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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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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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Dec
23

Happy Holidays!

To send you into the holiday weekend, I asked Ken and Erik to write about some of their favorite seasonal tunes. 

When you get over to their columns, you'll find that there are a bevy of little-known Christmas songs (courtesy of Erik) and some fantastic New Year's songs (courtesy of Ken).

Do these guys know how to complement one another or what?

Two Tony-nominated performers have released singles for the season this year, and they've made it very easy for me to echo the guys…One's a Christmas tune; the other's a New Year's song.

  • Christmas Will You Stay? - Laura Osnes sounds lovely as ever as she gives us this new Christmas tune from the talented songwriter Michael Mott.
  • A New Year - Annaleigh Ashford delivers with soulful charm, singing this new song from the gifted songwriting team of Will Van Dyke and Talbott.

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 roll right from Christmas into New Year's Eve with songs from the likes of Jerry Herman, Peter Allen, Meredith Willson, and Richard Rodgers with this week's playlist on Spotify.

It's just over an hour of music that, I hope, you'll find enjoyable as you do your final preparations for your celebrations.


To get you in the spirit for the Christmas weekend, we have a delightful holiday tune as this week's free song download. It's a rare number from Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock, performed by the writers themselves!


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

  • 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!
  • 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.