Album Review: BACK TO THE FUTURE Is A Blast From The Past As A Musical Of A Movie With A Broadway Future & Current Cast Album

Can A Movie From The Past Be The Future Of Broadway?

By: Jan. 16, 2023
Album Review: BACK TO THE FUTURE Is A Blast From The Past As A Musical Of A Movie With A Broadway Future & Current Cast Album

Click HereHeigh Ho, dear lovely rainbow tribe, welcome back to Bobby's CD sandbox where we offer our broken-down breakdowns of new music releases. So, strap in and get ready, as Bobby goes on the record ABOUT the record.

This week's album entry in the BobbyFiles comes from across the pond in Jolly Old Britannia, where the Broadway-bound production of BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical has been doing well enough to make that move to NYC, generate lots of merch, and put out a cast recording, of course. Now, assuming, as we do, that you all don't need a recap of the story of Doc Brown and Marty McFly (and if you do, what were you doing during the PanDAMNIT, if not watching this classic time travel trilogy?!) let us jump right into thoughts about the score and singing performances. With Tony Award winner Roger Bart (who will bring this show home to The Broadway when it transfers) as Doc Brown, Hugh Coles - another planned Brit to Broadway transfer - as George McFly (Marty's hapless dad), and Olly Dobson in the pivotal Marty role, this Olivier Award-winning musical that opened in 2021 will still be running there when it opens here - so clearly this movie-to-stage adaptation is going like buster's gang in the West End.

First, rainbow points MUST be awarded to the creative team that consists of the original creators of the beloved film. Robert Zemeckis, along with Bob Gale (with whom he wrote the original screenplay) are both Co-Creators/Producers here, with Gale credited for the show's book. Alan Silvestri, the composer of the film's fab score in 1985, is also the composer/lyricist here, in partnership with Glen Ballard. All of this continuity, hopefully, will satisfy fans and newbies alike. Kicking off with Silvestri's famous theme for the OVERTURE was essential, and hearing those strains brought a smile to Little Bobby's face. Other numbers in the show that are direct lifts from the movie include EARTH ANGEL (by Williams, Belvin, & Hodge), JOHNNY B GOOD (by Chuck Berry), Silvestri's CLOCKTOWER music sequence (6 Minutes of it, so one imagines that there is some pretty magnificent theatre magic going on), and the Huey Lewis hits - THE POWER OF LOVE & BACK IN TIME (written with Colla, Hayes & Hopper). Not having seen the show yet, there is no telling the effect of these established Non-Silvestri compositions on the drama as a whole. However, listening straight through the album to wonderful singing actors working within an original score that is beautifully layered with the dramatic purposes of moving the story forward, character development, and emotional statements of being all woven into layers of pastiches that move from the 80s, back to the 50s, adding in what have become established tropes from the original film, mixing them together along with some modern-day phrases, this time travel story remains timeless, until these last seven cuts on the album. One is left to wonder, with all the great new music Silvestri & Co have created, why not take it all to that next level and maintain the integrity of their score from top to bottom? The story being conveyed through the recording seems to derail at the end and never really recover. The cast is certainly up for it, as all are terrific and have done their homework.

Everyone is matching the performances we are all familiar with, throughout. Olly Dobson's Marty sounds eerily like Michael J. Fox's in the spoken sections, and then his powerful rock and roll voice really kicks things off on IT'S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME, partnered with the soaring vocals of Cedric Neal who plays Mayoral Candidate Goldie Wilson (past & present) PLUS Marvin Berry. Another entry in the eerie category is the wonderful Coles, whose evoking of Crispin Glover's original George McFly (in both his speaking AND singing voices) gave us the gay gasps. He also elicited a few tears with his solo turn, MY MYOPIA, where a tiny man sings the pain of trying to stay tiny and unharmed - a bug trying to hide from being squashed - all with spot-on Crispin Glover-isms. This song is perfectly juxtaposed to Cedric Neal's GOTTA START SOMEWHERE, a rousing gospel/Motown song about a man of color's dreams of rising above after starting somewhere like sweeping up around the malt shop. What is just a quick encounter with the young version of the future mayor in the film is expanded to a HOT HOT Rollicking number that Neal knocks out of the park.

The beloved Doc Brown is introduced in cut six, IT WORKS, and basically (here we go): Roger Bart is a star and can do his own thing and Christopher Lloyd's thing at the same time - not imitation, but homage. His leather pipes can take his pounding in range and power back and forth, up and down, loud to soft, and back again with growls, shouts, and grinds, hitting each note perfectly. On 21ST CENTURY Bart changes his vocal production to a solid rock & roll sound - why? Because he can. This cut has some terrific lyrics, as well as music scratches from the 80s and the 50s, all mixed with Doc's futuristic ideas of what our present century will be. It's also a touch poignant since none of that vision ever actually materialized. With FOR THE DREAMERS, Bart gets to tug at our heartstrings, since dreamers are always touching and Bart knows what he's doing.

All in all, dear Bobby readers, we DID enjoy the cast Album of BACK TO THE FUTURE and think the creators are spot on with all of Silvestri's new songs. Despite the momentum seeming to fall off at the end with the addition of songs by Lewis and Berry etc., this album did what it was supposed to do - make us want to go and see the show when it lands on The Broadway, and, with that in mind we award BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical Cast Album a nice...

3 ½ Out Of 5 Rainbows - Put this one in your collection today.

You Can See And Hear Everything About BACK TO THE FUTURE On The Webbysite: HERE

Pick Up Your Copy Of This Album: Click Here

OR Dial It Up On Your Spotifies: HERE

Click Here

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