Friday, May 26, 2017

SHOW MUSIC RELEASES: MAY/JUNE 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 May and June 2017. The list is in alphabetical order.

AMÉLIE – Original Broadway Cast recording of the new musical based on the famous film. Muic by Daniel Messé and lyrics by Nathan Tysen. Featuring Phillipa Soo, Adam Chanler-Berat, David Andino, Randy Blair, Heath Calvert, Alison Cimmet, Savvy Crawford, Manoel Felciano, Harriett D. Foy, Alyse Alan Louis, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Paul Whitty and Tony Sheldon.

COMRADE ROCKSTAR – Songs from the musical inspired by the life of Dean Reed. Music by Richard John and lyrics by Julian Woolford. Featuring Tim Howar, Kim Ismay, Caroline Sheen, Andy Conaghan, Lucy Schaufer, Yvette Robinson, OrlaGormley and Katy Secombe.

DREAMGIRLS – Original London Cast recording, recorded live at the Savoy Theatre. Starring Amber Riley, Liisi LaFontaine, Ibinabo Jack, Joe Aaron Reid, Adam J. Bernard, Tyrone Huntley, Nicholas Bailey and Lily Frazer. Music by Henry Krieger and lyrics by Tom Eyen.

To read my review click here.

GAY CARD –Studio Cast recording of the Ryan Korell and Jonathan Keebler musical. Featuring Sean Doherty, Melissa Mitchell, Derek Klena, Alyssa LeClair, Wilson Bridges, Brad Greer, Max Sangerman, Madelin Fansler, Josh Greenblatt and Kimberly Chatterjee.

HELLO, DOLLY! – New Broadway Cast recording of Jerry Herman’s musical, starring Bette Midler, David Hyde Pierce, Gavin Creel, Kate Baldwin, Taylor Trensch, Beanie Feldstein, Will Burton, Melanie Moore, Jennifer Simard and Kevin Ligon.  

NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 – Original Broadway Cast recording of the Dave Malloy musical. Starring Denée Benton, Josh Groban, Brittain Ashford, Gelsey Bell, Nicholas Belton, Nick Choksi, Amber Gray, Grace McLean, Paul Pinto, Scott Stangland and Lucas Steele. 

NEWSIES – Digital release of the filmed stage production of Alan Menken and Jack Feldman’s musical, starring Jeremy Jordan, Kara Lindsay, Ben Fankhauser, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Steve Blanchard, Katherine Plumber, Tommy Bracco and Aisha de Haas. The show won Tonys for Best Choreography (Christopher Gattelli) and Original Score.

THOSE REDHEADS FROM SEATTLE – Blu-ray release of the 1953 3-D movie musical starring Rhonda Fleming, Gene Barry, Agnes Moorehead, Teresa Brewer, Guy Mitchell, The Bell Sisters, Jean Parker and Roscoe Ates. Directed by Lewis R. Forster.


WAR PAINT – Original Broadway Cast recording starring Patti LuPone, Christine Ebersole, John Dossett and Douglas Sills. Music by Scott Frankel and lyrics by Michael Korie. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

DREAMGIRLS: A CD Review

Original London Cast – 2016 / Music by Henry Krieger and lyrics by Tom Eyen
Starring: Amber Riley, Liisi LaFontaine, Ibinabo Jack, Joe Aaron Reid, Adam J. Bernard,  Tyrone Huntley, Nicholas Bailey, Lily Frazer, Rohan Richards, Gabriel Mokake, Ashley Luke Lloyd
Rate: 8 (from 1 to 10) / Photos by Brinkhoff/Mogenburg

Review: For some reason I don’t know, this hit Broadway musical had to wait 35 years to open at London’s West End but did it with a bang! This production was received with great reviews and it became an instant success. So, a cast recording was inevitable and I’m glad they did it.

I always try to imagine how was the reaction of the audience when they first heard “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” sung by Jennifer Holliday and I can’t. Here, the song is sung by Amber Riley, who started her career as Mercedes in the television series GLEE, and here has her big chance to be a star. She really deserves it and got an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical! Her rendition of the song is a powerful one, different from the original, but her biggest moment is with “I Am Changing”; I confess I prefer this song to “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” and I believe it was overshadowed by the more famous one. For me, Riley’s rendition of “I Am Changing” is the best one ever (before her, my favorite was the one by Lillias White).

But this rich score by Henry Krieger and Tom Eyen, with its Motown sound, is more than those two songs. It’s true, this doesn’t sound like the conventional or traditional musicals I love so much, so maybe I shouldn’t like it, but I can’t resist it. The songs have a melody that easily conquers me and a contagious rhythm. The title song, “One Night Only” and “Family” are good examples of what I’m saying.

The fact that this recording was done live in front of an audience, give it a strong theatrical feeling and if we close our eyes we can almost see what’s happening on stage. Amber Riley sounds fabulous, but she’s isn’t alone. Liisi LaFontaine is very good as Deena and their “Listen” duet is another highlight of the score. Ibinabo Jack is the other Dreamgirl. As for the boys, Adam J. Bernard has his shining moment with “I Meant You No Harm”, Joe Aaron Reid delivers a sweet “When I First Saw You” and Tyrone Huntley leads the company with the beautiful “Family” and later has a strong duet with Riley, “I Miss You, Old Friend”.

For me, this is the best and more lively recording of this score. So, let these DREAMGIRLS charm you and I’m sure you’ll spend an enjoyable time in their company.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

GROUNDHOG DAY: A CD Review

Original Broadway Cast – 2017 / Music and lyrics by Tim Michin
Starring: Andy Kartl, Barrett Doss, Rebecca Faulkenberry, John Sanders, Andrew Call, Tari Kelly, Raymond J. Lee
Rate: 4 (from 1 to 10) / Photos by Joan Marcus

Review: When I heard the cast recording of MATILDA, Tim Michin’s previous musical, I decided that it wasn’t for me. The score was too rock oriented for my personal taste. But one day, a friend of mine convinced me and so I saw it. Surprise! Not only did I enjoyed the show, I thought the score worked perfectly on stage, although I still don’t care much about the music.

Like MATILDA, Tim Minchin’s new musical score is too much rock for my taste. The first time I played it, since the first numbers were completely out of my taste, I didn’t pay much attention. Then I remember that MATILDA had at least a of couple songs that I liked, so maybe there was something here that I might enjoy. So, I gave it a second chance and I found some very interesting numbers.

All the songs are strongly character oriented and I don’t know if they can live out of the context of the show, but “One Day”, emotionally sung by a terrific Barrett Doss and then by the company, should have one. It’s a strong, bitter and beautiful song. But the first song of the score to get my attention was STUCK, that for me is the best song of the score and perhaps the one more related with the traditional Broadway sound. Rebecca Faulkenberry shines with the nice ballad “Playing Nancy” and John Sanders has a good moment with the sad “Night Will Come”. In the leading role, Andy Karl sings his songs with gusto. One last word for a very entertaining “Entr’acte” and for the almost all instrumental “Philanthropy” that, for some reason, reminded me of WEST SIDE STORY.

This really isn’t’ my kind of music, but fans of contemporary musicals will have a good time with this one and even old fashion guys like me might find something to enjoy.


BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: A CD and Movie Review

Original Movie Soundtrack – 2017 / Music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald, Hattie Morahan, Nathan Mack, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson
Rate: 7 (from 1 to 10)

Review: Did we need a live-action remake of Disney’s classic BEAUTY AND THE BEAST? No, we didn’t. That movie is still one of the best animated movies I ever saw and I also had a great time with the Broadway stage adaptation of it. Besides one or two new songs, this new movie doesn’t add much to the original. In fact, half of the characters are CGI animated and that doesn’t make them real “live-action”. So, besides the millions it’s doing at the box-office, why bother doing it again? Because of the magic! I love musicals and I love fairy tales, so everything I might say ist’ always suspicious, but I really enjoyed this luxurious big production.

In the hands of director Bill Condon, who had already shown that he could handle a musical with DREAMGIRLS, the musical numbers easily flow through a fabulous fantasy atmosphere that embraces the action with a fantastic visual style and the right amount of humor. As for the polemic gay character, oh please! He already existed in the original and there’s nothing wrong with that. He makes sense in a movie with the message that being different is okay and that the important thing is the beauty inside and not the physical one.

As for the score, the big hits of the original are here, although the singing voices aren’t as good as in the original. Even so, Emma Thompson sweetly delivers the title song and Ewan McGregor leads the cast with style with “Be Our Guest”. Of course, Josh Gad has a big time with “Gaston”, the only number better here than in the original. In the role of Beauty, Emma Watson, of whom I never cared much, doesn’t have a very good singing voice, but she manages to deliver her songs in tune. I didn’t expect that Dan Stevens, as the Beast, and Luke Evans, as Gaston, had strong voices, so they surprised me. I just wish they had given something more to Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe; they did give her one of the new songs, “Aria”, but it’s too short for her enormous talent.

As for the new songs, the best one is “Evermore”, a strong emotional song that is a trademark of composer Alan Menken. There’s also the sweet “How Does a Moment Last Forever” and I couldn’t believe that, once again, they didn’t use the terrific “Be Human Again”. This song, my favorite of the whole score, was cut from the original movie and later used with magic effect on the stage production. In the current movie, it’s replaced by the pretty ballad “Days in the Sun”.

As you may guess, I recommend the movie and the soundtrack. It’s true, the original movie is better and so is the original Broadway cast recording, but there’s plenty to enjoy here and the “Be Our Guest”. number is a feast to all senses! 

You can see a gallery of poster by clicking here




Thursday, April 13, 2017

JULIE’S GREENROOM: A CD Review

Original Netflix Series Soundtrack – 2017 / Songs by Zina Goldrich & Marcy Heisler, Eli Bolin & Joey Mazzarino, Chris Jackson & Joet Mazzarino, Wayne & Karey Kirpatrick, Mike Himelstein, Bill Sherman & Joey Mazzarino, Shaina Taub
Starring: Giullian Yao Gioiello, Julie Andrews, John Tartaglia, Jennifer Barnhart, Frankie Cordero, Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Dorien Davies, Tyler Bunch, Alec Baldwin, Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, David Hyde Pierce, Carol Burnett
Rate: 3 (from 1 to 10)

Review: The one and only Julie Andrews is back, this time with a Netflix series created by her, Emma Walton Hamilton and Judy Rothman Rofé. I confess I never heard of the series until this recording came to my attention (that’s what happens when you don’t live in the USA).

The name of Julie Andrews, one of my all-time favorite actresses, was reason enough for me to listen to it. We all know she can no longer sing as she used to, but it’s always a pleasure to hear her very British voice. Here she’s in good company (Carol Burnett, David Hyde Pierce), with a sweet voiced Giullian Yao Gioiello as her main co-star. 

Unfortunately, the material isn’t very interesting. The songs sound like they were written for AVENUE Q and the fact that some veterans of that show give voice to some of the characters make the connection even stronger. But the songs loose in comparison with that show, with none standing out from the rest. Only one of the songs catch my fancy, “Anything Can Happen in the Theatre”; and “You Gotta Bring the Wow” is enjoyable.

This series is aimed to a very young audience and I believe these simple songs will connect with kids. As for me, I was expecting more; well, maybe I'm too old for its charms.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A TRIBUTE TO JERRY HERMAN

From the first day I heard Jerry Herman’s songs in HELLO, DOLLY!, when I was 11 years old, he became one of my all-time favorite composers.

Songs like “It’s Today”, “Put on Your Sunday Clothes”, “Tap Your Troubles Always” and “I Don’t Want to Know” are among my favorites and the first one is, for me, the best of the best!

Now that HELLO, DOLLY! is back where it belongs, I think it’s the right time to refresh my personal website about Jerry Herman, updating it and transforming it into a blog.

I hope you’ll enjoy it. Here is the link: tribute-to-jerryherman

Thursday, March 9, 2017

SHOW MUSIC RELEASES: MARCH/APRIL 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 March and April 2017. The list is in alphabetical order.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST - Original Movie Soundtrack of Disney's 2017 live-action remake. Songs why Alan Menken and Howard Ashman; includes there new songs by Alan Menken and Tim Rice.  Starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald, Hattie Morahan, Nathan Mack, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson. 

To read my review click here.


A BRONX TALE – Original Broadway Cast recording featuring Nick Cordero, Richard H. Blake, Bobby Conte Thornton, Ariana DeBose, Lucia Giannetta, Bradley Gibson and Hudson Loverro. Music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater.


COME FROM AWAY – Original Broadway Cast recording starring Petrina Bromley, Geno Carr, Jenn Colella, Joel Hatch, Rodney Hicks, Kendra Kassebaum, Chad Kimball, Lee MacDougall, Caesar Samayoa, Q. Smith, Astrid Van Wieren and Sharon Wheatley. Music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein. 

FINIAN’S RAINBOW – Blu-ray release of the 1970 movie adaptation of the Broadway musical. Starring Fred Astaire, Petula Clark, Tommy Steele, Don Francks, Keenan Wynn, Barbara Hancock, Al Freeman Jr., Ronald Colby, Dolph Sweet, Wright King and Louis Silas. Music by Burton Lane and lyrics by E. Y. Harburg. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. 


GROUNDHOG DAY – Original Broadway Cast recording starring Andy Karl, Barrett Doss, Rebecca Faulkenberry, John Sanders, Andrew Call and Raymond J. Lee. Music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. 

To read my review click here.


HAIL OBLIVION: A PIRATE FANTASY – Concept Album recording of composer and lyricist Stephanie Ryan Johnstone score, featuring Rick Burkhardt, Bryce Pinkham, Ato Blankson-Wood, Amber Gray, Julian Fleisher, Eliza Poehlman, Nicole Weiss, Alex Birnie, Dan Safer, Jabari Brisport, Brian DeCaluwe, Joshua Hinck, Elias Spector-Zabusky and Leo Slattery. Available at band camp.


IN TRANSIT - Original Broadway Cast recording of the new a capella musical. Music by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth; lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth. Featuring David Abeles, Moya Angela, Steven "HeaveN" Cantor, Justin Guarini, Telly Leung, Erin Mackey, Gerianne Pérez, Margo Seibert, Chesney Snow, James Snyder, Mariand Torres and Nicholas Ward.


JULIE’S GREENROOM – Original Soundtrack recording of the Netflix series produced by Jim Henson Productions and starring Julie Andrews, Ryan Shore, Carol Burnett, Alec Baldwin, Tituss Burgess, David Hyde Pierce, John Tartaglia, Jennifer Barnhart, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Giullian Yao Gioiello, Frankie Cordero, Dorien Davies, Tyler Bunch and Ellie Kemper. Original score by Ryan Shore. 

To read my review click here.


LA LA LAND – Blu-ray and DVD release of the Damien Chazelle award winning movie musical, starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, J.K. Simmons, Sonoya Mizuno, John Legend, Rosemarie Dewitt and Finn Wittrock. Score by Music by Justin Hurwitz and lyrics by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul. 


MAN OF LA MANCHA – Blu-ray release of the 1972 movie adaptation of the Broadway musical with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion. Starring Peter O’Toole (dubbed by Simon Gilbert), Sophie Loren, James Coco, Harry Andrews, John Castle, Brian Blessed, Ian Richardson, Julie Gregg, Rosalie Crutchley and Gino Conforti. Directed by Arthur Hiller. 


THE PIED PIPER – Blu-ray release of Jacques Demy’s 1972 movie musical. Starring Donovan, Donald Pleasence, John Hurt, Jack Wild, Peter Vaughan, Roy Kinnear, Michael Hordern, Cathryn Harrison and Diana Dors. Songs by Donovan.


POCAHONTAS – Songs from the London Cast of Kermitt Goell’s score, “recorded in 1962 and performed by a company of Broadway singers under the musical direction of Jay Blackton”. Featuring Anita Gillette and Terence Cooper.


SING – DVD and Blu-ray release of the 2016 animated movie musical directed by Garth Jennings and Christophe Lourdelet. Featuring the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, Jennifer Saunders, Jennifer Hudson and Garth Jennings. 

SPAMILTON – Original Off-Broadway Cast recording of the show by Gerard Alessandrini (FORBIDDEN BROADWAY). Featuring Dan Rosales, Nicholas Edwards, Juwan Crawley, Chris Anthony Giles, Nora Schell, Christine Pedi and Glenn Bassett. 


THROUGH THE YEARS – Digital release of the studio cast recording of the 1932 musical with music by Vincent Yuma's and lyrics by Edward Heyman. Starring Heidi Grant Murphy, Brent Barrett, Hunter Foster, Jennifer Cody and Philip Chaffin.


THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG – Blu-ray and DVD Criterion Collection release of the French musical film directed by Jacques Demy, with music by Michel Legrand. Starring Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Marc Michel, Anne Vernon, Ellen Farner and Mireille Perrey. 


THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT - Blu-ray and DVD Criterion Collection release of the French musical film directed by Jacques Demy, with music by Michel Legrand. Starring Catherine Deneuve, Françoise Dorléac, Jacques Perrin, Gene Kelly, Danielle Darrieux, Michel Piccoli, Henri Crémieux, Jacques Riberolles, George Chakiris and Grover Dale.