Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Here you find a list, as complete as possible, of all the CDs, digital albums, DVDs and Blu-ray regarding stage and movie musicals that that are being released in January and February 2017. The list is in alphabetical order.

A DOG STORY – Original Off-Broadway Cast recording, featuring David Perlman, Lindsie VanWinkle, Stephanie Brown and Brian Ray Norris. Music and lyrics by Gayla D. Morgan. 

THE GANG'S ALL HERE - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack of the 20th Century Fox starring Alice Faye, Carmen Miranda, James Ellison, Phil Baker, Benny Goodman and his Orchestra. Music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Leo Robin.

THE HARVEY GIRLS  - DVD-R release of the MGM musical starring Judy Garland, John Hodiak, Ray Bolger, Angela Lansbury, Preston Foster, Virginia O'Brien, Kenny Baker, Marjorie Main, Chill Wills and Cyd Charisse. Songs by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer.

I’LL CRY TOMORROW – 1955 movie biopic of Lillian Roth, starring Susan Hayward, Richard Conte, Eddie Albert, Don Taylor, Margo and Jo Van Fleet.

IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME – DVD-R release of the MGM musical starring Judy Garland, Van Johnson, Spring Byington, Buster Keaton and a very young Liza Minnelli.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


Original NBC Televison Soundtrack – 2016 / Music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman
Starring: Maddle Baillio, Derek Hough, Jennifer Hudson, Kristin Chenoweth, Harvey Fierstein, Garrett Clayton, Ariana Grande, Martin Short, Ephraim Sykes, Dove Cameron, Shahadi Wright Joseph
Rate: 8 (from 1 to 10)

Review: “Welcome to the 60s” and to the soundtrack of the live NBC adaptation of the Broadway musical!

This is probably the best and most exciting rendition of the score. The orchestrations are more exciting, the 60s spirit is more alive, the energy is superior and everyone in the cast sounds like they’re having the time of their lives. I haven’t’ seen the NBC production yet so I don’t I know about it, but the soundtrack is great! Besides songs written originally for the Broadway score, it includes “Ladies’ Choice” and “Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)” that were written for the 2007 movie adaptation, and both blend perfectly with the rest of the score.

On her debut, Maddei Baillio as Tracy is a winner leading lady and strongly delivers all her songs. Jennifer Hudson is terrific as Motormouth Maybelle and deliver her songs with feeling. Kristin Chenoweth is probably the best Velma Von Tussle I heard until now and she seems to love every moment of her “(The Legend of) Miss Baltimore Crabs”. Derek Hough sounds like he just come out of a sixties show. The one and only Harvey Fierstein returns to the role he created on Broadway and sounds exactly the same, his duet with Martin Short, “(You’re) Timeless to Me”, is one of my favorite songs of the show.

For me, the highlights are the already mentioned “(You’re) Timeless to Me”, “I Can Hear the Bells” and the exciting “Welcome to the 60s”. I also love “Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)”, where Hudson and Ariana Grande strongly lead the company.

This kind of music isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but it’s difficult to resist to the toe tapping rhythms and the contagious joy of living of this recording. Even if you’re a big fan of the Broadway cast recording, I’m sure you’ll love this much better rendition of the score. Believe me, “You Can’t Stop the Beat”.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


Concept Album Cast – 2016 / Music by Paul Katz and lyrics by Michael Colby
Starring: Christine Bianco, Klea Blackhurst, Nat Chandler, Jake Epstein, Alison Fraser, Harriet Harris, Richard Kind, Tony Yazbeck, Samantha Massell, Nora Menken, Levin Michael Murphy, Ryan Bauer-Walsh
Rate: 7 (from 1 to 10) / Photos by Elizabeth Wolynski

Review: I always have a soft spot for the Hollywood movie musicals of the 30s and in this “movieland musical”, as written by Michael Colby and musicalized by Paul Katz, those magic times come back to life with a bunch of good songs and a perfect cast.

With inspiring orchestrations (I just wish there was a bigger orchestra playing the songs) by Larry Hochman, it begins with a proper “Overture”, something that is missing from many contemporary musicals, and continues with Harriet Harris and company in funny mode with “The Public Wants to Know”, followed by the talented Christina Bianco with a true 30s style tune, “I Belong in Hollywood”. “Let’s Go” and “Keep in Step” could have been written by the likes of Harry Warren.

“Musical Mélange” is the kind of old fashion musical songs that I really enjoy. There’s also a bit of the Nelson Eddy & Jeanette MacDonald operettas (“Someone to Love Me” or “Hunchy”, both sung by Nat Chandler) and the Shirley Temple musicals (“Sounds in the Night” sung by Christina Bianco). No one doubts that Klea Blackhurst can sing and that she sounds just like Ethel Merman; here she shines with “I Can Sing” and “For My Career”. The charming Tony Yazbeck gives his Gene Kelly impersonation with “All Over the Place”. I confess that Alison Fraser’s big number “Jungle Fever” isn’t the most inspiring song of the score, I prefer her “Got to Be Good”. “It’s Mine” would be perfect for Judy Garland

The ballads “All I Dreamed”, “So This is the Movies”, “I’ll Stand by You” and “Stars in My Eyes” sound out of place with their more contemporary pop style, although I like the last two, beautifully sung by Jake Epstein (“I’ll Stand by You”) and Christine Bianco (“Stars in My Eyes”). The country styled “Born to Be Bad” may seem to belong to another musical, but in fact it's an homage to the western musicals of Roy Rogers.

These small problems apart, this in an enjoyable score that easily puts a smile on your face and a hum on your lips. It takes us back to more innocent times, when musicals didn’t need to have a message, they were just made to entertain and this TALES OF TINSELTOWN does just that.


Concept Off-Broadway Cast – 1982 / Music by Gerald Jay Markoe and lyrics by Michael Colby
Starring: Mara Beckerman, Lynn Eldredge, Jeff Keller, Timothy Landfield, Merle Louise, Michael McCormick, Polly Pen, Christopher Seppe
Rate: 4 (from 1 to 10) / Photos by Elizabeth Wolynski

Review: Before THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD brought the British Music-Hall back to the Broadway stage, this small show did it a few years before Off-Broadway. Now, for the first time, the complete score was finally released (the early 90s CD include only selections of it).

Like they say on the CD booklet, this musical is “an amalgam of musical comedy, music hall, opera, operetta, and melodrama, not to mention the rhymed musicals films of the early 1930s”. Likewise, the music style is reminiscent of the work of Gilbert & Sullivan, of which I was never a big fan. This is one of those scores that I believe could work brilliantly on stage and by listening to the recording the actors were perfectly chosen. But this isn’t my cup of tea.

It begins well, with “At the Music Hall”, and the title song is sweet and funny. Lynn Eldregde leads the company with the entertaining “Quartet Agonistes” and she also has a good time with “Keep It Low”. “Bubbles in Me Bonnet” is deliciously sung by Merle Louise, who also nicely delivers an old fashion ballad, “Good Things Come”. Michael McCormick has a funny time with “Vegetable Reggie”. “It Could Only Happen in the Theatre” is a typical number of these kind of shows. In the title role, Mara Beckerman has a pitchy voice that is perfect for the role, just listen to her “Lonely Canary”.

Both the music by Gerald Jay Markoe and the lyrics by Michael Colby catch the true spirit of the British musical-hall and if you love this kind of stuff you’ll have a lovely time with this recording.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Original Broadway Cast – 1963 / Songs by Naomi Caryl Hirshhorn & Charles Aidman
Starring: Betty Garrett, Joyce Van Patten, Robert Elston, Charles Aidman, Hal Lynch
Rate: ? (from 1 to 10)

Review: This play with music based on Edgar Lee Master’s “collection of short free-form poems” isn’t a musical. So the original cast recording has more talk than music, something that never appeals to me. I know many theater fans like to listen to recorded plays, but I’m not one of them. So, although I listened to this one, I guess that to be fair to it I shouldn’t review it. I’m not the right person to do it.

The songs, practically all sung by Naomi Caryl Hirshhorn, sound too much alike and I guess it has to do with the spirit of the play. I confess I was expecting to hear the great Betty Garret belt a number or two, but this isn’t that kind of show. Some of the songs sound kind of sad and I never cared much for folk music, and I think that’s what these songs are, but it’s possible I’m terribly wrong.

I believe there are other theatre aficionados and collectors who will love to add this recording to their library.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Here you find a list, as complete as possible, of all the CDs, digital albums, DVDs and Blu-ray regarding stage and movie musicals that that are being released in November and December 2016. The list is in alphabetical order.

THE APPRENTICESHIP OF DUDDY KRAVITZ – Original Canadian Cast recording with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by David Spencer. Featuring Ken James Stewart, George Masswohl, Marie-Pierre de Brienne, Adrian Marchuk, Victor Young, David Coomber, Sam Rosenthal, Michael Rudder, Kristian Truelsen, Albane Chateau, Gab Desmond, Julia Halfyard and Michael Daniel Murphy.

THE BARKLEYS OF BROADWAY - DVD-R release of the 1949 MGM musical directed by Charles Walters. Starring Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Oscar Levant, Gale Robbins and Billie Burke. Music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Ira Gershwin.

BUMBLESCRATCH – London Concert Cast recording of the new musical by Robert J. Sherman. Featuring Darren Day, Jessica Martin, Michael Xavier, Ilan Galkoff, Katie Kerr, Alastair Barron, Dickie Wood, Jacob Chapman, Teddy Moynihan and Cathy Read.

CANDIDE – Blu-ray release of the 2004 concert production at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center of Leonard Bernstein’s operetta. Starring Patti LuPone, Kristin Chenoweth, Paul Groves, Sir Thomas Allen, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Janine LaManna, and the Westminster Symphonic Choir. 

A CHRISTMAS CAROL – Reissue of the 1995 Original Cast Recording with songs by Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens. Starring Walter Charles, Nick Corley, Ken Jennings, Jeff Keller, Joseph Kolinski, Michael Mandell, Robert Westenberg and Emily Skinner.

To read my review click here.

DO YOU WANNA DANCE? – Original Cast recording featuring Maddie Pratt, Blake Sauceda, Erica Harkins, Zach Nelson, Bailey Anderson, Troy Atteberry, Monica Lockwood, Alessandra Aguilar, Ben Sherman.

FALSETTOS – Broadway Revival Cast recording of the William Finn musical, starring Christian Borle, Andrew Rannells, Stephanie J. Block, Anthony Rosenthal, Tracie Thoms, Brandou Uranowitz and Betsy Wolfe.

GYPSY – Blu-ray and DVD release of the West End revival directed by Jonathan Kent and starring Imelda Staunton, Peter Davison. Music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. 

HAIRSPRAY – NBC telecast cast recording, starring Dove Cameron, Kristin Chenoweth, Garrett Clayton, Harvey Fierstein, Ariana Grande, Derek Hough, Jennifer Hudson, and Martin Short. Directed by Kenny Leon. Music by Marc Shaiman and Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman. 

To read my review click here.

HAIRSPRAY – DVD release of the live NBC telecast starring Dove Cameron, Kristin Chenoweth, Garrett Clayton, Harvey Fierstein, Ariana Grande, Derek Hough, Jennifer Hudson, and Martin Short. Directed by Kenny Leon. Music by Marc Shaiman and Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman.

HALF A SIXPENCE – Original 2016 London Cast recording of the new English production of David Heneler’s musical based on H. G. Weel’s novel “Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul”. New songs by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, Featuring Charlie Stemp.

HOLIDAY – DVD release of the 1956 TV musical starring Doretta Morrow, Keith Andes, Kitty Carlisle, Jacques d'Amboise, Tammy Grimes, George Irving, Bambi Linn and Rod Alexander. Music by Clay Warnick and Mel Pahl based on themes of Johann Strauss, Jr.
IT’S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER – Blu-ray release of the 195 MGM musical directed by Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly. Starring Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Dolores Gray, Dan Dailey and Michael Kidd. Music by André Previn and lyrics by Betty Comden & Adolph Green.

LA LA LAND - Original Movie Soundtrack with music by Justin Hurwitz and lyrics by Benj Hasek & Justin Paul. Starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Callie Hernandez, Sonoya Mizuno and Jessica Rothe. Release date: December 2016

THE PORTAL – Studio Cast recording of the Off-Broadway rock odyssey, featuring Katsük, Billy Lewis Jr., Xavier Onassis and Lisa Gerrard. Original music composed by Tierro Lee and Comer.

RUTHLESS! THE MUSICAL – Off-Broadway Revival Cast recording with music by Marin Laird and lyrica by Joel Paley. Featuring Tori Murray, Kim Maresca, Jennifer Diamond, Rita McKenzie, Paul Pecorino and Andrea McCullough. 

SCHIKANEDER – World Premiere Vienna Cast recording of the new Stephen Schwartz musical. Starring Milica Jovanovic, Mark Seibert, Florian Peters, Hardy Rudolz, Mark Seibert, Katie Hall, Franziska Schuster, Katja Reichert, Armin Kahl and Reinwald Kranner. 

SING – Original Movie Soundtrack of the animated film with voices by Scarlett Johansson, Seth MacFarlane, Reese Witherspoon, Tori Kelly, Jennifer Hudson, Taron Egerton, Nick Kroll, Stevie Wonder, Ariana Grande, Jody Talbot, Gipsy Kings, Cat Stevens, Queen, Tikki Pasillas and The Bunnies. 

SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY - 1963 Original Broadway Cast Recording of the play with music based on Edgar Lee Masters’ collection of short free-form poems. Music by Naomi Caryl Hirshhorn and Hal Lynch. Starring Betty Garrett, Joyce Van Patten and Robert Elston. 

SWEENEY TODD – Blu-ray release of the 2001 San Francisco concert of the Stephen Sondheim musical, starring George Hearn, Patti LuPone, Neil Patrick Harris, Victoria Clark and Davis Gaines.