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Let's Start at the Beginning...


Happy New Year! 2018 has begun, and while we've started previous years with looks at resolutions and other such timely topics, we've never gone to something as simple as what we're doing this week. Erik and Ken are looking at songs that are, in their own way, about new beginnings.

Both are great reads, and I'm pretty sure you'll have a good time with them, maybe even pulling out some recordings you haven't listened to in a while.

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

  • She Loves Me -  Ilona Ritter has a new start in this delightful confection from Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, and Joe Masteroff. She lays out her plans in "I Resolve," delivered most recently (and charmingly) on Broadway by Jane Krakowski.
  • Bat Boy: The Musical - For reasons way too complex to go into here, a woman decides that it's time that she, her daughter, and the titular boy-beast go into hiding from her husband. The song in which she announces her plan, "Three-Bedroom House," is one of the most joyously funny ones I know of, particularly when delivered by Kaitlin Hopkins and Kerry Butler.

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. 

We're starting off 2018 with songs about beginnings, and you'll find a trove of terrific melodies and clever lyrics in the complementary Spotify playlist I've put together. It's an hour of pleasure, I think, and hope you agree.

Chip Deffaa recently released another in his ongoing series of recordings celebrating Irving Berlin. This new one toasts the legendary songwriter's ragtime melodies, and we're delighted to have one of them for you as our free song download.

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

  • 42nd Street - One of the biggest hits in London right now is a new production of this classic tale about an understudy who becomes a star. The Al Dubin-Harry Warren tunes sound particularly sparkling on this just-out cast recording.
  • Between Yesterday and Tomorrow - Originally created as a song cycle to be performed by Barbra Streisand, this piece by composer Michel Legrand and lyricists Marilyn and Alan Bergman has gone unrecorded for decades. Natalie Dessay has remedied that, performing it with grace and beauty on this sumptuous first-ever recording.
  • 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.
  • The Band's Visit - Just out today is the elegant original cast recording of David Yazbek and Itamar Moses' new hit musical. Fusing sinuous melodies with Middle Eastern-inflected rhythms and harmonies and finished with hints of jazz, Yazbek's superb score is unlike any you've ever heard in a Broadway show.
  • Hamlisch Uncovered - Some never-recorded gems from the late Marvin Hamlisch are collected on this new album. Among the talented performers on the recording are Tony winners Kelli O'Hara and Randy Graff. The songs come from shows as varied as Sweet Smell of SuccessSmile, and Ballroom.
  • Black Manhattan (Volume 3) - Rick Benjamin and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra shine the spotlight once again on a terrific selection of songs by African Americans from the first part of the 20th century. It's an astonishing collection of material and includes the simply gorgeous overture to My Friend From Kentucky (1913) and the wonderfully exotic "Jewel of the Big Blue Nile" from Baby Blues (1919). This one's a treat from start to finish!
  • Twisted Broadway, Vol. 1 - The a cappella group Blue Jupiter puts a terrific spin on some classic musical theater songs on this new release. Among the shows featured are Pippin,Porgy and Bess, The Sound of Music, and Wicked.
  • The Ballad of Little Jo - The first cast album for this musical by Mike Reid and Sarah Schlesinger preserves its most recent incarnation, the moving production seen at New Jersey's Two River Theater last season.
  • Rearrangements of Shadows - Cheryl Bentyne infuses some Stephen Sondheim favorites ("Send in the Clowns," "Everybody Says Don't") and some of the songwriter's rarities ("Sand," "I Wish I Could Forget You") with a swingin' cool jazz vibe on this terrific new album. 
  • Together Again - Alfie Boe and Michael Ball join forces for a second album that brims with great musical theater songs; they include tunes from shows ranging from Kismet to Hamilton. It's a gorgeous-sounding recording.
  • Richard Rodgers Revisited - Kyle Riabko has created new arrangements for classics like "My Favorite Things," "You'll Never Walk Alone," and "Bewitched," and when they're combined with his soulful vocals the results can often be dazzling.
  • Hadestown - It's taken a while, but there's finally a full cast recording for this tuner that dynamically reframes Greek myth for the 21st century. It's a most welcome new release.
  • Almost Like Praying - Lin-Manuel Miranda brought together a fantastic array of Latin music superstars for this single that's helping to raise money for relief efforts in Puerto Rico. In addition to Miranda, the song features performances from the likes of Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, and Ruben Blades. It's a tuneful way to lend a hand.
  • You Never Know - It's been out of print for a while now, so it’s great to have this sterling-sounding recording of a Cole Porter rarity back as a digital download. If you’ve never listened, you should!
  • SpongBob SquarePants, the Musical - Everyone's favorite below the sea ‘toon will soon be arriving on Broadway in a musical and in anticipation of his bow on the Great White Way comes this tuneful and funny original cast recording.
  • Sunday in the Park With George - Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford delivered marvelously on stage in this Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine tuner, and it's terrific to have their work preserved on this just-released cast album.

When you get our next newsletter you'll find that Ken and Erik are casting backward glances at 2017.

They'll be considering the shows that opened during the year and the recordings that we've gotten from them.

Of course, one of the most visible productions and cast albums has been the new staging of Hello, Dolly! that stars Bette Midler. It's a grand listen (as if you didn't already know that).

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