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Broadway Musical Soundtracks

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I

Edited by Christian

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I know I'm stuck in the past, but I have special fondness for the ones I grew up listening to (on vinyl):

The Music Man

The Sound of Music

Annie

Oliver

A Chorus Line

Westside Story

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Sondheim is kinda-to-pretty awesome, but the "problem," as much as there is one, is that his songs generally only work within the context of the larger musical -- lyrically as well as musically. Put another way: There's very few Sondheim works you go home humming. (Biggest exception I can think of offhand, other than the one you mention: The opening song to "Sweeney Todd.")

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My fave three B'way soundtracks:

1) Les Miz (the best, bar none).

2) Chess (soundtrack great; wish the play was better)

3) The Secret Garden (a worthwhile find).

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"The Producers" sucks.

I laughed and laughed and laughed -- at the new movie version of the musical! The songs were my favorite part. ::blush::

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I popped in the soundtrack for

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Elaborating on my "Producers" statement: I saw the musical on Broadway, starting Matthew Broderick-wannabe and Nathan Lane-clone. (If I closed my eyes, I would swear it was actually Lane -- he was that spot-on, vocally.) Aside from the dancing grandmas, I hated hated hated the first act; in fact, it may have been the worst first act of a musical I've ever seen. Blase music, no jokes that dealt with anything other than hyperhomosexuality and hyperheterosexuality, disappointing set pieces (dancing grandmas still, of course, excepted), etc. The second act was much better ("the musical so far" was very funny, and everyone loves "Springtime for Hitler"), but not exactly what I'd call good, per se.

But then again, I think the original movie sucks, too.

Dale

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Fiddler on the Roof is a favorite of mine and I would definitely second The Music Man, The Sound of Music and Westside Story.

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Fiddler has always had a taste of a Jewish Sunday School object lesson story for me that I have not been able to get past.

Guys and Dolls

South Pacific

Carousel

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There are three versions of my favorite, Chess.

The original London version is, IMO, vastly superior to the other two. Without the PC Americanization of the second version, or the 'spruced up/trimmed down' butchery of the third. Seriously, the 2nd and 3rd versions took a brilliant musical and utterly destroyed it. Nick, which version of the play have you seen/heard?

The second fave musical soundtrack is the Aussie version of Jesus Christ Superstar. It kicks serious booty.

My third is Aida. Unfortunately, the touring company we saw was actually better than the cast recording, but I still appreciate it.

I like select songs from several others, but there are very few musicals that I really like from beginning to end. I like a few songs from Rent, a few from Wicked...if you haven't heard "Defying Gravity," you've missed out.

Edited by Jason Bortz

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There are three versions of my favorite, Chess.

The original London version is, IMO, vastly superior to the other two. Without the PC Americanization of the second version, or the 'spruced up/trimmed down' butchery of the third. Seriously, the 2nd and 3rd versions took a brilliant musical and utterly destroyed it. Nick, which version of the play have you seen/heard?

I own the London version of the soundtrack, but I was one of the few fortunate souls to catch the opening night-previews of _Chess_ in New York, (my family had vacationed in London without me, and saw it before it crossed the pond...raved about it, worked hard to get these tix, and was ultimately disappointed: they had traded the then-landmark now-passe multiple-TVs sets as background (with videocameras held by actors showing different angles of what we were seeing at that moment)... and traded that for very dull, very complicated grey triangular backdrops that shifted around for every change of scenery. The show clocked in at over the three-hour mark, so apparently they cut one song out after I saw it:_The Arbiter_. That song was awesome, but it wasn't necessary to the basic drama, which is why it got cut.

Honestly, _Chess_ is a fantastic musical, but it's also of its time. Cold War dramas have lost their breath since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Me, I love fusing of diverse musical styles, which is what _Chess_ had in spades: all of which made perfect narrative and musical sense for the spectacle.

My fave songs: _One Night In Bangkock_ (of course... but it must be the complete version with that exceptional prelude in the beginning), _What I Want to Be_, and _Pity the Child_. Man, what a great soundtrack.

BTW, Matthew Broderick was in the audience that evening, in the balcony.

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I like select songs from several others, but there are very few musicals that I really like from beginning to end. I like a few songs from Rent, a few from Wicked...if you haven't heard "Defying Gravity," you've missed out.

It's been going through my head since I listened to it on the way to work this morning.

I'm trying not to push the soundtrack on my wife, who I'm sure would enjoy it, but is more likely to embrace it without my prodding.

I'm rather taken with the woman who sings most of the songs on "Wicked." I like her voice.

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I'm rather taken with the woman who sings most of the songs on "Wicked." I like her voice.

Would that be Kristin Chenoweth? She has a CCM career, ya know... (and was the lead of some ill-fated ill-conceived NBC replacement sitcom about an Evangelical Christian living in the big city).

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...and currently has a pretty prominent role in "The West Wing." (And in the current set of "Old Navy" commercials.)

Dale

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I'm rather taken with the woman who sings most of the songs on "Wicked." I like her voice.

Would that be Kristin Chenoweth? She has a CCM career, ya know... (and was the lead of some ill-fated ill-conceived NBC replacement sitcom about an Evangelical Christian living in the big city).

I

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Sweeney Todd is by far my favorite. I'm not a huge lover of musicals, and at times, these songs make me forget they're singing. The idea of the songs belying the action, such as the Pretty Women duet over Sweeney's prep to slash the Judge's throat, make this one of the greats. Not While I'm Around is a beautiful ballad that isn't a standard 'boy wooing girl' song. The gallows humor of A Little Priest and great character setup of Worst Pies in London.

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Idina Menzel plays Elphiba, the other lead in Wicked. She's also on the soundtrack/in the movie version of Rent as Maureen.

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Idina Menzel plays Elphiba, the other lead in Wicked. She's also on the soundtrack/in the movie version of Rent as Maureen.

Thanks. It's her voice that I was drawn to, moreso than Chenowith's. I'll have to track down the Rent soundtrack.

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Inre: Rent.

Though her song is quite entertaining, it really doesn't hold a candle to her work in Wicked. I'll put it on my website later so you can hear it--but NO DOWNLOADING! THAT'S ILLEGAL!

8O

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No one's mentioned Phantom yet...

Despite being some of the best music ever written for the stage, Phantom suffers from a lack of a really good overall recording. The original, of course, features Sarah Brightman, who is almost too perfect to be good in the role. Sounds wierd, I know, but the musical perfection detracts from the emotion at certain points, especially "Point of No Return." Michael Crawford, quite simply, is the Phantom. 'nuff said. Steve Barton is a somewhat over-the-top Raoul, who is at times laughably overdramatic.

The movie soundtrack, despite its superior sound quality and better orchestration, features some abominably bad singing. Emmy Rossum's voice actually cracks during the third verse of "Think of Me" (listen closely to "...put you from my mind..."). Gerard Butler roars and sputters his way through the score embarrassingly. However, Patrick Wilson puts in a surprisingly good turn as Raoul, without too much drama.

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Inre: Rent.

Though her song is quite entertaining, it really doesn't hold a candle to her work in Wicked. I'll put it on my website later so you can hear it--but NO DOWNLOADING! THAT'S ILLEGAL!

I never did track down the audio clip, but last night, during a slideshow before Firewall, there was a picture of Irene and Taye Diggs, saying they had met on the set of Rent. So I guess they're a couple? I am so out of it when it comes to celebrity gossip. ::blush::

Edited by Christian

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Urrr...no idea!

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Idina Menzel plays Elphiba, the other lead in Wicked. She's also on the soundtrack/in the movie version of Rent as Maureen.

Thanks. It's her voice that I was drawn to, moreso than Chenowith's. I'll have to track down the Rent soundtrack.

Believe it or not, most of the Rent soundtrack is available on the movie website...there's a player, and everything...

I never did track down the audio clip, but last night, during a slideshow before Firewall, there was a picture of Irene and Taye Diggs, saying they had met on the set of Rent. So I guess they're a couple? I am so out of it when it comes to celebrity gossip. ::blush::

They've been married since 2003, and together since they both appeared in the original cast of Rent.

My favorite musical soundtracks are...all of them. Literally, that's all I listen to besides CCM. My favorite tends to be Les Mis and whatever I'm currently directing at my high school, which is, this spring, Godspell.

Here are my top ten of all time:

Les Mis (I own five versions of the soundtrack, and have seen it live five times in three cities)

Titanic The Musical

Godspell

Man of La Mancha

A Little Night Music

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (DON'T judge it on the movie!!!!)

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Company

Into the Woods

West Side Story

Currently always on:

Godspell, Brigadoon (last spring) and Rent

Musicals, quite simply, are my life.

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IN THE HEIGHTS is the musical I keep revisting at the moment, songs that literally bring me to tears

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No one's mentioned Phantom yet...

Despite being some of the best music ever written for the stage, Phantom suffers from a lack of a really good overall recording. The original, of course, features Sarah Brightman, who is almost too perfect to be good in the role. Sounds wierd, I know, but the musical perfection detracts from the emotion at certain points, especially "Point of No Return." Michael Crawford, quite simply, is the Phantom. 'nuff said. Steve Barton is a somewhat over-the-top Raoul, who is at times laughably overdramatic.

The movie soundtrack, despite its superior sound quality and better orchestration, features some abominably bad singing. Emmy Rossum's voice actually cracks during the third verse of "Think of Me" (listen closely to "...put you from my mind..."). Gerard Butler roars and sputters his way through the score embarrassingly. However, Patrick Wilson puts in a surprisingly good turn as Raoul, without too much drama.

I love the original recording -- but as far as the difference between Crawford and Butler, I could not agree with you more. I wouldn't even watch the movie; what little bits of Butler's singing I suffered through were on the Web. (And somewhere around here I have a "Michael Crawford for Phantom" T-shirt, acquired during the desperate fight to get the REAL Phantom cast in the movie. I kid you not.)

By the way, not to be a purist or anything, but . . . should any of you ever mention a "Broadway soundtrack" on any theater website or message board, expect to be immediately boiled in oil without benefit of trial. The term is "Broadway cast album," and most hardcore musical theater fans take it VERY seriously. Just a word to the wise. ;)

Regarding Sondheim -- the best piece of writing on him that I've ever read, or ever hope to read, is the chapter titled "The Genius" in Mark Steyn's Broadway Babies Say Goodnight. A brilliant analysis of both his strengths and his weaknesses. Highly recommended.

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