Cast Albums Blog

Author Archive:  astrizek

REVIEW: John & Jen - 2015 Off-Broadway Cast

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Earlier this year, Andrew Lippa’s John & Jen, his first musical, with lyrics by Tom Greenwald, had a marvelous off-Broadway production at the Clurman Theatre, produced by the Keen Company. Kate Baldwin and Conor Ryan starred in this challenging and moving two-hander, more than 20 years after the first production at Goodspeed Opera House. The original production gained a sort of cult following, no doubt thanks to the original cast album that featured Carolee Carmello.

The 2015 production was followed by a new cast recording, and though it has some minor faults and often tries to turn the show into a Broadway spectacle, the stellar voices of Baldwin and Ryan are some of the finest performances recorded from the last theatre season.

REVIEW: James and the Giant Peach - Studio Cast

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At some point over the last few years, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have developed into one of the finest songwriting teams of the “new musical theatre” generation. They moved from their first show, Edges, created while they were still in college and pleasing but also a little redundant in form, to the off-Broadway hit Dogfight, Tony- and Drama Desk- nominee A Christmas Story, larger national exposure with songs on Smash (and also in an Old Navy ad), and, with the release of a new cast recording, James and the Giant Peach.

REVIEW: Two's Company - Original Cast

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Sony’s Masterworks Broadway continues their mission to remaster and rerelease cast albums that have long been out of print, and typically long forgotten. Their most recent release is Two’s Company, a 1952 revue starring Bette Davis. The remastered album features songs mostly by Vernon Duke - Sheldon Harnick contributed a song - with lyrics by Ogden Nash and Sammy Cahn. Jerome Robbins handled the choreography for the original production, which was directed by Jules Dassin.

REVIEW: Stages - Josh Groban

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Popera superstar Josh Groban is out with a new album - his seventh solo release - devoted to classics of the musical theatre world. His first album to feature only showtunes is sure to excite his fan base and some musical theatre fans, but theatre purists and the uninitiated will likely find that Stages grows weary after more than one listen.

REVIEW: Tamar of the River - Original Cast Recording

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Frequently, “new musical theatre” conjures up images of a pop/rock-influenced score, or a pastiche show emulating the music of an earlier, perhaps more prosperous time on Broadway. Adventurous and risk-taking scores are more rare. Tamar of the River is one of those unique scores that successfully goes beyond the boundaries of Times Square -- and beyond the boundaries of Western cultures -- for its influences. Marisa Michelson and Joshua H. Cohen have written a beautiful score that pulls from a wealth of different traditions. The 2014 world premiere recording gives us the opportunity to experience this short-lived off-Broadway show. It is challenging yet accessible; unified and whole, but with clear elements. The final effort shows off a fresh approach to musical theatre, inspiring to listeners even after several listens.