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$30.49 $18.32 list($37.98)
1. The Phantom of the Opera (Original
$13.49 $9.75 list($18.98)
2. Mamma Mia! (The Musical Based
$13.99 $12.84 list($18.98)
3. Highlights From The Phantom Of
$13.49 list($18.98)
4. The Lion King (1997 Original Broadway
$13.99 $13.43 list($18.98)
5. Seussical: The Musical
$28.99 $22.49 list($35.98)
6. Les Miserables (1987 Original
$26.49 $23.00 list($32.98)
7. Rent (1996 Original Broadway Cast)
$13.99 $12.39 list($17.98)
8. The Last 5 Years (2002 Off-Broadway
$13.99 $13.79 list($18.98)
9. Aida (2000 Original Broadway Cast)
$29.49 $21.50 list($32.98)
10. Jesus Christ Superstar (Original
$13.99 $9.59 list($18.98)
11. The Producers (2001 Original Broadway
$12.99 $10.07 list($13.98)
12. Godspell (1971 Original Off-Off-Broadway
$12.99 $9.40 list($13.98)
13. Hair - The American Tribal Love
$17.99
14. Reefer Madness the Musical
$13.99 $12.24 list($16.98)
15. Songs For A New World (1996 Original
$14.99 $12.00 list($17.98)
16. The Secret Garden (1991 Original
$13.99 $9.95 list($17.98)
17. Jekyll & Hyde - The Musical
$32.49 $19.35 list($35.98)
18. Evita (1978 Original Broadway
$14.99 $11.99 list($18.98)
19. Urinetown (2001 Original Off-Broadway
$32.49 $20.75 list($35.98)
20. Cats (1982 Original Broadway Cast)

1. The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast)
list price: $37.98
our price: $30.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004YTY2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 151
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (261)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy this CD because it is worth every penny!

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

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


2. Mamma Mia! (The Musical Based on the Songs of ABBA)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000031WEN
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 264
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Put together by Abba's own Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, Mamma Mia! manages to cram over 20 of the Swedish supergroup's songs into a threadbare plot. It goes a little like this: Young Sophie is getting married and she's trying to identify which of three men is her father. That's about it. Wisely, the musical doesn't mess around with the songs, save for the insertion of some dialogue or for having some of them performed by a man (it works amazingly well). Abba fans will jump on this import of the London production, but traditional fans of musical theater should consider it as well. After all, Andersson and Ulvaeus's songs have always felt as if they were more than isolated pop gems and actually belonged to a longer narrative. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (120)

4-0 out of 5 stars Mamma Mia Groupies
"Mamma Mia" is an experience to behold. If this show does not lift your spirit and leave a big smile on your face, nothing will. We have the previledge of seeing "Mamma Mia" twice during its recent Chicago run. We will be seeing it again in Toronto in a couple of months. We are becoming regular "Mamma Mia" groupies!

The CD does not quite capture the energy and exhilaration that one experiences during the live show, but it will remind you the great time that you had. We now prefer this CD over the original ABBA version of the songs because it tells a funny and poignant story. The singers on this CD are all just fine. Our 2-year old loves this CD and requests it whenever he just wants to goof around the house.

Some of the outstanding players that we saw in Chicago, namely Louise Pitre and Tina Madigan, are now playing in the Broadway edition of "Mamma Mia." We hope that a CD version of the Broadway Cast will be forthcoming, and please include the unforgettable final curtain call encore that is missing on this CD. Those of you who have seen the show know just how that encore brings the house down everytime.

5-0 out of 5 stars MAMMA MIA - WHAT AN ALBUM!
Recently I saw the show Mamma Mia on Broadway and couldn't wait to buy the album. As a fan of Abba for many years I have many of their original recordings. But I wanted this CD for several reasons. First it offered many of my favorite songs on one album. Second it provided me with wonderful images of the show which I loved. And lastly, one can never have enough albums of Abba music.

I know that many reviewers and listeners continue to object to the London cast on the album but I found it made little difference to me. The selection of songs are wonderful, among them Money, Money and Thank You for the Music which are my favorites. And as you listen to them you will find the lyircs music have an energy and vitality which will have you tapping your feet and singing along. Also included aer wit, humro and pathos at times. Whether or not you can see the show, consider buying this album. And see if after only one song you don't become the dancing queen yourself.

2-0 out of 5 stars ABBA, YOU ROCK, MAMA MIA, YOU DON'T
I DO NOT SAY THIS IS A BAD MUSICAL, IT'S JUST THIS CD MAKES IT SEEM LIKE IT. I AM TOTALLY LOST. IS THIS THE ORIGINAL BROADWAY SOUNDTRACK OR THE ORIGINAL LONDON CD? (...)

1-0 out of 5 stars REAL Broadway Cast Recording PLEASE !
I just saw this marvelous and upbeat show on Broadway - Dee Hoty(Donna)..Jenny Fellner(Sophie-just adorable)..Harriet Foy(Rosie)..Tamara Bernier(Tanya). I purchased the CD at the theater -- very ambiguously labeled "Broadway Cast Recording" and then ORIGINAL LONDON CAST. Whatever the reason for such labeling what a huge mistake to label it as 'Broadway'. I agree with previous critiques that the British recording is bland, underplayed. I must add absolutely BORING compared to what I saw and heard last week. On the British recording each song was rendered the same as another...same beats...no great belt voices (could have used AT LEAST Elaine Paige as Donna)...Donna and Sophie sound identical. All those little, young voices the British seem to favor. We in the U.S.A. like voices with MEAT. This is BROADWAY -- like no other venue on earth -- and deserves it's own cast recording, especially when the performance I saw was 100% more melodious, energetic, harmonious (some of the arrangements seemed quite different) and theatrical. AFTER the last song (I HAVE A DREAM) is when the fun began! The performance involving Curtain Calls and mini concert was the best thing and an absolute surprise. The whole theater was up and rockin'. So WHAT'S THE SCOOP? Cast Recordings of every horrible Broadway show are released -- why not this phenomenon? Dee Hoty has just the right maturity and huskiness to her voice. Tanya and Rosie were marvelous -- comic foils to each other with belts to win stars. The CD version of DOES YOUR MOTHER KNOW made me cry -- from sheer frustration -- after the rendition I heard by Ms. Bernier! The three "dads" (John Hillner, Adam Lefevre, Michael Winther) seemed more human in (sight and) their sound and the voices were markedly different and easy to distinguish one from another, unlike the British recording where you sometimes cannot tell the women from the men!

PLEASE, SOMEONE WHO CARES! Issue a true Broadway Cast Recording and cut us a break! The wonderful ABBA score deserves better than the vocalizations on this CD. How did it become such a hit sung like this? Not much talent there.

3-0 out of 5 stars Better at the show
I saw Mamma Mia last weekend in Baltimore and it was amazing. The singers were just UNBELIEVABLE! However, the singers on the CD aren't nearly as great as those on tour. If you want the good music, go buy tickets. Still, buy this CD. I love the music from Mamma Mia, even if these singers aren't the best. ... Read more


3. Highlights From The Phantom Of The Opera: The Original Cast Recording (1986 London Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000001FLQ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 577
Average Customer Review: 4.76 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Highlight versions of cast recordings are by definition a compromise, and this reduction of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera is no exception. Weighing in at 59 minutes, it's over 40 minutes shorter than the two-disc version, excising many musical scenes that convey the flow and impact of the show (which include, admittedly, a lot of patter and screaming). On the other hand, all the hits are here--"Think of Me," "Angel of Music," the title tune, "The Music of the Night," "All I Ask of You," "Masquerade," and "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again"--and Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman are still on hand to make their distinctive contributions to the original London cast. So if you're looking for a convenient, inexpensive single disc that will let you enjoy Lloyd Webber's scrumptious melodies without having to immerse yourself in the action, this just might be for you.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (67)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Terrific, not to mention terrifying!
I have yet to buy the complete CD version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's haunting musical version of the classic love story The Phantom of the Opera, but my copy of 'Highlights' is nearly ten years old...and I still love it.
Michael Crawford was not only the first man to play the title character but in my opinion he must be the best. Surely, it's impossible for anyone to be better than him. His voice is magnificent, his cackling laugh keeps me up at night and even on a recording his sorrow and anger seem so real.
Although I've heard she's not much of an actress, vocally Sarah Brightman is amazing as Christine, a talented opera singer and the object of the phantom's desire.
Steve Barton sings the part of Raoul, Christine's old friend and love interest. He's very good which is why it's a shame his career didn't get more of a boost out of his performance.
In fact the whole cast is simply amazing. In songs like 'Masquerade' it becomes very clear to even be in the chorus of this spine-tingling musical you have to be very, very good.
Some will appreciate this CD more after having seen it live, but in my opinion every single person should own a copy of this tremendously good recording.

5-0 out of 5 stars One Phantastic Soundtrack
I saw The Phantom of the Opera nearly three years ago, and I remember it like I just saw it yesterday. The acting is superbe and the music is magnificent!! The entire soundtrack (it's a double cd) is great, but if you are just looking for the "main" songs, then the Highlights CD is just as good. Every time I listen to this CD, the play vividly comes to life, and I feel exactly what all of the characters are feeling....especially the Phantom. The play is wonderful...the music is even better!! You will definitely not be sorry that you bought this soundtrack.

5-0 out of 5 stars This started my Crawford Kick!!!!
I never heard of Mike before hearing this in 6th grade....

I was absolutely memorized by this man's voice--and boy
if i was the only one in the classromm, i would have started crying...his singing was so cystyalized- seems like he puts
all genuine emotion in his voice and it shows....

I love when he sings with the music box in the last song....
that's better than a full orchestra...

Or Michael with that haunting piano in song 6..that'll
do it to me....

I now have joined the Michael Crawford International
Fan Club Association (well not yet, i plan to!!)--

I saw the Phantom 2wice in my life.... with Ted Keegan
and Colm Wilkonson in the lead roles respectively---

Just holds no candle to Mike.....

5-0 out of 5 stars The Abriged Phantom of the Opera
Highlight versions of cast recordings can be convient -- nice price, one disc, shorter runtime, and all of the big numbers. I originally bought this highlights version a couple months before seeing the show because I didn't have the money for the two-disc complete recording, and it is a decent purchase. All the standout songs are here -- Think of Me, the title song, Angel of Music, All I Ask of You, Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, and others -- and for the curious who may never see the show but want a sample of it anyway, this is likely more than enough. But I made a mistake buying this over the complete set, because as soon as you see the show you'll be dying to have it all. Yes, the big ones are here, but there's so much wonderful stuff that you miss with this one, especially little things connecting the big numbers. Notes and Magical Lasso are perticularly missed here. It may not be important to you now but once you've seen the show you'll want it. So my advice is skip this version and save up a little more money for the complete double-disc album. You'll be glad you did.

5-0 out of 5 stars Audiophile friendly
I agree with the other many positive reviews. In adition if you have a high end system, the recording reproduces the soundstage and imaging of the performance. As an example in the last piece you can follow the performers moving across the stage providing a "you are (almost) there" experience. ... Read more


4. The Lion King (1997 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000001M1B
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 369
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

An Oscar win might suggest a score that would need a miracle to be bettered--but this colorful stage adaptation of Disney's The Lion King does so with flair. Composers Mark Mancina and Lebo M worked closely together to fuse the movie's many disparate elements. Where there was a veritable army exercising creative influences for the animated tale, this brings it all under the wings of a like-minded few. This is genuinely apparent as one track flows into the next. The African rhythms--both vocal and in instrumentation--come across as authentic and original all at once. No doubt this is largely through Mancina's passion for peculiar instruments and the possibilities suggested from nightly live performances. "Grasslands Chant" is a good place to hear this. The hit favorites are here of course, but both "Circle of Life" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" are pleasingly unrecognizable with chorus and shifting beats. Better still is the likelihood they will now be eclipsed by some of the new numbers. Mancina's own "He Lives in You" being a strong contender. With a sound mix as crisp as you'd hope to find, this is rousing stuff. --Paul Tonks ... Read more

Reviews (102)

5-0 out of 5 stars Innovative Theatre Meets Family Entertainment
First of all, to address some of the other reviewers who didn't believe "The Lion King" deserved the Tony: What the American Theatre Wing recognized is an historic and important step in theatre history. "The Lion King" on Broadway didn't attempt to merely transfer the cartoon images of the movie onto the stage (a la Beauty and the Beast). Instead, through the guidance of genius director and designer Julie Taymor, the glorious story was lifted and transformed through mask, puppetry, and dance into a multi-disciplinary wonder. I'm a professional puppeteer, and the response of the puppetry community to this show is staggering. Curriculums are being reworked, new parterships are forming, and a puppetry renaissance has begun.

Now, onto this CD: I can understand that if you haven't seen the staged version, you wouldn't expect to hear the changes that have been made to the soundtrack. Fortunately, I was given the CD "Rhythm of the Pridelands" before seeing the show. Many of the new songs are from that album, which was new music inspired by the movie "Lion King" and written by Lebo M, the talented African artist whose voice you hear in the movie version of "Circle of Life." This soundtrack is a unique and exciting blending of the original soundtrack and "Pridelands," and has an organic and harmonious feel to it. The new African chants serve to balance the more cutesy tunes from the movie. In the end, there is something for everyone. Listen without prejudice, and discover the beauty of the music.

5-0 out of 5 stars FOLLOWING A BAD TREND, BUT JERKING THE TEARS
If you're thinking of not buying this CD because you already have the movie soundtrack, HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! Not only does the Original Broadway Cast Recording have more songs than there are in the movie, but the original songs have been adapted and, in some cases, lengthened quite a lot. To be honest, there are a few poor attempts of "filler" and trying to add something with a rock edge, but the beautiful, rhythmic african chants and additions such as "Shadowland" and "Endless Night" bring tears to my eyes. They're worth paying for the entire thing. This CD gives you more of an emotional look at all of the characters and their despair. Disney followed the same trend they did with BEAUTY by adding a dozen songs with only a couple worth listening to, but they're tear jerkers and if you just sit back and listen to the chants and ballads, they're sure to touch your heart as they did mine... just skip the stuff in between. But it's a MUST HAVE for anyone even SLIGHTLY interested. Cuz I'm not even a Lion King Movie fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE BEST BROADWAY MUSICAL SINCE EVITA!
AS YOU SEE, THERE ARE A LOT OF BROADWAY SHOWS ON BROADWAY NOW. YOU KNOW, YOU GOT MAMA MIA, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, AVENUE Q AND SO ON AND SO FORTH. YOU KNOW WHAT'S THE BEST? THE LION KING OF COURSE! AND THIS CD SPOTLIGHTS ALL THE CLASSIC CAST LIKE JOHN VICERY, [THE MAN I USED TO LOOK UP TO.] JASON RAIZE, [HE DIED A FEW MONTHS AGO. I MISS HIM SOOOOOO MUCH.] AND THE REST! IF YOU HAVE TO BUY ONE BROADWAY SOUNDTRACK, BUY THIS ONE! IT ROCKS! AND THEN GO SEE THE MUSICAL! SURE, IT'S ABOUT 200 DOLLORS...BELIVE ME,IT'S SO WORTH IT. THIS CD HAS AN AWSOME BOOKLET INCLUDING SOME PICTURES IN THE BACKROUND, LYRICS, AND SO MUCH MORE. AND IF THATS NOT GOOD ENOUGH, I DON'T KNOE WHAT TO TELL YA.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Really Good CD
I bought this because because I wanted a soundtrack for the Lion King and I was tempted just to buy the Disney one, but I thought this might be more interesting. I was paticuarly interested in the fact that there was more African music. It was really great. Even stuff like Circle of Life had a slightly different sound to it, and the whole thing had a much better atmosphere than Disney gave the film. What I love about it is that it isn't just another Disney soundtrack, but it really has it's own interesting sound. Go buy it!

5-0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!
The Lion King (1997 Original Broadway Cast) soundtrack is amazing. When I went to the play, I knew I wanted to buy the CD. I loved the music live and from the CD. I listen to it everyday. The people singing are wonderful. They sound great. I think any and everybody should buy this CD. You'll love it! ... Read more


5. Seussical: The Musical
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000056QFG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 853
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Seussical: the Musical, which is based on Dr. Seuss's beloved characters, made the news even before its Broadway opening, as tales of disastrous out-of-town tryouts multiplied and creative turmoil abounded. But the show has its fans--Rosie O'Donnell, for one, likes it so much that she jumped in to play the Cat in the Hat for a month while Roger Bart was on vacation. And guess what? As conceived by Ragtime's Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Seussical isn't nearly as bad as its reputation would suggest. While Junior digs the familiar characters, Mom and Dad will notice that "A Day for the Cat in the Hat" could be an outtake from Cabaret--if that show had been rated G, of course--while "It's Possible" suddenly turns into an Elton John-type romp midway through. Easy on the ear and very pop, this is a kid-friendly cast album that won't insult an adult's intelligence. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (75)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great music, Great show.
I personally love this CD mainly because over 4/5 of the songs are good. The tunes are catchy, the lyrics are good (although Seuss himself should have gotten more credit on the lyrics than was given to him.) The lyricist mainly does a pretty good job of sounding like Seuss, though there are some bad lyrics here and there. Some of my favorites are ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE, AMAYZING MAYZIE, ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE, HERE ON WHO, and HAVIN' A HUNCH. Oh, and you can't forget CHASING THE WHO'S. Horton is great for the part, nice softer voice, very sweet sounding. Gertrude is great, she deserves a tony. David Shiner is wonderful as the Cat in the Hat, although he sometimes sounds kind of strange, but i guess that is just the show. Jojo is great, and has a good voice for an 11 year old, he certainly sings better than I could when i was 11. If you love musical theatre, (and even if you don't) buy this CD!!!! It's well worth your 14 dollars, or however much it is.

4-0 out of 5 stars Seussical- a plotless revue would have been better!
Despite the bad reviews the show got, the music from this show is outstanding! Being a music teacher and drama director, I can honestly say that this one of Broadway's best scores in years. I think the idea of a Dr. Seuss musical is wonderful but I think they did it wrong. It should have been a revue giving each Dr. Seuss character their own moment to shine. Instead, the musical weaves all of the stories together- many in which I forgot about. However, the main plot is "Horton Hears A Who." Even as an elementary school educator, I did not remember every detail of the story so it was hard to follow the cd. Why isn't the cat in the hat the main character? I can understand how people who are not that familiar with the stories dislike the show. I wish I could rewrite it for them as a revue using the genuine score which would fit! My favorite tracks are "Oh The Thinks You Can Think" -that's how you open a bway show!, "Green Eggs and Ham" -yet we have to wait for the curtain call to hear it and there's no Sam I Am?, Horton and JoJo's ballad "Alone In The Universe," "A Day For The Cat In The Hat," "McElligot's Pool," "Notice Me, Horton," "Here On Who," "How Lucky You Are," and that's it. The rest is ok but so related to the plot. The cast sings brilliantly especially Horton, Gertrude, JoJo and although I'm not a fan of the character , Sour Kangaroo is fantastic. Finally, David Shiner who plays the Cat in the Hat who got ripped to shreads by the critics is absolutely PERFECT!!!! He's sounds very giddy, bubbily, and priceless! The critics knocked his singing but the cat should alter singing, speaking, and word play- a la Seuss. Bravo Mr. Shiner and forget those critics- I think they wanted you to fail. *One more think: When I cast my school productions, I give the parts to the kids who deserve them whether male or female. However, I'm really glad Rosie O'Donnell, who I am a fan of, didn't sing the role on the cd- I think a male should play the cat . So listen Mr. and Mrs. Weissler (the producers,) I admire your talent and energy in bringing this production to the stage and making the cd possible, but I think the revue format would have worked better with many of the vocal selections. If you would like me to rewrite the show for you from an elementary educator's point of view, let me know!

5-0 out of 5 stars THE SEUSSICAL!
This CD is INCREDIBLE! There are TONS of songs, GREAT songs. I can say not ONE thing bad about it!!! In the booklet at the front of the CD you they have all of the words to EVERY SONG except for reprises and i think there are only 2!!! I advise you to BUY IT NOW!!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars SEUSSICAL SOUNDTRACK is AMAZING
The Seussical soundtrack is amazing! The songs are great, the singing is great (especially Janine LaManna as Gertrude, Sharon Wilkins as the Sour Kangaroo and Anthony Blair Hall as Jojo - a great voice!) What mostly amazed me was the percussion by Warren Odze and Charles Descarfino in the orchestra. The percussion was fantastic! I can't stop listening too this cd! Seussical truly is amazing!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great
I cant wait to be a part of this musical this summer. It is a very fun show. It is a breath of fresh air from lots of other musicals. Its not that I don't like depressing musicals, I DO! But it feels good to see a happy musical. ... Read more


6. Les Miserables (1987 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $35.98
our price: $28.99
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Asin: B000000OQI
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 579
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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After Les Misérables became a huge hit in London,it moved to Broadway, bringing along two stars from the Londonproduction, ColmWilkinson as the heroic Valjean and Frances Ruffelleas the despondent Eponine. Filling out this 1987 cast are Randy Graff(Fantine), TerrenceMann (Javert), David Bryant (Marius), Judy Kuhn(Cosette), MichaelMaguire (Enjolras), and Leo Burmester and Jennifer Butt (theThénardiers). Whether you prefer the London cast or this onejust might depend on which one you heard first, though minor revisionsto the show since its London debut make the Broadway version morefamiliar to current audiences. In fact, the 10th anniversary concertmight have the best overall cast of the lot, while the three-disc symphonicrecording is a must for completists.

Regardless of cast, Les Misérables has become asensation. Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's score isfilled with beautiful ballads ("Bring Him Home," "I Dreamed a Dream")and rousing anthems ("One Day More," "Do You Hear the People Sing?"),and Victor Hugo's classicnovel of a student uprising in pre-revolutionary France provides acompelling story line that continues to thrill audiences all over theworld. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (144)

4-0 out of 5 stars Soaring Score but Lacking in Voices
Les Miserables is the definitive theater experience. With more than 5 recordings out, the Broadway Cast shines frequently, but also lacks luster when needed. I found that I blame this on the casting. I'm going to break down the cast and then you can see a really in depth analysis from a die hard Les Mis fan.

Colm Wilkinson(Valjean)-I would have to give Colm 4 stars. He is a very talented singer and adds the right emotions to certain songs. However I found that sometimes his voice wobbled. It goes high and then wobbles. For example in "What have I done?" the last sentence is more wobbled than sung. But he is absolutely superb in "Bring him Home." Few dry eyes can be found when hearing that song.

Terrence Mann(Javert)-Terrence Mann is another exceptional singer. He has an amazing range allowing him to go to almost bass like notes to high tenor ones. He was fabulous in Scarlet Pimpernel, and Beauty and the Beast, but his voice just doesnt seem to fit Javert. Its not deep enough or serious enough perhaps. It sounds like he is just fresh from the classroom and not a vetern who seems to have no heart.

Randy Graff(Fantine)-Randy has a decent voice, but to me it sounds like she is just singing the song. Not feeling the song. Fantine is a tortured character who needs to express the pain and anguish she feels to the audience, but she fails to do this in the soundtrack.

Donna Vivino(Y. Cosette)-Donna is the most amazing young Cosette I have ever heard in my life. Her rendition of "Castle on a Cloud" is perhaps one of the most stirring and amazing songs sung on the CD. Her voice is so fragile but strong at the same time. The innocence and beauty of the song and the singer makes you want to weep.

Jennifer Butt/Leo Burmester(Thenardier)-I like each of them alone. When Jennifer sings her lament of T. its amusing and funny. And when Leo is singing about his "treasured" Cosette and fakes crying its humorous as well. But when the two of them are together, there is little or no chemistry. The Thenardiers are suppose to be discusting schemers together, but these two dont do well together.

Braden Danner(Gavroche)-Braden is very convincing as Gavroche and portrays his character well. He is lively from his first to his last song.

Frances Ruffelle(Eponine)-Now comes the hard part. With Frances it seems fans either love her or hate her. I found that I love her and hate her at different times.I love her when she isnt belting because her voice tends to come out of her nose. When she is singing to herself at the begininng of "On my Own" I love her. But at the end when she is belting I want to hold my ears. Same with "One day More" Her voice is grating in that song, but during "Upon these Stones, Building the Barricade" I love her.

David Bryant(Marius)-I dont like David as Marius. His voice is just not "Marius". It is too deep and unemotional. Marius of all the students is the most emotional and wears his heart on his sleave. But he just like Randy is just singing the words, not the music.His voice during "A Heart Full of Love" is not carefree or happy sounding. His emotions arent up to key for this musical. He would almost do better as Javert because of his lack of emotions for society.

Judy Kuhn(Cosette)- Judy Kuhn is fabulous! She is probably the greatest Cosette ever sung and acted. You can feel her joy and despair in each song she sings. Her range as well is also amazing. Judy portrays Cosette perfectly as innocent but wanting to learn about what makes the world go round, and about her father Valjean. Judy just has an amazing voice that practically flies from the CD to you.

Anthony Crivello(Grantaire)-Even though Anthony has very little solos I found I couldnt leave him out. He is the actor who portrays the fearful student. Who in the begininng wants to have a part in the revolution, but once it begins becomes unsure and doubtful. Anthony has a talented voice and soars. He is exceptional.

Michael Maguire(Enjolras)-Michael is the most amazing Enjolras that has ever been and ever will be. His range, his emotions are so greatly portrayed through his character that you feel you know Enjolras. The determination never fails and he never gives up even to his last dying breath. His voice is amazing as well as his portrayl.His Tony Award was well deserved.

Well thats all I have to say about the actors. The CD is worth buying because of so many stand out performances and the haunting songs such as "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" "On My Own" "Dreamed a Dream" Do you Hear the People Sing" and the chilling "Finale". The score by Boublil and Schonberg is beautifully orchestrated from the first despairing note to the last triumphant one. This is not to be missed.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not the best recording
I prefer the 10th anniversary one to this one. I know that all American Les Mis fans are going to hate me for this, but I really don't like this recording because except for Colm Wilkinson and Ruffele, there is not much emotion in this CD. Let me continue before you click on that "no" icon!! Hear me out before you judge!

COLM WILKINSON as Valjean: He is the best singer on this CD. His singing is emotional and makes your spine tingle- he is THE ONLY VALJEAN!

FRANCES RUFFELLE as Eponine: I know you'll hate me for this, but I think that he voice is too squeeky. But she is very emotional and gives an excellent performance.

MICHAEL MAGUIRE as Enjorlas: HE IS THE BEST ENJORLAS! He is very emotional, strong, manly, and convincing.

JUDY KUHN as Cosette: She is the only Cosette that doesn't annoy me, so I obviously love her!

TERRANCE MANN as Javert: Philip Quast is so much better than Terrance Mann. Although he has a great voice, it's not the right kind of voice for Javert. He doesn't seem to get the character down. "Stars" is not very convincing.

DAVID BRYANT as Marius: Michael Ball is so much better than David Bryant. David puts NO emotion into his part- he doesn't seem very love struck. "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" is not stirring and moving like it's supposed to be- it is cold and sounds like he is just singing the words with no emotion at all.

RANDY GRAFF as Fantine: Ruthie Henshall is worlds better than Randy Graff. I think that Graff tries to hard to be emotional, so it comes out as this horrible whining. It is especailly painful when she sings "Come to me" and at the end she sings, "For God's sake, please stay until I'm sleeping, and tell Cosette I love her and I'll see her when I WAAAAAAKE!" This last note is horrible and ear shattering! Her "I dreamed a dream" is convincing, though.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not great...
Les Mis is a great musical... This is not a great soundtrack, but it's the only affordable one Amazon sells(figure that out)...

The first time I saw Les Mis was at a small local high school. It was pretty bad, for the most part, but the musicians as well as some of the actors redeemed the performance. Valjean was excellent, Thernardier was pretty good, but most of all, the musicians in the performance performed quite well. The premise of a MUSICAL is for it to BE musical, and have good quality instrumental music as well as good quality acting... ideally. This recording has one of the above...

I was looking forward to getting this version, but when I actually got it, I started listening to the songs and was rather disappointed. I can sit down at my computer and probably write an arrangement to accompany the performance of Les Mis in cheap quality MIDI and have it sound better than this.

For example, in tracks 5 and 8, the background part has some kind of guitar or something or other and it just sounds absolutely terrible. I Dreamed a Dream is generally considered to be one of the better songs in the entire musical, and it's a shame that it has to get virtually ruined with this kind of tacky synthetic sound... But this happens to many of the songs.

Three stars for the effort, for it being Les Mis, and for the singing being decent. I just think it's terrible when a great musical has to have such a terrible, tacky sounding 'orchestral' accompaniment.

4-0 out of 5 stars Okay, but get the 10th Anniversary version
This Broadway album is much better than the slow-paced London album, but two other recordings top it: the Complete Symphonic Recording and the 10th Anniversary Concert Recording. What's good about the CSR is that, as the description says, it's "complete." It containes all the numbers you'll need if you want to listen to them over and over again. Performance-wise, however, the TAC Recording remains the best. It is graced, indeed, of The Dream Cast. As many reviewers have noted, for instance, the superiority of Lea Salonga both in voice and interpretation as Eponine over "sad" Kaho Shimada (CSR) and "whiny" Frances Ruffelle (OBCR and OLCR) is very clear on the TAC recording. If you can afford only one album, get the TAC version. Otherwise, add the CSR. These two should be enough to satisfy your craving for Les Mis albums.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but there are better
I like the quicker pace of the music here compared to the Original London Recording. The casting of other actors is also quite refreshing. The Complete Symphonic Recording and the 10th Anniversary Concert Recording are much better, though. Eponine's Kaho Shimada (CSR) and Lea Salonga(TAC recording), for instance, act waaaaaaaaaaaaay better than shrieky Frances Ruffelle, who repeats the whiny and lackluster performance she did on the OLC recording.

This is not a bad CD to get if you're a big Les Miserables fan. If you can't afford to get all the recordings, however, stick to the CSR for its "completeness" and to the TAC recording for its "liveliness," great actors and great performances. ... Read more


7. Rent (1996 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $32.98
our price: $26.49
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Asin: B000005ALT
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 333
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Into Broadway's creative vacuum of revivals, movie adaptations, and Hollywood star vehicles comes Rent, the story of squatters, junkies, performance artists, struggling musicians, drag queens, aspiring filmmakers, and HIV-positives (and you thought Miss Saigon's helicopter landing was cool). Undoubtedly among the defining pop cultural events of 1996, Rent has already won four Tony awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. More importantly, it threatens to bring substance back to the Great White Way.

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

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

Reviews (482)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Reviews (77)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Reviews (220)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


10. Jesus Christ Superstar (Original London Concept Recording)
list price: $32.98
our price: $29.49
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Asin: B000002P4H
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1037
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

It may not have been the first rock opera (the Who's Tommy was released in 1969), but Jesus Christ Superstar was a legendary album long before it hit the stage, thanks to Tim Rice's compelling book and lyrics combined with Andrew Lloyd Webber's irresistible music. Telling the story of the last days of Christ from the point of view of Judas (Murray Head), the still-unmatched original cast also stars Deep Purple's Ian Gillan as Jesus and Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene, the role she made into a career (with a cameo on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack). Decades later, such songs as "Superstar," "I Don't Know How to Love Him," "Heaven on Their Minds," and "Everything's Alright" still retain their extraordinary power. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (85)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best version of Superstar
The original recording of Jesus Christ Superstar is by far the best version of this outstanding masterpiece. As a huge fan of JCS, I can say this with sure.

By far the best Jesus is Ian Gillan, of Deep Purple. His voice is rich and powerful, and this production shows him at his best; he sings much better than in Purple. He is outstanding at Simon Zealotes, The Temple, The Last Supper. But his superb performance of Gethsemane is enough to put him in the lead of all Jeasuses. It is the best version of this song, by a long, long shot. This is probably not only the finest Gillan performance, but one of the best vocal performances of modern music. It is sad that he rejected to participate at the film production.

While Gillan is, with no doubt, in the lead of all Jeasuses, the competition of the best Judas is very "tough". The best three roles of Judas are played by Murray Head (in this version), Carl Anderson (in the moovie version) and ... Zvezdomir Keremidchiev "Zvezdi" (in the recent Bulgarian cast). Probably the readers will be sceptical to see the name of unknown (outside Bulgaria) artist, Zvezdi. I was sceptical to his performance, too, but he did one of the best roles of Judas ever!!! Back to Head, he sings amazingly, especially in Heaven on their minds and Judas' death. However, Carl Anderson is better at Damned for all time, and he makes outstanding Heaven on their minds, too. So I think that Murray Head and Carl Anderson are equally great.

Other highlight is Yvonne Elliman, who is the best Marry Magdalene, with no doubt.

This masterpiece is great not only from listening point of view, but it also has deep lyrics by Tim Rice, which suggest a new interpratation of the character of Judas that impressed my a lot.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this recording as the very best rendition of JCS.

5-0 out of 5 stars One thing I'll say for it, JCS is cool!
When I mention Jesus Christ Superstar to people who have never listened to it, they tend to have the impression that it is something for religious types, or have visions (thanks to the movie version) of hippies singing and dancing. This is unfortunate, since JCS is a remarkable work. One can argue that this rock opera is not really rock, nor is it really an opera but more of an oratorio. And it is true that late 60's trappings do somewhat date the album, but it does so in an endearing rather than kitschy way.

For years, the original recording and motion picture soundtrack were the only mainstream versions available. Since the 20th anniversary of JCS, a number of new versions have come out, but the original concept album is still the best for a number of reasons.

The vocals are outstanding. Ian Gillan is very good in the title role. His smooth voice projects a calm yet determined personality. There are times, however, that he lacks the emotionalism required, such as his less-than-inspired version of Gethsemane (Ted Neely's movie version is far better in this respect). Murray Head's Judas is wonderful as the antagonist. His rough voice is a counter to Gillan's Jesus, and Head manages to present his character as someone whose rational justification just barely masks a turbulent and troubled personality.

Excellent supporting characters fortify the lead roles. Victor Brox's rich baritone resonates with power in the role of the Machiavellian Caiaphas. Brian Keith, as Annas, compliments Brox, without turning his voice into a forced falsetto, as it often seems to be done these days. The remaining characters, including future disco diva Yvonne Elliman's Mary Magdalene, and Barry Dennen's brooding Pilate, do well to flesh out the story.

The other strong point is the wonderful music. The emphasis is on electric guitar, drums, and keyboard, which firmly ties this version of JCS to the rock genre. Subsequent versions of JCS, particularly the soundtrack, approach the music from an orchestral standpoint, with lots of strings, brass, and woodwinds. This tends to alter JCS from a rock opera (emphasis on rock) to a stage/movie soundtrack. As such, the original version remains quick and sharp rather than being ponderous and heavy.

Finally, the sound quality of the original album is crisp, and it is a joy to pickup the musical and vocal nuances in the recording. I have the original Brown Album, so the remastered version could only be better. If you listen carefully, you can also hear an occasional cough by a castmember.

JCS has become a beloved staple of the stage, and rightfully so. But it is the original concept album that is the definitive version of this great work.

5-0 out of 5 stars A simply stunning performance!
I watched the movie before, but this is my first recording of JCSS. I must say that I love it even more so than the movie! This is a stunning rock opera that chronicles the last week (or few days... I'm not sure) of Jesus Christs' life. You see the story through the eyes of Judas (Murray Head), the tortured friend of Jesus who can't seem to understand why Jesus does things the way he does. Won't people start talking if he hangs around the dirty whore Mary Magdalene (Yvonne Elliman)? Judas just can't understand Jesus, and he feels that maybe Jesus is not the man he thought he might be. Why is Jesus saying things like he is the Son of God? If he doesn't watch out, trouble will come! I think that Murray Head is a marvelous Judas because he puts so much emotion in the part, and you actually wish you could hug and comfort Judas when he realizes that he has caused the death of Jesus and can't turn things around. He realizes that it was his fate to be the man to turn Jesus over and is tortured with guilt and confusion. "Superstar" sounds fun and is excellent, but it actually examines the deep question of why it was Judas that had his name bloodied and dragged through the mud of history. Ian Gillan plays Jesus, and I prefer him over the man in the movie because Gillan has more compassion in his voice, and it's not as shrill as some actors make it. "Gethsemane" will bring you to tears because it is so beautifully done! Yvonne Elliman has one of the most beautiful rock voices out there and is perfect for the part of Mary. "I don't know how to love him" is perfectly done! Barry Dennen is also the perfect Pilot. You can hear his frustration when he sings, and he is a wonderful voice actor. Mike D'Abo is a much better Herod than the one in the movie. I highly recommend this recording because of how beautiful it is. Get this album!

5-0 out of 5 stars Make a Joyful Noise Before the Lord
My daughter asked me for a CD of "Jesus Christ Superstar" for her birthday. I explained to her that there is one version that is in a class by itself; the original London Cast version. The elements of the orchestration as well as the quality of the singing add up to an unforgettable performance. The orchestra moves the musical story along with elements of feeling that really adds to the emotion of the "rock opera" and does so with the fullness that a mere stage orchestra cannot match. I have seen the Broadway version twice and I can sing its' praises. However, that was a visual experience and the recording is different. This is the best in the audial experience. The problem with most popular music is that we always seem to focus on a song as being best presented in the way we first heard it. I hope I'm not caught up in that trap with promoting this version. I really feel that there is a special quality to this version.

I guess, for those unfamiliar with the subject matter, a few words about the content would be in order. "Jesus Christ Superstar" is a sort of elongated passion play put to music with new "interpretations" on the original story. A modernized version, if you will,done poetically, thoughtfully and with often challenging results. In that sense, there was a degree of controversy when it came out. However, the "noteriety" was nothing compared to other works such as the play "The Deputy". What the authors seem to be trying to say is that the message of Jesus Christ was so important to the world. Therefore, why did He appear in such a backward place at such an obscure, otherwise-forgotten place in history. "Israel...had no mass communication" was one of the many puzzlements the authers bring out. Most characters go through at least some degree of revision although some of it was intentially done for comic relief. This is NOT "The Passion of Christ" nor is it necessarily an attempt at theological revisionism. Some people will recoil at perceived "heresy" but I suspect most mainstream Christians will find it enjoyable and complementary to their own faith.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great, but not the greatest.
I'm a devoted fan of Jesus Christ Superstar. I think Webber reached here the maximum level of composition and freshness. Great riffs, drumming and arrangements. But this version of the Mythical Show is not the best. I'm also a fan of Deep Purple, but i don't agree with other reviewers. The deep, broken voice of Ted Nelly brings the power and rage of a man that is about to die and doesn't want to. Carl Anderson is the most brilliant Judas i've ever seen and heard. The duel between Judas an Christ after the supper looses most of its drama and anger in this recording, while in the movie is simply the best piece of all the soundtrack, helped by these two tremendous voices of Nelly an Anderson. I think there's a TIE between the movie and the concept album. Music, for example, is more ellaborated(don't know how to say exactly what i want in english)in the studio album than in the movie. But i Think the movie cast is better than the studio album ... Read more


11. The Producers (2001 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00005AY6I
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 604
Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com's Best of 2001

The Producers was the vehicle that first proclaimed Mel Brooks's decidedly singular comic vision as a film director in 1968. At the time, the world may not have been entirely ready for the depth charges of hilarity he unleashed; but more than three decades later, it seemed almost foreordained that the film's retooling as a full-fledged musical--directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman--would become the smash hit of the 2000-2001 Broadway season (even before opening at the St. James Theatre in April). Brooks is, of course, no stranger to the Broadway musical genre or to songwriting, but skeptics might find themselves taken by surprise at just how outrageously well all the threads come together for the new show.

The film's absurd core vignette--the infamous "Springtime for Hitler"--if anything gains a few notches in hilarity when framed by a character-rich musical that comes off as both parody and valentine in its mimicry of Broadway's "golden age." Brooks (with the help of idiomatically expert arrangements by Glen Kelly) has cooked up a variety of numbers constituting a virtual primer of old-fashioned American musical comedy styles (there's even a toying with Cabaret-style decadence), but they're always coated with an extra layer of zaniness. In fact, the whole show becomes a Chinese box of parodies within parodies. But what really gets the whole mix working is a surefire cast headed by Nathan Lane playing Max Bialystock and Matthew Broderick doing a delightfully nebbish turn with delusions of misplaced glory as his sidekick, Leo Bloom.

From his first big number (musically winking at Fiddler on the Roof), Lane hungrily lays claim to the role, undaunted by his formidable predecessor, Zero Mostel. Even on disc, you can visualize his over-the-top mugging as a dethroned "king of Broadway" who was "the first producer ever to do summer stock in the winter." Comedy, as they say, is all about timing, and that's exactly what Lane gets right. His interactions with Bloom, Franz Liebkind (Brad Oscar), and Roger de Bris (Gary Beach) are priceless, even when only in sound. As for the tunes, Brooks crafts a number of truly memorable ones--don't be surprised to find yourself horrified as you hum along with "Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop" and, of course, "Springtime for Hitler." --Thomas May ... Read more

Reviews (157)

5-0 out of 5 stars Back to the Future with Uncle Mel
My wife and I were lucky enough to see the show in previews on Broadway and we haven't stopped laughing yet. The CD contains music which SOUNDS like tunes you've heard before -- even a casual listening will prompt you to think of Gypsy, Bye Bye Birdie, A Funny Thing Happened . . ., How To Succeed . . ., Fiddler on the Roof and at least a half-dozen other shows. It's as if someone dug this recording out of a circa 1950 time capsule.

This isn't meant to say the show is merely derivative. In fact, I consider the broadly familiar sound a strong positive factor. So is the madcap humor and pacing, both of the songs and the production as a whole.

Indeed, one of the show-stoppers on this cast recording is "The King of Old Broadway" and that's what this entire show is: a fabulous throwback to the old Broadway of classic American musical comedy of the mid-20th century. Three minutes into this CD you'll know you're NOT listening to a Disney show nor one composed by a Brit with three names.

Mel Brooks' tunes are catchy and singable and his lyrics are Noel Coward-sharp. (Just see if you can get these ditties out of your head!) The CD comes with a nice extra: extensive liner notes which include the complete lyrics and spoken interludes of every song.

The songs on the recording are well-played by an enthusiastic orchestra -- Glen Kelly's fine arrangements and orchestrations flesh out Mel's tunes. The singing is uniformly good, an occasional flat note not withstanding, and the interpreations are inspired. When Max/Nathan Lane tells Leo/Matthew Broderick near the end of the show, "I never realized you're a good singer" it's more than a line of dialogue. It's actually true.

If you're lucky enough to see the show, the CD is the ultimate souvenir. If you haven't seen it, the CD will more than tide you over until you do. And if "The Producers" inspires a renewal of the American musical comedy genre in the next few years (let's face it, success breeds imitation), then we all have Mel Brooks and company to thank or, to parody one of his own songs from the show:

Broadway going nowhere in a hurry . . . 'til him.

Bland and spiceless, never ever curry . . . 'til him.

Mel's schtick changed the Great White Way.

It's no longer prim.

Oi vay, let's hope there's at least another one . . . like him.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Tunes, Hilarious Lyrics
I attended the first Broadway preview of "The Producers" in mid-March and I have rarely seen an audience respond with such enthusiasm. "The Producers" is lavish, filled with jokes that are as hilarious as they are non-PC, and it boasts terrific performances by Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Gary Beach and the rest of the cast along with extremely clever direction and choreography by Susan Stroman. The music is tuneful without being especially memorable ("Springtime For Hitler" being the exception), but Brooks' lyrics are often riotously funny.

The CD is an enjoyable souvenir, but it cannot serve as a substitute for seeing the show, which has many memorable sight gags that obviously won't come across on the CD, such as a flock of animatronic pigeons giving the Nazi salute, a dance number set in "Little Old Lady Land" replete with chorus members using walkers, the "Springtime for Hitler" production number, etc.

One quibble: too much dialogue has been preserved on the CD. For example, at the beginning of Lane's showstopper, "Betrayed," he reads a postcard from Broderick's character before launching into the song. Excessive use of dialogue can detract from the enjoyment of the songs.

1-0 out of 5 stars What's all the hubbub, bub?
I'm afraid I'm going to have to agree with the handful of folks here who've found the praises heaped upon this show to be undeserved. I suppose I should say the praises heaped upon this recording rather than the show itself. Never seen the show, never gonna. Sitting through the cd is arduous enough. I can't imagine being trapped in a theater for two hours watching this thing. How this uninspired little throwback of a vaudeville routine earned it's "Second Coming of the Broadway Musical!" label is beyond me. I guess all the tourists who couldn't get tickets to the Lion King actually find the play an amusing way to waste seventy bucks. Go figure.
The songs on the album range from dull & plodding to shrill & shriller still. The humor is juvenile & just plain humorless. Has Nathan Lane ever played a character who isn't Nathan Lane? I sat through the album three times over the course of a couple weeks trying to hit that magic moment when a score grabs you and you find yourself humming the tunes at work or singing along in the car at the top of your lungs. The only thing I found myself doing was shaking my head in disbelief.
If you're looking for a great new musical that combines edgy humor with catchy tunes go for Avenue Q, Urinetown, Reefer Madness or the much more deservedly lauded Hairspray. And fear the coming of "Blazing Saddles: The Musical!"

5-0 out of 5 stars Great
What a great album. I don't particularly like Nathan Lane. Quite frankly I don't think he can sing a note and can only play one character - himself. However, he is perfectly cast in The Producers. His voice fits the music, his one-character acting is the character. It is perfect. The music overall is brilliant - especially the chorus numbers. Mel Brooks has got to be the funniest man alive, and who knew he could write such great music to go with his lyrics. All in all, a triumph!

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Musical!
The Producers is an amazing show with hiliarious songs and lyrics. I think Mel Brooks went over amazement and comedy with this listening track, he went way beyond amazement and comedy. No matter how many hundreds of times I've listened to this CD, I've laughed at every joke each time. Any Broadway lover and comedy lover, such as myself, should own this CD! ... Read more


12. Godspell (1971 Original Off-Off-Broadway Cast)
list price: $13.98
our price: $12.99
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Asin: B000002VDC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2006
Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Jesus was a pretty popular guy in New York in 1971; as the ersatz star of both Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar. If Superstar was a little dark, Godspell was positively frothy; and its portrayal of Jesus as a hippie clown was part of its goofy charm. Another part was Stephen Schwartz's nifty score; a little naive and dated, but also as hummable as anything in history. Slap this in the CD player and be transported back in time to an era when kids were all singing "We Beseech Thee," "Prepare Ye the Way of The Lord" and, of course, the cheery "Day by Day." I'm guessing they don't do these in folk mass anymore. --Michael Ruby ... Read more

Reviews (38)

2-0 out of 5 stars Such a letdown
Don't get me wrong. I love Godspell. I think its one of the greatest musicals ever written. However, this recording lacks too much, partially because of poor recording equipment and a poor transfer from vinyl to CD I'm assuming and partially because a lot of the performers were not professional. Many of Schwartz's beautiful harmonies are lost, and "All Good Gifts" is completely destroyed (by the same singer who manages to cover up all the harmonies in the other songs). Stephan is an excellent Jesus, and David Haskel also gives a splendid performance. However, there are many more, much better recordings of Godspell out there.

4-0 out of 5 stars This is one spell that's hard to break.
This cd is most enchanting. I saw the movie first, and except for the songs "Bless the lord," "All good gifts" and "By your side," the movie's songs aren't as good as the original's.

But, the music here is still good. This album is great. I actually hope one day to be part of a performance of Godspell, though I'd rather be part of this older version than the modernist revival.

The voice characteristics of each actor are interesting. Stephen (Jesus) bears a UK accent which gives him a difference that no one else quite matches.

David (John/Judas) has a depth of his own, but he has fun in the roles he plays, and his elation shows through.

Robin (Day by day) has an incredibly deep, strong voice so much so that when I first heard her, I thought she just sang beautifully. The issue in this version of Day by day is that it's got 4-beat music . . . to 3-beat singing. It doesn't quite meld or catch up.

Gilmer (Learn your lessons) has a quirky voice, which is initially confusing. Once you realize that she's playing a clown, though (as is everyone else), you understand the point better. A shame the movie didn't use this song.

Joanne (Bless the lord) doesn't have the right voice ability to sing this number. By the time the movie came, they'd figured this out. She was since reassigned to Sonia's role which allowed Lynne Thigpen to take this song. Lynne is much better.

Lamar (All good gifts) has a deep voice more powerful than Robin's. When he's not careful, he drowns everyone else out. This can be quite annoying, but on this particular song, this quality serves him well.

Herb (First voice on Light of the world) doesn't get to say much, which is really quite a shame. Though from what he sang, he might have been speaking.

Sonia (Turn back, oh man) has a somberness to her sultry style, though Joanne does this song with more joy in the movie. It depends on if you think that Sonia's sobriety or Joanne's decadence are better.

Peggy (By your side) isn't exactly the world's best singer. When she adds "You are the salt of the earth," on light of the world, I wondered who in the world screeched? Somehow, she improves just a bit in By your side (which, coincidentally, she wrote with J. Hamburger). Perhaps because Gilmer aided her.

Jeffery (We beseech thee) has the voice one expects of a carnival barker, except that he actually can sing. Of the male voices, his is one of the ones I like best. His song, too, was removed from the movie.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiration, Memories, And Just Plain Enjoyment!
"Godspell" has been n a favorite of mine since my wife picked "All Good Gifts" for use at our wedding. Recently, our son has played "Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord!" at a campus liturgy. Even without these ties, this CD is a treat! The songs from Save The People" to "Day By Day" bring back memories of the 70s and one of the decade's most memorable theatrical creations. Whether you are seeking inspiration, memories or just plain enjoyment, this CD is for you!

5-0 out of 5 stars AWESOME to the EXTREME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I just love this CD! It's so cool. I love the songs and words. I think everyone should have this CD.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but I've heard better versions.
Origionally, I heard the version ASIN B000005BGX from a friend of mine. That one had better vocals by far, but the music itself was better here. Also, this version omits "Beautiful City" and the "Prologue". ... Read more


13. Hair - The American Tribal Love Rock Musical (1968 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $13.98
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Asin: B000002W1S
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1721
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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"America's First Tribal Love-Rock Musical," went the advertising, and nobody could argue with that. Hair opened on Broadway in 1968 and immediately became a smash, although no one could quite discern what it was about. Something like, "War is bad, drugs are good, racism bites the big one, and nudity is nice." Although all these sentiments are expressed on this album which, like the show, has not dated well, the quality of the music makes it forgiveable. The songs weren't really rock, but they accomplished what all good pop songs set out to do; stick in the craw. In fact, several of its tracks later became hits for pop acts, including "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" (The Fifth Dimension), "Hair" (The Cowsills), and "Good Morning Starshine" (Oliver). --Dawn Eden ... Read more

Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars Still as timely as ever....
I've seen this play a total of six times over 35 years. And, though the message of free love has certainly taken its toll, the louder message strong and clear is that it's about love and not war. Who can say that isn't still true today? And bellbottoms are back! The music is thoughtful, celebratory, in-your-face (today's politically correct would never dare to sing some of the songs here! but - hey! there's a point to be made and it's made loud and clear!), poignant, and heart-wrenching. When I first heard the CD I thought I was listening to a different production - the only audio I had ever heard outside of the live plays was my old scratchy LP played a gazillion times. I had no idea there were so many sound layers! Listen to this CD. Hear it with your heart, and with your humor, and with your spirit. As I write this review, I look up to see the flyer on my wall from the last production of Hair that I attended. I think of the '60s, I think of 9/11/01, I think of Iraq - the flyer has hearts, peace signs and daisies and says: "Come to the Be-In! 3:00pm, City Hall, NY, NY - Make love, not war!"

That's the beauty of Hair.

5-0 out of 5 stars ON MY OWN
Well, it's very difficult for me to say a word about it.
I was in 1979 the director of the Original Spanish Cast of HAIR in a pre-democratic era. For me Hair was the first "new" musical. The history of musicals are after and before Hair very different, the concept of what a musical must be, more than this, what theatre must be radically changed.
The music is really wonderfull with songs who was flags of a generation and a hundred versions of it (do you remenber Oliver's Good morning starshine?)
What more can I say? Go hurry, buy it and trausure it like a diamond,for many reasons (not only musicals) it's one of the five best ever.
I select this version because I dislike the Original soundtrack of the film a lot (Well, I hate the film too),and the Original London Cast don't have Rado and Ragni singing in it.
I have all of them , but if you must choose only one, this is the one to spend the money.
Don't you believe me? Well,explain me the success of RENT if HAIR never.......

5-0 out of 5 stars Historic And Unforgettable
This 2 CD recording should be MANDATORY for any musical theater buff- a rare opportunity to hear this historical show's developement from its off-Broadway roots to the megashow it became. Galt MacDermot's unforgettable score is wonderful in both versions (and while the film version tries to accomplish the unimagineable translation from a "non-book" musical to something with a traceable "plot", which I don't think it really does, the full orchestrations of its songs are truly realized by its composer...the versions of "Aquarius" by Ren Woods and "Easy To Be Hard" by Cheryl Barnes justify a manditory puchase alone).
The only "bummer" of this collection is that it doesn't include material from the two other New York HAIR recordings, which are still only available on out-of-print RCA LPs: DIVINE HAIR: MASS IN F(which featured several HAIR songs incorporated into a Catholic Mass) and DisinHAIRited (which has many of the songs cut from both the off-Broadway and Broadway companies).
If you get a chance, check out the book LET THE SUNSHINE IN (available from this website)- it will flesh out the political and historical relevance of this incredible show. For an even BETTER overview, the out-of-print THE AGE OF HAIR traces the show from its roots to the film version. Producer Michael Butler maintains the show's website (www.MichaelButler.com) for updates on current productions and the many cast members from the original productions.
For its wonderful music, evocations of a past era and its timeless plea for peace("Let The Sunshine In", the finale song, always leaves me in tears), this is THE paragon show cd you must own!

5-0 out of 5 stars Chickahominy!
I say that Hair is the best. And. That. I love it. It's really changing my life.

5-0 out of 5 stars One Of The Best Musicals Ever!
I first heard of the musical Hair when I tried out for a part in my catholic, all girl highschool's production of it. In order to perform it at my school, several things needed to be done. First, quite a few songs were left out because of time and/or the content of the song. Second, there was no nudity and all text referring to nudity and/or narcotics was edited out. And thirdly, we only had 3 guys in the musical. Even with this kind of limited exposure to the musical, I fell in love with the varying humour and intensity of the songs.
My sister purchased this CD for me in 1996, shortly after our performance had come to an end. I still listen to it at least once a week. There are just so many songs - and ALL of them are wonderful! Some are happy and uplifting while others are filled with such emotion it brings tears to my eyes. And the lyrics are some of the most impressive I've heard. But a few highlights are: Going Down, Frank Mills, Manchester England, What A Piece Of Work Is Man, Good Morning Starshine, and Three Five Zero Zero. But there are two songs from this album that have a special place in my heart - Be-In (for its happy-go-lucky chorus that always makes me want to dance ("Take trips, get high, laugh joke and goodbye") and The Flesh Failures, for its intense sense of regret and sadness ("facing a dying nation").
In summation, this is one CD you definitley won't regret buying! ... Read more


14. Reefer Madness the Musical
list price: $17.99
our price: $17.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004TZKI
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 46703
Average Customer Review: 4.87 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

Original Los Angeles Cast Recording of long-running, New York-bound, award-winning musical smash by Kevin Murphy & Dan Studney. Winner of 5 Ovation Awards, including best Musical; Winner of 7 Garland Awards, including Best Production and Best Musical Score; Winner of 7 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, including Best Production and Best Musical Score; Placed on the LA Times list of Top Ten Theatrical Productions of 1999; Awarded a 'Stony Award' for Best Theatrical production by the editors of High Times Magazine.CD is a studio recording with original cast and full 6 piece band.Includes 28 page full-color booklet, lots of photos, all the lyrics, authors' notes and two bonus tracks (including a preview of Murphy & Studney's next musical "Valley of Kings"). ... Read more

Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars Cooky, fun, but there's something missing........
Reefer Madness has the potential for being one of the greatest cult musicals ever... so why isn't it?

Well it's just too bad it opened in the same year of other "cult" musicals: Rocky Horror Show, Bat Boy, and Urinetown. Reefer Madness just wasn't a stand-out! All had crazy titles, fun themes, unusual and fun music, and wonderful casts!

But Reefer Madness lacks something. It doesn't have Rocky's sex appeal or an already exhisting cult following. It doesn't have Bat Boy's incredible inventiveness, or Urinetown's musical complexity.

But it nevertheless is fun and worth buying for anyone who's a fan of musicals like Urinetown, and Bat Boy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reefer Madness Rocks
I absolutely love this album. The music is totally upbeat and fun. The lyrics are a riot. Both the music and lyrics are something that will remain with you for a long time. I never get tired of listening to it and especially like the swing dance number "At the Old Five and Dime" which, I defy you to listen to and remain seated. Another favorite is "Listen to Jesus,Jimmy" which is totally over the top. This is an album to sit and enjoy when you are alone and can appreciate its humor and strong message. It is also an album to share with friends, when you are ready to have some fun. I saw this show in LA and now can't wait for its opening Off-Broadway in NYC. The show is a take off on the 1930s government scare flick of the same name but has gone quite a few steps further in its own unique and creative approach. This is something that has just begun to take off and you will be hearing a lot about it before long. I predict another Rocky Horror Picture Show, but with a greater edge.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm Addicted!
I am powerless over this hysterically funny, tuneful CD! I am just sorry I missed both the original LA and subsequent NY productions - but at least there is this CD to compensate! The only things I'd like to add to everybody else's rave reviews are to note that the singing is actually first-rate - being able to sing in character voice is extremely difficult, and the entire cast pull it off with great professionalism. And - the booklet accompanying the CD has some terrific shots of the show that gives an additional idea of just how wacked out the production must have been. The cut number is which everyone takes a whack at Jimmy's bare [bottom] also must be a milestone in musical comedy weirdness! It's just a shame that this didn't become the huge hit it surely deserved to be...

5-0 out of 5 stars Priceless!!!!!
This is "musical theater gone wrong" at it's best!!!! I saw the show in NY on my birthday, and I can't recall ever having so much fun at the theater (and I'm an actor myself!). I consistently laugh out loud listening to the cd. I wish there was a NY cast recording--I was told one was in the works. The music is actually good, and the lyrics kill every time!!!! If you enjoy shows like Little Shop of Horrors, this will be the perfect addition to your collection! BUY IT!!!!!!!!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Tuneful and clever
I put this CD in the same category as Bat Boy and Urinetown: edgy, clever, off-beat efforts with interesting scores and attitude to spare. I find Bat Boy more enjoyable overall, and Urinetown more melodically complex, but Reefer Madness holds up quite well in the comparison. Apart from the atrocious cover art, this is a definite keeper. I can't wait to see it with Michelle Pawk and Greg Edelman in New York. ... Read more


15. Songs For A New World (1996 Original New York Cast)
list price: $16.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000003G5U
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2294
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Jason Robert Brown, one of musical theater's brightest young composers, made his first New York splash in 1995 with Songs for a New World at the WPA Theatre.It's a revue of 16 of his cabaret and theater songs, directed by Daisy Prince (Hal's daughter) and realized by a crack cast of Andrea Burns, Jessica Molaskey, Brooks Ashmanskas, and Ty Taylor (who sang the role on this recording only because cast member Billy Porter had a contractual conflict), with Brown himself leading a small combo from the piano. Soaring melodies and irresistible rhythms mark a wide range of songs that encompass jazz ("Just One Step"), gospel ("The River Won't Flow"), funk ("Steam Train"), and Kurt Weill ("Surabaya Santa," sort of Mrs. Claus's lament as it would be sung by Lotte Lenya). Most memorable are two songs of lost love: the Ashmanskas-Burns duet "I'd Give It All for You," which perfectly captures romantic yearning, and Molaskey's wry yet poignant "Stars and the Moon," which has become something of a jazzy standard, recorded by such luminaries as Audra McDonald and Betty Buckley. Brown went on to win the 1999 Best Score Tony for his powerful Parade, then reunited with Prince on The Last 5 Years. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (80)

5-0 out of 5 stars Unlike any other
I'm in a group called Music Warehouse and some of our older members and alumni preformed Songs for a New World. It instantly grabbed my attention and so I went out and bought the CD. Songs like "I'm not Afraid of Anything" and "Stars and the Moon" teach great life lessons. However, songs like "Just one Step" "She Cries" and "Surabaya-Santa" give the CD a light and funny edge too. This is really a great CD for anyone who wants to try out music that breaks traditional Broadway musicals molds. The words and tunes are so catchy that once you hear them, you sing the songs for days and days. Songs For a New World is a must for anyone looking to broaden their CD collection and experience great music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brown composer for a New Broadway
In a time where Sondheim is reaching the end of his career, all eyes are looking for the composer to take his place. All hipe aside, Jason Robert Brown is it. His score for 'Parade' proves he has a vast music vocabulary and has the talent to write clever, intelligent, powerful lyrics while staying true to character. With his debut album 'Songs..' he proves he has a gift for melody unlike any other composer out there now. His use of mixed meter, mixed styles and simple but very accurate orchestrations(which he did himself for many of the songs!) give the impression that he's only going to get better. For those of you who scoff, listen to Saturday Night and Sondheim's genius in it's fledgling stage. BUY THIS NOW! You will love it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Show Tunes of a New Kind.......
This CD has been my constant companion as I have been involved in a production of this show for the last eight weeks. I have really enjoyed the music and doubt I would ever get tired of listening to this CD unlike many other "show" CD's which wear out their welcome fairly rapidly.

I am amazed at the maturity of the composer - who was in his early twenties when he scribed these very evocative songs. The harmonies are amazing and they cast does a wonderful job blending their voices effortlessly and beautifully.

I suggest really listening carefully to the lyrics and watch how your perception can change as you grow from one stage of your life to the next - yes, its good enough to hold onto as a regular play for that long.

Great stuff.

4-0 out of 5 stars Love/Hate with Jason Robert Brown
Let me start by saying that Jason Robert Brown is one of the most talented songwriters to come along in a very long time. His melodies are gorgeous and the lyrics are very moving and intelligent. I would reccomend this CD to anyone...

That being said, I have a major love/hate relationship with Jason Robert Brown. It started when I always felt a little sad or depressed after listening to Songs for a New World, but could not figure out why. And after some thought I figured it out. Noone in this has any joy. Sure some of the songs are funny (Surabaya Santa cracks me up), but none have any joy. No love songs, no songs of hope...they are all lamenting something. The themes range from lost love to discrimination, but they are all, for the lack of a better word, unhappy. It hit me during my favorite song on the CD, "She Cries" (which is a very cool up-tempo song about a man who is desparately unhappy and wants to leave his girlfriend, but can't because whenever he tries, she cries and he can't bring himself to do it.) Unfortunately it is hard to express my problem with his songs without seeming like I want his show to be happy. I have similar issues with his other pieces...especially Parade. (Which I understand has both love songs and hope, but they are all sung by or about a man who is unjustly accused and lynched which then casts a depressing, ironic tone over them all) A very powerful piece with some of his best music which I would reccomend highly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Jason Robert Brown's Stunning Debut
Jason Robert Brown is one of the most promising talents in musical theatre today. His three shows (this, "Parade," and "The Last 5 Years") all feature thrillingly inventive scores and an emotional resonance lacking from the likes of most modern musicals. And after having listened to all three extensively, "Songs" is by far my favorite score by this brilliant young man.

Why? Oh, let me count the ways. First off, the effortlessness with which Brown switches musical styles is astounding. He tackles the likes of jazz, gospel, funk, and a host of other musical genres without missing a beat. His incredibly inventive melodies soar, and the small band manages to sound much larger than it actually is. The piano accompianment alone is more entertaining and interesting than entire theatrical scores. In short, this man can compose music on a level only the likes of Sondheim have ever acheived.

Yet the show never becomes music for music's sake. The other element which really sets Jason Robert Brown apart from the majority of theatre composers is that he writes for character. Especially in "Songs," where each individual number has nothing to do with any of the others, the music and lyrics convey a highly personal and self-contained story. Most of the songs deal with some aspect of relationships, and in them Brown reveals a depth and understanding of human emotion far greater than his young age indicates. These are not just people singing songs; they are characters sharing their hopes, fears, and joys with the listener.

And to top everything off, Brown has found an absolutely stellar cast to bring his music to life. As I singer, I can attest to the sheer difficulty of this music and the demands it makes on the performers, the Brown's ensemble of four effortlessly handles the tight harmonies and incredible range of these songs. Not only does the entire ensemble blend seemlessly on songs like "The New World" and "Hear My Song," but each individual also gets a chance to shine. Jessica Molaskey scores not one but two home runs with her hysterical "Surabaya Santa" and the astounding jazz number "Just One Step" (which showcases Molaskey's incredible belt and proves to be one of the CD's highlights). Andrea Burns will break your heart with "The Flagmaker, 1776." Brooks Ashmanskas showcases his gorgeous baritone on songs like "She Cries" and "The World Was Dancing." And Ty Taylor! This man's incredible tenor will make your eyes bug out on songs like "The Steam Train" and "King of the World," yet his "Flying Home" (with the help of the rest of the cast) is one of the most gorgeous songs I've ever heard.

If you can't tell by my rant, BUY THIS CD NOW! I guarantee that it won't leave your CD player for weeks, maybe months. ... Read more


16. The Secret Garden (1991 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $17.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000002862
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2681
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel of the same name, The Secret Garden was set apart from the beginning by the composition of its creative team. Not many Broadway shows can boast a female composer (Lucy Simon), director (Susan H. Schulman), librettist/lyricist (Marsha Norman), and producer/set designer (Heidi Landesman)--not to mention an 11-year old (Daisy Eagan) in the lead. This story of a little girl who helps her grieving uncle and sickly cousin regain a taste for life is a delicate, lovely achievement. Steeped in moody Victoriana, it should enchant those who enjoy a more understated style of musical theater. The great cast includes Mandy Patinkin, Rebecca Luker as his dead wife Lily's ghost, and the perenially underrated Alison Fraser. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (64)

5-0 out of 5 stars heartbreaking musical
THE SECRET GARDEN, based on Frances Burnett's classic children's novel, opened on Broadway in musical form in 1991 to critical and audience acclaim. Most of the praise was for the amazing, eclectic score written by Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman.

The show originally starred Daisy Eagan (Mary Lennox), Mandy Patinkin (Archibald Craven), Rebecca Luker (Lily Craven), Robert Westenberg (Dr Craven), Alison Fraser (Martha) and John Cameron Mitchell (Dickon).

The score features a lush combination of haunting love songs, sweeping waltzes, Celtic-inspired chants and rock-type anthems as well as a few Broadway-style tunes.

Standout songs include the heartbreaking "How Could I Ever Know?", the jaunty "A Fine White Horse", and "A Girl in the Valley". Other great songs are "Winter's on the Wing", "The Girl I Mean to Be", "Wick", "Come To My Garden" and "Race You To the Top of the Morning".

It is one of the greatest tragedies that this musical did not run longer on Broadway, but it was later re-conceived and significantly re-written for its West End production at the Aldwych Theatre.

Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent moody musical
One of the standout broadway musicals of the last part of the 20th century, The Secret Garden boasts a great source (Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic novel), a wonderful score by Lucy Simon, and a superb cast. From the opening exotic sounds of the cholera outbreak in India which leaves young Mary Lenox orphaned to the (admittedly somewhat schmaltzy) finale of "This, my lovely child, is your garden!" the score swirls and soars in a magnificent musical tapestry. Almost universally consistent accents (an extreme rarity in Broadway theater; kudos to the dialect coach) are instrumental in helping establish the "feel" of the piece, and the dark Yorkshire moor where the majority of the action is set.

The cast features the youngest Tony winner to date, 11-year-old Daisy Eagan, who plays Mary Lennox to perfection. Rebecca Luker's glorious soaring soprano makes Lily's ghost songs heartbreakingly ethereal, and even Mandy Patinkin's usual histrionics don't detract a bit from his powerful rendition of the disfigured, disturbed, and perpetually mourning Archibald. The supporting cast is equally superb: Alison Fraser performs "Hold On" and "Fine White Horse" with warm wit and tenderness, and John Cameron Mitchell (now perhaps better known for Hedwig and the Angry Inch) has an impish tone as Dickon, with the standout solos "Winter's on the Wing" and "Wick."

The recording wisely includes a substantial amount of dialogue to supplement the score, making it possible to understand the show fully, even for those who haven't seen it (or, like me, saw it almost half a lifetime ago). Complete lyrics, and a solid, concise plot synopsis further enhance the package. A solid addition to any musical theater fan's collection.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great but mine was better
I have just been in the northern premire of " The secret garden" with Durham Musical theater company ( ENGLAND ). i played the part of Dickon and loved it. I bought the CD as a little momento and thought that the msuic was brilliant. There where a few dissapointments :-
1. Alot of the scrip has changed and songs have been cut.
2. Dickon has aged 20 years

i do still think that our performance was a better sound but that my be just me !
BUY THIS CD ! it is great music for any musical theater lover and a must buy. If you get a chance to see it then do ! i promise you will love it.
Sam Lupton ( The secet garden DMTC 2004 )

5-0 out of 5 stars the cd tells the story beautifully
I have always liked the story of the secret garden, so when my drama teacher introduced me to the music from the show, I was captivated. I was chilled to the bone when I first heard, "I heard someone crying," so much in fact, that I asked for the CD for Christmas, never having seen the show. It has come to be one of my favorite cds and musicals of all time. The songs are hauntingly beautiful and romantic, I don't even need to see the musical because enough information is provided on the cd that the mood and setting is already playing out in my mind. I want to see the Secret Garden the musical now more than ever, but for now, I can revel in the beautiful artistry of songs like,"A bit of earth", "Come to my Garden," "Lily's eyes" and "How could I know." An added bonus, all the singers perform beautifully.

1-0 out of 5 stars Mary, Mary, quite contrary, why does your garden STINK?
I went to see a local production of this show recently. I had some friends in the cast and naturally I wanted to show my support. A parent of one of my friends had told me beforehand that she had high expectations for it. "I think it's going to be a great show," she said. "The music is by Lucy Simon, Carly Simon's sister." Very impressive. Although I admit to not being able to identify any of Carly Simon's songs, I'm sure they're all works of complete genius, and naturally being a sister of such a genius automatically warrants Lucy a genius, too. So I bought my tickets in advance, and eagerly awaited opening night.

The show stank. I would like to give a hit on the head several times to the person who thought that The Secret Garden would make a good story for a musical.

Now I realize that this is a review of the CD, that is to say, the music, so any criticisms of the actual show would be irrelevant. But, you also have to consider that this is one of those new-age, partially-operatic, almost-sung-through musicals, so you can listen to practically the whole show on this convenient CD. I don't know why anyone would, but you can.

Actually, I haven't even listened to a single song on this CD, so I'm not able to give an in depth look at the lyrics or the music. But I will reiterate: the show sucked. The reason the show sucked is for the same reason that most new musicals suck: Broadway is dead. I love musicals just as much as anybody . . . more than anybody, in fact. But the musical comedy, like all artforms, has had its time, and I think we should let it die.

The reason we should allow the death of Broadway is because the art of the musical comedy has grown to the point where anybody thinks he can make a musical. Just to prove my point, I would like to end this review with my musical rendition of the conception process for "The Secret Garden: The Musical", starring composer Lucy Simon and librettist Marsha Norman. I call it, "The Conception of 'The Secret Garden: The Musical': The Musical".

LUCY: Hey, Marsha, I'm bored. Let's make a musical.
MARSHA: What?
LUCY: I said let's make a musical.
MARSHA: What? Lucy, we can't just make a musical like that! Who'll write the lyrics and book?
LUCY: Well, Marsh, you're pretty good with words. I see you doing crossword puzzles all the time.
MARSHA: Okay, but who'll write the music?
LUCY: I can do that. Did you know I'm related to Carly Simon?
MARSHA: Well, that's good, Luce, but I still think it's harder than that. We need an original storyline.
LUCY: How about "The Secret Garden"?
MARSHA: Have you ever read it?
LUCY: Nope.
MARSHA: Neither have I.
LUCY: Marsha, Marsha, Marsha. That doesn't make a difference. You don't need to actually read the book to make a musical out of it. Musicals and books are completely different.
MARSHA: What makes you so sure that WE can write a musical, anyway?
LUCY: (sings)
Musicals aren't hard to write

They make 'em everyday.
You just need music, script, and lyrics
And you'll be on your way.

If you're eager to cash in
On all that Broadway glory, fine!
Just find yourself and tear apart
A pre-existing storyline!

You write the lyrics
(You can plunder it)
I'll write the music to go under it.
Anyone can make a musical!

You make the actors
Move their myelin
I'll make background with the violin.
Anyone can make a musical!

We can give The Secret Garden a new engaging look.

There'll be lots of plot and characters that weren't even in the book!

You understand what I'm saying now, Marsha?
MARSHA: I think I do, Lucy.
BOTH: (singing)
We'll open on Broadway
And put out a record.

MARSHA: And we'll sell out at ev'ry Eckerd!
LUCY: Think of how little work it will take.
MARSHA: Easy as a Swedish cake!
BOTH: (singing)
Anyone
Yes, anyone,
Can make a musical! ... Read more


17. Jekyll & Hyde - The Musical (1997 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000002JC2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2518
Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The one thing you can say about Frank Wildhorn is that he doesn't give up. Like The Scarlet Pimpernel, Jekyll & Hyde , based on R. L. Stevenson's classic depiction of a split personality run amok, went through several rewrites and casts--each show is a work-in-neverending-progress for Wildhorn. This recording immortalizes the show's classic Broadway cast: Robert Cuccioli as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Linda Eder as Lucy, and Christiane Noll as Emma. Appropriately for the show, Wildhorn's score is both tempestuously romantic and unabashedly ominous. While Cuccioli handles both parts with elan, Wildhorn saved his best songs for Lucy and Emma, confirming that he really is the contemporary master of the power ballad. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (156)

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing music!
Written by Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse, "Jekyll and Hyde" tells the story of Dr. Henry Jekyll and his desire to concoct a formula that will eliminate the evil elements that exist within the human personality. Unable to secure a volunteer for his dangerous experiment, Jekyll decides to secretly inject himself with the mind-altering formula. His medical experiment backfires, however, and gives life to his evil alter ego, Edward Hyde.

Wildhorn's music is amazing, and when you listen to the album, this show is incredible. (I personally don't think the production flows very well on stage, but maybe that's just me.) Robert Cuciolli and Christine Noll are amazing (cuciolli does the best rendition of "Take Me As I Am" that I've ever heard), beut we all know that this is Linda Eder's show. Her voice is incredible, and no one who tries to sing these lyrics can even come close to touching her performance.

My favorite selections on this album are Eder and Noll's duet on "In His Eyes" and Cuciolli's duet with Eder on "Dangerous Game." I think those two songs are better on this album than on the 1994 Concept Cast album, but that version has twice as many songs as the Broadway Cast album, so you'd be wise to get both of them.

4-0 out of 5 stars WORTH THE PRICE- BUT NOT THE BEST J&H RECORDING
I saw the show twice on it's pre-Broadway tour. I was blown away. Robert Cuccioli performed Jekyll & Hyde superbly. It's a very physically demanding role and he accomplished it wonderfully. Linda Eder was fantastic. What a voice! I have this CD and I have the "Highlights", but the 2-CD set of The Complete Works of Jekyll & Hyde is far superior, plus there are many great additional and better performed songs. If you listen to all three different versions, you'll see what I mean. Anthony Warlow is Jekyll/Hyde. The current tour is as close to the 2-CD set at you can get. The Broadway cast version is great if you've seen the show on Broadway. It takes you back to the stage by visualizing it in the music. But it is very different than the current tour. Please buy the 2-CD set and compare. You won't be sorry.

1-0 out of 5 stars Makes me want to "Hyde" and (Je)kyll myself.
Dear Frank Wildhorn:
STOP WRITING MUSIC FOR THEATRE. If I wanted to hear your music performed, I would go see a Celine Dion show. Unfortunately for her, I wouldn't pay to see her, either. Why do you insist on writing 90's power ballads and trying to slam them into a show set in another century? I highly doubt Robert Louis Stevenson was singing power ballads while he was writing this. Hunter Foster poops out better songs than you write.

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Broadway Version!
I can understand people who do not like Jekyll and Hyde. I can also understand people who love it (like me). I think you have to know all of the music before you can find it great. however, the show has a lot of potential for the Broadway. But what's this now? Let's start with the good things on this CD: Linda Eder (great, great, great!), Christiane Noll (the best Lisa (!!!) ever), nice arrangements, ultimate (that means the best) versions of: Someone like you, A New Life, In his Eyes, Once upon a Dream, Prologue. Now the bad things: Where's the originale prologue? I remember some talking... Great Songs like for example Alive were made more short. If you shorten that song, there's no fun about it's reprise! What has happened to I need to know? Lost in the Drakness is ridicoulos against it. Great Songs were cut (Bring on the Men) or replaced by songs which may not be all bad, but which don't fit in in this show at all (Good and Evil). And the worst: Robert Cuccioli!!! Why him? Why God? Sorry Bob, you're a nice singer, but you are NOT Jekyll/Hyde!!! His Performance is terrible and he doesn't give any atmosphere. My Advice: OBC ok ok, but if you like this Musical, buy the 1994 Concept Recording. It may have some very small "Mistakes" too, but it has got Anthony Warlow!!! He is reason enough to buy this and avoid the OBC...

5-0 out of 5 stars Deserved a longer run
"Jekyll and Hyde" is one of the best musicals I've ever experienced. I never got the opportunity to see it on Broadway, unless you count the DVD with David Hasselhoff, but I did see it twice on tour. Like the popular musicals that emerged in the late '80s, most of the show is sung through. The plot, adapted from the original novel, takes a few liberties with the source material, but ultimately leaves its theme intact (brilliantly illustrated through the big production number "Facade" and its numerous reprises). It introduces not one but two love interests into the good doctor's life: Emma, the upper-class, aristocratic daughter of Sir Danvers Carew, and Lucy, the young prostitute who desperately wants to turn her life around. All of the performers in the leading roles are excellent, the songs are memorable, and will leave you wondering why it didn't stay on Broadway longer. ... Read more


18. Evita (1978 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $35.98
our price: $32.49
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Asin: B000002ORP
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2680
Average Customer Review: 3.97 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Evita was Andrew Lloyd Webber's last show with Tim Rice before he went on to projects with less interesting collaborators, so it's no surprise that it remains his most consistently involving and rewarding work. Loosely based on the life of Eva Peron, the charismatic wife of post-World War II Argentine president Juan Peron, Rice's compelling story of one woman's rise from poverty to power is complemented by Lloyd Webber's colorful music as propelled by vigorous Latin rhythms. The showstopper, of course, is "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina," but the score is full of gems, including "On This Night of a Thousand Stars," "Oh, What a Circus," and "Another Suitcase in Another Hall." Headlining the 1978 Broadway cast, Patti LuPone is fabulous in the title role, showcasing her big voice and brash egotism in the role she was born to play. Mandy Patinkin is Che, the Greek-chorus character commenting on and criticizing the Perons, and his tenor is sweet on the ballads and powerful on the driving numbers. LuPone and Patinkin made their names with Evita (and took home well-deserved Tonys), but it's the third principal, Bob Gunton, who elevates this cast to the stratosphere. As Peron--a role often filled by a nonsinger--Gunton inflects his strong voice with both menace and sensitivity. Forget the movie; this is the definitive version of this score, and an essential cast recording. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (71)

2-0 out of 5 stars Please. Buy another recording. ANY other recording.
I have listened to myriad versions of Evita. The concept recordings, the Original London Cast (the best!), the movie, the touring casts...this Original Broadway Recording. Unhappily, this is the worst one of all. Patti LuPone ruins the music with her heavy sound that sounds as though it emanates solely through her nose. While appropriately enthusiastic in songs like "Buenos Aires," she lacks a certain youthful vibrance that Elaine Paige captured perfectly in the OLC. And the Che on this recording lacks David Essex's bite and sarcastic tone, also available on the OLC. If you're looking for a stage recording to compare with the recent movie, a word to the wise: do not buy the Broadway recording. It's painful, to say the least.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect rendition of an imperfect but excellent score
Yes, Andrew Lloyd Webber has an irritating tendency to write a few wonderful pieces of music, then fill up the remainder of the show with reprises. Yes, Tim Rice's lyrics can be more than a little inane.

However, those few wonderful pieces of music are truly superb. And while the lyrics *can* be ridiculous, there are plenty of moments in which they shine -- and then linger in your mind long after those moments have passed.

I heard this recording after that of the movie and found the difference to be striking. Not only are the voices clearer and more vibrant, but some of the sharpest lyrics were cut from the movie because they cast a very negative light on Eva Peron. Plus, "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" was done by the *right* character in this recording. It works out so much better that way.

I've never heard Julie Covington sing (at least not that I can recall), and Madonna doesn't quite have the range or the sheer force required for the part, but Patti LuPone was such a perfect Evita that one can hardly ask for more. Her sharp soprano voice isn't the type that everyone will like, and to some it's probably an acquired taste. Yet it is perfect for the title part of this musical. She has easily the highest non-operatic voice I've ever heard, and she skillfully employs it with amazing forcefulness.

Antonio Banderas acts a great Che, but he simply is not a singer, with a voice not far above merely 'decent.' I did like Colm Wilkinson's singing in Les Miserables, but my guess is that as Che he wouldn't master the flawless, matchless vocal subtlety of Mandy Patinkin's Che. Patinkin's voice may be light and even effeminate (though the latter only when he sings falsetto, in my opinion), but what some listeners seem to miss is that Che is not *supposed* to be "rough and tough" -- he's supposed to be bitterly cynical and angry. Patinkin's emotional range is as wide as his vocal one, making him wonderful in the part. I've seen his Che described as "chilling," and that's the right word. Patinkin does indeed produce a chilling, even jarring fusion of lilting tenor song (and here he has a *beautiful* voice) and harsh diatribe of Evita that lends a wonderfully surreal note to the show.

Is this recording perfect? No, but only because _Evita_ itself, like any musical, cannot be absolutely without flaws. But there's no question that it's worth buying and listening to again and again.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you want the definitive Evita, look no further
I was first introduced to Evita through the movie version. I bought that soundtrack, then I bought the broadway version to compare. Man was I blown away!!! This is the best cast album avalable. It has the best orcestrations, real lush, it just reaches down and touches your soul.

The cast is fantastic, this show could not have been cast better.

Patti Lupone as Evita- This woman can sing. Other reviewers have said she is too harsh and screeches too much. However I believe that harshness helps to capture the essense of the real Eve Peron. She was not that sweet and soft like the way Madonna portrayed her. She was a forceful and at times menipulating woman. Patti really evokes that in her porformance. Her stand out numbers for me are "Buenous Areis," and of course "Don't Cry for me Argentina."

Mandy Patinkin as Che- I love, love, LOVE Mandy's porformance as Che. His falsetto is really efective, it really helps convey hatred of Eve. However, Patinkin is not all falsetto, he can go into a low growl at times. There is only one way to describe his Che......downright bone chilling. You have got to hear Mandy sing "And the Money Kept Rolling in (And out)", pure perfection. I love his high notes during the chorus!!

Bob Gunton as Juan Peron- Creepy. Mr. Gunton scares me as Peron. He is a great singer, but his rolling of every R. is annoying. No particular standout number here, he does great on "Dice are Rolling" though.

Mark Syers as Magaldi- Not great, just a blip on the radar screen for me

Jane Ohringer as Peron's Misstress- Awesome, She really shines on her one and only song, "Another Suitcase in Another Hall"

Bottom if you want A great Evita recording, there is none better then the broadway cast. Plus it presents the entire show, not many cast recordings can boast that feat. Buy it and enjoy forever!!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I recently saw a local performance of Evita, and was so moved that I immediately ran out and bought this CD. I'd had the LP in the 80s- indeed, I listened to it so much that I memorized it- and I've seen the Madonna version, but I probably hadn't heard this performance in at least ten year. And what a revelation it was.

It takes nothing away from the Madonna/Banderas version to say that this recording is simply transcendant. Patty LuPone's Evita is so powerful, so moving, that some of these selections bring me near to tears. And Mandy Patinkin's Che is, like so many of his interpretations, absolutely sui generis, without comparison. He moves effortlessly from a beautiful, lyric countertenor to a deep roar, never losing the character as he does so. Bob Gunton's Peron is simlarly nuanced, as are many of the smaller roles.

I think- and I'm certainly not alone in believing this- that Evita is by far the best of the Lloyd-Webber musicals, due in no small part to the work of his lyracist, Tim Rice. And this is certainly the best version of Evita ever produced.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful classic
I grew up listening to this album on my mother's record player, and I've loved it since I was young. This particular recording (Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin) not only reminds me of my childhood, but it is one of the best musical compilations I've ever experienced, transcending ALL genres. Absolutely perfect. ... Read more


19. Urinetown (2001 Original Off-Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005LZR8
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3992
Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

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

Reviews (69)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's what I thought:

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

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

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

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


20. Cats (1982 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $35.98
our price: $32.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000001E3P
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2158
Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

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!!!
I ALWAYS HATED CATS. BUT THIS CD WAS HARD NOT TO LIKE. I GUESS THAT THE MUSIC IN CATS IS OK. BUT THE STORY IS AWFUL!I SAY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO THIS CD AND NOT SEE THE PLAY. THE PLAY IS STUIPED. IT'S ALL ABOUT FREAKS IN COSTUMES TRYING TO BE CATS.
SURE,IT'S A GOOD LAUGH,BUT WEIRD. ... Read more


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