THIS WEEK @ JK's TheatreScene

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bits and Pieces for 02.28.2010

This one is all about the ladies!  Hope you had a great week!

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

See the very end of this blog for the answers to the second "6 Degrees of Broadway" game.

CATHERINE AND ANGELA


The producers of the hit revival of A Little Night Music announced this week that tickets will be on sale through August 29.  They also announced that both Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury would be leaving the show on June 20th.  Are they putting a feeler out there like the Bye Bye Birdie folks did when they anounced a big extension?  Are they hoping for an outcry from the public so as to get  the girls to extend?  And what about the Tonys?  With both likely contenders and winners, will this change their departure?  I guess time, and ticket sales, will tell.  If I were you, I wouldn't put off seeing this show much longer.  It could be years before we ever see a pairing like this one again.

PATTI AND LAURA (AND SHERIE)


Patti LuPone made the theatre news three times this week!  Once for announcing on her website that she wants fans to name her memoir.  Personally, I don't care what they call it, I just want the book!  It has to be one juicy read!  Sunset BoulevardGypsy/Sweeney/Evita triumphs?  The Baker's Wife

Then came news that La LuPone has signed to co-star with Gypsy co-star and fellow Tony-winner Laura Benanti for a new TV pilot/series called Open Books.  In the CBS comedy, Benanti will play a boutque publishing house book editor, while LuPone will play her "tough cookie" mother.  What a stretch!  But seriously, how perfect!  They have amazing chemistry; let's hope it translates from stage to small screen.  It would be nice to have some Broadway divas back on TV full-time.  Not since Murder, She Wrote...

Don't despair theatre fans!  Ms. LuPone has also been cast in the final workshop of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, a new musical from David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane, which is slated to be next season's first new musical.  Also in the workshop are Jessica Biel, Tom Hewitt and Sherie Renee Scott, who was last on Broadway in Yazbek and Lane's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

BERNADETTE


Speaking of Broadway divas, Bernadette Peters announced that she will be playing a mom with two kids - one who worships her (not a gay son, as you might expect) and one who can't be rid of her fast enough.  The film, called Coming Up Roses, has Peters playing a former Broadway diva, now struggling with 2nd national tours!  The Goodbye Girl II?

LUCY THE SLUT


Speaking of Broadway divas (ok, now she's off-Broadway) Lucy the Slut made headlines in Colorado Springs, Colorado, when pictures of her pink fuzzy cleavage were removed from bus stops.  Seems the tour will be in town for a few days, and ads will now feature the rest of the cast.  They do know Rod is gay, right?  Lucy had plenty to say in an issued statement, but I don't feel comfortable putting any of it on here...LOL

BROADWAY BY THE NUMBERS

  • In the race to get snow-bound tourists, lots of shows offered significant discounts to their Friday, February 26th performances.  Looks like Memphis pulled a Wal-Mart and under bid them all with tickets for just $26.50.  A real bargain for a great show.  Why haven't you gone yet???
  • Memphis  finally will release its cast recording nationwide on the Rhino Record label on March 30.  Better get to the Shubert and see the show AND snatch up what will now be a collector's item: the labeless "Special Edition."
  • Fred Applegate will be Dindon in the La Cage aux Folles revival.
  • 60: The number of days until April 29, the cut-off for 2010 Tony Award eligibility.
  • 65: The number of days until May 4, the day that 2010 Tony Award nominations are announced.
  • 104: The number of days until June 13, the night of the Tony Awards telecast.
  • 105: The number of days until All That Chat runs amok with Tony Awards bitching.

Happy Birthday last week to:

  • 2/21: Christine Ebersole
  • 2/22: Lea Salonga
  • 2/23: Sophie Hayden
  • 2/24: the late Joan Diener
  • 2/25: Sally Jessy Raphael
  • 2/26: Priscilla Lopez
  • 2/27: Debra Monk



6 DEGREES OF BROADWAY: THE WICKED EDITION ANSWERS!

1.  Wicked to A Chorus Line (original production)
Wicked is choreographed by Wayne Cilento, who was an original cast member of the original production of A Chorus Line.

2.  Wicked to Angels in America: Millennium Approaches
Wicked is directed by Joe Mantello, who was in the original cast of Angels in America: Millennium Approches.

3.  Wicked to The Elephant Man (original production)
Carole Shelley was in the original casts of both Wicked and The Elephant Man.  She won a Tony for the latter show.

4.  Wicked to Bob Fosse
Wicked's score is written by Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the score for Pippin, which was directed and coreographed by Bib Fosse.

5.  Wicked to Sweet Smell of Success
Wicked starred Norbert Leo Butz, who co-starred in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with John Lithgow, who starred in Sweet Smell of Success

6.  Andy Pellick to Alli Mauzey
Andy Pellick was an original cast member of Tarzan along with Chester Gregory II, who starred in Cry-Baby with Alli Mauzey.  (Yes, Alli was in Wicked, but she was a replacement, not in the original company.)

7.  The Gershwin Theatre to The Phantom of the Opera
Home to Wicked, The Gershwin Theatre was also home to the 1994 revival of Show Boat, which was directed by Harold Prince who also directed The Phantom of the Opera.  (He also directed Sweeney Todd, which played the Uris Theatre, which was renamed The Gershwin Theatre.)

8.  Kristofer Cusick to Megan Mullally
Kristofer Cusick is an original cast member of Wicked and Saturday Night Fever, which also featured Paul Castree, who co-starred in the 90's revival of Grease! with Megan Mullally.

9.  Kristin Chenoweth to Gavin Creel
Wicked's Kristin Chenoweth was in The Apple Tree with Marc Kudisch, who was in the original cast of Thoroughly Modern Millie with Gavin Creel.

10.  Idina Menzel to Jenny Powers
Wicked's Idina Menzel was in the original cast of RENT with Gilles Chaisson, whi was in The Scarlet Pimpernel with Sutton Foster, who was in Little Women with Jenny Powers.

I'm sure there were many other ways to do these!  Find a shorter way?  Send it in!  Ideas for more puzzles?  Send those in, too!  Look for more "6 Degrees" in April.  A new crossword puzzle starts later this week.


Comments?  Leave one here or email me at jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com.
Jeff

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Broadway Theatres: The Old and the Beautiful, Part IV

And finally, we arrive at the 10 oldest, currently in use, Broadway theatres.  And this bunch is certainly interesting.  By virtue of their famous tenants (Cats &/or Mamma Mia!, A Chorus Line, and Beauty and the Beast) it is likely you have been in at least one of three of these.  One of these, you would never recognize without the giant biilboard that obstructs the view of most of it.  One has a famous ghost trapped in apartment - and you thought Phantom was creepy!.  Another pair has offices with stage views, and one didn't start life as a theatre at all - it was a horse exchange!  Finally, there is a discrepancy over which one is really the oldest!

Here are the oldest theatres on Broadway.  Enjoy!




10.  Shubert Theatre

Opened: September 29,1913.  Named for Sam Shubert.  The Shubert Organization offices are here.

Opening Production: Othello
Current Tenant: Memphis
Notable Productions: A Chorus Line, A Little Night Music, Crazy for You, The Apple Tree, Wait Until Dark, Spamalot, Promises, Promises
Notable Flops: Big, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Musical, The Creation of the World and Other Business




9.  Longacre Theatre
 
Opened: May 1, 1913.  Named for its location on Longacre Square, today known as Times Square

Opening Production: Are You a Crook?
Current Tenant: La Cage aux Folles
Notable Productions: Ain't Misbehavin', Boeing Boeing, Children of a Lesser God
Notable Flops: Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1 performance), Well, The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm, Prymate (5 performances)




8.  Palace Theatre

Opened: March 24, 1913. There are offices at the very top of the building that includes a window looking out on the stage.

Opening Production: Miss Civilization (a play)
Current Tenant: West Side Story
Notable Productions: Legally Blonde, AIDA, Beauty and the Beast, Applause, George M!, Woman of the Year
Notable Flops: The Grand Tour, Home Sweet Homer, All Shook Up, Lestat




7.  Cort Theatre

Opened: December 20, 1912

Opening Production: Peg O' My Heart
Current Tenant: A View from the Bridge
Notable Productions: Sunrise at Campobello, The Magic Show, The Little Dog Laughed, Sarafina!, Ma Rainey's Balck Bottom
Notable Flops: Kat and the Kings, Bobbi Boland (never opened), The Green Bird, Hollywood Arms, Radio Golf




6.  Helen Hayes Theatre

Opened: March 12, 1912.  Spent most of its life at The Little Theatre or some variation of that name.  It is Broadway's smallest house, with 597 seats, depending on the show.  Became the Helen Hayes in 1983.

Opening Production: The Pigeon
Current Tenant: Next Fall
Notable Productions: Xanadu, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Defending the Caveman, Torch Song Trilogy, Romance/Romance, Dirty Blonde, Say Goodnight, Gracie
Notable Flops: Sally Marr...and Her Escorts, By Jeeves, Band in Berlin, Epic Proportions







5.  Winter Garden Theatre

Opened: March 10, 1911.  Started life as The American Horse Exchange!  And for decades most of the theatre facade has been coverd by billboards.

Opening Production: La Belle Paree
Current Tenant: Mamma Mia!
Notable Productions: Cats, Mame, West Side Story (original), Beatlemania, 42nd Street (original), Follies, Funny Girl
Notable Flops: Pacific Overtures, Zoot Suit, Comin' Uptown




4.  Lunt-Fontanne Theatre

Opened: January 10,1910.  Originally the Globe Theatre; renamed in 1958

Opening Production: The Old Town
Current Tenant: The Addams Family
Notable Productions: Titanic, The Sound of Music, transfers of Beauty and the Beast and Raisin, Little Me
Notable Flops: Smile, A Broadway Musical (1 performance), The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public (8 performances)






3.  Belasco Theatre

Opened: October 16, 1907 as the Styvesant Theatre; renamed Belasco Theatre in 1910.  David Belasco had a private apartment above the theatre, where he could watch performances from a small window.  His ghost has been seen many times in the theatre.

Opening Production: A Grand Army Man
Current Tenant: No current tenant.  Theatre is being rennovated
Notable Productions: Passing Strange, Joe Turner's Come and Gone (revival), Awake and Sing (revival), Oh! Calcutta!, Enchanted April, Journey's End
Notable Flops: Dracula, James Joyce's The Dead, American Buffalo (revival)



2.  Lyceum Theatre

Opened: November 2, 1903.  Claims to be the oldest theatre on Broadway.  It isn't.  But it is the oldest theatre on Broadway in continuous legitimate use.

Opening Production: The Proud Prince
Current Tenant: Looped
Notable Productions: I Am My Own Wife, Our Town, Is He Dead?, Steel Magnolias, [title of show]
Notable Flops: Is He Dead?, Steel Magnolias, [title of show]




1.  New Amsterdam Theatre

Opened: October 26, 1903.  It is the oldest Broadway theatre by 8 whole days!  It was, however almost exactly 60 years between productions - a revival of Othello opened and closed in January 1937.  King David reopened the theatre in May 1997.

Opening Production: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Current Tenant: Mary Poppins
Notable Productions: The Lion King, most of the Ziefeld Follies
Notable Flops: Apparently, Othello in 1937!


Comments?  Leave one here or email me at jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com.
Jeff

Friday, February 26, 2010

UPDATES: Come Fly Away and Love Never Dies

Come Fly Away

When I last discussed the Twyla Tharp project,  Come Fly Away, I hypothesized that my interest would likely grow as more production photos came out.  Well, this week, more came out, and it has done just as thought.  I am more interested in the show.

These shots, by Ruven Afanador, show the dancers in classic Twyla-style moves (I will always think of Robin Williams in The Birdcage when I think of the Tharp style!).  So it is great to see that there will be some of her traditional work here.  The photo of John Selya and Holley Farmer, of course, is already being used in the advertising.  The down side to the photos is that they offer no context without backgrounds.  Of course, there in lies the intrigue - why give away too much?  And is it me or are the costumes reflective of verous periods?  Interesting...

Holley Farmer and John Selya


Keith Roberts and Karine Plantadit


Rika Okamoto and Matthew Stockwell Dibble


Charlie Neshyba-Hodges and Laura Mead


Love Never Dies

COUNTDOWN TO OPENING: 269 Days!

Here's the latest video released by the Love Never Dies folks.  The song is "Til I Hear You Sing."




I think this is a much better song than the title tune, released earlier.  Yes, this is fully orchestrated, but it is still a better song, I think.  Ramin Karmiloo has a gorgeous voice (and he is pretty easy on the eyes without the Phantom makeup!) and has a terrific presence, even as he just walks around.  And Sierra Boggess is such a lovely young woman.

What do you think?

Comments?  Leave one here or email me at jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com.
Jeff

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Back in Time: 1993 - 94: The Who's Tommy, Part I

A couple of months ago, I did a series on The Mystery of Edwin Drood, a moderately successful, award-winning production from the 1980's.  I chose that show to focus on because it is one of my favorites and because the people involved in it continue to effect today's Broadway scene.  For similar reasons, I have selected The Who's Tommy to focus my next series on - this time from the decade of the 1990's.  Like Drood, the show was a critical hit and continues to influence today's theatre scene.

From Concept to Broadway

No doubt, especially since The Who has again recently made headlines for their Super Bowl halftime appearance, you are aware that the rock group has influenced music since the 1960's.  Among their many accomplishments are two concept albums, Tommy and Quadrophenia.  Both were produced with the idea of eventual evolution into fully staged rock operas.  To date, only Tommy has accomplished that goal.  The Tommy double album was introduced at a concert given by the band who then played a great deal of it at once.  Fans embraced it immediately, though not necessarily because they understood the complex, detailed story, but rather because the music style fit nicely with the rest of The Who's catalogue.


Later, the London Symphony Orchestra recorded the score, and staged concerts began cropping up, including shows that featured the likes of Bette Midler, Elton John, Ringo Starr and Steve Winwood among others.  Eventually, in 1975, filmmaker Ken Russell got the project set to film, starring The Who's Roger Daltry, Ann Margaret, Elton John, Tina Turner and Jack Nicholson.  Every effort was made to create each scene as wildly as possible, with vivid, disturbing images, locations and a psychodelic feel.  The film remains popular today, though it was not the box office smash that it was originally puported to be.  Fans were divided, and the whole thing still made the plot incomprehensible to many.


Then, almost 25 years since the group debuted the concept album, a fully realized and fleshed out rock opera with music and lyrics by Pete Townshend (and contributions from the other group members), a book by Townshend and director Des McAnuff, and choreography by Wayne Cilento, opened on Broadway at the St. James Theatre.  It was a critical smash, and lines formed daily at the box office.  I remember being on that block when a tour bus, stopped in traffic, had the tour guide announcing over its loud speaker that Tommy would run for years.  It would be Broadway's next A Chorus Line.  Ironically, a similar statement was made about a future tenant of the St. James, The Producers.  Despite numerous awards and enthusiastic audiences, neither show lasted as long as predicted.



Tommy by the Numbers

The Who's Tommy
Began previews on March 29, 1993
Opening Night was April 22, 1993
Closing Night was June 17, 1995
27 previews
899 performances

The Who's Tommy was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.  It won 5: Best Score (in a tie with Kander and Ebb's Kiss of the Spider Woman), Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting, Best Choreography and Best Direction.  The awards were not won without controversy.  Shortly after that tie for Best Score, the Tony committee began its long process of debate over scores written specifically for theatre - a debate which, a few years later became the rule as producers of The Lion King, Mary Poppins and a variety of other shows found out.  Some would make the cut, others would not.  But Tommy really started that ball rolling.  And more than a few pundits cried foul when McAnuff bested Harold Prince (Kiss of the Spider Woman) for Best Director.  A semi-feud/competition grew between the two shows as they both ran.  In fact, they both announced closing notices within hours of each other, and then Kiss extended "by popular demand" in order to out run Tommy by a mere 5 performances, closing on July 1 after 904 shows.

As we will see in later blogs in this series, The Who's Tommy turned out to be ground-breaking for more than changing the Tony rules for Best Score.  Scenic elements that are common place today got their start in the show, the creatives have gone on to illustrious careers, and the cast boasts MANY of today's Broadway stars, who then were just starting out.

Comments?  Leave one here or email me at jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com.
Jeff

(Photos from Getty Images and Amazing Journey.com - the Michael Cerveris official archive.  Facts and figures from The Who's Tommy, published by Pantheon Books (left) and The Internet Broadway Database.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Change in Gay Theatre

Patrick Healy is becoming my favorite New York Times writer, but not because I always agree with him or think he's particularly "new" in his thinking or anything.  Instead, it is because he has a way with stating the obvious that makes his point compelling and relevant.  Yesterday's Theater section included an article by Healy about the upcoming season of shows that are opening that have gay characters and themes.  Being a gay male myself, I was at least interested, though if you follow this blog you also know that I, in fact, get a little tired of the "gay thing" in every play or musical.  I prefer my shows to be about the human experience, be it gay or straight, with less agenda and more compassion being shoved down my throat.

I've lived through the era - just as I was reaching my own sexual peak - of AIDS being "the gay plague," or "God's punishment for queers," and all that rot.  And while I applaud (and attended) a lot of "gay theatre" where AIDS and political activism brought about by AIDS - Angels in America, Love! Valour! Compassion!, As Is - I have to say that after awhile all the banging of drums and rallying cries became just so much white noise to the public and even the gay community.  Understand that I continue to champion the cause for being sexually responsible and am appalled by the blase attitude toward safe sex in this Manhunt/Facebook world we live in.  But as a community, I think we have bigger fish to fry, namely plain,  old-fashioned equality.  The politics of being gay is, finally, shifting from "look at us we are different and deserve a piece of the pie, too" to "we are just like everyone else and we deserve a piece of the pie, too."

I have very accepting straight friends who would and have fought with me over discriminatory behavior in the workplace, marriage rights, health benefits and rights, etc.  We have bonded over these very issues.  Why?  Because in pointing out the inequities, both sides have come to appreciate where the other is coming from, and we all fight together for common ground.  But even they question things like "why when there are gay pride events, do we only ever see drag queens and men all dressed like Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz.?"  Frankly, it is hard to explain.  I, personally, believe that you should feel free to "fly your freak flag" - if wearing women's clothes helps you identify who you are, go for it.  But a gold spandex jumpsuit and gigantic rainbow afro wig and gaudy makeup isn't about exressing yourself so much as it is performing as a member of the opposite gender.  And being one of fify guys in pig tail braids, a blue ginham jumper and red sequined slip ons has zero to do with self-expression and all to do with being seen.  No more, no less.  And in that my straight friends and I completely agree.

So, what does all of this have to do with theatre - this is a theater blog, after all.  Well, let me first provide an example of "gay theater" that addressed my above point exactly.  Plays like Torch Song Trilogy and La Cage aux Folles both have drag queens as subjects, but neither show is about being a drag queen.  It is about living life with a different bent, about love and acceptance of self and others, and being a part of a family.  Universal themes to say the least, no?  By virtue of the subject matter they are also political in nature; most plays really have a political undertone.  But what made them successful is the universality through a unique filter.  They opened eyes and minds to realizations that different is just that, not completely foreign.

Healy's article talks about the swing toward and then away from AIDS/political statement gay plays to what we are experiencing today: gays struggling for marriage rights/family rights (La Cage aux Folles), the right to fight for their country openly (Yank! ), gays struggling with religion (Next Fall), gays struggling with adoption (The Kid), gays struggling with notoriety (The Little Dog Laughed, Take Me Out).  (I have tickets to three of these shows already, and will report on them here as I see them.)

All of these plays and musicals, past, present and future have gay characters as their subjects, but all of these topics could just as easily be written without gay characters, as straight people struggle with the same issues.  By including gay characters though, the gay community is still out there making a point.  But the politics focus everyone - gay and straight - in the right direction: we are all human.  Perhaps that is the strongest political stance to take - people are people. 

And, shock of shocks, it can be done without a Dorothy costume.

(Photos, top to bottom: Next Fall, La Cage aux Folles, and Yank!)


Comments?  Leave on here or email me at jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com.
Jeff

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Olympian on Broadway

I just love watching the Olympics - winter or summer.  There are so many compelling stories or overcoming adversity, people going beyond what they ever thought possible, and even stories of athletes taken down a peg or two when their arrogance gets the better of their performance.  It brings out the unabashed patriot in me, too, though I love to watch when the really best team or person wins, not just the favorite.

Being that each event has a kind of now or never feel to it, the live performance element really comes into play.  Imagine each Broadway show having just one performance to win the Tony Award!  Still, that live element is what makes both the Olympics and theatre so compelling and exciting.  Any given day, you never know exactly what you are going to get!

So, I got to thinking about the Olympics and Broadway specifically (I've thought before about how sports are portrayed in musicals) and immediately came up with "The Jet Song" from West Side Story.  In it, Action sings about how being a Jet is like being "the gold medal kid with the heavyweight crown!"  Curiosity got the best of me, and I just had to see if that line had any actual historical significance.  And I just may have.


The Melbourne Summer Olympic Games were held in 1956, the year before West Side Story made its Broadway debut.  At those games, an American named Pete Rademacher (above) defeated Lev Mukhin of the Soviet Union for the gold medal in Heavyweight Boxing!  I can only imagine how well that played in 50's Hell's Kitchen... I can picture Action and the guys (maybe even a few of their dads) bonding over that victory during the Cold War.  And I can picture them re-enacting the knock out over and over.  Can't you?

(The bronze went to Daniel Bekker of South Africa and Giacomo Bizzano of Italy.)


I'll remember that little Olympic fact every single time I listen to "The Jet Song," or evey time I see West Side Story.  USA!  USA!  USA!

Comments?  Leave one here or email me at jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com.
Jeff

Monday, February 22, 2010

CDs for a Desert Island... or a Blizzard

A few days ago, I finally caught up with my dear friend Sandy, who lives in a suburb of Washington, DC (or maybe it is Baltimore, Maryland... it is almost exactly in the middle of the two).  Anyway, in the time between then and our previous catch up phone session (she HATES email, and we are both too catty with tone and inflection to leave anything up to mere words on a screen) her area was snow storm central, with two blizzards back to back dumping nearly 60 inches over her area.  Fortunately, she was well-prepared with plenty of the good stuff - homemade soup, baking items, chocolate and her iPod.  Unfortunately, she was without both cable and internet service for more than three days.  She is still cursing herself over "bundling."  But at least she never lost power.  Long story short, after running out of books to read and DVDs to watch (she is also cursing herself for not buying more DVDs rather than going to RedBox), she had to rely on her iPod for entertainment and sanity.


Sandy has never been one for whole albums of songs - she likes to pick individual songs because, "I never have to swear allegiance to one group or singer."  So it surprised me when she admitted that in addition to her famously ecclectic singles collection, she also has a few complete albums on her iPod.  (Let me just interject here and say that I don't have an iPod or anything like it.  I enjoy my CD collection, and when it comes to that, I don't really care how environmentally irresponsible it is.)  Anyway, among her small collection of complete albums is The Singles by the Carpenters, Thriller by Michael Jackson, Tapestry by Carole King, ABBA Gold by ABBA, and Linda Ronstadt's Greatest Hits, Volumes I and II by Linda Ronstadt.  I guess you can tell how old we are... I have three of those on vinyl, cassette tape and compact disc!  I had to laugh, which of course, got her dander up.  She, of course, reminded me that had been in that situation and the power had gone out besides, I'd have had NOTHING to keep me company!

So I got to thinking... if I were to bite the bullet and get an iPod or an MP3 or whatever the latest thing will be when I finally cave in, what albums what I absolutely have to have?  If I were on a deserted island or trapped in my little mountainside home for days after a blizzard, which albums could I simply not survive without.  Knowing that space is limited, I chose 10 Broadway Cast Recordings for my iPod.  These are 10 that in actuality I do play frequently, and actually have thought, "there isn't a single song on this whole CD that I don't like!"  And for the record - no pun intended - while there is some overlap, these are not also my 10 favorite shows of all time.


Since I hold them all in such high esteem, I will present them in alphabetical order, with my favorite songs listed, too.  When you are done, please drop me an email and let me know which Cast Recordings would be on your "stuck on a desert island/snowed in for days" list of must haves.  It would be cool to share your thoughts.

1.  Applause - I love the whole CD, but, I love to sing along to "One of a Kind" (all parts), "One Halloween," and relish the fact that I can sing "Welcome to the Theater" better than Bacall in quality, but certainly not in acting.

2.  Chess - I love all versions of this show, but since I can only keep one on my iPod, I guess I'd go with the recent concert version.  It has all my favorites, plus great songs from the London concept album, plus new songs for the eventual revival.  I love "Where I Want to Be," "One Night in Bangkok," and by far, "Someone Else's Story."

3.  Chicago - Had they recorded Sandy Duncan as Roxie and Ruthie Henschall as Velma in the revival, that would be the version.  But they didn't, so it is a no-brainer - the Original Cast with Gwen, Chita and Jerry.  The orchestrations are amazing, so I love the overture, plus "All That Jazz" and "Class."

4.  Chorus Line, A - The Original Cast Recording, but the CD that was re-issued and restored with longer "Hello, Twelve..." sequences, and "And."  My favorites are "At the Ballet," the non-finale version of "One," and "Nothing."

5.  Grand Hotel: The Musical - as enthralling on CD as it was in the theatre!  What performances!  What orchestrations!  I love the entire opening sequence, "(I Want to Go to) Hollywood," "What You Need," and the Life/Death Tango.  Favorite back ground vocals: the operators singing "Grand Hotel, at your service... Grand Hotel, I am ringing..."  LOVE IT!!!


6.  next to normal - If you follow my blog, you knew I had to include this, and you know why.  "Superboy and the Invisible Girl," "My Psychopharmacologist and I," any version of "Hey," and "Light."

7.  Pippin - The best score Stephen Schwartz has written. Period.  (Save your time Wicked lovers...)  "Magic to Do," "Corner of the Sky,"  "Simple Joys."  And that is just the first three tracks!


8.  Promises, Promises - How can you not love a vocal arrangement that is crafted like an orchestration - the sporano women!!!  "Promises, Promises" is less than three minutes of heaven.  I want this played at my funeral.  And "Turkey Lurkey Time"  my God, dumb lyrics that are made to sound brilliant....

9.  Spring Awakening  -  Also at my funeral, "Song of Purple Summer."  Why? Because people will stop mourning because they are trying so hard to figure out what the words mean.  Then there's "The Bitch of Living, " and "Totally Fucked."  The soundtrack of my life... LOL


10.  West Side Story - If could have the sound quality of the cirrent revival recording matched with the Original Cast Recording, I would be thrilled to be snowed in for days.  But I wll settle for the original.  No one beats Chita, Larry or Carol.  No one.

Even I am surprised that there are no Angela recordings on this list... if I could pick 15 albums, she'd be on two of the reamining five... oh, what the heck. 

I'd add, if I could: Company, Mame, Side Show, Sweeney Todd and Sweet Charity.

What would your list be?  Please share!

Leave a comment here or email me at jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com.
Jeff
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