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Here's To Barbara Cook!


The musical theater world lost a treasure a little over two weeks ago when Barbara Cook passed away. We couldn't let the death of this legendary Broadway performer go unnoticed, and so this week Erik and Ken have penned tributes to the woman and her career.

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

  • No One Is Alone - The 2007 album from Barbara Cook displays her virtuosity with almost any song. The selections on it range from the title track (a tune from Into the Woods) to "Some Other Time" (from On the Town). I've always thought it beautiful.
  • Cheek to Cheek - Cook joins forces with Michael Feinstein on this album, recorded live. It's got some great stuff on it, particularly their goofy duet "You Could Drive a Person Crazy."

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 a selection from the show that introduced Barbara Cook to theatergoers (Flahooley) to some of her last recordings, our current Spotify playlist, I hope, paints an aural portrait of one gifted (and already very much missed) performer.

Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio have delighted millions with their writing for the Despicable Me movies. Now they're doing it with a musical, Bubble Boy, and we've got a wonderful track from that show's cast album for you this week as our Free Song Download.

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

  • Legally Bound - Andy Karl and Orfeh are a married couple with a pair of powerhouse voices. We've gotten to see them share a couple of scenes together in Legally Blonde, and now with this terrific new album they join up for an entire evening of song.
  • Life Is What You Make It - This EP gives you the soundtrack for the poignant documentary from Jhett Tolentino, who's brought shows such as Hand to God to Broadway. Four of the songs come from singer-songwriter Dennis Sy.
  • The View Upstairs - This pop-infused, New Orleans-set tuner bends time to tell an intriguing and moving story about a little-known slice of gay history. For those of you who didn't get to see this one, it's definitely worth a 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.

  • Zipperz - Created by Nathaniel Stookey and Dan Harder, this piece started life as a song cycle for orchestra and then became one for two performers. The recording features Manoel Felciano and Robin Coomer, who deliver powerfully on this splendid album.
  • God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater - Santino Fontana, Skylar Astin, and Brynn O'Malley are all sounding pretty marvelous on this just-out recording of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's 1979 tuner.
  • Portraits of Joni – Jessica Molaskey lends her distinctive style and gorgeous voice to a bevy of Joni Mitchell standards.
  • Bubble Boy - There are delights aplenty to be heard on this cast album of a show written by one of the guys responsible for the hit film Despicable Me. It's definitely worth a listen!
  • The Lightning Thief - Based on Rick Riordan’s hit novels for young people, this tuner brings Percy Jackson to the realm of musicals. The show picked up an award nomination or two after its run last season; it’s pretty special.
  • The Hamilton Instrumentals - Fans of the phenomenal hit get to sing along and sound like they’re backed by the Broadway orchestra thanks to this release that simply features the show’s score.
  • Anastasia - Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens have written some lovely tunes for this musical about the young woman who might be a Russian princess.
  • 2017 Tony Award Season - You'll get a quick aural snapshot of Broadway in 2016-2017 thanks to this great compilation, which features numbers from the musicals that opened during the course of the season.
  • “Beyond the Moon” - Audra McDonald’s sounding marvelous (natch) on this single from the soundtrack to the movie version of Michael John LaChiusa’s Hello, Again.
  • Chip Defaa’s Irving Berlin Rediscovered: Rare Songs of Love and Longing – You’ll find a wonderful amalgam of the composer’s forgotten gems on this just-out album.
  • War Paint - Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole both offer up amazing performances in this new show that examines the lives of two corporate titans, Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden.  
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Tony winner Christian Borle's newest role is the legendary Willy Wonka, and he's sounding grand in this new musical version of the Roald Dahl story that features a score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
  • Gershwin: Complete Piano Works - Maurizio Zaccaria dazzles on this recording that features some of Gershwin’s best-known songs in arrangements that the composer himself penned. There are also sterling renditions of some rarities, including “Rialto Ripples.”
  • Hot l Baltimore - You’ll feel like you’ve got the best seat in the house for the original production of this classic Lanford Wilson drama thanks to this recording that preserves the entirety of the show and some grand performances. It’s a valuable release that deserves a listen!
  • Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn – You can’t beat the Berlin score for this show that’s based on the movie classic.
  • 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. 
  • Amelie – Philippa Soo charms on this recording of the new musical based on the hit indie movie of the same title.
  •  Dreamgirls – This new London cast recording preserves the entirety of the hit 1980s musical, once again reminding listeners that this Motown-infused show could be considered a pop/rock ‘n’ roll opera. It’s a fantastic listen.
  • Seriously Upbeat - A live recording of a Chip Zien concert takes you on a whirlwind and tuneful tour of his career that has included the original productions of shows such as Into the Woods, Falsettos, and Merrily We Roll Along.
  • Blurred Lines - Lea Salonga’s newest solo recording showcases her gorgeous voice as she offers up renditions of such Great American Songbook classics as “Nice Work If You Can Get It” and “My Foolish Heart.”
  • 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!

It's back-to-school time around the country. In some places classes have already started up. In others students are just about to head back into the classroom.

So with all things academic in mind, I'm asking Ken and Erik to think about shows and songs that have to do with education.

I've told them that even a song like "An English Teacher" from Bye Bye Birdie counts. It will be interesting to see where they each go with this one...true?

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