BWW CD Reviews: Original Cast Records' LOST BROADWAY AND MORE: VOLUME 5 Celebrates Comden, Green, and Styne
Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Jule Styne are all theater artists that still grab our attention. Comden and Green took New York by storm with ON THE TOWN, which they wrote with Leonard Bernstein. With Styne, Comden and Green created PETER PAN, BELLS ARE RINGING, DO RE MI, and others. Late in 2013, Original Cast Records released LOST BROADWAY AND MORE: VOLUME 5, which is dedicated to the work of Comden, Green, and Styne, giving long time fans and newcomers a 26 track collection of the trio's best songs, whether they were hits or cut from shows.
Playing into the nature of showbiz, the disc also features an overture, some fun little "audition" pieces featuring "I Could Have Danced All Night" from the book for 1958's SAY, DARLING, and even a finale, where the stars of the recording get to introduce themselves to the listeners at home. These little flourishes give the disc personality, but it is the beloved and sadly forgotten songs that are the big draw of the album.
With just a piano for accompaniment on the disc, the album plays out like a cabaret performance without a required two-drink minimum. The first recording that really grabs the attention of the listeners is Michael Lowney's impassioned and driving take on "Notice Me" from the hit show FADE OUT - FADE IN. With dexterous aplomb Marc Kudisch's radiant baritone instrument emotes powerfully on "You Interest Me" from A DOLL'S LIFE. Nyna Nelson's rendition of "My Little Yellow Dress" from SAY DARLING is full of heart and cheer. Leslie Kritzer, who sings with tangible personality, is simply remarkable on the cherished "Funny Girl" from FUNNY GIRL. With jazz sensibilities and harmonizing skills sure to enthrall all, Nehal Joshi, Michael Lowney, and Matthew Schmidt make "Jaded Lady" a true standout on the recording. Tom Hewitt bewitches on "Misunderstood," showing us that even the darkest of villains have hearts and souls as well. The closing ballad, "What a Way to Go," performed by Jenny Ashman, Arlo Hill, and Michael Lowney is gorgeous and heartfelt.
When I lived and reviewed in Houston, some of my favorite experiences were the themed cabaret shows put together by Bayou City Concert Musicals. Now, I am glad to know I can have similar experiences with Original Cast Records' decadent releases of once beloved but now forgotten music with their LOST BROADWAY AND MORE series. Whether you're familiar with the work of Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Jule Styne or not, LOST BROADWAY AND MORE: VOLUME 5 offers something you can enjoy. Lush vocals accompanied by the music styling and lyrics of Broadway treasures from a previous era scratches our nostalgic itches while offering a great tool for all to educate themselves about a bygone era of Broadway composition.
Original Cast Records released LOST BROADWAY AND MORE: VOLUME 5 on December 23, 2013. The recording can be purchased from Footlight Record's online store and from Amazon. For more information about these releases and Footlight Records, please visit http://www.footlight.com.
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