Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Some musicals are great to experience just as an album. Here are some examples:

A Little Night Music by Sondheim

Original Broadway Cast.

This musical waltzes through the 'Glamorous Life' of Norwegian aristocracy and their 'Liaisons'. Based on Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night (one of my faves) this is full of Sondheim themes, reminding me at times of "Into the Woods" crossed with "Sunday in the Park". The songs are catchy and interesting. The over-played classic 'Send in the Clowns' seems fresh in this first take and in context of the story. Favorite tracks: 'Now Later Soon', 'Remember?', 'Weekend in the Country' and 'The Miller's Son'.

Stormy Weather by Everyone Who Was Anyone

Original Broadway Cast.

Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, Fats Waller, Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson. Plot? Who cares. This soundtrack to the 1943 musical has an amazing score, and if it had nothing else going for it that would be okay. The classic title track is still fabulous, as are the other tracks 'Ain't Misbehavin', 'Jumpin' Jive' and 'My, My Ain't That Somethin''.

West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim

Original Broadway Cast.

For a cooler kind of jazz "West Side Story" delivers the modern (1950's) Romeo and Juliet story with catchy tunes, lyrics and dance numbers. True, listening to the album won't give you the ballet experience, but listening to Bernstein's symphonic dances is still a treat. In the end Romeo, Tony, dies. Favorite tracks: 'Something's Coming', 'Tonight', 'Cool'.

My Fair Lady by Lerner and Loewe

1956 Broadway Cast.

Based on Shaw's "Pygmallion" Rex Harrison is Higgins: a man obsessed 'Why Can't the English' learn to speak? Julie Andrews, flower girl Doolittle, is taught to speak like a duchess. A peculiar romance entwines the pair as Doolittle softens from hating to loving the man who seems capable of only loving himself. Favorite tracks: 'I'm an Ordinary Man', 'Just You Wait', 'On the Street Where You Live', 'Show Me'.

Perhaps I'll add more later as I find more of this caliber.

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