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Andy Propst

Editor/Content Chief

Andy Propst is a journalist and author living in New York City. His career has encompassed work with New York Shakespeare Festival founder Joseph Papp and Tony Award-winning director George C. Wolfe, as well as five years on-air at XM Satellite Radio's XM 28 On Broadway channel. His writing has appeared in The Village Voice, Time Out/NY, Back Stage, and The Sondheim Review, and online at the site he founded, AmericanTheaterWeb.com, as well as TheaterMania.com.

He is currently working on his first book, You Fascinate Me So: The Life and Times of Cy Coleman, to be published in 2015 by Applause Theatre and Cinema Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation.

May
19

Our Best Books...

Any given musical book can often be either its most overlooked or its most maligned element. This week I've asked Ken and Erik to talk about the shows that they think have the best (or feature their most favorite) books. It's fascinating to see what they've picked!

To complement Erik's and Ken's columns, allow me to offer up the following:

  • On the Town - It's pretty easy to dismiss the book for this World War II--era lark, particularly given Leonard Bernstein's music and Jerome Robbins' choreography. But Betty Comden and Adolph Green provide an entirely original book where those elements, plus comedy and a certain amount of bittersweet drama blend seamlessly.
  • Bring It On - No. I'm not saying that this one breaks any ground or is particularly profound. At the same time I think that Jeff Whitty crafted a pretty smart piece and the fact that he managed to sneak in a whole All About Eve plotting device that I never figured out does impress me no end.

Remember, if you need to add any of the recordings mentioned here and in the guys' blogs to your collection, you can find links to them in the carousels on the BwayTunes.com homepage. 


What I've done for this week's playlist over on Spotify is to choose one big number from each of the shows that Erik, Ken, and I have all chosen. It's turned out to be a pretty cool potpourri of tunes, and I hope you enjoy!


Our current free song download comes from a beautifully remastered (and most welcome re-release) of Tim Rice and Stephen Oliver's 1983 musical Blondel!


Take a look at the marvelously diverse array of new music that we've gotten for you, particularly:

  • Hello, Dolly! - Bette Midler's gotten some rave reviews for her performance in this Jerry Herman classic. You'll understand why as you listen to this fantastic just-released cast album that's been getting a lot of play here at BwayTunes.
  • Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 - A marvelously adventuresome musical that's traveled from off-Broadway to Broadway get a new cast album to preserve its latest incarnation, including Josh Groban's terrific sounding central performance. 

In addition to these albums, you’ll want to check out these new releases, which can be found in the main carousel at the top of the home page and in the “New and Recommended” one at the bottom of the page.

  • In Transit - Billed as "Broadway's first a cappella musical," this show features tunes by the likes of Frozen's Kristen Anderson-Lopez and some grand performances by Justin Guarini, Telly Leung, and Margo Seibert, among others.
  • Iowa - This Todd Almond and Jenny Schwartz musical had its New York premiere back in 2015, and it's great to finally have a cast recording that preserves the show's tuneful zaniness!
  • Groundhog Day - Andy Karl's been earning raves as the star of this new show that's based on the popular Bill Murray film, even with his newly injured knee. The musical has a score by Tim Minchin that's just swell, and this new cast album will definitely deserve some repeated plays.
  • The Soul of Richard Rodgers - Tony winner Billy Porter pays tribute to composer Rodgers on this album that's composed mostly of duets with similarly fantastic singers, many also Tony winners, such as Leslie Odom, Jr., Cynthia Errivo, and Patina Miller. It's a grand listen!
  • Story Songs - Tony winner Betty Buckley's newest album terrifically showcases her range. It includes everything from a new tune by Joe Iconis written especially for her to Sondheim's "I'm Still Here" to Radiohead's "High and Dry."
  • I Will Always Love You - Deborah Cox is wowing audiences in the national tour of The Bodyguard, and this new album allows you to experience her performance. It comprises eight of the Whitney Huston hits heard in that show.
  • A Bronx Tale - Chazz Palmintieri's autobiographical one-man show has returned to Broadway as a full-blown musical replete with a terrific score by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater.
  • Come From Away - This new cast recording allows listeners to savor the heartwarming tales of the airline passengers who were diverted to Newfoundland on 9/11 and the community that welcomed them.
  • Burke Beautiful: The Songs of Johnny Burke - Sharon Paige and Keith Ingram offer up some terrific renditions of songs by Burke, including "Aren't You Glad You're You?," "Swinging on a Star," and "Humpty Dumpty Heart."
  • Broadway at the Keys – Tony Award-winning singer-pianist Levi Kreis (Million Dollar Quartet) gives some Broadway classics a invigorating new spins on his debut solo album.
  • Cockeyed Optimist - Jenn Gambatese delivers some swell interpretations of Rodgers and Hammerstein classics on this one!
  • The Flash - Duet – Music met superheroes on the CW a few weeks back and this EP features performances by Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan, Broadway vet Darren Criss, and Melissa Benoist (of Glee fame), as well as musical vets Victor Garber, Jesse L. Martin, and John Barrowman who deliver "More I Cannot Wish You" from Guys and Dolls.
  • Spamilton: An American Parody - Gerard Alessandrini (creator of Forbidden Broadway) takes aim at Broadway's mega-hit--and a few other theatrical targets--in this delightful new satire.
  • Beauty and the Beast - "A tale as old as time" indeed, this beguiling animated musical, with a score by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, returns to the screen next week in a new live-action version. Of course, there's a soundtrack (both deluxe and regular) featuring all of your/our faves, plus some additional songs with lyrics by Tim Rice. 
  • #ThrowbackThursday - Corey Brunish takes the Facebook/Twitter hashtag in a musical direction with this album of classic tunes by songwriters such as George and Ira Gershwin; Jule Styne, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green; and Bart Howard.
  • Philip Glass: Music for 'The Crucible' - Last season a fascinating revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible hit Broadway and one of its chief assets was an intriguing score by Philip Glass, which you can now savor on this cool new release.
  • Dream Ago - This remarkable album comes from a remarkable talent: Gabrielle Stravelli. Her voice has power, warmth, and, sometimes, great humor. It's been hard for me to stop playing this one. If you don't know her work, you should certainly sample some now!

You'll be getting our next newsletter just a little over a week before the 2017 Tony Awards are handed out.

In honor of this annual celebration of the best on Broadway, Ken and Erik will be sharing some of their predictions about who will be picking up prizes come June 11.

Of course one of the biggest questions this year is, which show will pick up the award for Best Musical...Come From AwayDear Evan HansenGroundhog Day, or Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812?

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Artists

May
05

Happy Birthday, Betty!

Betty Comden, who for more than 60 years partnered professionally with Adolph Green, would have turned 100 on May 3. The team of Comden and Green is, of course, responsible for such Broadway hits as On the Town, Wonderful Town, and Bells Are Ringing and such landmark films as Singin' in the Rain and The Band Wagon.

Erik and Ken have both written terrific columns that celebrate this writer-performer's centenary. 

To complement Erik's and Ken's columns, allow me to offer up the following:

  • Comden and Green Perform Their Own Songs - Comden started out her professional life as a performer, and she and Green would perform their Party With... on Broadway and around the country from 1958 forward. This album preserves some recordings they made of their work before they had resumed their stage careers.
  • Blossom Dearie Sings Comden and Green - On this album you'll find chanteuse Dearie lending her airy vocals to some of Comden and Green's most popular tunes and some of their lesser-known gems, such as "Dance Only With Me" from Say, Darling.

Remember, if you need to add any of the recordings mentioned here and in the guys' blogs to your collection, you can find links to them in the carousels on the BwayTunes.com homepage. 


Selections from hit Broadway shows and the soundtracks of classic movies are at the center of this week's playlist on Spotify. All of the selections, naturally, relate to this week's celebration of Betty Comden's centenary. To round out the list, I've put in a bunch of swell covers of some of her most popular tunes.


In our ongoing efforts to bring you the latest in new theater-related music, we've got a track from the just-released cast recording of Todd Almond and Jenny Schwartz's musical Iowa as our current free song download.


Take a look at the marvelously diverse array of new music that we've gotten for you, particularly:

  • In Transit - Billed as "Broadway's first a cappella musical," this show features tunes by the likes of Frozen's Kristen Anderson-Lopez and some grand performances by Justin Guarini, Telly Leung, and Margo Seibert, among others.
  • Iowa - This Todd Almond and Jenny Schwartz musical had its New York premiere back in 2015, and it's great to finally have a cast recording that preserves the show's tuneful zaniness!

In addition to these albums, you’ll want to check out these new releases, which can be found in the main carousel at the top of the home page and in the “New and Recommended” one at the bottom of the page.

  • Groundhog Day - Andy Karl's been earning raves as the star of this new show that's based on the popular Bill Murray film, even with his newly injured knee. The musical has a score by Tim Minchin that's just swell, and this new cast album will definitely deserve some repeated plays.
  • The Soul of Richard Rodgers - Tony winner Billy Porter pays tribute to composer Rodgers on this album that's composed mostly of duets with similarly fantastic singers, many also Tony winners, such as Leslie Odom, Jr., Cynthia Errivo, and Patina Miller. It's a grand listen!
  • Story Songs - Tony winner Betty Buckley's newest album terrifically showcases her range. It includes everything from a new tune by Joe Iconis written especially for her to Sondheim's "I'm Still Here" to Radiohead's "High and Dry."
  • I Will Always Love You - Deborah Cox is wowing audiences in the national tour of The Bodyguard, and this new album allows you to experience her performance. It comprises eight of the Whitney Huston hits heard in that show.
  • A Bronx Tale - Chazz Palmintieri's autobiographical one-man show has returned to Broadway as a full-blown musical replete with a terrific score by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater.
  • Come From Away - This new cast recording allows listeners to savor the heartwarming tales of the airline passengers who were diverted to Newfoundland on 9/11 and the community that welcomed them.
  • Burke Beautiful: The Songs of Johnny Burke - Sharon Paige and Keith Ingram offer up some terrific renditions of songs by Burke, including "Aren't You Glad You're You?," "Swinging on a Star," and "Humpty Dumpty Heart."
  • Broadway at the Keys – Tony Award-winning singer-pianist Levi Kreis (Million Dollar Quartet) gives some Broadway classics a invigorating new spins on his debut solo album.
  • Cockeyed Optimist - Jenn Gambatese delivers some swell interpretations of Rodgers and Hammerstein classics on this one!
  • The Flash - Duet – Music met superheroes on the CW a few weeks back and this EP features performances by Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan, Broadway vet Darren Criss, and Melissa Benoist (of Glee fame), as well as musical vets Victor Garber, Jesse L. Martin, and John Barrowman who deliver "More I Cannot Wish You" from Guys and Dolls.
  • Spamilton: An American Parody - Gerard Alessandrini (creator of Forbidden Broadway) takes aim at Broadway's mega-hit--and a few other theatrical targets--in this delightful new satire.
  • Beauty and the Beast - "A tale as old as time" indeed, this beguiling animated musical, with a score by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, returns to the screen next week in a new live-action version. Of course, there's a soundtrack (both deluxe and regular) featuring all of your/our faves, plus some additional songs with lyrics by Tim Rice. 
  • #ThrowbackThursday - Corey Brunish takes the Facebook/Twitter hashtag in a musical direction with this album of classic tunes by songwriters such as George and Ira Gershwin; Jule Styne, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green; and Bart Howard.
  • Philip Glass: Music for 'The Crucible' - Last season a fascinating revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible hit Broadway and one of its chief assets was an intriguing score by Philip Glass, which you can now savor on this cool new release.
  • Freaky Friday - There's a lot of giddy fun in this new tuner that's based on the movie of the same name. This new album features two great central performances from Heidi Blickenstaff and Emma Hunton.
  • Len Cariou Presents These Are My Friends - Tony winner Len Cariou is joined by some incredible folks on this album that revisits some of the hits from his career and then moves on to other favorites from the likes of Liz Callaway, Judy Kaye, Lee Roy Reams, and Anita Gillette.
  • Song of Solomon - Ramin Karimloo, who's thrilled audiences in Les Misérables and Love Never Dies, heads up a grand cast on this lavishly produced concept album for a new biblical musical.
  • Dream Ago - This remarkable album comes from a remarkable talent: Gabrielle Stravelli. Her voice has power, warmth, and, sometimes, great humor. It's been hard for me to stop playing this one. If you don't know her work, you should certainly sample some now!

When you get the next BwayTunes newsletter you'll find Ken and Erik offering up their thoughts on this question:

"What are the ten best books for musicals ever written?"

I know I can't wait to see what their choices are. Will either of them include Show Boat? Or what about Hamilton? How's that for hitting two ends of a historical spectrum?

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Apr
21

Hello, Jerry!

Legendary singer Bette Midler has just opened in a revival of Hello, Dolly!, and we wanted to welcome her and the show back in our own unique BwayTunes fashion. So this week Erik and Ken have devoted their columns to Herman's superlatively melodic, toe-tapping shows!

To complement Erik's and Ken's columns, allow me to offer up the following:

  • Hello, Dolly! - Yes, I know this one's hardly under the radar. However, this album contains seven bonus tracks of interviews with Carol Channing that make it indispensable. (There are also extra tracks featuring performers who succeeded her in the role, including Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, and Pearl Bailey.)
  • I Am What I Am - For some it might be heresy, but I have to admit that I think that Gloria Gaynor's disco version of this song from La Cage aux Folles manages to capture the defiance and exuberance of Herman's lyric while pushing it to an exhilarating new level.

Remember, if you need to add any of the recordings mentioned here and in the guys' blogs to your collection, you can find links to them in the carousels on the BwayTunes.com homepage. 


Jerry Herman reigns with the current BwayTunes playlist on Spotify. Lots of tunes you know are mixed together with lesser-known gems, some rarely thought-of covers, and more. I'm hoping you enjoy this one a lot. I know it made me smile putting it together.


We've got a great track that's both pop and Broadway for you as this week's free song download. It comes from Doreen Montalvo's album American Soul/Latin Heart, recently released by Broadway Records.


Take a look at the marvelously diverse array of new music that we've gotten for you, particularly:

  • Groundhog Day - Andy Karl's been earning raves as the star of this new show that's based on the popular Bill Murray film, even with his newly injured knee. The musical has a score by Tim Minchin that's just swell, and this new cast album will definitely deserve some repeated plays.
  • The Soul of Richard Rodgers - Tony winner Billy Porter pays tribute to composer Rodgers on this album that's composed mostly of duets with similarly fantastic singers, many also Tony winners, such as Leslie Odom, Jr., Cynthia Errivo, and Patina Miller. It's a grand listen!

In addition to these albums, you’ll want to check out these new releases, which can be found in the main carousel at the top of the home page and in the “New and Recommended” one at the bottom of the page.

  • Story Songs - Tony winner Betty Buckley's newest album terrifically showcases her range. It includes everything from a new tune by Joe Iconis written especially for her to Sondheim's "I'm Still Here" to Radiohead's "High and Dry."
  • I Will Always Love You - Deborah Cox is wowing audiences in the national tour of The Bodyguard, and this new album allows you to experience her performance. It comprises eight of the Whitney Huston hits heard in that show.
  • A Bronx Tale - Chazz Palmintieri's autobiographical one-man show has returned to Broadway as a full-blown musical replete with a terrific score by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater.
  • Come From Away - This new cast recording allows listeners to savor the heartwarming tales of the airline passengers who were diverted to Newfoundland on 9/11 and the community that welcomed them.
  • Burke Beautiful: The Songs of Johnny Burke - Sharon Paige and Keith Ingram offer up some terrific renditions of songs by Burke, including "Aren't You Glad You're You?," "Swinging on a Star," and "Humpty Dumpty Heart."
  • Broadway at the Keys – Tony Award-winning singer-pianist Levi Kreis (Million Dollar Quartet) gives some Broadway classics a invigorating new spins on his debut solo album.
  • Cockeyed Optimist - Jenn Gambatese delivers some swell interpretations of Rodgers and Hammerstein classics on this one!
  • The Flash - Duet – Music met superheroes on the CW a few weeks back and this EP features performances by Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan, Broadway vet Darren Criss, and Melissa Benoist (of Glee fame), as well as musical vets Victor Garber, Jesse L. Martin, and John Barrowman who deliver "More I Cannot Wish You" from Guys and Dolls.
  • Spamilton: An American Parody - Gerard Alessandrini (creator of Forbidden Broadway) takes aim at Broadway's mega-hit--and a few other theatrical targets--in this delightful new satire.
  • Beauty and the Beast - "A tale as old as time" indeed, this beguiling animated musical, with a score by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, returns to the screen next week in a new live-action version. Of course, there's a soundtrack (both deluxe and regular) featuring all of your/our faves, plus some additional songs with lyrics by Tim Rice. 
  • #ThrowbackThursday - Corey Brunish takes the Facebook/Twitter hashtag in a musical direction with this album of classic tunes by songwriters such as George and Ira Gershwin; Jule Styne, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green; and Bart Howard.
  • Philip Glass: Music for 'The Crucible' - Last season a fascinating revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible hit Broadway and one of its chief assets was an intriguing score by Philip Glass, which you can now savor on this cool new release.
  • Freaky Friday - There's a lot of giddy fun in this new tuner that's based on the movie of the same name. This new album features two great central performances from Heidi Blickenstaff and Emma Hunton.
  • Len Cariou Presents These Are My Friends - Tony winner Len Cariou is joined by some incredible folks on this album that revisits some of the hits from his career and then moves on to other favorites from the likes of Liz Callaway, Judy Kaye, Lee Roy Reams, and Anita Gillette.
  • Song of Solomon - Ramin Karimloo, who's thrilled audiences in Les Misérables and Love Never Dies, heads up a grand cast on this lavishly produced concept album for a new biblical musical.
  • Bare Naked - A bevy of great singers offer up tunes by songwriter Lynne Shankel on this new release, which includes both material from the revised off-Broadway production of Bare as well as some of her more recent writings.
  • Dream Ago - This remarkable album comes from a remarkable talent: Gabrielle Stravelli. Her voice has power, warmth, and, sometimes, great humor. It's been hard for me to stop playing this one. If you don't know her work, you should certainly sample some now!
  • Ruthless! - The cast recording for the often hysterical mash-up of The Bad Seed and All About Eve. Definitely worth checking out.

May 3 would have been lyricist/book writer/screenwriter Betty Comden's 100th birthday. As you'll be getting our next newsletter just a couple of days after that, it seemed only fitting that we pay tribute to this woman, who with partner Adolph Green penned such Broadway shows as On the TownOn the Twentieth Century, and The Will Rogers Follies.

Of course, they were also the writers behind films like Singin' in the RainGood News, and The Band Wagon, among others.

To get you started on an homage to Comden's zestful style (as a performer and a writer), take a listen to her as she and Green do their "Party With...."

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Artists

Apr
07

Kline and Coward

Tony winner Kevin Kline has just opened on Broadway in a revival of Noël Coward's Present Laughter. And, of course, both Coward and Kline have deep roots in musical theater.

I asked Ken and Erik to talk about either or both men in their columns, and I think you'll find that they have risen to the challenge with aplomb!

To complement Erik's and Ken's columns, allow me to offer up the following:

  • The Bob's Burgers Music Album - For this animated FOX series Kevin Kline provides the voice for the kinda creepy Mr. Fischoeder. On this album you can hear Kline and Broadway vet Megan Mullally raise their voices together with "Electric Love." It's a tune that was used for a musical-within-the-cartoon about Thomas Edison. (Of course you can also hear his vocals on the soundtrack for the new film Beauty and the Beast, too.)
  • A Changing World - For my money British performer Simon Green is one of the top contemporary interpreters of Noël Coward's songs. (The other is Steve Ross, and Erik discusses him.) You can hear Green's deftness with both the classics and a host of rarities on this beautiful album.

Remember, if you need to add any of the recordings mentioned here and in the guys' blogs to your collection, you can find links to them in the carousels on the BwayTunes.com homepage. 


To create this week's Spotify playlist I started with songs performed by Kline and some performed by Coward. Then, I moved on to numbers from Coward's shows and the interpretations of his tunes that Erik has talked about. It's turned into one of my favorite Spotify lists, and I'm hoping you agree.


This week's free song download is a genuine rarity: a demo track from a 1960s British musical about Pocahontas. It's from a just-released compilation from Stage Door Records.


Take a look at the marvelously diverse array of new music that we've gotten for you, particularly:

  • Story Songs - Tony winner Betty Buckley's newest album terrifically showcases her range. It includes everything from a new tune by Joe Iconis written especially for her to Sondheim's "I'm Still Here" to Radiohead's "High and Dry."
  • I Will Always Love You - Deborah Cox is wowing audiences in the national tour of The Bodyguard, and this new album allows you to experience her performance. It comprises eight of the Whitney Huston hits heard in that show.

In addition to these albums, you’ll want to check out these new releases, which can be found in the main carousel at the top of the home page and in the “New and Recommended” one at the bottom of the page.

  • A Bronx Tale - Chazz Palmintieri's autobiographical one-man show has returned to Broadway as a full-blown musical replete with a terrific score by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater.
  • Come From Away - This new cast recording allows listeners to savor the heartwarming tales of the airline passengers who were diverted to Newfoundland on 9/11 and the community that welcomed them.
  • Burke Beautiful: The Songs of Johnny Burke - Sharon Paige and Keith Ingram offer up some terrific renditions of songs by Burke, including "Aren't You Glad You're You?," "Swinging on a Star," and "Humpty Dumpty Heart."
  • Broadway at the Keys – Tony Award-winning singer-pianist Levi Kreis (Million Dollar Quartet) gives some Broadway classics a invigorating new spins on his debut solo album.
  • Cockeyed Optimist - Jenn Gambatese delivers some swell interpretations of Rodgers and Hammerstein classics on this one!
  • The Flash - Duet – Music met superheroes on the CW a few weeks back and this EP features performances by Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan, Broadway vet Darren Criss, and Melissa Benoist (of Glee fame), as well as musical vets Victor Garber, Jesse L. Martin, and John Barrowman who deliver "More I Cannot Wish You" from Guys and Dolls.
  • Spamilton: An American Parody - Gerard Alessandrini (creator of Forbidden Broadway) takes aim at Broadway's mega-hit--and a few other theatrical targets--in this delightful new satire.
  • Beauty and the Beast - "A tale as old as time" indeed, this beguiling animated musical, with a score by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, returns to the screen next week in a new live-action version. Of course, there's a soundtrack (both deluxe and regular) featuring all of your/our faves, plus some additional songs with lyrics by Tim Rice. 
  • #ThrowbackThursday - Corey Brunish takes the Facebook/Twitter hashtag in a musical direction with this album of classic tunes by songwriters such as George and Ira Gershwin; Jule Styne, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green; and Bart Howard.
  • Philip Glass: Music for 'The Crucible' - Last season a fascinating revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible hit Broadway and one of its chief assets was an intriguing score by Philip Glass, which you can now savor on this cool new release.
  • Freaky Friday - There's a lot of giddy fun in this new tuner that's based on the movie of the same name. This new album features two great central performances from Heidi Blickenstaff and Emma Hunton.
  • Len Cariou Presents These Are My Friends - Tony winner Len Cariou is joined by some incredible folks on this album that revisits some of the hits from his career and then moves on to other favorites from the likes of Liz Callaway, Judy Kaye, Lee Roy Reams, and Anita Gillette.
  • Song of Solomon - Ramin Karimloo, who's thrilled audiences in Les Misérables and Love Never Dies, heads up a grand cast on this lavishly produced concept album for a new biblical musical.
  • Bare Naked - A bevy of great singers offer up tunes by songwriter Lynne Shankel on this new release, which includes both material from the revised off-Broadway production of Bare as well as some of her more recent writings.
  • Dream Ago - This remarkable album comes from a remarkable talent: Gabrielle Stravelli. Her voice has power, warmth, and, sometimes, great humor. It's been hard for me to stop playing this one. If you don't know her work, you should certainly sample some now!
  • The Student Prince - This new two disc recording of the classic operetta is sounding pretty darn gorgeous thanks to the careful guidance of conductor John Mauceri.
  • Ruthless! - The cast recording for the often hysterical mash-up of The Bad Seed and All About Eve. Definitely worth checking out.
  • Ivanov – A real gem this recording preserves a production of Chekhov's play that starred Sir John Gielgud and Vivien Leigh.

Earlier this spring York Theatre Company presented a concert version of Jerry Herman's Dear World, and soon the incomparable Bette Midler will be opening in his musical Hello, Dolly! on Broadway. 

We've never specifically talked about this songwriter, and so Ken's and Erik's next columns will be dedicated to his musicals from Dolly to Mame, and Milk And Honey to La Cage. Beyond the hits, I'm going to let them figure out how they want to approach Jerry Hermans's legendary career.

If you're feeling like reminiscing about his hit-filled life, one of the best ways I know is to take a listen to the 1985 Broadway revue featuring his songs: Jerry's Girls.

Tags :
Artists

Mar
24

Welcome Spring!

Spring arrived officially on March 20, and we're feeling a lift in our steps. Ken and Erik have each penned columns that help to celebrate the change of season.

We're hoping that their work and the anticipated arrival of warmer weather in your area will put a smile on your face and a similar bounce in your walk.

To complement Erik's and Ken's columns, allow me to offer up the following:

  • Cockeyed Optimist: The Songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein - This just-released album from Jenn Gambatese has one of the quintessential seasonal songs on it: "It Might as Well Be Spring" from State Fair. She's sounding great on this classic and more than a dozen others.
  • "Fresh as a Daisy" - from Panama Hattie - While the above R&H tune echoes Ken's look at springtime song, this little-known Cole Porter ditty fits in beautifully with Erik's musical bouquet.

Remember, if you need to add any of the recordings mentioned here and in the guys' blogs to your collection, you can find links to them in the carousels on the BwayTunes.com homepage. 


From roses to orchids and from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Mel Brooks, Erik and Ken have covered the gamut of musical theater gems to celebrate the arrival of spring.

I've put all of the tunes they mention together with a few more to create this week's Spotify playlist, and the result is more than an hour of merriness.


Alan Menken's music seems to be all around us these days, and we're delighted to have one of his newest tunes as our free song download this week, from the new Broadway hit A Bronx Tale.


Take a look at the marvelously diverse array of new music that we've gotten for you, particularly:

  • A Bronx Tale - Chazz Palmintieri's autobiographical one-man show has returned to Broadway as a full-blown musical replete with a terrific score by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater.
  • Come From Away - This new cast recording allows listeners to savor the heartwarming tales of the airline passengers who were diverted to Newfoundland on 9/11 and the community that welcomed them.

Among the other albums that are newly arrived here at BwayTunes are a great new album that features Sharon Paige and Keith Ingram, Burke Beautiful: The Songs of Johnny Burke; two debut solo albums, Levi Kreis' invigorating Broadway at the Keys and Jenn Gambatese's swell R&H album Cockeyed Optimist;and an EP that features tunes heard on this week's musical episode of CW's The Flash. On this latter one you'll find Tony nominee Jeremey Jordan and Broadway vet Darren Criss raising their voices together with "Put a Little Love in Your Heart," Melissa Benoist (of Glee fame) offering up the classic "Moon River," and musical vets Victor Garber, Jesse L. Martin, and John Barrowman delivering "More I Cannot Wish You" from Guys and Dolls.

In addition to these albums, you’ll want to check out these new releases, which can be found in the main carousel at the top of the home page and in the “New and Recommended” one at the bottom of the page.

  • Spamilton: An American Parody - Gerard Alessandrini (creator of Forbidden Broadway) takes aim at Broadway's mega-hit--and a few other theatrical targets--in this delightful new satire.
  • Beauty and the Beast - "A tale as old as time" indeed, this beguiling animated musical, with a score by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, returns to the screen next week in a new live-action version. Of course, there's a soundtrack (both deluxe and regular) featuring all of your/our faves, plus some additional songs with lyrics by Tim Rice. 
  • #ThrowbackThursday - Corey Brunish takes the Facebook/Twitter hashtag in a musical direction with this album of classic tunes by songwriters such as George and Ira Gershwin; Jule Styne, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green; and Bart Howard.
  • Philip Glass: Music for 'The Crucible' - Last season a fascinating revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible hit Broadway and one of its chief assets was an intriguing score by Philip Glass, which you can now savor on this cool new release.
  • Freaky Friday - There's a lot of giddy fun in this new tuner that's based on the movie of the same name. This new album features two great central performances from Heidi Blickenstaff and Emma Hunton.
  • Len Cariou Presents These Are My Friends - Tony winner Len Cariou is joined by some incredible folks on this album that revisits some of the hits from his career and then moves on to other favorites from the likes of Liz Callaway, Judy Kaye, Lee Roy Reams, and Anita Gillette.
  • Falsettos - The cast recording for this acclaimed revival of the landmark tuners by William Finn and James Lapine sparkles from beginning to end. It's a must-have for all musical theater fans!
  • Dear Evan Hansen - It's the new musical on Broadway that everyone's talking about! You'll understand why after listening to this terrific new release.
  • Song of Solomon - Ramin Karimloo, who's thrilled audiences in Les Misérables and Love Never Dies, heads up a grand cast on this lavishly produced concept album for a new biblical musical.
  • Bare Naked - A bevy of great singers offer up tunes by songwriter Lynne Shankel on this new release, which includes both material from the revised off-Broadway production of Bare as well as some of her more recent writings.
  • Dream Ago - This remarkable album comes from a remarkable talent: Gabrielle Stravelli. Her voice has power, warmth, and, sometimes, great humor. It's been hard for me to stop playing this one. If you don't know her work, you should certainly sample some now!
  • The Student Prince - This new two disc recording of the classic operetta is sounding pretty darn gorgeous thanks to the careful guidance of conductor John Mauceri.
  • "Edelweiss" - Tony winner Billy Porter offers up this classic R&H song as a hopeful (and sadly cautionary) tune for the times in which we live. If you've not listened, do.
  • Ruthless! - The cast recording for the often hysterical mash-up of The Bad Seed and All About Eve. Definitely worth checking out.
  • Ivanov – A real gem this recording preserves a production of Chekhov's play that starred Sir John Gielgud and Vivien Leigh.
  • Junie B. Jones The Musical - The talented songwriting team of Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler have helped bring this kids' favorite to the stage, in an utterly beguiling new tuner.
  • Covenant - I've not listened to it all, but I have enjoyed the pieces I've heard from this recent release. It's a cast recording from California of a show that was written to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Salvation Army.
  • From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Orlando - Another album that's also a charitable effort is this fantastic release from Broadway Records. This one preserves a concert that featured Broadway's best and whose proceeds supported organizations serving the people affected by the horrific mass shooting at a Florida nightclub earlier this year.

One of the most anticipated non-musicals for the spring is a revival of Noël Coward's Present Laughter, starring Tony Award winner Kevin Kline.

Now, of course, both Coward and Kline have deep roots in musical theater, so I thought it would be fun to ask the guys to write about either or both men.

Kline has starred on stage in shows such as On the Twentieth Century and The Pirates of Penzance and is currently on screen in Disney's live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast

Coward's the man behind such tuners as Bitter SweetSail Away, and The Girl Who Came to Supper.

I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing how the guys balance this assignment!

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Artists

Mar
10

Happy Birthday,, Mr. Kander!

On March 18 John Kander will celebrate his 90th birthday.

We couldn't let this milestone go unnoticed, and so I asked Erik and Ken to share some thoughts on the work of the man who has penned the tunes for such classics as Cabaret and Chicago and the melody for "Theme From 'New York, New York.'"

As if those three things (and there are so many more) weren't enough, Kander is still going strong with a new musical playing off-Broadway, Kid Victory.

Beyond the cast recordings of Kander's musicals, here are a couple of other ways to savor his work:

  • The Musicality of Kander & Ebb - Some great talents are assembled on this album that demonstrates the plethora of hits that Kander, with his longtime partner Fred Ebb, penned over the span of some 40 years.
  • Liza: Live From Radio City Music Hall - Liza Minnelli has been singing Kander's music from the very beginning of her career. This album has some of it and also tunes by a host of others. The reason I've included it is that she delivers a socko piece of specialty material that Kander and Ebb wrote for her: the always-amusing "Sara Lee."

Remember, if you need to add any of the recordings mentioned here and in the guys' blogs to your collection, you can find links to them in the carousels on the BwayTunes.com homepage. 


The only rough thing about putting together a playlist of songs by John Kander is having to figure out what songs not to include. There are just so many grand tunes from which to choose.

Thankfully, Ken and Erik made it pretty easy on me, and using their columns as a starting point I've put together about 45 minutes of music for our current Spotify Playlist that encompasses almost the entirety of Kander's career.

Hope you enjoy. Happy birthday, Mr. Kander!


Performer extraordinaire Karen Mason has a new CD out called It's About Time. She's very generously shared a cut from it this week for our free song download, and we couldn't be happier!


Take a look at the marvelously diverse array of new music that we've gotten for you, particularly:

  • Spamilton: An American Parody - Gerard Alessandrini (creator of Forbidden Broadway) takes aim at Broadway's mega-hit--and a few other theatrical targets--in this delightful new satire.
  • Beauty and the Beast - "A tale as old as time" indeed, this beguiling animated musical, with a score by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, returns to the screen next week in a new live-action version. Of course, there's a soundtrack (both deluxe and regular) featuring all of your/our faves, plus some additional songs with lyrics by Tim Rice. 

In addition to these albums, you’ll want to check out these new releases, which can be found in the main carousel at the top of the home page and in the “New and Recommended” one at the bottom of the page.

  • #ThrowbackThursday - Corey Brunish takes the Facebook/Twitter hashtag in a musical direction with this album of classic tunes by songwriters such as George and Ira Gershwin; Jule Styne, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green; and Bart Howard.
  • Philip Glass: Music for 'The Crucible' - Last season a fascinating revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible hit Broadway and one of its chief assets was an intriguing score by Philip Glass, which you can now savor on this cool new release.
  • Freaky Friday - There's a lot of giddy fun in this new tuner that's based on the movie of the same name. This new album features two great central performances from Heidi Blickenstaff and Emma Hunton.
  • Len Cariou Presents These Are My Friends - Tony winner Len Cariou is joined by some incredible folks on this album that revisits some of the hits from his career and then moves on to other favorites from the likes of Liz Callaway, Judy Kaye, Lee Roy Reams, and Anita Gillette.
  • Falsettos - The cast recording for this acclaimed revival of the landmark tuners by William Finn and James Lapine sparkles from beginning to end. It's a must-have for all musical theater fans!
  • Dear Evan Hansen - It's the new musical on Broadway that everyone's talking about! You'll understand why after listening to this terrific new release.
  • Song of Solomon - Ramin Karimloo, who's thrilled audiences in Les Misérables and Love Never Dies, heads up a grand cast on this lavishly produced concept album for a new biblical musical.
  • Bare Naked - A bevy of great singers offer up tunes by songwriter Lynne Shankel on this new release, which includes both material from the revised off-Broadway production of Bare as well as some of her more recent writings.
  • Dream Ago - This remarkable album comes from a remarkable talent: Gabrielle Stravelli. Her voice has power, warmth, and, sometimes, great humor. It's been hard for me to stop playing this one. If you don't know her work, you should certainly sample some now!
  • The Student Prince - This new two disc recording of the classic operetta is sounding pretty darn gorgeous thanks to the careful guidance of conductor John Mauceri.
  • "Edelweiss" - Tony winner Billy Porter offers up this classic R&H song as a hopeful (and sadly cautionary) tune for the times in which we live. If you've not listened, do.
  • Ruthless! - The cast recording for the often hysterical mash-up of The Bad Seed and All About Eve. Definitely worth checking out.
  • Ivanov – A real gem this recording preserves a production of Chekhov's play that starred Sir John Gielgud and Vivien Leigh.
  • Junie B. Jones The Musical - The talented songwriting team of Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler have helped bring this kids' favorite to the stage, in an utterly beguiling new tuner.
  • Covenant - I've not listened to it all, but I have enjoyed the pieces I've heard from this recent release. It's a cast recording from California of a show that was written to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Salvation Army.
  • From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Orlando - Another album that's also a charitable effort is this fantastic release from Broadway Records. This one preserves a concert that featured Broadway's best and whose proceeds supported organizations serving the people affected by the horrific mass shooting at a Florida nightclub earlier this year.
  • Half a Sixpence - This new London cast recording proves to be a charmer, thanks to the winning star turn from 22-year-old Charlie Stemp. Based on a novel by H.G. Wells, this show reminds us that money can't buy happiness.
  • Hairspray LIVE - You really can't stop the beat of this Marc Shaiman/Scott Wittman score. It's great to have another recording of it. This one, of course, features the swell performers who were part of NBC's live presentation this week.
  • Schikaneder - Stephen Schwartz's newest musical has premiered in Vienna, and here's the gorgeous sounding new cast recording of that production. The musical's subtitle is "The Turbulent Love Story Behind The Magic Flute." Sort of tells you all you need to know.

While trying to decide what Erik and Ken will write about next, I found myself thinking about the change of seasons, and all of a sudden two lines from The Mikado hit me: "The flowers that bloom in the Spring, tra la/Have nothing to do with the case."

Well, that settled it. We're going to toast the arrival of spring with musical bouquets. I'm asking the guys to think about some of their favorite songs with roses, tulips, daisies, etc. in them.

And should you want to begin shuffling your playlists to the world of blooms, why not start with this week's Free Song Download from Karen Mason's It's About Time?

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Artists

Feb
24

Previewing Spring

You'll get a great sense of how to plan for your next few months of theatergoing courtesy of Erik's column this week. It's a spring preview in which he discusses some of the musicals (both old and new) that he's most looking forward to seeing between now and June.

And don't worry, our Grammy Award-winning writer Ken Bloom hasn't left us! He's just been traveling out of the country and had to take a week off.

Beyond the shows that Erik's discussed in his column, there are a couple of others to bear in mind:

  • Groundhog Day - Songwriter Tim Minchin, who penned the fanciful score for Matilda, will be returning to Broadway this spring with this musical based on the popular Bill Murray movie of the same name.
  • Joan of Arc: Into the Fire - Having written a hit musical about the larger-than-life Imelda Marcos in Here Lies Love,  David Byrne turns to French heroine St. Joan with this new musical, currently in previews at the Public Theater.

Remember, if you need to add any of the recordings mentioned here and in the guys' blogs to your collection, you can find links to them in the carousels on the BwayTunes.com homepage. 


There's roughly an hour's worth of music assembled for your enjoyment this week on Spotify, all related to shows that will be opening this spring.

It's a pretty rich and varied amalgam of tunes, and I'm hoping that it will help inspire your planning for theatergoing in the weeks and months to come.


There's a lot of tunefulness and genuine fun in this week's free song download; it comes from Broadway Records' off-Broadway cast album for Gayla D. Morgan and Eric H. Weinberger's A Dog Story.


Take a look at the marvelously diverse array of new music that we've gotten for you, particularly:

  • #ThrowbackThursday - Corey Brunish takes the Facebook/Twitter hashtag in a musical direction with this album of classic tunes by songwriters such as George and Ira Gershwin; Jule Styne, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green; and Bart Howard.
  • Philip Glass: Music for 'The Crucible' - Last season a fascinating revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible hit Broadway and one of its chief assets was an intriguing score by Philip Glass, which you can now savor on this cool new release.
  • Freaky Friday - There's a lot of giddy fun in this new tuner that's based on the movie of the same name. This new album features two great central performances from Heidi Blickenstaff and Emma Hunton.
  • Len Cariou Presents These Are My Friends - Tony winner Len Cariou is joined by some incredible folks on this album that revisits some of the hits from his career and then moves on to other favorites from the likes of Liz Callaway, Judy Kaye, Lee Roy Reams, and Anita Gillette.

In addition to these albums, you’ll want to check out these new releases, which can be found in the main carousel at the top of the home page and in the “New and Recommended” one at the bottom of the page.

  • Falsettos - The cast recording for this acclaimed revival of the landmark tuners by William Finn and James Lapine sparkles from beginning to end. It's a must-have for all musical theater fans!
  • Dear Evan Hansen - It's the new musical on Broadway that everyone's talking about! You'll understand why after listening to this terrific new release.
  • Song of Solomon - Ramin Karimloo, who's thrilled audiences in Les Misérables and Love Never Dies, heads up a grand cast on this lavishly produced concept album for a new biblical musical.
  • Bare Naked - A bevy of great singers offer up tunes by songwriter Lynne Shankel on this new release, which includes both material from the revised off-Broadway production of Bare as well as some of her more recent writings.
  • Dream Ago - This remarkable album comes from a remarkable talent: Gabrielle Stravelli. Her voice has power, warmth, and, sometimes, great humor. It's been hard for me to stop playing this one. If you don't know her work, you should certainly sample some now!
  • The Student Prince - This new two disc recording of the classic operetta is sounding pretty darn gorgeous thanks to the careful guidance of conductor John Mauceri.
  • "Edelweiss" - Tony winner Billy Porter offers up this classic R&H song as a hopeful (and sadly cautionary) tune for the times in which we live. If you've not listened, do.
  • Ruthless! - The cast recording for the often hysterical mash-up of The Bad Seed and All About Eve. Definitely worth checking out.
  • Ivanov – A real gem this recording preserves a production of Chekhov's play that starred Sir John Gielgud and Vivien Leigh.
  • Junie B. Jones The Musical - The talented songwriting team of Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler have helped bring this kids' favorite to the stage, in an utterly beguiling new tuner.
  • Covenant - I've not listened to it all, but I have enjoyed the pieces I've heard from this recent release. It's a cast recording from California of a show that was written to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Salvation Army.
  • From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Orlando - Another album that's also a charitable effort is this fantastic release from Broadway Records. This one preserves a concert that featured Broadway's best and whose proceeds supported organizations serving the people affected by the horrific mass shooting at a Florida nightclub earlier this year.
  • Half a Sixpence - This new London cast recording proves to be a charmer, thanks to the winning star turn from 22-year-old Charlie Stemp. Based on a novel by H.G. Wells, this show reminds us that money can't buy happiness.
  • Hairspray LIVE - You really can't stop the beat of this Marc Shaiman/Scott Wittman score. It's great to have another recording of it. This one, of course, features the swell performers who were part of NBC's live presentation this week.
  • La La Land - Broadway's Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have outfitted Grammy Award winner Justin Hurwitz's melodies for the score for this new movie that stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. There's some charming stuff in here.
  • Schikaneder - Stephen Schwartz's newest musical has premiered in Vienna, and here's the gorgeous sounding new cast recording of that production. The musical's subtitle is "The Turbulent Love Story Behind The Magic Flute." Sort of tells you all you need to know.
  • The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz - Here's the first-ever recording of this show written by Alan Menken, along with David Spencer, in the years between Little Shop of Horrors and The Little Mermaid. This cast album preserves a recent Canadian production that featured considerable new material from the creators.
  • If You Knew My Story - Carmen Cusack dazzled in her Broadway debut in Bright Star last season. Here she is in performance with a host of terrific guest stars.
  • Hamilton Mixtape - Here's a new way to savor the genius that is Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton! It's an album that features the show's songs performed by artists such as the Roots, Usher, Kelly Clarkson, and Alicia Keys.Acoustically Speaking - This recording allows you to savor the talents of two of the original stars from Rent—Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal—in performance at 54 BELOW/Feinstein's.

The next BwayTunes newsletter will arrive just about a week before a milestone birthday: composer John Kander's 90th!

We couldn't let such an important moment go by without toasting the man who penned the melodies for CabaretChicago, and the current off-Broadway offering Kid Victory. So Ken and Erik will be dedicating their columns to him and their thoughts on his exceptional career.

To get you in the mood, I point you toward Harbinger Records' fantastic two-disc compilation of Kander rarities: Hidden Treasures.

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Artists

Feb
10

I WishI Were in Love Again...

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, we figured that we'd send some musical hearts and flowers your way and just maybe inspire you for the day on which Cupid reigns

Erik and Ken have written two fantastic columns about love in musicals and, in doing so, highlighted a bunch of swell tunes. Their work, I'm pretty sure, will put you in a very romantic mood

And just to spice things up…. We all know relationships can be rough, so I've decided to offer up a pair of songs that capture both the highs and lows of romance:

  • "I Wish I Were in Love Again - Perfectly Frank - This song from Babes in Arms makes love sound both marvelous and kinda unbearable. I happen to be quite fond of this recording from Tony Bennett.
  • "When We Get Our Divorce" - Sunny - Oscar Hammerstein II is known for writing the words for swoony songs such as "People Will Say We're in Love" and "Hello, Young Lovers." He also wrote this wonderfully wry tune about the end (or is it?) of a marriage.

Remember, if you need to add any of the recordings mentioned here and in the guys' blogs to your collection, you can find links to them in the carousels on the BwayTunes.com homepage. 


If you don't feel like sorting through your own music library, this week's playlist on Spotify will give you just over an hour of music that could be the perfect soundtrack for Feb. 14.

There are lots of classics to be found on the playlist, along with some delectable rarities, and I'm hoping it serves as the equivalent of a bouquet of long-stem roses for your ears!


Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, who won a slew of awards for their dramatic family musical Next to Normal, now have the frothy tuner Freaky Friday, and we've got a great track from the new album for you as this week's free song download!


Take a look at the marvelously diverse array of new music that we've gotten for you, particularly:

  • Dear Evan Hansen - It's the new musical on Broadway that everyone's talking about! You'll understand why after listening to this terrific new release.
  • Freaky Friday - There's a lot of giddy fun in this new tuner that's based on the movie of the same name. This new album features two great central performances from Heidi Blickenstaff and Emma Hunton.
  • Falsettos - The cast recording for this acclaimed revival of the landmark tuners by William Finn and James Lapine sparkles from beginning to end. It's a must-have for all musical theater fans!
  • Len Cariou Presents These Are My Friends - Tony winner Len Cariou is joined by some incredible folks on this album that revisits some of the hits from his career and then moves on to other favorites from the likes of Liz Callaway, Judy Kaye, Lee Roy Reams, and Anita Gillette.
  • Song of Solomon - Ramin Karimloo, who's thrilled audiences in Les Misérables and Love Never Dies, heads up a grand cast on this lavishly produced concept album for a new biblical musical.

In addition to these albums, you’ll want to check out these new releases, which can be found in the main carousel at the top of the home page and in the “New and Recommended” one at the bottom of the page.

  • Bare Naked - A bevy of great singers offer up tunes by songwriter Lynne Shankel on this new release, which includes both material from the revised off-Broadway production of Bare as well as some of her more recent writings.
  • Dream Ago - This remarkable album comes from a remarkable talent: Gabrielle Stravelli. Her voice has power, warmth, and, sometimes, great humor. It's been hard for me to stop playing this one. If you don't know her work, you should certainly sample some now!
  • The Student Prince - This new two disc recording of the classic operetta is sounding pretty darn gorgeous thanks to the careful guidance of conductor John Mauceri.
  • "Edelweiss" - Tony winner Billy Porter offers up this classic R&H song as a hopeful (and sadly cautionary) tune for the times in which we live. If you've not listened, do.
  • Ruthless! - The cast recording for the often hysterical mash-up of The Bad Seed and All About Eve. Definitely worth checking out.
  • Ivanov – A real gem this recording preserves a production of Chekhov's play that starred Sir John Gielgud and Vivien Leigh.
  • Junie B. Jones The Musical - The talented songwriting team of Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler have helped bring this kids' favorite to the stage, in an utterly beguiling new tuner.
  • Covenant - I've not listened to it all, but I have enjoyed the pieces I've heard from this recent release. It's a cast recording from California of a show that was written to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Salvation Army.
  • From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Orlando - Another album that's also a charitable effort is this fantastic release from Broadway Records. This one preserves a concert that featured Broadway's best and whose proceeds supported organizations serving the people affected by the horrific mass shooting at a Florida nightclub earlier this year.
  • Half a Sixpence - This new London cast recording proves to be a charmer, thanks to the winning star turn from 22-year-old Charlie Stemp. Based on a novel by H.G. Wells, this show reminds us that money can't buy happiness.
  • Hairspray LIVE - You really can't stop the beat of this Marc Shaiman/Scott Wittman score. It's great to have another recording of it. This one, of course, features the swell performers who were part of NBC's live presentation this week.
  • La La Land - Broadway's Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have outfitted Grammy Award winner Justin Hurwitz's melodies for the score for this new movie that stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. There's some charming stuff in here.
  • Schikaneder - Stephen Schwartz's newest musical has premiered in Vienna, and here's the gorgeous sounding new cast recording of that production. The musical's subtitle is "The Turbulent Love Story Behind The Magic Flute." Sort of tells you all you need to know.
  • The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz - Here's the first-ever recording of this show written by Alan Menken, along with David Spencer, in the years between Little Shop of Horrors and The Little Mermaid. This cast album preserves a recent Canadian production that featured considerable new material from the creators.
  • If You Knew My Story - Carmen Cusack dazzled in her Broadway debut in Bright Star last season. Here she is in performance with a host of terrific guest stars.
  • Hamilton Mixtape - Here's a new way to savor the genius that is Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton! It's an album that features the show's songs performed by artists such as the Roots, Usher, Kelly Clarkson, and Alicia Keys.
  • Acoustically Speaking - This recording allows you to savor the talents of two of the original stars from Rent—Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal—in performance at 54 BELOW/Feinstein's.
  • Live at 54 BELOW / Feinstein's - This new album, featuring Charles Busch, is another fine entry in Broadway Records' ongoing line of albums of performances from the swank nitery.
  • You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown - A terrifically talented group of young performers brings freshness to this classic musical that's based on Charles M. Schulz's characters. It's a very welcome new cast album from Broadway Records. 
  • Moana - The soundtrack from the new Disney animated feature includes new tunes from the incomparable Lin-Manuel Miranda, some of his first songwriting since the premiere of his groundbreaking Hamilton.
  • Jazz Loves Disney - This new album compiles a host of Disney classics performed by some of the greatest jazz musicians of all time.

When you get the next newsletter, we'll be less than a month away from spring, and with the arrival of tulips and warmer temperatures will also come a bumper crop of new musicals.

I've asked Ken and Erik to talk about some of the shows opening this spring that they're particularly looking forward to (either in N.Y. or around the country).

They've got very different perspectives and tastes, so you should get a pretty grand sense of what's just around the corner. One thing that I'll be curious about is the new stage version of Roald Dahl's classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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Artists

Jan
27

Celebrating Upstarts!

Happy Birthday Alan Cumming! Yep. The Tony winner's celebrating a birthday (January 27).

To celebrate this man, who, because of things such as Cabaret and The Good Wife, I think of as being something of a maverick, I asked Ken and Erik to talk about musical upstarts.

 I let them choose from writers and characters, and as you might expect, they've not disappointed with their columns this week!

For my contribution to the conversation, why not consider:

  • Lysistrata Jones - A genuine sense of rebellion courses through this musical that's based on a Greek comedy about women withholding sex to stop their men from going into battle. Set on a college campus, the show, and it's heroine, is a youthful maverick.
  • A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant - Songwriter Kyle Jarrow has been shaking up the sound of musicals for a while now. His name's not terribly well known, but his music can be incredibly invigorating, as you will hear on this album and on Beautiful Monster, which features songs from a rocky fairy tale seen off-Broadway last season, The Wildness.

Remember, if you need to add any of the recordings mentioned here and in the guys' blogs to your collection, you can find links to them in the carousels on the BwayTunes.com homepage. 


Your ears will be traversing a gamut of styles and sounds as you listen to the playlist I've put together for you this week.

With the songs and shows that the guys are talking about as its basis, this week's Spotify Playlist delivers over an hour of music that spans about 100 years of music theater writing.


You'll be feeling as if you've taken to the high seas with this week's free song download. It's a track from Stage Door Records' just-out release of Drake's Dream, a musical about seafarer Sir Francis Drake!


Take a look at the marvelously diverse array of new music that we've gotten for you, particularly:

  • Song of Solomon - Ramin Karimloo, who's thrilled audiences in Les Misérables and Love Never Dies, heads up a grand cast on this lavishly produced concept album for a new biblical musical.
  • Bare Naked - A bevy of great singers offer up tunes by songwriter Lynne Shankel on this new release, which includes both material from the revised off-Broadway production of Bare as well as some of her more recent writings.
  • Dream Ago - This remarkable album comes from a remarkable talent: Gabrielle Stravelli. Her voice has power, warmth, and, sometimes, great humor. It's been hard for me to stop playing this one. If you don't know her work, you should certainly sample some now!
  • The Student Prince - This new two disc recording of the classic operetta is sounding pretty darn gorgeous thanks to the careful guidance of conductor John Mauceri.
  • "Edelweiss" - Tony winner Billy Porter offers up this classic R&H song as a hopeful (and sadly cautionary) tune for the times in which we live. If you've not listened, do.

In addition to these albums, you’ll want to check out these new releases, which can be found in the main carousel at the top of the home page and in the “New and Recommended” one at the bottom of the page.

  • Ruthless! - The cast recording for the often hysterical mash-up of The Bad Seed and All About Eve. Definitely worth checking out.
  • Ivanov – A real gem this recording preserves a production of Chekhov's play that starred Sir John Gielgud and Vivien Leigh.
  • Junie B. Jones The Musical - The talented songwriting team of Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler have helped bring this kids' favorite to the stage, in an utterly beguiling new tuner.
  • Covenant - I've not listened to it all, but I have enjoyed the pieces I've heard from this recent release. It's a cast recording from California of a show that was written to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Salvation Army.
  • Falsettos - The cast recording for this acclaimed revival of the landmark tuners by William Finn and James Lapine sparkles from beginning to end. It's a must-have for all musical theater fans!
  • From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Orlando - Another album that's also a charitable effort is this fantastic release from Broadway Records. This one preserves a concert that featured Broadway's best and whose proceeds supported organizations serving the people affected by the horrific mass shooting at a Florida nightclub earlier this year.
  • Half a Sixpence - This new London cast recording proves to be a charmer, thanks to the winning star turn from 22-year-old Charlie Stemp. Based on a novel by H.G. Wells, this show reminds us that money can't buy happiness.
  • Hairspray LIVE - You really can't stop the beat of this Marc Shaiman/Scott Wittman score. It's great to have another recording of it. This one, of course, features the swell performers who were part of NBC's live presentation this week.
  • La La Land - Broadway's Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have outfitted Grammy Award winner Justin Hurwitz's melodies for the score for this new movie that stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. There's some charming stuff in here.
  • Schikaneder - Stephen Schwartz's newest musical has premiered in Vienna, and here's the gorgeous sounding new cast recording of that production. The musical's subtitle is "The Turbulent Love Story Behind The Magic Flute." Sort of tells you all you need to know.
  • The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz - Here's the first-ever recording of this show written by Alan Menken, along with David Spencer, in the years between Little Shop of Horrors and The Little Mermaid. This cast album preserves a recent Canadian production that featured considerable new material from the creators.
  • If You Knew My Story - Carmen Cusack dazzled in her Broadway debut in Bright Star last season. Here she is in performance with a host of terrific guest stars.
  • Hamilton Mixtape - Here's a new way to savor the genius that is Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton! It's an album that features the show's songs performed by artists such as the Roots, Usher, Kelly Clarkson, and Alicia Keys.
  • Acoustically Speaking - This recording allows you to savor the talents of two of the original stars from Rent—Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal—in performance at 54 BELOW/Feinstein's.
  • Live at 54 BELOW / Feinstein's - This new album, featuring Charles Busch, is another fine entry in Broadway Records' ongoing line of albums of performances from the swank nitery.
  • You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown - A terrifically talented group of young performers brings freshness to this classic musical that's based on Charles M. Schulz's characters. It's a very welcome new cast album from Broadway Records. 
  • Moana - The soundtrack from the new Disney animated feature includes new tunes from the incomparable Lin-Manuel Miranda, some of his first songwriting since the premiere of his groundbreaking Hamilton.
  • Jazz Loves Disney - This new album compiles a host of Disney classics performed by some of the greatest jazz musicians of all time.
  • The Bodyguard - This London cast recording of the musical that's based on the hit Whitney Huston film gets released as a U.S. tour of the show begins.
  • Spoon River Anthology - We're delighted that this Broadway cast recording of the show that's based on Edgar Lee Masters' poems has finally hit the digital age!

You'll be getting the next BwayTunes newsletter just a few days before Valentine's Day.

To get you in the mood for the holiday of love, I've asked the guys to think about musical romance as a whole. You know "hearts and flowers," "birds and bees," etc.

I have no idea what they'll come up with, but I'm pretty sure they will deliver a couple of fantastic columns that will leave you humming "I'm in the Mood for Love."

And if you want to get a jump start on all of this, take a listen to Tony Bennett's smooth album The Art of Romance.  (I mention this specifically as a way of toasting the legendary singer's 90th birthday!)

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Jan
13

Superstition

Happy 2017! And, more ominously, Happy Friday the 13th....

Given that our first newsletter for the year is falling on a day traditionally associated with bad luck, I figured I'd ask Erik and Ken to talk about luck and superstition with a musical theater twist.

As always, the guys have tackled the assignment with aplomb, and I'm betting you'll have a blast reading what they have to say.

I'd like to add two genuine rarities to the songs and shows the guys are talking about this week: 

  • "Bad Luck Card" - The Liz Child Quartet includes this great jazz tune on their album Take Flight. The lyric for it is by none other than Langston Hughes, and the sultry melody comes from Peter Madsen.
  • Treemonisha - Given that this Scott Joplin ragtime "opera" has a song that is actually titled "Superstition," it seemed absolutely necessary that I make it one of my picks. If you've never listened to this one, it's a fascinating piece of writing.

Remember, if you need to add any of the recordings mentioned here and in the guys' blogs to your collection, you can find links to them in the carousels on the BwayTunes.com homepage. 


Using Erik's and Ken's columns, along with my own picks for the week, I've put together a playlist of about a dozen songs that are tied into the whole Friday the 13th vibe we're working with this week.

Then I added in a few others to the Spotify list...just because surprises are always sorta necessary.

Hoping you enjoy!


The Globe Theatre in London has just released a terrific album featuring the music and songs from its critically acclaimed productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III. We liked what we heard so much that we asked about sharing a song with you as a free song download, and generously they said, "Yes."


Take a look at the marvelously diverse array of new music that we've gotten for you, particularly:

  • Junie B. Jones The Musical - The talented songwriting team of Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler have helped bring this kids' favorite to the stage, in an utterly beguiling new tuner.
  • Covenant - I've not listened to it all, but I have enjoyed the pieces I've heard from this recent release. It's a cast recording from California of a show that was written to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Salvation Army.
  • Falsettos - The cast recording for this acclaimed revival of the landmark tuners by William Finn and James Lapine sparkles from beginning to end. It's a must-have for all musical theater fans!
  • From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Orlando - Another album that's also a charitable effort is this fantastic release from Broadway Records. This one preserves a concert that featured Broadway's best and whose proceeds supported organizations serving the people affected by the horrific mass shooting at a Florida nightclub earlier this year.

In addition to these albums, you’ll want to check out these new releases, which can be found in the main carousel at the top of the home page and in the “New and Recommended” one at the bottom of the page.

  • Half a Sixpence - This new London cast recording proves to be a charmer, thanks to the winning star turn from 22-year-old Charlie Stemp. Based on a novel by H.G. Wells, this show reminds us that money can't buy happiness.
  • Hairspray LIVE - You really can't stop the beat of this Marc Shaiman/Scott Wittman score. It's great to have another recording of it. This one, of course, features the swell performers who were part of NBC's live presentation this week.
  • La La Land - Broadway's Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have outfitted Grammy Award winner Justin Hurwitz's melodies for the score for this new movie that stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. There's some charming stuff in here.
  • Schikaneder - Stephen Schwartz's newest musical has premiered in Vienna, and here's the gorgeous sounding new cast recording of that production. The musical's subtitle is "The Turbulent Love Story Behind The Magic Flute." Sort of tells you all you need to know.
  • The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz - Here's the first-ever recording of this show written by Alan Menken, along with David Spencer, in the years between Little Shop of Horrors and The Little Mermaid. This cast album preserves a recent Canadian production that featured considerable new material from the creators.
  • If You Knew My Story - Carmen Cusack dazzled in her Broadway debut in Bright Star last season. Here she is in performance with a host of terrific guest stars.
  • Hamilton Mixtape - Here's a new way to savor the genius that is Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton! It's an album that features the show's songs performed by artists such as the Roots, Usher, Kelly Clarkson, and Alicia Keys.
  • Acoustically Speaking - This recording allows you to savor the talents of two of the original stars from Rent—Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal—in performance at 54 BELOW/Feinstein's.
  • Live at 54 BELOW / Feinstein's - This new album, featuring Charles Busch, is another fine entry in Broadway Records' ongoing line of albums of performances from the swank nitery.
  • A Merry Little Christmas - Megan Hilty toasts the holidays with this terrific new album. One particular highlight is her playfully jazzy "Santa Baby."
  • Simply Christmas - Leslie Odom Jr., best actor Tony winner for Hamilton, helps to set the tone for the holiday season with this joyful, jazzy new album.
  • Winter Tracks - Susan Egan's lovely seasonal album from 2006 has finally become digitally available this year. If you've not heard it, take a listen!
  • Christmas on Stage & Screen - Some evergreen holiday tunes get some lavish arrangements on this new album!
  • You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown - A terrifically talented group of young performers brings freshness to this classic musical that's based on Charles M. Schulz's characters. It's a very welcome new cast album from Broadway Records. 
  • Moana - The soundtrack from the new Disney animated feature includes new tunes from the incomparable Lin-Manuel Miranda, some of his first songwriting since the premiere of his groundbreaking Hamilton.
  • Jazz Loves Disney - This new album compiles a host of Disney classics performed by some of the greatest jazz musicians of all time.
  • The Bodyguard - This London cast recording of the musical that's based on the hit Whitney Huston film gets released as a U.S. tour of the show begins.
  • Spoon River Anthology - We're delighted that this Broadway cast recording of the show that's based on Edgar Lee Masters' poems has finally hit the digital age!
  • Together - Two remarkable vocalists -- Michael Ball and Alfie Boe -- join forces on this tremendous album that features such classics as "Somewhere," 'Music of the Night," and "Over the Rainbow."
  • So Much More: The Songs of Brandon Sturiale - This album, featuring such artists as Michael Cerveris and Natalie Weiss, showcases the formidable songwriting talents of, yes, Brandon Sturiale who has been musical director on a host of shows, including off-Broadway's The Marvelous Wonderettes
  • The Arden Sessions - This new album from Darren Ritchie (Thoroughly Modern MillieLittle Shop of HorrorsWonderland) and his group, the ADDing Machine, has a completely pop vibe to it that I found quite satisfying.
  • Pretty Filthy - Songwriter Michael Friedman (Bloody Bloody Andrew JacksonThe Fortress of Solitude) is in top form with the tunes for this show, developed from interviews, about the adult film industry.

We're going to go to a bi-weekly format for a while this winter. The next newsletter will be arriving in your in-box on January 27, and at that point we'll be doing a sort of toast to Tony winner Alan Cumming, who celebrates a birthday that day.
Cumming--as you probably know from his work in shows such as Cabaret, on television's The Good Wife, and even in solo performance with pieces like Sings Sappy Songs--can be something of a maverick. 

Given this, I've asked Erik and Ken to think about mavericks in musicals. It could be writers, characters, or even the musicals in and of themselves that buck convention.

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