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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.

Dec
07

Seasonal Things 2018

I asked Ken and Erik to go "seasonal" for their columns this week, and they have gone in two entirely different directions. Both are terrific pieces of writing about some swell music, and I think each will make you smile.

To complement Erik's and Ken’s columns, I'd like to offer up the following two albums for your consideration: 

  • Norm Lewis Christmas Album - This Broadway leading man lends his supple voice to a host of favorites on this just-out album. There are also some clever (and entirely appropriate) surprises. I think you'll enjoy.
  • "All I Want for Christmas"- Telly Leung has recorded this lovely version of a holiday-time favorite to help raise money for the nonprofit ASTEP. The organization's great work centers on bringing the arts into the lives of young people from underserved communities in the U.S. and around the world to awaken their imaginations, foster critical thinking, and help them break the cycle of poverty.

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. 


I've stuck with traditional for this week's Spotify playlist. It's about one hour of seasonal favorites from stage and screen musicals, along with other songs offered up by some of Broadway's finest performers.


We've got an utterly delightful track for you to listen to as this week's free song download. It's a marvelous tune called "Noël, Noël" that's been curated on the new two-disc set Lost West End: The Revues.


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

  • Brigadoon - Kelli O'Hara and Patrick Wilson are both in fine voice on this beautiful recording of Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner's classic musical. We're all very happy to have a recording of this Encores! presentation.
  • "Loser Geek Whatever" - In anticipation of the Broadway bow of Joe Iconis' Be More Chill, the producers have released this nifty EP featuring three different versions of one of the show's terrific tunes.

There have also been a host of new holiday albums that have come out in recent weeks, including the two I mentioned above as well as Steve Ross’ It’s Almost Christmas Eve, Michael Longoria’s Merry Christmas Darling, and Gigi Bermingham’s Cabaret Noël.

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.

  • Broadway My Way - Heather Headley, Tony winner for Aida, reinterprets such classics as "Over the Rainbow," "Look to the Rainbow," and "Home" on this lush new recording.
  • The Greatest Showman Reimagined - P!nk, Kelly Clarkson, Sara Bareilles, and Kesha are just some of the artists featured on this album that brings you new versions of the songs from the hit movie that starred Hugh Jackman.
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Imogen Heap's Drama Desk Award winning score for the epic theatrical adventure featuring J.K. Rowling's renowned boy wizard has been marvelously transformed into four suites for this new recording. 
  • Will He Like Me? - Philip Chaffin lends his voice to over a dozen classic Broadway tunes and, in the process, creates a moving song cycle.
  • Singing You Home - Conceived by Laura Benanti, and featuring artists such as Josh Groban, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Audra McDonald, this bi-lingual children's album is a fundraiser for a very worthy cause. Proceeds from the album sales will go directly to the non-profit organizations RAICES and ASTEP to help reunite and support families separated at the border.
  • Twelfth Night - Songwriter Shaina Taub's songs for the Public Theater's recent production of Shakespeare's romance got some terrific reviews. The production had a very short run, so we're lucky to have this album that allows all of us who missed it to enjoy Taub's exceptional tunefulness.
  • Head Over Heels - The Go-Go's hits from the early 1980s meet an obscure Renaissance narrative poem in this merry lark of a Broadway musical. It's a giddy and toe-tapping retro listen.
  • Idina: Live - Broadway's original Elphaba, Idina Menzel, sounds pretty fantastic on this recording that features some pop classics and some great musical theater tunes, including a number from the tuners she has starred in.
  • Pretty Woman - The first hit of the new 2018-2019 season is this musical based on the popular 1990 movie. Andy Karl and Samantha Barks tackle the roles originally played by Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, and the infectious score comes from Brian Adams and Jim Wallace. Definitely worth a listen!
  • Gettin' the Band Back Together - There's a gleeful rock sound at work in this Broadway cast recording. It's an album that's full of some unexpected pleasures.
  • Hundred Days - The Bengsons’ quirky off-Broadway show comes to compact disc with verve on this new cast recording!

The holiday season is upon us! And theoretically you'd be getting our next newsletter just two days before Christmas. I wanted to give Erik and Ken a holiday gift, and so I told them they could take the rest of the month off.

This means you'll be getting our next newsletter just as you've started dealing with your New Year's resolutions.

For some people the top of such a list is about eating healthier or dieting, so it seemed only appropriate to have the guys pen columns about songs centered on food as we begin 2019. One of my faves is "I Can Cook Too" from On the Town.

I'll close by wishing you the happiest of holiday seasons and look forward to sharing more great music with you in 2019.

 

Tags :
Artists

Nov
23

By the Decade - The 1950s

This week were throwing one of sporadic backward glances at a particular decade in musical theater history. Ken and Erik are tackling the 1950s, and their lists of favorite shows from the decade include many titles you know and perhaps a few that you don't know or ones that will surprise you.

To complement Erik's and Ken’s columns, I'd like to offer up the following two albums for your consideration: 

  • Bells Are Ringing - Composer Jule Styne and lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green were at the height of their game with this 1956 musical that snagged a Tony Award for its star, Judy Holliday. (She bested My Fair Lady nominee Julie Andrews, if you can believe it!)
  • Two on the Aisle - Styne, Comden, and Green started their collaboration in 1951 with this revue that targeted some of the pop cultural, political, and societal topics of the day, including the big Broadway hits that were running as the 1950s dawned.

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. 


Perhaps you'll feel as if you've taken a time machine back some sixty to seventy years with this week's Spotify playlist. It's a heady compilation of tunes from the musicals of the 1950s and encompasses the shows we all know and love, as well as ones we rarely--if ever--think of.


SimG Records has released a cast album for a delightful family-friendly musical, Imaginary. I'm betting you will be charmed by the free download we have for you this week.


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

  • Broadway My Way - Heather Headley, Tony winner for Aida, reinterprets such classics as "Over the Rainbow," "Look to the Rainbow," and "Home" on this lush new recording.
  • The Greatest Showman Reimagined - P!nk, Kelly Clarkson, Sara Bareilles, and Kesha are just some of the artists featured on this album that brings you new versions of the songs from the hit movie that starred Hugh Jackman.

There have also been a host of new holiday albums that have come out in recent weeks, including The Norm Lewis Christmas Album, Steve Ross’ It’s Almost Christmas Eve, Michael Longoria’s Merry Christmas Darling, and Gigi Bermingham’s Cabaret Noël, as well as Telly Leung’s single, “All I Want for Christmas,” which benefits a fantastic nonprofit, ASTEP.

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.

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Imogen Heap's Drama Desk Award winning score for the epic theatrical adventure featuring J.K. Rowling's renowned boy wizard has been marvelously transformed into four suites for this new recording. 
  • Will He Like Me? - Philip Chaffin lends his voice to over a dozen classic Broadway tunes and, in the process, creates a moving song cycle.
  • Singing You Home - Conceived by Laura Benanti, and featuring artists such as Josh Groban, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Audra McDonald, this bi-lingual children's album is a fundraiser for a very worthy cause. Proceeds from the album sales will go directly to the non-profit organizations RAICES and ASTEP to help reunite and support families separated at the border.
  • Twelfth Night - Songwriter Shaina Taub's songs for the Public Theater's recent production of Shakespeare's romance got some terrific reviews. The production had a very short run, so we're lucky to have this album that allows all of us who missed it to enjoy Taub's exceptional tunefulness.
  • Head Over Heels - The Go-Go's hits from the early 1980s meet an obscure Renaissance narrative poem in this merry lark of a Broadway musical. It's a giddy and toe-tapping retro listen.
  • Idina: Live - Broadway's original Elphaba, Idina Menzel, sounds pretty fantastic on this recording that features some pop classics and some great musical theater tunes, including a number from the tuners she has starred in.
  • Pretty Woman - The first hit of the new 2018-2019 season is this musical based on the popular 1990 movie. Andy Karl and Samantha Barks tackle the roles originally played by Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, and the infectious score comes from Brian Adams and Jim Wallace. Definitely worth a listen!
  • Gettin' the Band Back Together - There's a gleeful rock sound at work in this Broadway cast recording. It's an album that's full of some unexpected pleasures.
  • Hundred Days - The Bengsons’ quirky off-Broadway show comes to compact disc with verve on this new cast recording!

By the time you get our next newsletter we will be a week in December and the holiday season will be underway in earnest.

I've asked Erik and Ken to come up with something season. I've just left it there. They're both clever fellows, so I'm sure they will rise to that vagueness beautifully.

To get a jump-start on all things seasonal, I'll point you toward the just-released It's Almost Christmas Eve, featuring marvelous vocals from cabaret's Steve Ross, along with Suellen Estry, Benjamin Weil, and Ron Spivak.

Tags :
Artists

Nov
09

That Awkward Age

The Prom--about a high school fete in Indiana--will soon be opening on Broadway. I wanted to toast the show, and so I thought let's talk about teenagers in musicals. You'll find Ken and Erik have both been very clever in crafting their columns!

To complement Erik's and Ken’s columns, I'd like to offer up the following two albums for your consideration: 

  • Thrill Me - Two 19 year-olds in 1920s Chicago conspired to murder a 14 year-old boy, just for the "thrill" of it. Stephen Dolginoff turned this chilling, true tale into a fascinating musical.
  • Bat-Boy: The Musical - Teen love meets Greek tragedy and tabloid headlines in this hilariously off-beat musical from Laurence O'Keefe, Keythe Farley, and Brian Flemming.

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. 


You've got just about an hour of fantastic, teen-centric music to listen to with this week's Spotify playlist. The selections range from songs from some of our hottest Broadway offerings today to some numbers that are, indeed, forgotten gems from Broadway's Golden Age.


Our free song this week comes from Philip Chaffin's wonderful new album, Will He Like Me?, released by PS Classics. It's a song cycle from the LGBTQ perspective that uses a marvelous array of show tunes.


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

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Imogen Heap's Drama Desk Award winning score for the epic theatrical adventure featuring J.K. Rowling's renowned boy wizard has been marvelously transformed into four suites for this new recording. 
  • Will He Like Me? - Philip Chaffin lends his voice to over a dozen classic Broadway tunes and, in the process, creates a moving song cycle.

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.

  • Singing You Home - Conceived by Laura Benanti, and featuring artists such as Josh Groban, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Audra McDonald, this bi-lingual children's album is a fundraiser for a very worthy cause. Proceeds from the album sales will go directly to the non-profit organizations RAICES and ASTEP to help reunite and support families separated at the border.
  • Twelfth Night - Songwriter Shaina Taub's songs for the Public Theater's recent production of Shakespeare's romance got some terrific reviews. The production had a very short run, so we're lucky to have this album that allows all of us who missed it to enjoy Taub's exceptional tunefulness.
  • Head Over Heels - The Go-Go's hits from the early 1980s meet an obscure Renaissance narrative poem in this merry lark of a Broadway musical. It's a giddy and toe-tapping retro listen.
  • Idina: Live - Broadway's original Elphaba, Idina Menzel, sounds pretty fantastic on this recording that features some pop classics and some great musical theater tunes, including a number from the tuners she has starred in.
  • Pretty Woman - The first hit of the new 2018-2019 season is this musical based on the popular 1990 movie. Andy Karl and Samantha Barks tackle the roles originally played by Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, and the infectious score comes from Brian Adams and Jim Wallace. Definitely worth a listen!
  • Gettin' the Band Back Together - There's a gleeful rock sound at work in this Broadway cast recording. It's an album that's full of some unexpected pleasures.
  • Hundred Days - The Bengsons’ quirky off-Broadway show comes to compact disc with verve on this new cast recording!
  • Who’s Your Baghdaddy? - It's taken a while but this deliriously silly show has gotten a cast recording. It’s a giddy look back on the United States’ Middle Eastern policy of a time gone by that’s looking darn good these days. This release is just one of many new albums from Broadway Records. Among the label’s other titles you should check out are: Session Girls, Wicked Clone, Tonya and Nancy, and The Boy Who Danced on Air.
  • Beast in the Jungle - John Kander has written a marvelously lush score for this work based on the Henry James short story. It's a richly satisfying listen that you'll probably be savoring for some time to come!
  • Unexpected Joy - Composer Janet Hood and lyricist Bill Russell provided some genuinely infectious pop-theater songs for this tuner about a singer-songwriter who's attempting to move on after the death of her longtime performing--and life--partner.
  • Sunset Boulevard - Kim Criswell provides the vocals for Norma Desmond on this new release. Her beautiful voice brings a new dimension to songs such as “With One Look,” and the backing from the National Symphony Orchestra is particularly sumptuous.
  • Summer: The Donna Summer Musical - One of Broadway's newest hits, this show takes a whirlwind tour through the fascinating life and electrifying music of pop diva Donna Summer.

Erik and Ken will be turning the clock back for one of our periodic glimpses at a specific decade in Broadway history.

They last tackled the 1990s, and so for their next columns, I'm asking them to write about some of their favorite shows from a bit further in the past: 1950s.

It was a great decade for musical theater no doubt. One of my favorite, silly shows from the era is Bells Are Ringing, with a delightfully daffy score by Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green.

Tags :
Artists

Oct
27

Happy Halloween!

It's almost Halloween, and I sent Erik (Ken's traveling and has to sit this week out) on mission - write a column about musical theater that evokes the spirit of the holiday. Erik's been very clever (tricky?), and I think that you'll find that he's talking about some real aural treats.

To complement Erik's column, I'd like to offer up the following two albums for your consideration: 

  • Be More Chill - This Joe Iconis musical that's en route to Broadway for 2019 premiere has a terrific song that's called "Halloween." I'm a big fan of the number, and this album overall. I imagine you know it, but in case not....
  • Meet Me in St. Louis - This classic movie musical came to Broadway in 1989, and naturally the stage show contained the beloved Christmas song that we all know by heart. It also had a new song, one written about Halloween, and if you have never heard "Ghosties and Ghoulies," you owe it to yourself to take a listen.

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. 


Things that go bump in the night aren't terribly musical, but don't fret the new Spotify playlist isn't scary or unpleasant. Instead it's filled with a host of songs that are just perfect for the Halloween Holiday. I promise it's not at all scary.


Mark Sonnenblick's musical Midnight at the Never Get just opened at the York Theatre to some amazing reviews, and as a Halloween "treat"--our free song download-- we've got a demo track from this delightful new show!


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

  • Singing You Home - Conceived by Laura Benanti, and featuring artists such as Josh Groban, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Audra McDonald, this bi-lingual children's album is a fundraiser for a very worthy cause. Proceeds from the album sales will go directly to the non-profit organizations RAICES and ASTEP to help reunite and support families separated at the border.
  • Twelfth Night - Songwriter Shaina Taub's songs for the Public Theater's recent production of Shakespeare's romance got some terrific reviews. The production had a very short run, so we're lucky to have this album that allows all of us who missed it to enjoy Taub's exceptional tunefulness.

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.

  • Head Over Heels - The Go-Go's hits from the early 1980s meet an obscure Renaissance narrative poem in this merry lark of a Broadway musical. It's a giddy and toe-tapping retro listen.
  • Idina: Live - Broadway's original Elphaba, Idina Menzel, sounds pretty fantastic on this recording that features some pop classics and some great musical theater tunes, including a number from the tuners she has starred in.
  • Pretty Woman - The first hit of the new 2018-2019 season is this musical based on the popular 1990 movie. Andy Karl and Samantha Barks tackle the roles originally played by Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, and the infectious score comes from Brian Adams and Jim Wallace. Definitely worth a listen!
  • Gettin' the Band Back Together - There's a gleeful rock sound at work in this Broadway cast recording. It's an album that's full of some unexpected pleasures.
  • Hundred Days - The Bengsons’ quirky off-Broadway show comes to compact disc with verve on this new cast recording!
  • Who’s Your Baghdaddy? - It's taken a while but this deliriously silly show has gotten a cast recording. It’s a giddy look back on the United States’ Middle Eastern policy of a time gone by that’s looking darn good these days. This release is just one of many new albums from Broadway Records. Among the label’s other titles you should check out are: Session Girls, Wicked Clone, Tonya and Nancy, and The Boy Who Danced on Air.
  • Beast in the Jungle - John Kander has written a marvelously lush score for this work based on the Henry James short story. It's a richly satisfying listen that you'll probably be savoring for some time to come!
  • Unexpected Joy - Composer Janet Hood and lyricist Bill Russell provided some genuinely infectious pop-theater songs for this tuner about a singer-songwriter who's attempting to move on after the death of her longtime performing--and life--partner.
  • Sunset Boulevard and Evita - This two-fer album from Jay Records finds. Ria Jones and Matt Bogart headliners in the former while Madalena Alberto and Max von Essen are featured for the second. All are sounding quite, quite good, and the album is certainly worth a listen.
  • Sunset Boulevard - Kim Criswell provides the vocals for Norma Desmond on this new release. Her beautiful voice brings a new dimension to songs such as “With One Look,” and the backing from the National Symphony Orchestra is particularly sumptuous.
  • Summer: The Donna Summer Musical - One of Broadway's newest hits, this show takes a whirlwind tour through the fascinating life and electrifying music of pop diva Donna Summer.
  • Desperate Measures - Shakespeare's Measure for Measure gets a contemporary, country-western spin in this musical that's enjoying a highly acclaimed and popular off-Broadway run.

When you next hear from me it will be just a few days before the opening of the new Broadway musical The Prom.

With music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, and a book by Bob Martin and Beguelin, the show imagines what happens in Indiana when a group of actors descends on an Indiana high school that's discriminating against a student who wants to bring a same-sex date to the titular springtime dance.

To toast this new show Ken and Erik are going to be searching their memories for other musicals with teenage characters or songs about that "awkward age."

 

Tags :
Artists

Oct
12

Musical Monologues

Soliloquies and monologues in musicals are the topic this week, and Erik and Ken have scoured hundreds of shows looking for some of the best songs that feature characters talking (singing, really) aloud about their inner thoughts and feelings. They've come up with some genuinely unexpected numbers, and I'm betting you'll have a great time reading their columns.

To complement Ken's and Erik's columns, I'd like to offer up the following two albums for your consideration: 

  • Chess - You'll actually find several songs in this show where the characters are singing about their inner lives. I know Chessdoesn't necessarily fall into the category of obscure, but with at least four musical soliloquies it seemed only appropriate to mention.
  • Bring It On - Late in this show about high school cheerleading squads, the seemingly sweet Eva delivers "Killer Instinct," and in doing so reveals her true self in a maliciously gleeful monologue.

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. 


Kelli O'Hara, Bernadette Peters, Audra McDonald, and Patti LuPone are just a few of the performers whom you'll find belting out musical monologues on this week's Spotify playlist. Beyond being over an hour of swell listening (if I do say so myself), it is also a fascinating trip through roughly 75 years of musical theater writing.


Our free track this week comes from Stage Door Records' just-out release of the original London cast of the gorgeous 1950s jazz-infused musical, King Kong. The album and the song are both terrific.


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

  • Head Over Heels - The Go-Go's hits from the early 1980s meet an obscure Renaissance narrative poem in this merry lark of a Broadway musical. It's a giddy and toe-tapping retro listen.
  • Idina: Live - Broadway's original Elphaba, Idina Menzel, sounds pretty fantastic on this recording that features some pop classics and some great musical theater tunes, including a number from the tuners she has starred in.

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.

  • Pretty Woman - The first hit of the new 2018-2019 season is this musical based on the popular 1990 movie. Andy Karl and Samantha Barks tackle the roles originally played by Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, and the infectious score comes from Brian Adams and Jim Wallace. Definitely worth a listen!
  • Gettin' the Band Back Together - There's a gleeful rock sound at work in this Broadway cast recording. It's an album that's full of some unexpected pleasures.
  • Hundred Days - The Bengsons’ quirky off-Broadway show comes to compact disc with verve on this new cast recording!
  • Who’s Your Baghdaddy? - It's taken a while but this deliriously silly show has gotten a cast recording. It’s a giddy look back on the United States’ Middle Eastern policy of a time gone by that’s looking darn good these days. This release is just one of many new albums from Broadway Records. Among the label’s other titles you should check out are: Session Girls, Wicked Clone, Tonya and Nancy, and The Boy Who Danced on Air.
  • Beast in the Jungle - John Kander has written a marvelously lush score for this work based on the Henry James short story. It's a richly satisfying listen that you'll probably be savoring for some time to come!
  • Unexpected Joy - Composer Janet Hood and lyricist Bill Russell provided some genuinely infectious pop-theater songs for this tuner about a singer-songwriter who's attempting to move on after the death of her longtime performing--and life--partner.
  • Sunset Boulevard and Evita - This two-fer album from Jay Records finds. Ria Jones and Matt Bogart headliners in the former while Madalena Alberto and Max von Essen are featured for the second. All are sounding quite, quite good, and the album is certainly worth a listen.
  • Sunset Boulevard - Kim Criswell provides the vocals for Norma Desmond on this new release. Her beautiful voice brings a new dimension to songs such as “With One Look,” and the backing from the National Symphony Orchestra is particularly sumptuous.
  • Summer: The Donna Summer Musical - One of Broadway's newest hits, this show takes a whirlwind tour through the fascinating life and electrifying music of pop diva Donna Summer.
  • Desperate Measures - Shakespeare's Measure for Measure gets a contemporary, country-western spin in this musical that's enjoying a highly acclaimed and popular off-Broadway run.

You'll get our next newsletter less than a week before Halloween, and it's that holiday that Erik and Ken will be writing in their next columns.

Yes, I know there aren't a lot of musicals that unfold on this day when we all are focused on ghosts, witches, devils...and candy! So, I've just asked the guys to write about songs that, in some way to them, are appropriate for the day.

No idea where either of them will go with it all. As I was thinking about Halloween and such my mind turned to one recently released album, the new London cast recording of Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein.

 

Tags :
Artists

Oct
12

Musical Monologues

Soliloquies and monologues in musicals are the topic this week, and Erik and Ken have scoured hundreds of shows looking for some of the best songs that feature characters talking (singing, really) aloud about their inner thoughts and feelings. They've come up with some genuinely unexpected numbers, and I'm betting you'll have a great time reading their columns.

To complement Ken's and Erik's columns, I'd like to offer up the following two albums for your consideration: 

  • Chess - You'll actually find several songs in this show where the characters are singing about their inner lives. I know Chessdoesn't necessarily fall into the category of obscure, but with at least four musical soliloquies it seemed only appropriate to mention.
  • Bring It On - Late in this show about high school cheerleading squads, the seemingly sweet Eva delivers "Killer Instinct," and in doing so reveals her true self in a maliciously gleeful monologue.

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. 


Kelli O'Hara, Bernadette Peters, Audra McDonald, and Patti LuPone are just a few of the performers whom you'll find belting out musical monologues on this week's Spotify playlist. Beyond being over an hour of swell listening (if I do say so myself), it is also a fascinating trip through roughly 75 years of musical theater writing.


Our free track this week comes from Stage Door Records' just-out release of the original London cast of the gorgeous 1950s jazz-infused musical, King Kong. The album and the song are both terrific.


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

  • Head Over Heels - The Go-Go's hits from the early 1980s meet an obscure Renaissance narrative poem in this merry lark of a Broadway musical. It's a giddy and toe-tapping retro listen.
  • Idina: Live - Broadway's original Elphaba, Idina Menzel, sounds pretty fantastic on this recording that features some pop classics and some great musical theater tunes, including a number from the tuners she has starred in.

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.

  • Pretty Woman - The first hit of the new 2018-2019 season is this musical based on the popular 1990 movie. Andy Karl and Samantha Barks tackle the roles originally played by Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, and the infectious score comes from Brian Adams and Jim Wallace. Definitely worth a listen!
  • Gettin' the Band Back Together - There's a gleeful rock sound at work in this Broadway cast recording. It's an album that's full of some unexpected pleasures.
  • Hundred Days - The Bengsons’ quirky off-Broadway show comes to compact disc with verve on this new cast recording!
  • Who’s Your Baghdaddy? - It's taken a while but this deliriously silly show has gotten a cast recording. It’s a giddy look back on the United States’ Middle Eastern policy of a time gone by that’s looking darn good these days. This release is just one of many new albums from Broadway Records. Among the label’s other titles you should check out are: Session Girls, Wicked Clone, Tonya and Nancy, and The Boy Who Danced on Air.
  • Beast in the Jungle - John Kander has written a marvelously lush score for this work based on the Henry James short story. It's a richly satisfying listen that you'll probably be savoring for some time to come!
  • Unexpected Joy - Composer Janet Hood and lyricist Bill Russell provided some genuinely infectious pop-theater songs for this tuner about a singer-songwriter who's attempting to move on after the death of her longtime performing--and life--partner.
  • Sunset Boulevard and Evita - This two-fer album from Jay Records finds. Ria Jones and Matt Bogart headliners in the former while Madalena Alberto and Max von Essen are featured for the second. All are sounding quite, quite good, and the album is certainly worth a listen.
  • Sunset Boulevard - Kim Criswell provides the vocals for Norma Desmond on this new release. Her beautiful voice brings a new dimension to songs such as “With One Look,” and the backing from the National Symphony Orchestra is particularly sumptuous.
  • Summer: The Donna Summer Musical - One of Broadway's newest hits, this show takes a whirlwind tour through the fascinating life and electrifying music of pop diva Donna Summer.
  • Desperate Measures - Shakespeare's Measure for Measure gets a contemporary, country-western spin in this musical that's enjoying a highly acclaimed and popular off-Broadway run.

You'll get our next newsletter less than a week before Halloween, and it's that holiday that Erik and Ken will be writing in their next columns.

Yes, I know there aren't a lot of musicals that unfold on this day when we all are focused on ghosts, witches, devils...and candy! So, I've just asked the guys to write about songs that, in some way to them, are appropriate for the day.

No idea where either of them will go with it all. As I was thinking about Halloween and such my mind turned to one recently released album, the new London cast recording of Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein.

 

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Sep
28

The Bernstein Centenary

Late in August we paid tribute to playwright-lyricist Alan Jay Lerner's centenary. We're now saluting another gentleman who would have turned 100 this year: Leonard Bernstein. In fact the composer would have reached his milestone just a few days before Lerner. Ken and Erik have both written terrific tributes to the man who wrote such shows as On the Town and West Side Story, and I'm betting you'll find some kernels of little-known lore in them both as you read.

To complement Ken's and Erik's columns, I'd like to offer up the following two albums for your consideration: 

  • West Side Story Reimagined - Bobby Sanabria's impressive Latin Jazz reworking of this Bernstein score pulses with intensity from start to finish. Beyond being a swell listen, it's also raising money for the citizens of Puerto Rico as they continue to rebound from last year's horrific hurricanes.
  • Wonderful Town - This Bernstein show has had some powerhouse leading ladies, from Rosalind Russell in the original 1953 production to Donna Murphy in a 2003 revival. Thanks to this new concert recording, there's now another name on the list of actors who have shone brightly as Ruth Sherwood: Alysha Umphress. She's pretty darn wonderful as she delivers such songs as "100 Easy Ways to Lose a Man" and "Conga!" and makes them her own. 

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. 


You'll find music from original cast recordings of Leonard Bernstein's shows as well as a plethora of cover versions and numbers as performed in revivals of his acclaimed musicals in this week's Spotify playlist. It's over an hour of electrifying musicality.


Our new free song download comes from the just-released Broadway cast recording of Gettin' the Band Back Together. It's a terrific intro to the show and the charms of Mark Allen's score.


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

  • Pretty Woman - The first hit of the new 2018-2019 season is this musical based on the popular 1990 movie. Andy Karl and Samantha Barks tackle the roles originally played by Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, and the infectious score comes from Brian Adams and Jim Wallace. Definitely worth a listen!
  • Gettin' the Band Back Together - There's a gleeful rock sound at work in this Broadway cast recording. It's an album that's full of some unexpected pleasures.
  • Hundred Days - The Bengsons’ quirky off-Broadway show comes to compact disc with verve on this new cast recording!
  • Who’s Your Baghdaddy? - It's taken a while but this deliriously silly show has gotten a cast recording. It’s a giddy look back on the United States’ Middle Eastern policy of a time gone by that’s looking darn good these days.

This latter release is just one that’s just arrived courtesy of Broadway Records. Among the label’s other titles you should check out are: Session Girls, Wicked Clone, Tonya and Nancy, and The Boy Who Danced on Air.

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.

  • Beast in the Jungle - John Kander has written a marvelously lush score for this work based on the Henry James short story. It's a richly satisfying listen that you'll probably be savoring for some time to come!
  • Unexpected Joy - Composer Janet Hood and lyricist Bill Russell provided some genuinely infectious pop-theater songs for this tuner about a singer-songwriter who's attempting to move on after the death of her longtime performing--and life--partner.
  • Sunset Boulevard and Evita - This two-fer album from Jay Records finds. Ria Jones and Matt Bogart headliners in the former while Madalena Alberto and Max von Essen are featured for the second. All are sounding quite, quite good, and the album is certainly worth a listen.
  • Sunset Boulevard - Kim Criswell provides the vocals for Norma Desmond on this new release. Her beautiful voice brings a new dimension to songs such as “With One Look,” and the backing from the National Symphony Orchestra is particularly sumptuous.
  • Summer: The Donna Summer Musical - One of Broadway's newest hits, this show takes a whirlwind tour through the fascinating life and electrifying music of pop diva Donna Summer.
  • Desperate Measures - Shakespeare's Measure for Measure gets a contemporary, country-western spin in this musical that's enjoying a highly acclaimed and popular off-Broadway run.

Erik and Ken will be writing about a unique sort of song in their next columns.

I've asked them to think about numbers where characters are engaged in soliloquizing or working through an internal monologue.

I know the guys will come up with a fascinating array of songs on the topic. Will either of them take the one that immediately comes to mind? That, of course, would be "Soliloquy," from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's Carousel.

 

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Sep
14

A Musical Environment

September 15 is National Greenpeace Day. It commemorates the founding of the organization that asks us all to focus on the environment and issues that contribute toward us making a better planet.To commemorate this unofficial holiday Erik and Ken have developed lists of some of their favorite songs about the earth, the environment, nature, etc. They're both great reads, filled with some surprising (or at least lesser-known) titles.

Normally this is where you’d find me saying something about take a listen to these albums that complement what the guys have done. I’m going to diverge (just a bit) to make mention of Marin Mazzie's unexpected death yesterday which has saddened us all. In tribute to this grand performer I'd like to recommend a few things that fit with our nature theme today. First, there's the album Opposite You, which she recorded with her husband Jason Danieley. It's got a swell rendition of "Honeysuckle Rose" on it. On her concert album Make Your Own Kind of Music she delivers a stirring rendition of the song "Evergreen. Finally take a listen to the revival cast recording of Kiss Me, Kate, where she starred opposite Brian Stokes Mitchell. They sound terrific throughout but they are particularly glorious when they join forces for "Wunderbar," which has the lyric "Gazing down on the Jungfrau."

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. 


A grand array of music - over an hour's worth - is waiting for you with this week's "green" Spotify playlist. It's filled with songs that we all know by heart and a bunch of not frequently heard gems...all of them celebrating, in their own fashion, the environment.


Our new free song download comes from Broadway Records' Beast in the Jungle, a recording of a theater-dance piece with an exquisite score by John Kander!


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

  • Beast in the Jungle - John Kander has written a marvelously lush score for this work based on the Henry James short story. It's a richly satisfying listen that you'll probably be savoring for some time to come!
  • Unexpected Joy - Composer Janet Hood and lyricist Bill Russell provided some genuinely infectious pop-theater songs for this tuner about a singer-songwriter who's attempting to move on after the death of her longtime performing--and life--partner.

This latter terrific recording is just one of several just out from JAY Records that I’d like to draw your attention to. To begin there are is a lovely “twofer” album that showcase Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music: a compendium of Sunset Boulevard and Evita. Ria Jones and Matt Bogart are the headliners for the first, while Madalena Alberto and Max von Essen are featured for the second. All are sounding quite, quite good, and the albums is certainly worth a listen. You can find more music from Sunset Boulevard on another album where Kim Criswell provides the vocals for Norma Desmond. Criswell’s beautiful voice brings a new dimension to songs such as “With One Look,” and the backing from the National Symphony Orchestra is particularly sumptuous.

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.

  • Summer: The Donna Summer Musical - One of Broadway's newest hits, this show takes a whirlwind tour through the fascinating life and electrifying music of pop diva Donna Summer.
  • Desperate Measures - Shakespeare's Measure for Measure gets a contemporary, country-western spin in this musical that's enjoying a highly acclaimed and popular off-Broadway run.
  • Carousel - Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1945 classic has gotten a much-discussed revival with a great array of vocalists! Five of them, in fact, are Tony nominated. Listening to this new album will help you understand why.
  • My Fair Lady - Lerner and Loewe's beloved musicalization of Shaw's Pygmalion is delighting audiences at Lincoln Center Theater, and this new cast recording will let you savor the joys of both the writers' work and the lead performances of Harry Hadden-Paton, Lauren Ambrose, and Norbert Leo Butz.
  • Mean Girls - The new musical based on the Tina Fey movie has some bubbly tunes from Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin that prove to be wonderfully infectious! Plus there are some great performers delivering them, notably Tony nominee Taylor Louderman.
  • Hair - 50th Anniversary Cast Recording - It's hard to believe that this rock musical is squarely hitting middle age. This new album from England reminds us of how the tunes are still remarkably vibrant.
  • Frozen - You can enjoy the Broadway incarnation of this hit movie at long last! Caissie Levy and Patti Murin headline this company and are in great voice, and there are also 12 new tunes by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez to enjoy.
  • Sing Happy - The amazing Audra McDonald's recent New York Philharmonic concert is captured in all its glory on this release. What makes it particularly exciting are the number of songs on here that she's never recorded before.

At the end of August we celebrated the centenary of Alan Jay Lerner's birth. Just a few days before, another musical theater great, Leonard Bernstein, would also have turned 100.

It seems only fitting that we pay tribute to Bernstein, whose theater work includes On the TownWonderful TownCandide, and, of course, West Side Story. Alas, the one show Lerner and Bernstein wrote together, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, never got a cast recording, but much of its score can be found on A White House Cantata.

I am pretty sure that both Erik and Ken will have a great time penning tributes to this master musician.

 

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Aug
31

Alan Jay Lerner's 100th!

Book writer--lyricist Alan Jay Lerner would have turned 100 on August 31, 2018. To celebrate this landmark date, Erik's and Ken's columns focus on the work of the man who gave us musicals such as BrigadoonMy Fair Lady, and Camelot. They're fascinating considerations of Lerner's achievement and legacy.

To complement Ken's and Erik's columns, I'd like to offer up the following two albums for your consideration:

  • Leading Men Don't Dance  - There are a trio of great songs with Alan Jay Lerner's lyrics on this recording, two with music by Frederick Loewe and one with a melody from Burton Lane.
  • LoveMusik - You'll find a marvelous little-known Alan Jay Lerner lyric on the cast recording for this musical about composer Kurt Weill and his wife, Lotte Lenya. The track is "The Illusion Wedding Show," and the number was originally heard in the musical Love Life under the title "The Illusion Minstrel Show."

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 sparkling wit, heartfelt simplicity, and classic elegance of Alan Jay Lerner's lyrics are showcased in this week's Spotify playlist. It includes the big numbers that we all know and love, as well as some fantastic rarities - including one swell track from a very young Frank Sinatra!


As we celebrate what would have been Alan Jay Lerner's 100th birthday, we've got a terrific free track for you. It's the inimitable Maxine Sullivan singing "Too Late Now" from Royal Wedding.


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

  • Summer: The Donna Summer Musical - One of Broadway's newest hits, this show takes a whirlwind tour through the fascinating life and electrifying music of pop diva Donna Summer.
  • Desperate Measures - Shakespeare's Measure for Measure gets a contemporary, country-western spin in this musical that's enjoying a highly acclaimed and popular off-Broadway run.

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.

  • Carousel - Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1945 classic has gotten a much-discussed revival with a great array of vocalists! Five of them, in fact, are Tony nominated. Listening to this new album will help you understand why.
  • My Fair Lady - Lerner and Loewe's beloved musicalization of Shaw's Pygmalion is delighting audiences at Lincoln Center Theater, and this new cast recording will let you savor the joys of both the writers' work and the lead performances of Harry Hadden-Paton, Lauren Ambrose, and Norbert Leo Butz.
  • Mean Girls - The new musical based on the Tina Fey movie has some bubbly tunes from Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin that prove to be wonderfully infectious! Plus there are some great performers delivering them, notably Tony nominee Taylor Louderman.
  • Hair - 50th Anniversary Cast Recording - It's hard to believe that this rock musical is squarely hitting middle age. This new album from England reminds us of how the tunes are still remarkably vibrant.
  • Frozen - You can enjoy the Broadway incarnation of this hit movie at long last! Caissie Levy and Patti Murin headline this company and are in great voice, and there are also 12 new tunes by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez to enjoy.
  • Sing Happy - The amazing Audra McDonald's recent New York Philharmonic concert is captured in all its glory on this release. What makes it particularly exciting are the number of songs on here that she's never recorded before.
  • Prince of Broadway - The recording of this celebration of the career and vision of director-producer Harold Prince allows listeners to savor both his genius and the history of musical theater while delighting in some terrific new interpretations of classic songs.
  • Hello Again - A host of Broadway vets, from Tony winners Audra McDonald and Martha Plimpton to Cheyenne Jackson and Sam Underwood, are featured on this soundtrack recording for the movie version of Michael John LaChiusa's 1993 musical.

September 15 is National Greenpeace Day. It commemorates the founding of the organization that asks us all to focus on the environment and issues that contribute toward us making a better planet.

I thought it might be interesting to see how Ken and Erik would commemorate this unofficial holiday and asked them to come up with short lists of some of their favorite songs about the earth, the environment, nature, etc.

One example I gave them was "Old Man River" from Show Boat. Where would you start this list?

 

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Jun
08

Tonys 2018

It's Tony Awards season, and so Ken and Erik are offering columns about this year's awards, some predictions, and other thoughts on the history of the Tonys in general. These are both perfect lead-ins to Sunday's ceremony!

To complement Ken's and Erik's columns, I'd like to offer up the following two albums for your consideration:

  • 2018 Tony Awards Season  - You'll find tracks from this year's Tony-nominated shows--as well as the other musicals--that opened this season, along with a couple of terrific surprises on this just-out album.
  • A Letter to Harvey Milk - This show couldn't get a Tony nomination this year, because it opened off-Broadway. Nonetheless, it's an intriguing piece of writing (and listening), and as all of the other cast albums for the season are mentioned in Erik's and Ken's columns, I put it here.

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. 


You'll hear Broadway's 2017-2018 season unfold with this week's Spotify playlist. I've included cuts from all of the cast albums of the shows that have opened, augmented with tracks featuring Tony-nominated performers in other roles and a few other surprises. Hope you have fun with it!


Harbinger Records has just released its most recent edition of its Songwriter Showcase Series. A two-disc set featuring songs by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, it contains an incredible selection of never-released demos and other gems! It’s our current free download.


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

  • Carousel - Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1945 classic has gotten a much-discussed revival with a great array of vocalists! Five of them, in fact, are Tony nominated. Listening to this new album will help you understand why.
  • My Fair Lady - Lerner and Loewe's beloved musicalization of Shaw's Pygmalion is delighting audiences at Lincoln Center Theater, and this new cast recording will let you savor the joys of both the writers' work and the lead performances of Harry Hadden-Paton, Lauren Ambrose, and Norbert Leo Butz.

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.

  • Mean Girls - The new musical based on the Tina Fey movie has some bubbly tunes from Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin that prove to be wonderfully infectious! Plus there are some great performers delivering them, notably Tony nominee Taylor Louderman.
  • Hair - 50th Anniversary Cast Recording - It's hard to believe that this rock musical is squarely hitting middle age. This new album from England reminds us of how the tunes are still remarkably vibrant.
  • Frozen - You can enjoy the Broadway incarnation of this hit movie at long last! Caissie Levy and Patti Murin headline this company and are in great voice, and there are also 12 new tunes by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez to enjoy.
  • Sing Happy - The amazing Audra McDonald's recent New York Philharmonic concert is captured in all its glory on this release. What makes it particularly exciting are the number of songs on here that she's never recorded before.
  • Prince of Broadway - The recording of this celebration of the career and vision of director-producer Harold Prince allows listeners to savor both his genius and the history of musical theater while delighting in some terrific new interpretations of classic songs.
  • Hello Again - A host of Broadway vets, from Tony winners Audra McDonald and Martha Plimpton to Cheyenne Jackson and Sam Underwood, are featured on this soundtrack recording for the movie version of Michael John LaChiusa's 1993 musical.
  • Jesus Christ Superstar - John Legend, Sara Bareilles, and Brandon Victor Dixon delivered terrific performances on NBC's live broadcast of this Andrew Lloyd Webber--Tim Rice classic. It's fantastic having this soundtrack recording that preserves their work.
  • Cy Coleman - A Jazzman's Broadway - The songwriter-performer lends his distinct jazz sensibility to a trio of musicals on this new release. He covers songs from two Rodgers and Hammerstein tuners (Flower Drum Song & South Pacific), as well as ones from Harold Arlen and E.Y. "Yip" Harburg's Jamaica.
  • "True Love" - Patti Murin is sounding pretty extraordinary on this last of four singles of new songs written for the show that's based on the phenomenally successful movie. It's a show that's garnered some raves. This might be one reason why.
  • "Word of Your Body" - The new NBC series Rise is doing the same thing that Fox's Gleedid: release singles of songs performed on the show. Here's one that's a cover from Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's Spring Awakening.
  • Unmasked - To coincide with the release of Andrew Lloyd Webber's memoir (which also goes by this title) and in celebration of his 70th birthday (March 22), Universal Music is releasing this four-disc set featuring some of the most acclaimed performances of his songs, along with a swell array of new interpretations. (A two-disc set is also available.)
  • Calendar Girls - This musical, based on the 2003 movie of the same name, has been delighting audiences in the U.K. for a while now. We can finally hear what they've been enjoying thanks to this just-out cast recording.
  • Working - This 1978 show based on Studs Terkel's interviews with regular folks about their jobs sounds utterly of the moment on this new London cast recording. You'll find all of your old favorites here and a couple of terrific new numbers.
  • Ernest Shackleton Loves Me - Lyricist Valerie Vigoda and composer Brendan Milburn have turned out yet another inventive score, this time for a tuner about a sleep-deprived mom who designs video games and late one night gets a visit from the noted (and long-dead) Antarctic explorer. It's a delightful show and album.

I'm going to be traveling for the rest of June and most of July, so there will be a corresponding sabbatical for me in terms of updating BwayTunes. Dodgy WiFi will make big changes to the site difficult at best.

While I won't be sending you a newsletter for a while, I will be keeping new releases up to date on the homepage, and I hope to offer up a couple of free song downloads during this temporary break as well.

Enjoy the beginning of summer, and to send you on your way I suggest a listen to some tracks from Noël Coward's Sail Away, including "The Passenger's Always Right" and "Why Do the Wrong People Travel?"

 

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