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Being Completist


With Mart Crowley's The Boys in the Band finally on Broadway, we remembered how the show had been recorded in toto when it premiered off-Broadway in 1968. This got us to thinking about other shows, musical and non, that have been preserved completely. You'll find Erik and Ken waxing eloquent on them in their current columns.

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

  • Dreamgirls in Concert  - The Broadway cast album for this tuner severely truncated the Henry Krieger and Tom Eyen score in an effort to make the recording sound more like a pop album. Thankfully, we've got this 2005 release that allows all of the textures and motifs in this richly conceived show to shine through.
  • Songs From an Unmade Bed - Also from 2005 is this zesty recording, featuring a beautiful performance by Michael Winther, which gives you the chance to savor all of the tunes in this amusing, bittersweet, and sometimes heartbreaking song cycle.

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 playlist based on  this week's theme seems a little silly; after all, the idea of a complete recording is to give listeners the chance to enjoy a show from beginning to end. Still, there are some grand cuts on all of the albums we're talking about this week, and I think they end up making a swell Spotify playlist.

Stage Door Records continues to comb through fascinating rarities, and with its newest release the label turns the clock back to 1959 and the musical Redhead. We couldn't be more pleased to share a track from this terrific disc as a free download with you this week.

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

  • 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.

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.

  • 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.

The Tony Awards will be handed out on June 10, and the next BwayTunes newsletter should hit your email just two days before. When you open it you'll find Ken's and Erik's prognostications for the ceremony.

I'll be curious to see who they think will win in the various categories, including Best Musical, where the nominees range from The Band's Visit to Frozen to Mean Girls to SpongeBob SquarePants.

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