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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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