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BWW CD Reviews: A Second Take on GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE

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BWW CD Reviews: A Second Take on GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE
Cover art courtesy of Ghostlight Records.

Back in April, I had the pleasure of reviewing A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER (Original Broadway Cast Recording). My initial review stated that the recording was witty and intriguing, but without the context of the show I couldn't really connect with it. Conversely, I recently moved to the New York City area and got to see a recent performance of the Tony Award winning comedic musical. Upon revisiting the album, I can't shake most of the deliciously clever songs.

The album excels at capturing the Edwardian soundscape of Steven Lutvak's charming score. He brilliantly recreates the sounds of the British Music Hall musicals. His captivating and altogether ebullient score reminds listeners of the works composed by Arthur Sullivan, but it also sounds wholly original and fresh as well. Mix in the fun lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak and modern audience are truly being treated to a droll modern confection. Before seeing the production, I was tickled by the work of Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak, but after seeing it I find myself fully laughing at moments in the cast recording.

I originally enjoyed the performances by the cast on the album, and that has not changed. I simply have a deeper appreciation for their work after seeing the show. This is especially true for Jefferson Mays who miraculously plays eight distinctly different characters in the musical. He modulates his voice for the characters on the album, allowing listeners to experience the differences. However, seeing him run the gamut of these disparate characters in one evening is truly breathtaking. His changes on the disc always brought a smile to my face, but after seeing the show I'm fully enthralled by his work captured on A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER (Original Broadway Cast Recording).

After seeing the show, I find myself humming the introductory melody for the overture and the bouncy and droll "Poison in My Pocket." Additionally, after seeing the show, songs like the dream-filled "Foolish to Think," the hysterical "Better With a Man," and sprightly "I've Decided to Marry You" (which was also brilliantly performed on the Tonys) have become some of my favorite Broadway showtunes. Other standout numbers that stick in my head are the amusing "I Don't Know What I'd Do," the sweet "Poor Monty," the beautiful "Inside Out," the plot progressing Act I finale "The Last One You'd Expect," and the climatic "Stop! Wait! What?!." And while "Lady Hyacinth Abroad" made me chuckle before I saw the show, the song is one that I can't get enough of after having seen it performed live.

Additionally, after seeing the musical on Broadway, I have a greater appreciation for the work of the busy ensemble. Like Jefferson Mays, they change characters quickly. My favorite numbers from them are the tongue-in-cheek "Prologue: A Warning to the Audience" and the intrigue-filled "Why Are All the D'Ysquith's Dying."

As I said before, this album did everything I needed it to do before I saw the show. It made me interested in seeking out tickets to the production. After seeing it, it is clear to me that A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER (Original Broadway Cast Recording) is a rather perfect cast recording, capturing the integrity of the creative team and the cast. If you have yet to see the show, I recommend the album as a great way to introduce you to the material. If you have seen the show, you must own the album so you can relive all of your fond memories again and again.

Ghostlight Records digitally released A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER (Original Broadway Cast Recording) on February 25, 2014. Physical copies of the recording were released on April 1, 2014. The album can be purchased from Ghostlight Records, iTunes, Amazon, and elsewhere music is sold.

A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER is currently running on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Tickets are currently on sale through January 4, 2015. For tickets and more information, please visit http://www.agentlemansguidebroadway.com or by calling either (212) 239-6200 0r (800) 432-7250.

For information about other theatrical recording releases, click here.

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