CD Reviews: A Broadway Roundup

By Marilyn Lester

Broadway and other theaters may still be closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the music that represents former glories on their stages keeps coming on strong. The following is worthy of your notice:

After being released digitally in August, the CD release by Broadway Records of Broadbend, Arkansas (Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording) is now available. Broadbend, Arkansas, presented in association with The Public Theater, played in fall 2019 at The Duke on 42nd Street, with Act 1 (“Just One Q”) book and lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh with music by Ted Shen and Act 2 (“Ruby”) book and lyrics by Harrison David Rivers with music and additional lyrics by Ted Shen. The cast featured Justin Cunningham (Netflix’s When They See Us) and Danyel Fulton who received a Drama League Award nomination for her performance.  The production recently received three Antonyo Award nominations, including Best Book, Best Score, and Best Actor in an Off-Broadway Musical for Ms. Fulton. Broadbend, Arkansas was directed by Transport Group Artistic Director Jack Cummings III.

To purchase a copy of this two-disc recording, go to BroadwayRecords.com.

The Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3 original cast recording of In the Green, a new musical by Grace McLean, has been released in digital and streaming formats by Ghostlight Records. A physical CD will be available later this year. The album features orchestrations by Grace McLean and Kris Kukul, with music supervision by Kris Kukul, and music direction by Ada Westfall. The music is a combination of folk, funk and pop genres.

In the Green, which played during the summer of 2019, tells the original story of one of Medieval history’s most powerful and creative women: Hildegard von Bingen. Before she became a healer, a composer, an exorcist, and finally a saint, she was a little girl locked in a cell with her mentor, Jutta. The cast features Rachael Duddy, Ashley Pérez Flanagan, Grace McLean, Mia Pak, and Hannah Whitney.

To order the album, which is produced by Dean Sharenow, Grace McLean, and Kris Kukul, visit: ghostlightrecords.lnk.to/inthegreen

To celebrate the 75th birthday of the Tony Award winning composer, Maury Yeston, PS CLASSICS, is soon to release Maury Sings Yeston: The Demos, with a physical 2-CD set to come on Friday, December 4. The iTunes download includes a 29-page booklet with complete lyrics, historical photos and detailed liner notes. The 40 tracks feature Yeston singing and playing his compositions, drawn from a wide range of sources, including his Tony Award–winning scores for Nine and Titanic and his stage adaptation of Death Takes a Holiday, as well as the unproduced Queen of Basin Street, the concept album Goya, a smattering of pop tunes and several theatrical works still in progress. Nearly half the songs are being heard by the public for the first time. Maury Sings Yeston is produced by Bart Migal.

 For more information, visit www.psclassics.com.

Cameron Mackintosh with First Night Records and Warner Music will release in November the new live cast recordings of the West End productions of Mary Poppins and Les Misérables––The Staged Concert. Those who pre-order will receive for download the following tracks: “A Spoonful of Sugar” with Zizi Strallen, Joseph Millson, Amy Griffiths, Adelaide Barham and Gabriel Payne, and “Step in Time,” with Charlie Stemp, Zizi Strallen, Adelaide Barham and Gabriel Payne from Mary Poppins; and “Valjean’s Soliloquy” with Alfie Boe and “Stars” with Michael Ball from Les Misérables––The Staged Concert.

Mary Poppins returned to its original home in the Prince Edward Theatre London last October, marking the first time this new production had been seen. The cast recording was made prior to the pandemic closures. The original music and lyrics are by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman and include the classic songs “Jolly Holiday,” “Step in Time,” “Feed the Birds,” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” New songs and additional music are by the Olivier award-winning British team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.  The book is by Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes.

Les Misérables––The Staged Concert was recorded live at the Gielgud Theatre London last year with an all-star cast including Michael Ball as Javert, Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean, Carrie Hope Fletcher as Fantine, Matt Lucas as Thénardier, Rob Houchen as Marius, Bradley Jaden as Enjolras, Katy Secombe as Madame Thénardier, Shan Ako as Éponine and Lily Kerhoas as Cosette. The score includes “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars,” “Bring Him Home,” “Do You Hear the People Sing?,” “One Day More,” “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables,” “Master Of The House” and many more.

Les Misérables is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. It has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel with additional material by James Fenton and adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird.

(https://marypoppins.lnk.to/2020LiveCastRecording) being released on November 6, 2020 and Les Misérables – The Staged Concert (https://LesMiserables.lnk.to/TheStagedConcert) on November 20, 2020. 

Sing It Again Records and Broadway Records are soon to release If The Fates Allow: A Hadestown Holiday Album, starring Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer and Kay Trinidad, the The Fates of the Broadway musical Hadestown. The album also features guest appearances by the entire cast of the Tony Award and Grammy Award-winning musical singing holiday classics, songs composed by Gonzalez-Nacer, Hadestown’s Tony Award-winning songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, and Hadestown music director Liam Robinson.

This 14-track album is produced by Grammy Award winner David Lai, Tony Award winner Todd Sickafoose, Robinson and Gonzalez-Nacer, and is executive produced by Van Dean and Mara Isaacs. The track listing for the album will be announced in the coming weeks. Hadestown was the winner of eight 2019 Tony Awards including Best Musical.

The Grammy Award-winning Original Broadway Cast Recording of Hadestown from Sing It Again Records is available on CD, vinyl, and streaming. To date, the album has been streamed over 120M times.

To purchase If The Fates Allow: A Hadestown Holiday Album, digitally and on CD pre-order at www.broadwayrecords.com or on Amazon at https://amzn.to/30OFQza.

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