelona" is filled with longing and heartbreak. And, of course, Elaine Stritch reigns supreme, proving once more that you don't have to be the best singer to steal a musical. An extra track features Larry Kert (Tony in the original West Side Story) singing "Being Alive." Kert had replaced Jones early in the run but wasn't on the original cast recording. It would have been nice to finally get the lyrics, though. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (36)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. The Fantasticks (Original 1960 Off-Off Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B00004STPR
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3643
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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On May 3, 1960, a chamber-sized variation on Romeo and Juliet by composer Harvey Schmidt and writer-lyricist Tom Jones opened off-off-Broadway at the Sullivan Street Playhouse. On May 3, 2000, The Fantasticks opened again at the Sullivan Street Playhouse, celebrating 40 continuous years of performances and having long since become the longest-running musical in the history of the world. And while many cast members have come and gone, it's the original cast recording that has become an indelible part of our memory, from the dual pianos dotting the overture and Jerry Orbach's rich reading of "Try to Remember" to the fathers' lament "Never Say No" and the gorgeous duet "Soon It's Gonna Rain." Even better, this anniversary edition CD benefits from remastered sound (you can now hear the harp strum in the opening bars) and a new booklet that includes a note from Jones, an introductory essay, and (drumroll, please) full lyrics. Yes, it's still true that the voices may not have the sheer beauty some modern ears might expect, and the pit band (augmented from two players to five for this recording) sounds a bit dated, but who cares? It's The Fantasticks, an essential piece of musical theater history. Long may it run. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is more than any metaphor will ever ever be.
From the first staccato notes of the solo piano to Jerry Orbach and company urging us to "Try to Remember" this is a classic CD. The music and lyrics, though possibly a little odd at first, is witty, whimisical, clever, smart, and beautiful. This is one of the few cast albums of a show in which there is not a single bad song. The performances do nothing but enhance the music. This simple little show, which has been running off-Broadway for over thirty years, is well represented with this CD. Thirty years of audiences can't be wrong, and they aren't. This is a wonderful recording of a wonderful show. I gureente you will not be dissapointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars When less gives more
If a show opens in 1960 and is still running after about 16,000 performances, one can reasonably assume it is a good show in every sense of the words. Standing on the other pole (so to speak) from the current run of Broadway's visually rich/musically barren spectacles, is a charming little work designed for a basement production and so perfect that many have seen it several times, especially when friends come in from out of state. In fact, when they wanted to close it at last, the neighborhood would not let them!

So I don't have to sing the praises of this classic, which has been available for many years on the original cast LP. Now the Good News is that it has been made available in a "re-mastered, completely repackaged edition," as the press release expresses it on the Decca Broadway label (314 543 665-2). So sit back and enjoy once more the voices of Jerry Orbach, Kenneth Leson, Rita Gardner, William Larsen, Hugh Thomas, and all the others in this anti-spectacular with good dialogue, decent lyrics, and (Heaven be praised) lovely melodies. (And give the Rostand play, "The Romantiques," a read too. It is lovely.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Try to Remember...
It was the spring of 1960. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the President, and Senator John F. Kennedy had yet to squeak by VP Richard Nixon in a to become President. Elvis Presley had recently been discharged from the U.S. Army. The average American's annual salary was around $4800, and minimum wage was $1.00 per hour. Cadillac had lowered their high tail fins. Elizabeth Taylor won an Oscar for her performance in Butterfield 8. The first manned space flight wouldn't take place for another year. The formation of the Peace Corps was a year away as well. Gary Powers was shot down in a U2 spy plane over the Soviet Union. Barbie dolls had just been introduced the year before. The Flintstones were almost five months away from their premiere. The Beatles hadn't even cut their first single record, and there were no Russian missiles in Cuba. Osama bin Laden was only three years old. The World Trade Center wasn't even on the drawing board yet.

But in early May, a small band of actors entered the Sullivan Street Playhouse, a tiny 150-seat theater in Greenwich Village, to perform a beautiful, romantic little musical about a boy, a girl and the pains of young love.

The week that The Fantasticks opened on its sparse stage, it was suggested to producer Lore Noto that he close the show. It suffered from mixed reviews, and the ticket sales could have been better. He decided to try and keep the show running for awhile, to the relief of the relatively unknown cast members. One of these was a young actor with a rich baritone voice named Jerry Orbach, who played the role of El Gallo, the narrator. He imagined that the show could well succeed if it had time to develop a following.

"I thought it could run for like five years," Mr. Orbach recently recalled.

It ran for thirty-seven years beyond that then-optimistic estimate.

The Fantasticks featured music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones, who began writing musicals together when they were students at the University of Texas. It became the longest running musical in the world and the longest running show of any kind in the history of the American theater.

But on Sunday evening, January 13th, 2002, after 17,162 performances, The Fantasticks did what few thought possible: it made its final bow.

Lyricist Tom Jones told those who offered their sympathies, "You can't be sad for a show that has run forty-two years, " as he and composer Harvey Schmidt greeted the closing night crowd. The final performance was delayed for nearly a half hour late as the show's former cast members, many who hadn't seen each other in years, held tearful reunions in the aisles and largely disregarded the ushers' attempts to get them to stay seated. Among the attendees were the original "Girl" Rita Gardner, original "Mortimer" George Curley, Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham, who had played one of many El Gallos throughout the run, and set/costume designer Ed Wittstein.

The timing of its closing is particularly moving, given the horrible deaths of other lasting New York City monuments in the past few months. The message of The Fantasticks proved to be dissonantly significant in the days after the September 11th terrorist attacks. The opening words of Tom Jones' lyrics could have been written that very week:

Try to remember the kind of September
when life was slow and oh, so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
when grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
when you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember and if you remember
then follow...

It's been noted often that there were quite a few handkerchiefs wiping tears from the eyes of the patrons in the theater when this song was performed during those performances last September and into the fall.

On Sunday night, there probably wasn't a dry eye in the house, either.

Don't miss this excellent remastering of the 1960 off-off Broadway original cast recording. Simply put, it's superb.

5-0 out of 5 stars My wife and daugters love this musical
A classic that needs to be brought back

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastck!!!!
I have seen the play, i actually work in the crew, i was the stage manager and i loved this show, it's amazing! the romanticism, the moods, enough to make you cry. And it is a pleasure to hear it over and over again... Try to remember... Understand and feel the joy and sadness of those two lovers... Amazing! ... Read more

8. The Music Man (1957 Original Broadway Cast) (Angel Reissue)
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B00000DQTY
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5523
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic Musical and an Essential Recording
Meredith Wilson's THE MUSIC MAN is one of the most beloved of all Broadway musicals. The story is charming and endearing, while the score is tuneful and very inventive. There are rhythm numbers ("Rock Island" and "Ya Got Trouble"), ballads ("Goodnight My Someone" and "Till There Was You"), barbershop numbers ("Sincere," "It's You," "Lida Rose"), quirky comedy songs ("The Sadder but Wiser Girl," "Marian the Librarian," "Shipoopi") a march ("Seventy-Six Trombones"), and even an aria ("My White Knight"), as well as other wonderful songs for the ensemble ("Iowa Stubborn," "The Wells Fargo Wagon"). The original Broadway cast recording, starring Robert Preston as the fast-talking con man Harold Hill and Barbara Cook as the skeptical young librarian and music teacher, Marian Paroo, is the finest recording of THE MUSIC MAN. Preston's charisma seems to leap right out of the speakers; his patter in "Ya Got Trouble" is a marvel, absolutely clear and precise. Cook's pure, golden soprano and heartfelt phrasing are a joy to hear. Add the famous barbershop quartet The Buffalo Bills and the rousing orchestrations of the legendary Don Walker, and you have a truly fabulous show album. This original Broadway cast recording of THE MUSIC MAN is a must-have for anyone who loves musicals.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brava, Barbara Cook!
Robert Preston IS Harold Hill. Pert Kelton, Eddie Hodges, the Buffalo Bills, the women's chorus, and Don Walker's orchestrations are all perfect. But it is the singing of Barbara Cook as Marian that makes this MUSIC MAN a great recording. Cook's golden renditions of "Goodnight, My Someone," "My White Knight," "Will I Ever Tell You?," and "Till There Was You" make it clear that she is one of the best female singers in the history of Broadway.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent!
Any lover of American theater should own the original cast recording of THE MUSIC MAN. For me, the high point of this recording is Preston's intoxicating performance of the speak-song number, "Trouble". His performance here is cool and rhythmically precise, unlike his "white hot", vitriolic performance in the 1962 movie. But the whole CD is a lot of fun. Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars The recording that all others are measured by!!
What a great recording! This is aimed more toward for families, but anyone with taste in music can enjoy it. The sound is crystal clear. The voices are the best. Barbra Cook is Excellent as Marian Paroo, and should have playd her in the film, although Shirley Jones does a good job. Robert Preston IS the Music Man. I perfer this version to the other versions because of the little dialouge. These songs are meant to be heard un-adulterated, and pure. The soundtrack has too much talking, and Buddy Hacketts not so great vocals.
You may have noticed that I enjoy Sondheim. But sometimes I need to take a break from the complex scores and return to Broadways roots. Without shows like these, there may NOT have been a broadway today. These are the tunes that I grew up with, and they will never die, thanks to great recordngs like this. This is a must for anyone who enjoys musical theater!!!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Never Gets Old
The Music Man has always been one of my very favorite musicals. This cd is well worth owning. Barbara Cook is the perfect Marian Paroo. Way better than Shirley Jones and Kristen Chenoweth put together. There's even a song on the cd "My White Knight," which doesn't appear in the movie. Just in stage versions. In the film they sing "Being in Love." But some of the lyrics in the two songs are the same. Both songs have the following verse somewhere in them.


Another interesting fact is that after Barbara Cook retired from acting, she became a singer. She's still singing as far as I know. I also reccomend her "All I ask of You," album. ... Read more

9. Guys & Dolls (1950 Original Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B00004U0QI
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3325
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars A remastered CD of a Broadway masterpiece with some bonuses
Not all that many musicals can brag that more than half the songs have become standards. And in these days of the "one tune show" (if that many), it is the revivals of the Oldie Greats that represent the American Musical at its best. And high up there stands . I will grant that the recording of the last revival is quite good and certainly more complete than the original cast recording from 1951. But the soloists (if we forget the relatively lackluster role of Sarah) cannot replace the Damon Runyonesque cast of the original: Robert Alda, Vivian Blaine, Sam Levene, Pat Rooney, Sr., and Stubby Kaye. Therefore any collection of Broadway history must include this older release.

So just in case you do not yet own a copy, know you by this presence that Decca has reissued it on CD (012 159 112-2) with four bonus tracks from the film for those who think Marlon Brando renditions are worth hearing. Add to which, the booklet has some excellent photos from the 1950 production. 'Nuff said. Run out and grabbit.

5-0 out of 5 stars Desert Island Bradway Recording Must
Was there ever a time Guys & Dolls was out of the record catalogues? Like "I Love Lucy" does a day go by without some group performing this picture perfect Runyonesque hommage that is amongst the top five greatest musicals of all time (including Showboat and Oaklahoma)? MCA's CD re-issue, complete with the original liner notes and additional notes that serves as a neccessary "antidote" to the original notes, is a must for anyone who loves good music. Now, don't misunderstand me. There's nothing wrong with the original notes. Just that, like the rest of New York, critic Louis Untermeyer was intoxicated with the brilliance of the lyrics, score and the casting (why did they cast Marlon Brando in the film instead of Robert Alda? What a big mistake!). As Max O. Preeo, the writer of the "antidote" notes states, "Untermeyer greatly oversimplified Guys and Dolls' success". This was done with good intentions, of course. Nevertheless, the entire CD package is the best issue yet of Guys & Dolls. The two programme notes, original artwork from the first DECCA issue, photos from the production itself; what a wealth of treasure to accompany the wonderful music. Loesser is a master composer whose style can range from Jazz to Beethoven-type harmonies, with a lyrical singing line that singers would expect from Mozart Arias. Incredible music that easily places one in the world of "petty-gamblers", Salvation Army members and show girls. All this from the same composer of the score for Danny Kaye's film "Hans Christian Andersen"!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Decca original cast album sounding better than ever!
Winner of the 1951 Tony Award for Best Musical, GUYS AND DOLLS is considered by many to be a near perfect musical comedy. The book is genuinely funny and yet we really do care about the characters.

Decca's original cast album was taped just a few weeks after the show had opened to rave reviews. The voices are full of character: Robert Alda and Isabel Bigley make an ideal Sky and Sarah. Vivian Blaine forever owns the role of Adelaide (and she got to preserve her performance in the 1955 film.) Sam Levene is NOT a singer (the cast even asked him NOT to sing in the chorus numbers) and his appearances on the recording are limited. Still, GUYS AND DOLLS would not work with opera singers. The flat Decca sound does not exactly make the vocals sound warmer, but in remastering the original tapes, we can at least hear everything clearly and especially some of the orchestral textures lost in the previous releases. And no one can beat Stubby Kaye's "Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat" Like Blaine, he got to repeat his role in the film but neither of them appear on the soundtrack album.

No complete soudntrack album was made of the 1955 film because of Frank Sinatra's contract with Capitol Records. Decca put out a 4-song EP with Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons singing their numbers from the film and that mini-album is included here as bonus tracks.

The 1992 Broadway revival was a spirited production with a great cast (Peter Gallagher, Nathan Lane and Faith Prince) and a recording that captures all the fun. It's more complete, and has better sound. What it lacks are Stubby Kare and Vivian Blaine.

1-0 out of 5 stars Wasted my money
DON'T BUY THIS VERSION OF GUYS AND DOLLS. I regret buying this one hundred percent. The actors' singing voices are JUST unpleasant and does not make you want to sing a long, while the orchestra is faintly heard in the background. So there's an uneven balance between the amazing instrumentals musicals usually have and the singing.

The singing made me cringe.
There is also NO ENERGY in this recording.

The only part I sort of enjoyed were the four Bonus Tracks in the end, which are sung by Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons, who are NOT the singers for the majority of this CD.

1-0 out of 5 stars I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS CD!!!
My high school did this for a school production. I bought this CD to see how it sounded. The budding actors and actresses of my school literally blew these singers away like atomic particles!! MY school sounded VASTLY SUPERIOR to this.
I gave this CD one star because that was my ONLY choice. This actually deserves a rating in the deep negetives. No other words could explain what a horrific song experience this was for myself. ... Read more

10. Gypsy - A Musical Fable (1959 Original Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B00000J28I
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10097
Average Customer Review: 4.73 out of 5 stars
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Considered by many to be the last great musical comedy, Gypsy tells the backstage tale of vaudeville entertainer turned stripper Gypsy Rose Lee and her overbearing mother, Rose. Stephen Sondheim's lyrics--composed in advance of Jule Styne's infectious music--provide a tight structure and natural language to the 1959 score, which produced more than its share of Broadway standards, including "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "Small World," "Some People," "If Momma Was Married," "Together Wherever We Go," and the climactic "Rose's Turn." Although the role of Rose has seen subsequent memorable interpretations by Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, and Bette Midler, the show was written for Ethel Merman, and she remains the definitive stage mother.

For this 1999 release, the recording has been remastered with numerous short passages restored and four tracks added. Merman sings alternate lyrics to "Some People" and a medley of "Mr. Goldstone" and "Little Lamb," all with piano accompaniment. Two other tracks are songs cut in tryouts: "Momma's Talking Soft" (gently swung here by Laura Leslie) was a duet for June and Louise that provides some context to the later line "Momma's talking loud," while "Nice She Ain't" is crooned by Bernie Knee, who is infinitely more suave than Jack Klugman ever would have been. Expanded to 63 minutes, this essential cast recording is now even more essential. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Musical
"Gypsy" is know thought out the theatre world as really the perfect musical, and that is what this is. It has a truly brilliant score, music by Jule Styne and amazing lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Ethel Merman also showers her talent off in this wonderful CD. Her major song, "Some People" is sung magnificently and really is one of the best songs in musical theatre and "Rose's Turn" is just a hunting song that really displays such power and emotions, only Sondheim could have worked on it-just amazing.

Yet then there are also the amazing classics to this CD. "Let Me Entertain You" sung by Sandra Chuch is such a good song and she sings it with such beauty and grace, it will melt your heart.

I would have to say that if you are looking for witch cast of "Gypsy" you should bye, this CD is great due to Ms. Merman, yet the Angel Lansbury CD is also quite good. Yet overall, I find that this is really the best recording of "Gypsy." There is also four bonus tracks witch are very nice.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Here she is, boys! Here she is, world! Here's Rose!"
The great Ethel Merman dominates this classic original Broadway cast recording of GYPSY. Along with FUNNY GIRL, this musical has Jule Styne's most brilliant score - and that score is enriched by Stephen Sondheim's equally brilliant lyrics. Merman's voice, in 1959, remained strong, powerful, and trumpet-like in its clarity, showing its age only on certain sustained notes, where it wobbled slightly. Her way with a song, however, was just as winning and unmistakable as ever. Playing Herbie to Merman's Rose, Jack Klugman (of whom I am a fan) may seem an odd choice for a musical, but he gives excellent support -- if that is the word I want -- to Merman in "You'll Never Get Away from Me" and "Together Wherever We Go." As "Gypsy" herself, Sandra Church, with her warm middle voice, sounds lovely in the touching "Little Lamb" and like a fully mature star in her solo version of "Let Me Entertain You." Both the orchestrations and Goddard Leiberson's engineering are superb. This GYPSY fully deserves its fame as one of the finest cast recordings ever produced.

5-0 out of 5 stars The quintessential backstage musical
Called by many the best musical in Broadway history, GYPSY was Ethel Merman's shining moment on Broadway. True, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN ran longer, but Big Merm saved her best for Momma Rose, a role she surprising lost the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical to Mary Martin for THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Jule Styne's score is electrifying, and the overture alone would merit a five-star rating. Stephen Sondheim's lyrics showed the promise that he would be a force on Broadway for a long time to come. An absolute MUST for any musical-theatre fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Momma's Best Turn
For those of us who were born too late to see the original GYPSY with Ethel Merman, the excellent revivals are indispensible. Who would want to have missed Lansbury's intelligence, Tyne Daly's power, or most recently Bernadette Peters lovely layered performance, mixing determination with vulnerability and warmth?

But make no mistake, Ethel Merman is Momma Rose. At her very best, which she was here, Merman was an irresistable performer. Her generous involvement in the character and the music is felt here in every note. Merman isn't just loud, she uses her mammoth voice with a laser beam focus and a rhythmic vitality that impels the listener to feel every ache and yearning of Rose's experience.

Buy em all! (Tammy Blanchard is a wonderful Louise in the new Peters revival.) But don't miss Ethel's Rose. This one is for the ages.

5-0 out of 5 stars 10 STARS
Many of the other versions are just fantastic (Bette in particular) but let's face it, Merman rules. This is the ultimate broadway-feeling original cast album. I tend to prefer original cast albums, because of their authenticity.
Nice tidbit: did you know that it's Sondheim himself who says "you ain't gettin'88 cents from me, Rose" ? the actor who spoke that didn't show up the day they recorded this, so he stepped in. ... Read more

11. Mame (1966 Original Broadway Cast)
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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

12. Oklahoma! (Original 1943 Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B00004T9TF
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4610
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful beginning
If i had had the chance i would have awarded this cast recording four and a half stars. In many ways Oklahoma is one of my favorite cast albums-i love the light melodic music of most of the songs and honestly feel that this is one of Hammerstein's best efforts as a lyricist. Several of the songs are very, very good, indeed i would go so far as to call them masterpieces. People Will Say We're in Love, with its beautiful flowing melody and rich romantic feeling is one of these highlights. Laurie's other musical moments, Many A New Day and Out Of My Dreams are also very pretty. The soaring captivating title song is also among my favorites. For comic relief i would reccomend Kansas City, The Surrey with a Fringe on The Top and All Or Nuthin. These songs all capture the light, merry, american(in a very positive way) feeling of the piece especially. Oklahoma is without doubt one of the landmarks of the Broadway stage and deserves its place as one of the greatest American musicals. The reason i only gave it four stars is because this particular recording does not do justice to the piece. The stars are all exceptionally talented and the sound quality for such an early recording is not bad, but large sections of instrumental music, ( where for instance is the music from the legendary ballets?) and portions of the songs seem to have been cut. It is a very brief recording, in some ways it seems abrupt and rushed. Also, while i find it highly enjoyable, i must admit that it is in my opinion the least immpressive of Rodgers and Hammerstein's four greatest hits. It is a very positive beginning, but it lacks the soaring romantic power of South Pacific, the wonderful sophistication of The King and I, and the pure genius of R+H's masterpiece, The Sound Of Music. This however, does not mean that i do not reccomend it, indeed i believe that no musical collection is complete without it and this recording is excellent place to start exploring Oklahoma. It has a very historical feeling to it which is another reason why it is a must have for any serious musical fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy it, at the very least for the history
Among the many innovations Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!" brought to the musical theatre was the practice of taking the entire original cast into a recording studio to record the songs from the show with the original orchestrations as conducted by the original conductor. Musical theatre fans like myself are forever grateful for the invention of the original cast album that this show brought on.

But there are many other reasons why you should buy this recording besides its historical significance. This recording captures the groundbreaking show as it first sounded to audiences back in 1943, and it certainly rings with energy, heart, and obvious love and admiration. The great Robert Russell Bennett's orchestrations are still magnificent, but what especially distinguishes this album is the wonderful performances by the cast. Alfred Drake certainly gives Gordon MacRae from the 1955 film a run for his money as the definitive Curly; he has lots of energy and comic timing, and what a voice! Joan Roberts is a feisty Laurey, Lee Dixon is a fine Will Parker, and Celeste Holm, in her musical debut as Ado Annie, is completely charming. The supporting cast right down to the chorus is all first-rate, with the exception of Howard da Silva's strident Jud Fry. (It's just as well Drake recorded Jud's beautiful solo, "Lonely Room," as I doubt da Silva's version would have done it justice) By the way, though many of the stars are indeed not really known today, many of them did go on to great careers after this show; Drake was the original Fred in "Kiss Me Kate" and Hajj in "Kismet," among several other musical roles, and even tried his hand at Shakespeare, playing King Claudius in "Hamlet;" da Silva played Benjamin Franklin in the stage and screen versions of the musical "1776;" and Holm, of course, went on to a very rewarding career in theatre, movies, and television.

This recording still sounds as fresh and exciting as it must have been back in 1943. More modern recordings give you stereo sound and more complete readings of this classic score, which is certainly not a bad thing, but this recording is not only historicaly significant, but a valuable record of a great show as it first sounded.

5-0 out of 5 stars the first commercially-made cast album
1943'S OKLAHOMA! cast-album holds the distinction of being the very first commercially-released cast recording made. The original Decca sets are presented on this release from Decca Broadway, newly-remastered.

OKLAHOMA!'s original cast memorably starred Alfred Drake as Curly, Joan Roberts as Laurey and Celeste Holm as Ado Annie Carnes, with Lee Dixon as Will Parker.

Drake is thrilling in all his numbers, especially "Oh What a Beautiful Mornin'" and "People Will Say We're in Love", his sprightly duet with Joan Roberts. Roberts adds her silvery soprano to "Out of My Dreams" and "Many a New Day".

Celeste Holm is the perfect comical soubrette singing "I Cain't Say No" and is perfectly-paired with Lee Dixon for the hilarious "All 'Er Nothin'".

4-0 out of 5 stars An oldie but a goodie
Oklahoma is a must if you like the good old Broadway sound. I think it is one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's best works. This recording is also held up by the classic Broadway voice of Afred Drake. The songs are all classics but they move slow and after a little while they all just start sounding the same. The main drawback to this recording is the recording its self. Since it was made in 1943 the techonology was lacking so it sounds like you are listening to an old record. Still it is a must for all broadway fans.

5-0 out of 5 stars Oklahoma, it's better than OK!
What we have here is a nearly sixty year old cast recording of what is arguably Broadway's greatest treasure. The sound quality here is showing the considerable age of the album, but it is nevertheless very well presented. Decca was the leader in the earliest days of original cast recordings, with Columbia and RCA soon to follow (although subsequent productions on the Columbia label are of the better sound quality). This recording of OKLAHOMA is definately a staple in any Broadway collection. ... Read more

13. 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

14. Crazy for You (1992 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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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

15. The King and I (Original 1951 Broadway Cast)
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00004T9TE
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7076
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars GERTRUDE LAWRENCE!
The Original Broadway Cast Album of THE KING AND I (1951) is, in a word, incomparable. Gertrude Lawrence instantly became my heroine after listening to her charming renditions of such songs as I WHISTLE A HAPPY TUNE, GETTING TO KNOW YOU or SHALL WE DANCE. She was a charismatic star of the theater and her unique talents shine brightly in this classic musical play. Of course, Yul Brynner is permanently associated with his role in this play and this recording is a milestone in his career as the King of Siam.
It seems ironic that his only solo song is A PUZZLEMENT. Many notable Rodgers and Hammerstein songs appear on this score. WE KISS IN A SHADOW and SOMETHING WONDERFUL are beautifully performed by supporting performers Larry Douglas, Doretta Morrow and Dorothy Sarnoff. Three songs in the play which were cut from the 1956 movie are MY LORD AND MASTER, I HAVE DREAMED and SHALL I TELL YOU WHAT I THINK OF YOU? This is a great curiosity since the songs so beautifully fit the structure of the play's action and character dilemas.
Quite a lot has been written over time of Gertrude Lawrence's vocal limitations, particularly during the time she performed Anna in 1951-52 on Broadway. As someone who enjoys her singing thoroughly, rest assured that her dynamic "star quality" is not absent from this CD. Even though her pitch is at times unsteady and she sometimes tends to go flat while singing HELLO, YOUNG LOVERS, she is absolutely magnetic with the material and is perhaps one of the finest Annas of all time. Whenever I see Deborah Kerr, whom I admire fondly, in the film version of THE KING AND I, it is as if I see the ghost of Gertie Lawrence. This is because I listened to this CD before I ever saw the movie all the way through; also, the costumes are virtually identical judging by all the photos.
Since this recording is from 1951 the sound quality, though mono, sounds very clean and freshly enhanced for stereo. The oldest is often the best: SOUTH PACIFIC with Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza from 1949 does not exactly sound fresh, but it is still the BEST cast recording you will find of that show. Such is the case with THE KING AND I from 1951. Do get a copy of this CD if you get a chance. You definitely won't be disappointed!

3-0 out of 5 stars Recording not up to demands of show
THE KING AND I has always been one of Rodgers & Hammerstein's most popular shows. It has been frequently recorded receieving 4 New York cast albums, 2 London casts and 3 studio casts as well as the film soundtrack. Normally the first original cast is to be preferred but the limitations of the day prevent this 1951 recording from being definitive.

Decca was not as advacnced in recording techniques as were some of the other labels and the sound quality of this disc is very tinny. Gertrude Lawrence's already thin voice is not helped at all. The lady has pitch problems and her celebrated stage presence just doesn't come across on the recording. Dorothy Sarnoff and Doretta Morrow at least have voices up to the demands of the music, but they too suffer from the flad sound of the Decca studio. Larry Douglas uses his voice to good effect and projects some warmth in his duets, while Yul Brynner is heard only in a heavily cut recording of "A Puzzlement" and for a few lines in "Shall We Dance." This last number, shorn of its dialogue and dramatic context is robbed of any meaning. It becomes just another number. Although this album was originally released in all 3 speeds (78, 45 and 33) the songs were heavily abridged to fit the 3 1/2 minute limitations of the 78 RPM format. All in all, it is not a satisfactory recording of the show.

Those in search of the nearly complete score would be better served by the 1977 RCA cast album of the revival with Brynner in full command of the role.

5-0 out of 5 stars the original and the best
THE KING AND I is regarded as one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's most ravishing musical offerings; rarely has it been bettered than in the original cast-album, featuring Yul Brynner and Gertrude Lawrence.

Yul Brynner (in his first musical leading role following LUTE SONG), is wonderful as the imperious King of Siam, and is more than matched by Gertrude Lawrence (LADY IN THE DARK), the celebrated British star of the American musical theater. Lawrence is superb in what turned out to be her swan-song; she died of cancer half-way through the musicals's run, and was buried in the beautiful silver ballgown she wore during the "Shall We Dance?" number.

Doretta Morrow (KISMET) makes for a heartbreaking Tuptim, with Larry Douglas bringing a beautiful voice to Lun-Tha. Dorothy Sarnoff is a lovely Lady Thiang with her treatment of "Something Wonderful".

2-0 out of 5 stars Not an easy listen
I have found that there are two types of R & H works. There are the lively and upbeat scores, like Cinderella and Sound of Music. Then there are the slower and denser scores, like Carousel and the King and I, which are not bad, but not to my liking. There are not many songs on here that appeal to the popular tastes. Music theorists will probably love it. I have found that the best R and H works are the ones that sound like they were written today, most notably Sound of Music.

4-0 out of 5 stars Something Almost Wonderful
Recordings of stage musicals have a somewhat limited audience, and even as recently as the 1970s few record companies felt any need to spend more time or money than absolutely necessary on them. So there are several strikes against the original 1951 New York cast recording of THE KING AND I right out of the gate. The recording is monoaural and quite poor in quality. The individual songs have been altered to fit the length of the original album's playing time. And the entire score is not included.

Moreover, the leads are not as powerful as one might expect. THE KING AND I is one of the few widely available recordings that allow listeners the chance to hear Gertrude Lawrence--a performer who was celebrated as "the toast of two continents" in an era when such accolades had actual significance. But in truth, Lawrence's gift was a powerful star quality that drew every eye to her--a star quality so powerful that it easily over-rode her rather non-descript and distinctly flat singing voice. And shorn of her actual presence, her voice reads as precisely that: non-descript and distinctly flat. As for Yul Brenner, over time he would make the King his signature role, performing it on the screen and in endless revivals to great acclaim. But in 1951 he was an unknown, and this recording shows him still very insecure in the role.

The supporting cast is very good ("My Lord and Master," "We Kiss In A Shadow," and "Something Wonderful" are truly memorable)--but given the nature of Lawrence's singing voice, Brenner's obvious caution, and the various flaws and limitations of the recording, this is a Broadway soundtrack that is perhaps best left to hardcore fans. To them it is strongly recommened; others, however, would do better to purchase a more recent version.

--GFT (Amazon reviewer)-- ... Read more

16. Annie Get Your Gun (1946 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B00004VVZX
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7230
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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With all due respect to Bernadette Peters's wonderful, Tony-winning portrayal in the 1999 revival of Annie Get Your Gun, the role of sharpshooting Annie Oakley belongs to Ethel Merman. Her bold, brassy performance of Irving Berlin's best score is legendary, as are the songs themselves, including "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly," "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun," "They Say It's Wonderful," "I Got the Sun in the Morning," "Anything You Can Do," and, of course, the classic industry anthem "There's No Business Like Show Business." This rerelease of the original 1946 cast recording includes four bonus tracks recorded in 1972: the overture, "Colonel Buffalo Bill" and "I'm a Bad, Bad Man" (both removed along with "I'm an Indian Too" for the politically correct 1999 revival), and "An Old-Fashioned Wedding," which was written for the 1966 revival. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Annie
This is how Annie Get Your Gun sounded when it first debuted on Broadway in 1946. Sound quality here is extremely good, considering it is a Decca album of the '40s. Ethel Merman appears here in what is probably her most famous role. No other leading lady has become more synonymous with Annie Oakley than Ethel; she is the best.

On the main body of the album, there is no Overture, "I'm A Bad Bad Man," and "Colonel Buffalo Bill." Those three are tacked onto the end as bonus tracks, along with "An Old-Fashioned Wedding," which was written for the 1966 Lincoln Center Revival (which also starred Ethel Merman). Most of the albums of AGYG on the market are great, but this is the one you'll want to start with. These bonus tracks are taken from Decca's London studio cast album recorded in 1973 or 74 (yes, that album starred Ethel Merman as well)

5-0 out of 5 stars Still tops of all 8 recordings of the score
Although this was conceived for 12 78 rpm sides, it is still the best of the 8 (so far) recordings of the work due to the classic Merman performance, surprisingly good sound (for Decca) and the warm spirit that infuses this medley of hits. There are a few songs missing as well as the overture but those can be made up for by buying the next best CD - the Merman Lincoln Center revival. She's still in fabulous voice here and the excellent stereo sound, complete score and marvelous supporting cast bring this very close to the original - it also boasts a new Berlin song written for the revival. Other recordings made are/were: Judy Garland soundtrack released on disc and tape but now out of print; Betty Hutton soundtrack released in many forms on disc and tape but now out of print; Mary Martin/John Raitt touring company and tv version - available on CD; Doris Day/Robert Goulet studio recording now out of print; Kim Criswell/Thomas Hampson studio recording now out of print; Bernadette Peters recent revival. The comparison of the Garland and Hutton versions are amazing. Garland's performance is fine but the songs are paced lethargically slow; the re-recordings for Hutton when Garland was fired from the film and the MGM lot are a lot brisker, livelier and "present." Someone needs to put both the Garland and Hutton tracks on a single CD with the rest of the film tracks for a fun release. FLASH - for those that mourn the film's unavailability on video due to Berlin estate legal restrictions should check out the video release of the black and white kinescope of the Mary Martin/John Raitt live tv performance - fabulous. Now out of print on Hen's Teeth Video but a copy rests with REAL TO REEL VIDEO in Walpole, N.H. for rental.

5-0 out of 5 stars A charming, bouncy, extravaganza!
Wonderful. Simply wonderful. Of course, having never heard any other recordings i cannot be said to be the definitive judge, but i can assure all prospective buyers that I have got a great deal of enjoyment out of this light larking piece, and would certainly reccomend it to any musical fan. In some ways it, like Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate which dates from a similar period, is a breath of fresh air from the soaring romantic musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Dont get me wrong, I adore R+H's work, but the music in many of their most popular shows, (South Pacific comes to mind, as does The King and I) is so powerful and overwhelmingly beautiful, that is is almost a relief to listen to this lighter, less serious piece, which to my mind echos back to an earlier era in Broadway history. The fun, catchy music, combined with the wonderful lyrics, help to make this piece the master piece it really is. Ethel Merman, who, i must admit is not my favorite Broadway performer, is superb; she was born to sing this part. Ray Middleton is slightly dissapointing, but nevertheless good. The overall feeling of the piece is especially well captured in such songs as: "You Can't Get A Man With A Gun", "There's No Business like Show Business", "Moonshine Lullaby", and "I got the Sun In The Morning". The bonus tracks are also delightful- "An Old Fashioned Wedding"is especially good. Overall this fun, sunshiny piece truly deserves all the fame it acquired and is a must for any serious musical fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best Annie Get Your Gun recording EVER!!!
Annie Get Your Gun has always been one of my favorite Broadway musicals. Ethel Merman definitely brings it to its best. All (or at least most) of the songs have enough bounce in them to interest me and my little sisters and to cause my dad to start singing like Ethel Merman. Even the slow songs are good, especially "I Got Lost In His Arms". My favorite is "I Got The Sun In The Morning" because the lyrics are original and the tune 9is catchy, but among the other good ones are 'Doin' What Comes Natur'lly", "You Can't Get a Man With a Gun", "Colonel Buffalo Bill", "I'm An Indian Too' and "Moonshine Lullaby".

Another good thing about this CD is that it left in all the songs that the 1950 movie cut like "I Got Lost in His Arms", "Moonshine Lullaby", "I'm A Bad, Bad Man", "An Old Fashioned Wedding", and part of "There's No Business Like Show Business". ALso cut and changed in the movie was "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly" and "I'm An Indian Too", which was much better in it's full version.

If you want a good original Broadway musical you should definitely get this CD. Ethel Merman rules, and she really put everything she had into the songs. Well done!

4-0 out of 5 stars She's Quick On The Trigger
For Broadway aficianados, this CD is a must-have. Berlin and Merman together. What could be better? Well, to be honest, the 1966 revival CD is better. Stereo sound, lusher orchestrations, a better playmate for Ethel (Bruce Yarnell), and Merman in what might be the best recordings she ever made. But for historical purposes, put this one in your library as well. ... Read more

17. She Loves Me (1963 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $11.98
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Asin: B000001FM8
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 15051
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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This utterly charming musical had a disappointing Broadway debut in 1963 despite the high-powered pairing of director Harold Prince (his first musical) and the songwriting team of Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof). Thanks to a legendary cast album that took up an unprecedented two LPs (74 minutes on one CD), the show gathered a loyal following, eventually becoming a repertory staple and earning Broadway and London revivals in the 1990s. Based on the same Hungarian play as the 1940 James Stewart film The Shop Around the Corner (and its successors, In the Good Old Summertime and You've Got Mail), the sweet romantic story follows two shop clerks who can't stand each other but are also anonymous pen pals. Barbara Cook sang one of her best roles as Amalia, Jack Cassidy won a Tony as the cad Kodaly, and the rest of the cast is also perfect. The booklet includes production photos, a loving appreciation, and a detailed synopsis, but no lyrics. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Most intimate of all musicals - superb.
SHE LOVES ME made LP history in being the first original cast album to be spread over two discs. The music is enchanting, the performances are dramatically and romantically brilliant, with special praise for Barbara Cook in her finest characterization. This is a brilliant show, beautifully and lovingly conceived, intimate and glowing with grace and beauty. A true gem and worthy of including in everyone's CD collection. The show was too intimate to survive for long on Broadway (barely over 300 performances)but it did garner Tony noms for Best Musical, Book, Score, Direction and won a Tony for Jack Cassidy in the supporting musical category. A must-hear.

5-0 out of 5 stars A jewel
My all-time favorite musical, with my all-time favorite musical theater performer, Barbara Cook, in the unforgettable role of Amalia Balash. Every song is a gem, though the musical should be seen on stage to fully appreciate that this is so. Though Barbara Baxley's singing takes a little getting used to, everything else about this CD is divine, and if you can listen to Cook singing "Dear Friend", "Will He Like Me" and "Ice Cream" without melting into a pile of goo, you have no heart. The numerous other songs ("She Loves Me", "Try Me", "Days Gone By", "A Trip to the Library", "Romantic Atmosphere", -- the whole score!) are also wonderful, not an even slightly mediocre song in the bunch. A must-have for any fan of musical theater.

5-0 out of 5 stars Your collection is not complete without this!!
When I purchased this recording, I thought that Bock and Harnick would have the ghost of "Fiddler" haunting this, because that is a great show. This Cd made me forget about "Fiddler". Yes, it is that good. You recieve all the charm of a musical comedy, but much more wit than other comedies. Do Not put this on while you are doing household chores. The show is so absorbed in the music that you must pay attention to enjoy it fully. A good majority of the songs are short, but they still shine. The sound is very good. Most of the performances are great, especially Barbra Cook. She proves she can play, and sing, any role. She plays the pompus librarian in "The Music Man", and plays the unsure store clerk here. Why dont you own this yet? Buy it today.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Dear Friend...." SHE LOVES ME is a true masterpiece!
SHE LOVES ME is one of the most beautiful Broadway musicals ever to grace the stage. The gorgeous Sheldon Harnick-Jerry Bock score is filled with strong numbers, there's not a clinker in the bunch. The original 1963 Broadway cast album is still the best-ever available recording of the show (not to mention the most complete).

Based on the film THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, the story concerns shopkeepers at a European perfumerie store. Barbara Cook (THE MUSIC MAN, CANDIDE, PLAIN AND FANCY) stars as Amalia Balash; with Daniel Massey (STAR!) as Georg Nowack, Barbara Baxley as Ilona Ritter, Ralph Williams as Arpad Laszlo, Jack Cassidy (FADE OUT-FADE IN) as Steven Kodaly and Nathaniel Frey (GOLDILOCKS) as Ladislav Sipos.

Barbara Cook gets the bulk of the show pieces including "Will He Like Me?", "No More Candy", "I Don't Even Know His Name", and the showstopping, now-immortal "Vanilla Ice Cream". Cook joins Daniel Massey for the frenzied, delightful "Where's My Shoe?" and Massey later sings the Title Song to perfection. Barbara Baxley sweeps us up into musical comedy-heaven with the hilarious "A Trip to the Library".

The entire cast is strong and effective. I have said it many times; the Bock-Harnick score surpasses even their biggest hit, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, and its such a crime that the musical isn't well-known to the greater public.

A superb cast album, just as delicious as vanilla ice cream...

5-0 out of 5 stars Correction to Arne Andersons review of Nov. 1998
I agree with Arne Andersen that She Loves Me made history but only in the fact that it had Barbara Cook. She Loves Me was not the first Broadway Original Cast album to record its music on two disks. Back in 1957 The Most Happy Fella by Frank Loesser not only recorded it's cast album but recorded the complete Broadway performance. It was on three vinyl disks six sides and the boxed set included the lyrics to every number. It is worth tracking down. ... Read more

18. Carousel: Selections from the Theatre Guild Musical Play (Original 1945 Broadway Cast)
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Asin: B00004T9TC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 28167
Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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For a long time Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel lived in the shadow of its phenomenally successful immediate predecessor, Oklahoma! Based on Ferenc Molnar's play Liliom, Carousel took many risks for its time, and it's now easier to appreciate them. Though the songwriters gave the story a more upbeat ending, the subject matter, about a brutal man's treatment of the women in his life and its impact on his fate, was undeniably dark. Furthermore, Rodgers and Hammerstein were arguably more stylistically audacious than in Oklahoma!. Rodgers, for instance, dispensed with the traditional overture, composing a piece titled "Waltz Suite: 'Carousel'" instead. No wonder, then, that many R & H fans actually prefer Carousel to its older sibling. This 50th-anniversary edition of the recordings made by the original cast offers alternate takes of three tracks. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars The first but certainly not the best recording of "Carousel"
"Carousel" was the second musical collaboration between Rodgers and Hammerstein and this 1945 album "featuring members of the original New York production" has the virtue of being the first record with "selections from the Theatre Guild musical play." However, it terms of both the quality of the voices and recording, this is the least impressive version of "Carousel" out there. The musical from Ferenc Molanr's fantasy drama "Lilom," with the setting moved from Budapest to a coastal New England town in 1873. Lilom, the Budapest bouncer, is transformed in Hammerstein's book into Billy Bigelow, an amusement park barker. Julie Jordan, the sweet, small-town girl is attracted to the rough, worldly Billy. Everyone in town warns them against the marriage, which ends in tragedy with Billy's suicide. However, at the backdoor of Heaven he is given a second chance to perform one good deed. John Raitt and Jan Clayton as Billy and Julie are solid Broadway performers and the rest of the cast is serviceable. However, this album does sound like it was recorded almost 50 years ago. There are times I want to go over and dust off the needle.

The music in "Carousel" certainly holds up, although the idea that a slap from someone who loves you can feel like a kiss is a horrific idea even without the dictates of current political correctness. The score is a varied mix of great and average songs. "The Carousel Waltz (Prologue)" is Rodgers finest instrumental piece outside of "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue," "If I Loved You" is as good a love duet as "People Will Say We're In Love," "June is Bustin' Out All Over" is one of the finest choruses from Rodgers & Hammerstein, and it is good to remember the original context of "You'll Never Walk Alone" before Jerry Lewis appropriated it. However, for me the greatest song in this musical has always been the 7:26 "Soliloquy," for which I heartily recommend the Frank Sinatra cover on "Sinatra: A Man and His Music." If you pick up this CD for your collection, it is more out of a sense of completeness than anything else. I would still express a preference for the movie soundtrack with Shirley Jones, although Barbara Cook's studio album would be a close second.

4-0 out of 5 stars Buy the 1993 London Cast Recording
"Carousel" is the great American musical. Try as they might, no composer (including Rodgers and Hammerstein) has surpassed it.

Having said that, I would recommend the 1993 recording of the Original London Cast of the Nicholas Hytner revival of "Carousel" over this one. While I am a bigger fan of the voices here (especially John Raitt and Jan Clayton), the truncated numbers and out-and-out cuts make listening to this album a tragic experience.

I am usually a believer that the original cast recording is the one to buy as it represents what the composer had in mind while putting the show together, but I do not believe that here. The 1993 recording is far better than this. While this 1945 recording does hold an important place in history, the 1993 recording should be considered definitive.

5-0 out of 5 stars the peerless original cast
This CD from the Decca Broadway range features the peerless original 1945 cast of Rodgers and Hammerstein's CAROUSEL, regarded by the duo as their favorite of all their collaborations.

The 1945 cast featured John Raitt, in his Broadway debut, as the carnival barker Billy Bigelow with the lovely Jan Clayton as Julie Jordan. The role of Carrie is played by Jean Darling with the cast rounded out by Christine Johnson as Nettie, Eric Mattson as Enoch Snow, Murvyn Vye as Jigger and Connie Baxter.

Raitt's amazing voice perfectly inhabits songs like "The Highest Judge of All" and the breathtaking "Soliloquy". Jan Clayton is a perfect fit for Julie. Miss Clayton would go on to further distinction a few years later, playing both Magnolia and Kim in a landmark revival of SHOW BOAT. Jean Darling perfectly captures the breathless romantic longing of Carrie with the delightful "Mister Snow".

Sound quality is quite good for the age of the material. This cast album is naturally a must-own for all fans of musical theatre.

2-0 out of 5 stars Doesn't stand the test of time
Yikes. I bought this based on the reviews (and because I prefer the original cast recordings as well). But quite frankly, this album is no fun to listen to. If you like Sound of Music, Cinderella, and that style, you will not like this. It is very dense, and somewhat tortured sounding, as is the story. Robert Russell Bennett is not involved in the orchestration, so that may account for the music. And the wry humor and satirical, yet loving insights that I expect from Hammerstein are missing as well. Unlike most of their other albums, this one sounds old and dated, and ready for the grave.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ultimate Billy Bigelow
I don't remember the first time I heard John Raitt do the Soliloquy,I did not see the ORIGINAL PRODUCTION..(Wasnt born yet). I do know that he is the best! Several years ago he performed with the Boston Pops and of course he had to do that number. What a voice! Although this recording is in monaural, it is still worth the price! I am one of those people who think that Carousel was Rodgers and Hammerstein's best work, and there is always something magical and sad about cranking a recording of the OBC up on the stereo,especially "Highest judge of all". What a find,what a treasure! ... Read more

19. Brigadoon (1947 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $16.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000002W1D
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 41470
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully done!
This classic Lerner and Loewe score is finally available on CD. With great songs like ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE and THE HEATHER ON THE HILL, Broadway fans can't miss this BRIGADOON original cast album.

The sound is quite terrible on this original cast album. The score is dreadfully truncated and none of the performances reaches above workmanlike. However (and it is a big "however") the score by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe is one of the glories of the American musical theatre.

My advice to anyone who wants to investigate this musical is to buy the EMI recording featuring Brent Barrett and Rebecca Luker.
John McGlinn conducts. The sound is perfect, some of the more important dialogue is performed, the performances are top notch, esp. Barrett as "Tommy" and a tenor named John Mark Ainsley who sings "Go Home With Bonnie Jean" and "Come To Me, Bend To Me" better than I've ever heard them sung. And, best of all, the entire score, complete with exciting ballet music (originally choreographed by Agnes DeMille)is here on this one CD. Skip the original cast album.

3-0 out of 5 stars The first Original cast album from RCA Victor
One of the other reviewers has stated that BRIGADOON was a failure. It most certainly was not! It ran well over a year, turned a healthy profit and toured for several seasons. The movie version, though not a success with critics, was an audience favourite and was profitable for M-g-M. There were successful revivals at City Centre throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The 1980 Broadway revival was not well recieved but many regional and community theatres continue to revive the show and the New York City Opera had a good production in the 1980s. It's fine if you don't like the show, but don't try to rewrite history to prove your point!

This Cd offers a short selection, due to the time limits of the original 78s. The cast s good but not sensational. The score, however, is one of Lerner and Loewe's best and every song is a gem.

A 1954 Columbia album with Shirley Jones, Jack Cassidy and teh wonderful Susan Johnson sounds much more theatrical and is more complete. Unfortunately, that album has not been issued on Cd as yet.

Of the versions currently avaialble on CD the more complete John McGlinn recording on Angel is probably your best bet.

This was RCA's first original Broadway cast album. Six months later they recorded ALLEGRO and HIGH BUTTON SHOES. They also recorded BONANZA BOUND during its pre-Broadway try-out but when that show folded on the road the records were never released.
The label was obviously struggling to master the techniques of translating shows from stage to records and they did not really succeed until the late 1950s.

3-0 out of 5 stars Marion Bell and Pamela Britton in the Lerner/Loewe charmer
BRIGADOON was one of the biggest Broadway hits of the late 40's, with a sparkling score written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe and a fanciful plot involving an enchanted village in the Highlands.

Marion Bell plays Fiona, with a cast led by David Brooks, Pamela Britton and Lee Sullivan. The score is best-known for "Almost Like Being in Love", which became a huge hit for several artists including Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra; but also includes the lilting "Heather on the Hill".

Marion Bell spins gold with Fiona's charming number "Waitin' For My Dearie", whilst Lee Sullivan sings the beautiful "Come to Me, Bend to Me". Pamela Britton makes good with "My Mother's Weddin' Day".

Sound quality is quite awful (most cast albums that pre-date 1956 don't register particularly well on CD), but with a score as rapturous as BRIGADOON, it shouldn't really matter.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Early but Memorable Lerner-Loewe Score
BRIGADOON failed in its 1947 Broadway debut. The 1954 screen version died a slow death at the box office. Significant revivals in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s lost money. And it is easy to see why: even by 1940s standards, the show is incredibly simpering in its tale of two hunters who happen across a village that appears only day every century. Even so, producers have been drawn to it again and again and again--and again it is easy to see why: the story may be distastefully sweet, but the music is wonderful.

The 1947 recording is very much of its era. Broadway musical recordings were then a very small niche market, and record companies were not interested in knocking themselves out to produce an album that would appeal only to the few; moreover, technology limitations forced significant cuts in the material that it might be released as a single album. The result is a murky-sounding recording of a truncated score. But still--

The music shines through the quality issues just as it shines through the syrupy show itself, a charming collection of Scottish-tinged ballads and bouncy ensemble pieces. And the vocals are quite as charming as the Lerner-Loewe music and lyrics, with Marion Bell's "Waitin' for My Dearie," Lee Sullivan's "Come to Me, Bend to Me," and Pamela Britton's "My Mother's Wedding Day" particularly well done. And although the score is truncated, it includes such classics and near classics as "Go Home With Bonnie Jean," "Heather on the Hill," "There But For You Go I," and the famous "Almost Like Being In Love."

This is a "must own" recording for Learner and Lowe fans who long to hear the original performers of the original production. Still, the content and quality issues will limit the recording's appeal to hardcore fans and theatre buffs. Recommended nonetheless.

--GFT (Amazon reviewer)-- ... Read more

20. Weill:Street Scene
list price: $11.98
our price: $11.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000026OM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 88741
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential recording

Kurt Weill harbored ambitions to compose the great American opera in the public, populist forum of Broadway, much as Gershwin did with Porgy and Bess. He did so in the 1947 Street Scene, which is a three-hour panorama of working-class American life revolving around a woman in an abusive marriage who is murdered for seeking comfort elsewhere. Weill never demonstrated a more remarkable fluency in a range of popular music style, but the piece's somewhat dated (and deliberate) sense of dramaturgy is apparent in this single disc of excerpts, performed in the comparatively reserved Broadway style of the 1940s. Though Langston Hughes's lyrics capture the Edward Hopperesque loneliness of those times, they can also be cloyingly bald. Weill's combination of pop-music manner and Puccinian operatic grandeur has since been more cohesively negotiated. However, excerpts this extensive would have been possible only in the dawn of the LP era, with cast members Anne Jeffreys, Polyna Stoska, and Brian Sullivan showing how this piece's journey started. --David Patrick Stearns ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A New concept of collaboration
Larry Warren in his book :"Anna Sokolow The Rebellious Spirit" writes: "In "Oklahoma!" and "On the town",Agens de Mille and Jerome Robbins had pioneered in the use of dance to further the plot of a musical, but their language was based on a ballet vocabulary. In Street Scene Anna proved that Social-dance forms have an inherent dramatic powers when they are artfully used as an expression of the society that created them. Ten years later Robbins used his genius to bring this concept to its fullest expression on Broadway in West Side Story". ... Read more

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