Album Review: REGRETTING ALMOST EVERYTHING (A Concept Album) Should Probably Regret Nothing

Je Ne Regret ALMOST Rein…

Video: Josh Groban Is Full of Joy Over His Tony Nomination

Video: Josh Groban Is Full of Joy Over His Tony NominationHeigh 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 the promising team of Lauren Taslitz & Danny Ursetti, a writer (Taslitz) and a composer (Ursetti) who met and were paired up by no one less than the great William Finn, when they studied with him at NYU. Giving them the partnership, the idea to write what Lauren knew - how to survive in a long-term relationship (mostly) - and a title, the newly minted pair went to work on REGRETTING ALMOST EVERYTHING. Born out of much work on their professor's living room floor, 2 nights in his "Mr. Finn's Cabaret" at Barrington Stage Company (2017), and a 2018 show at 54 Below, the musical makers have since parented their infant and grown it up to a full 2 person book musical. Enter the fab Tony Award® Winner Beth Leavel - she of the DROWSY CHAPERONE - and Tony Award® Nominee Jeff Blumenkrantz. Loosely based on Taslitz's experience of having left home, as her mid-life took her in its unrelenting grip, to pursue a passion for musical theatre writing, the story of REGRETTING is an old one - a wife and mother in her middle years, who loves her husband and kids, finds she can't face the next chapter without some passion and drive toward something more, and so she sets out to get it... without really knowing what that "more" is. Never mind that this means leaving behind her now empty nest and her hapless hubby. There are other story points and nuances in Anne and Clay's world, but you get the gist here, right, my darlings? This is what you need to know to enjoy this new concept album that hopes to grow up to be a fully staged musical with all the trimmings, including people with money who will buy tickets. Now, whether this will translate into time on any of our New York stages, or if it will venture out into the flow of regional theatres looking for a small show they can put up cheaply and sell the aforementioned tickets, who can say? Either way, this new cast album can and should serve as a fine hawking point, or a musical foot in the door, to that end.

We start at the beginning, and with the song ANYMORE, Clay and Anne - Blumenkrantz & Leavel - are thrust into the storm of love that happens after a marriage proposal. Ann is in a dither and desperately trying to quell her nerves about the upcoming wedding (and life afterward) from her very first note - something at which Leavel is a past master at conveying. The process of getting terrifyingly engaged to Clay is compounded by all their differences, which will require a minister AND a rabbi to referee. The roiling beauty of all this theatrical desperation in Leavel's voice is juxtaposed (what? Bobby knows words!?) with a smooth, creamy, relaxing production from Blumenkrantz. Ultimately, all the angst has them both pledging forgiveness for future sins before the glass is ever stomped. BEHIND THE WHEEL has our couple switching their frazzled nerves back and forth. First Clay's phobia of his wife's driving and her daredevil recklessness lets JB become the over-anxious one. Each of them takes turns at the wheel, to the other's terror and consternation. This one has a fun, driving rock & roll meets Broadway feel, since she's a nut and he's a grandpa on the road. Oh, the speed-up and slow-down of it all, paired with these two's uber-strong vocals really puts this one over. The very next cut, MAIN LINE PHILLY SEX, is a hilarious novelty song about their polite, superficial sex life. A beautiful vocal arrangement heightens Ann's longing for more feeling, passion, and need to feel DESIRED. Then, all the sexual apologetics make the song, rather suddenly, touching, as the two of them, finally, are longing to long for each other and realizing that love, sometimes, just ain't enough. Life moves unrelentingly forward for Jay and Ann. Kids come and go and come back again. Sex comes and then just goes, and they reach the point of marital fatigue where they, desperate to get on the same page, try DATING each other again. But, all the tandem biking in the cold (Ewwwww) can't surmount their massive insecurities, and they find there is just no communicating when the lines are down, prompting Ann to scream FIGHT FOR ME! This number allows Leavel to use all the parts of herself and her massive talent as Ann, who knows Jay's a good good man, but she wants, no, needs real fire. She wants to matter and he's all she has to make that happen, but he just can't rise to the level of passion she requires. Finally, it could all be over.

And that's as far as little Bobby is going to go here, since we don't want to give any ultimate spoilers. The truly fab thing about REGRETTING ALMOST EVERYTHING (besides the fantastic performances of these two stars) is that the story is all on the album. Though we are jumping from song to song without a lot of book dialogue, the circumstances from Taslitz's story are clearly conveyed in the music, and by Leavel & Blumenkrantz. Also, Bobby must give an (((((AUDITION CALLOUT))))) here, as there are songs galore for folk 40+ to learn and get all the mid-life crisis roles out there in theatre-land. And so, since we enjoyed REGRETTING ALMOST EVERYTHING, we think you will, too, and we give it a hearty

4 ½ Out Of 5 Rainbows. Put this one in your collection/stream today.

You Can See And Hear Everything About REGRETTING ALMOST EVERYTHING On The Webbysite: HERE

Listen to it on your Spotifies: Click Here

photography by Rebecca J Michelson

Video: Josh Groban Is Full of Joy Over His Tony Nomination


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