Album Review: Juliet Does Just Fine On Her Own In This Twist On Shakespeare & Happily Ever After In & JULIET

Hey... What If She DIDN’T Die, Will?

By: Dec. 31, 2022
Album Review: Juliet Does Just Fine On Her Own In This Twist On Shakespeare & Happily Ever After In & JULIET

Album Review: Juliet Does Just Fine On Her Own In This Twist On Shakespeare & Happily Ever After In & JULIET Heigh Ho, dear lovely rainbow tribe, Bobby Patrick, your rainbow reviewer is back in CD-Land to offer another broken-down breakdown of a new music release. So, strap in and get ready, as Bobby goes on the record ABOUT the record.

Today's entry in the BobbyFiles is a Broadway cast recording that has taken some time for little Bobby to get to and usually we would say it was worth the wait, but not this time. This time Little Bobby is spittin' mad for all the time wasted when we could have been listening to & JULIET and dancing around the house and smiling! My dearlings, if you are behind the time and haven't discovered this new musical, hie thee to your digital platform, do a search, and get to it. Get to the dancing, get to the smiling, and get to enjoying one of the most fun and festive, entertaining and enjoyable cast albums we have heard in a long time.

Obviously, it must be pretty clear right now that Bobby does not know this new musical that landed on Broadway this season. Usually, when our editor assigns us a cast album that we do not know, we like to go in blind, knowing nothing about the play, and seeing if the original cast album is able to inform us, regarding the plotline and characters. & JULIET did not do that. From the first few tracks, we were in the music, enjoying the voices, picking up breadcrumbs here and there, but not picking up on the storyline, until, finally, we simply could not stand the suspense anymore... by the eighth track, Justin David Sullivan's performance of I'M NOT A GIRL, NOT YET A WOMAN got to us, we put our Spotify on pause and went to Google to do a deep dive into & JULIET and what we found there is good old, plain old fashioned exciting. It's a new story, my dearlings. It's a new musical. Except it isn't because the songs are all re-purposed pop songs, which is just grand because we love old pop songs, but this would-be jukebox musical is actually a catalogue musical that isn't telling the story of a singer's life, like all those recent Broadway attempts at recapturing that Jersey Boys magic. This is an original idea (SO original) with all the songs having been composted by one man: Max Martin. Max Martin is the man responsible for some of the biggest hits by some of the biggest pop stars of all time, and those hits have been deftly applied to the story of Juliet, of R&J fame, except she doesn't die. SHE DOESN'T DIE!

With Mr. Shakespeare and his wife, Anne Hathaway, in the play & JULIET, there is the potential to change a tale as old as time into a tale right for this time. Mrs. Shakes suggests to her old ball and chain that the death of Juliet is not the way to go, and, Will's Your Uncle, that's just what happens. Juliet does not dagger herself, she learns that her late hubby was a bit of a cad, and a bi-sexual one at that, and (in order to escape the convent her parents have eyeballed for her) our heroine decides to hit the road, Juliet, and heads for Gay Paree with her non-binary friend and her nurse, Angelique, and that is where the adventure begins.

Now, Bobby won't be doing a blow-by-blow of the story because that can all be found online (for those who want it) or it can be experienced in real-time for those in NYC who long for a night out. Bobby is here to talk about the cast album of & JULIET, and what we have to say is this: the singers are sensational. During group numbers the voices are not distinct, but when the likes of Lorna Courtney (Juliet), Paulo Szot (Lance, one of Anne's new characters), Betsy Wolfe and Stark Sands (Mrs. and Mr. Shakes, respectively) are soloing, there is no hiding these individual Broadway stars from being recognized. There is a host of up-and-coming Broadway talents, all colorful and gender-fluid and beautiful, as author David West Read wrote them to be, and as the times demand that they be. They all sound marvelous singing the songs of Kelly Clarkson, Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, and all the other chart-topping artists that Max helped in the making of their careers. It is a pleasure getting to "meet" and get to know these singing actors like Philippe Arroyo (AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME), Melanie La Barrie (F*CKIN' PERFECT) and Ben Jackson Walker (LOVE ME LIKE YOU DO), and it is especially pleasing being exposed to the beauty of the voice of Justin David Sullivan, whose work as "May" yields some lush vocals for a character that (judging by the album and the online synopsis) the musical theater artform has, long, needed and deserved.

The band on the album is rockin' and the mixer and master have kept every musical artist in their lane - nobody overshadows anyone else, they put the artist of the moment at the center mic and everyone emerges on equal beautiful footing. And one of the great things about the way the score is put together is that some of the cuts are extremely short - there was no apparent need to draw out the radio hits for full exposure, only enough to tell the story and move on to the next scene and next song. It's a very modern way to tell musical theater, putting the Billboard hits, the actors, and & JULIET in just the right spotlight; it creates a cast album for this era, rather like a movie musical soundtrack (like Rocketman, which, if you listen to, simply takes the cuts of the songs used - there are no "album" versions). This makes the listening journey a doable length and keeps the momentum forward-moving. The producers of the album knew what they were doing when they made this one.

In all, dear Bobby readers, this is a swell album for the musical theater buffs, the radio hits aficionados, and the fans of these super-talented actors who are having a great moment in time with a Broadway musical designed to make people happy, which is what this time in our lives needs, and so this one gets our rousing...

5 Out Of 5 Rainbows

Put This On In Your Spotifies Queue NOW: HERE

Album Review: Juliet Does Just Fine On Her Own In This Twist On Shakespeare & Happily Ever After In & JULIET


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