BWW CD Reviews: BULLETS OVER BROADWAY: THE MUSICAL (Original Broadway Cast Recording) is Toe-Tapping, Jazzy Fun

BWW CD Reviews: BULLETS OVER BROADWAY: THE MUSICAL (Original Broadway Cast Recording) is Toe-Tapping, Jazzy Fun
Cover art courtesy of Masterworks Broadway.

Fabulously entertaining fans eight times a week, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical, based on the 1994 Woody Allen film of the same name, racked up six Tony Nominations this year. The musical comedy also recently released its Original Broadway Cast Recording, featuring a score of music from the 1920s adapted by Glen Kelly, with orchestrations by Doug Besterman. If you're like me, you haven't seen the show yet, and this enthralling album will leave you longing to see the splashy spectacle, smiling, and singing along with glee.

The jukebox medium is one that many fans of musicals are growing weary of; however, when you take a story that is set in 1929, it just makes sense to use the hit songs of the era. With a keen ear and impressive skill Glen Kelly and Doug Besterman have smartly plucked well-known popular standards and jazz hits from about 1918 to 1930, giving the members of the cast a treasure trove of giddy, toe-tapping delights to sing in the show. Moreover, on the album, Glen Kelly and Doug Besterman's work shines, drawing listeners into the infectious, happy-go-lucky Broadway jazz score.

Zach Braff, whom I never knew could sing, warmly handles the beguiling playwright David Shayne. His bright vocals shine on snappy numbers like the bubbly "I'm Sitting on Top of the World." He purposefully fills "The Panic Is On" with an amusing sense of manic urgency. Opposite two leading ladies, he delivers sweetly crooned vocals on the playful duets "Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me" and "She's Funny That Way;" meanwhile, he uses brash and boisterous vocals on "There's a Broken Heart for Every Light on Broadway" and "I Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle."

The show's leading ladies are a delightful duo on the disc. Betsey Wolfe, as David's girlfriend Ellen, captivates with her glittering vocals and a character that knows what she wants and deserves from the man in her life. With tangible strength and self-worth Betsey Wolfe owns numbers like "Blues my Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me" and "I've Found a New Baby." Conversely, she sings with pleasant tenderness on "She's Funny That Way." Opposite Betsey Wolfe, Marin Mazzie delivers consistently killer performances as Helen Sinclair, the aging star who romances the young playwright David. With delectable divatude and confidence, Marin Mazzie is radiant on numbers like "They Go Wild, Simply Wild, Over Me" and "I Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle."


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David Clarke David Clarke has had a lifelong love and passion for the performing arts, and has been writing about theatre both locally and nationally for years. He joined running their Houston site in early 2012 and began writing as the site's official theatre recording critic in June of 2013.

Photo by Greg Salvatori.