Ten New Cast Recordings to Complete Your Summer
If you're planning a summer getaway, a road trip or even just want to liven up your morning commute then we've got some brand new cast recordings you won't want to miss. With a flurry of openings of musicals on Broadway the season also brings an almost unprecedented amount of new cast recordings that each demand time on your iTunes.
Scott Frankel, Michael Korie and Doug Wright's new musical about the feud between make-up titans Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein is currently knocking it out of the park eight times a week at the Nederlander Theatre on Broadway. A true masterclass of vocal and acting performance this gorgeous score is brought to life by the incredible Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, alongside a hugely exciting supporting cast including Douglas Sills. The score has been expertly crafted to both of the leading ladies fine voices and includes an intricate mix of ballads, duets and of course, some fab belting. LuPone sparkles in numbers such as "Back on Top" and "Forever Beautiful" whilst Ebersole enjoys the best 11 O'Clock number of the season with "Pink", and when they come together on numbers such as "Face to Face" it's pure Broadway heaven. Despite the lack of Tony Award nominations the show was a pure delight to watch from start to finish and this gorgeous new cast recording captures the spirit and warrants multiple listens.
(Available digitally now from Ghostlight Records)
The musical event of the season, Bette Midler's sell-out turn as Dolly Levi has audiences on their feet multiple times throughout the evening in rapturous ecstasy. The timeless Jerry Herman score is wall-to-wall with toe-tapping hits that are freshly delivered by a knock-out cast that that offer pure escapist joy. Aside from the Divine Miss M's rousing moments there is some incredible support from Kate Baldwin as Irene Molloy whose vocals make numbers such as "Motherhood" and "Ribbons Down My Back" pure highlights in an already jam-packed box of treats. Gavin Creel is unforgettable on stage as Barnaby and his energy transfers perfectly to this recording, leaving you playing "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" on repeat. The Overture may lack some of the charm of the original yet there's enough to enjoy in "The Waiter's Gallop" and of course, the opening to the title song that's utter bliss. Beautifully packaged this is one CD that even digital music lovers will enjoy holding in their hand - an utter treat in every respect.
(Available now from Masterworks Broadway)
This live album of the Original London Cast captures the energy and excitement of the production currently running at the Savoy Theatre. Unlike the original Broadway cast recording this CD is a double-disk delight and features almost the entire show, including all of the stand-out songs and fiery interchanges that make the score so unique and memorable. Whilst the vocals and band have been recorded live there are moments of audience response that help lift the recording and make you feel like you're hearing the roof being lifted off the venue as it happens. Amber Riley's Olivier Award-winning performances as Effie White captures the pain and vulnerability of her character with songs such as "I Am Changing", "One Night Only" and of course, "And I Am Telling You" sounding crisp and refreshing. A true record of this standout production, any musical theatre fan will want to own this complete record of an iconic show.
(Available now from Sony Classical)
Fans of this animated film will no doubt be beside themselves that this show is now a fully-fledged Broadway musical. Expanding from the score from the film that featured songs such as "Journey to the Past" and "Once Upon a December", Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens have penned another exciting score that builds the characters and situations from the film and gives them life in this new context. Sweeping, epic and emotionally powerful the recording captures the wonderful performances by Christy Altomare as a Anya and Derek Klena as Dmitry. With 16 new songs the score feels like a fully original musical, and whilst fans of the film will recognise their favourite musical moments there's enchanting new work for Ramin Karimloo as Gleb and expanded material for the wonderful Caroline O’Connor. Journey to the past and relive your younger self belting along with this exciting score.
(Available digitally from 9 June from Broadway Records)
Come From Away
This Tony Award-nominated Best Musical provides a refreshing and emotionally packed treat for musical fans that's easy to get swept up in. With a score by Canadian writers Irene Sankoff and David Hein it tells the story of September 11, 2001 as 38 planes landed at Gander, Newfoundland after being grounded following the attack on the World Trade Centre. The show brings together the 'plane people' and the community of Gander who provide unlimited hospitality in the darkest of situations. An exceptional multi-role cast play a selection of characters in what becomes a beautifully orchestrated ensemble treat that brings the authentic score to life. Watch out for the amazing Jenn Colella, recently nominated for a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress, singing "Me and the Sky" which is a real stand out of this impressive score. As a recording, a significant amount of the music and narrative has been captured meaning that you can enjoy this show from the comfort of your own home.
(Available now from The Musical Company)
Perhaps the biggest hit of the Broadway season comes from the recent Oscar-winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Transferring to Broadway from runs at the Second Stage Theatre and in Washington D.C this entirely original new musical is a powerful and engaging story of a teenage boy who is struggling with his own identity in a social-media heavy world. Ben Platt, the lead-runner for the Tony Award for Best Actor offers a virtuoso performance as Evan Hansen, delivering one of the best new Broadway songs of the year "Waving Through the Window" alongside the powerful "You Will Be Found" amongst a tight score of musical theatre rock-bangers. Alex Lacamoire's orchestrations and production on the album make this a truly stunning reflection of the show which helps audiences relive the memories of seeing it on stage or transports them into the intricate world of the show. A must-have on any playlist, don't be surprised if you quickly find yourself knowing all the words...
(Available now from Atlantic Records)
Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812
Based on just 70 pages of Tolstoy's War and Peace this exciting rock musical by Dave Malloy has enjoyed previous lives off-Broadway but now exists in glorious new form on Broadway in a truly immersive and invigorating new context. Josh Groban, Denee Benton and Lucas Steele all received Tony Award nominations for their work, but the piece is a true ensemble joy that brings together actor-musicians into a truly individual theatrical context. At first the recording might feel difficult to fall into due to its unconventional nature, but after a few listens and a scan of the synopsis the characters and story begin to slot into place and Malloy's intricate melodies and challenging harmonies start to slot into place. Along with some stunning vocal and musical performances this must be the freshest musical sound to hit Broadway since Hamilton and continues the trend for challenging our expectations of what musical theatre has the potential to sound like.
(Available now from Reprise Records)
A Bronx Tale
Any Alan Menken score is big news but his work on A Bronx Tale has gone somewhat under the radar in terms of awards and critical praise. Despite this the musical is certainly connecting with audiences and drawing in crowds from inside New York City and beyond, attracted to the familiar title and name recognition of director Robert De Nero. Described as a mix between Jersey Boys and West Side Story, the score is bouncy and effortless to listen to and this cast recording captures some fine performances from the likes of Nick Cordero and the talented ensemble cast. Menken's score may not be his most instantly memorable but it captures the time and setting that the piece demands and thanks to some skilful orchestrations by Doug Besterman it's an album that demands multiple listens to unlock its full potential as a musical hit.
(Available now from Ghostlight Records)
In an incredibly crowded season some shows just don't take off with audiences as well they might. This sweet new musical is based on the 2001 romantic comedy film of the same name and features music by Daniel Messé and lyrics by Messé and Nathan Tysen. Despite only enjoying a 56 performance run on Broadway the cast album was recorded to preserve both the score and performances by Phillipa Soo and Adam Chanler-Berat, and will no doubt continue to connect with listeners who didn't get chance to see the show in New York. Light, poppy and utterly pleasant to listen to, this is a show collectors will no doubt want on their shelf to rediscover.
(Available digitally from Warner Music Group)
Despite ending its limited run early in the season this revival of William Finn's musical was hugely celebrated by fans of the show and those coming to it for the first time. Thanks to a splendid cast of performers including Christian Borle, Andrew Rannels and Stephanie J Block it proved an unmissable revival of a glorious musical of two distinct halves. Despite having previously been released in two parts under the titles March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland this was the first full recording of Falsettos as one show and has certainly become a favourite cast album of recent years. Finn's witty lyrics and tuneful melodies are on fine display, reinvented by some stunning vocal work and orchestrations that make this recording a true treat for the ears and heart. Block's rendition of "I'm Breaking Down" is alone worth the cost of the album, and we guarantee you'll find yourself going back to this score in the years to come.
(Available now from Ghostlight Records)