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BWW Album Review: FLYING OVER SUNSET (Original Broadway Cast Recording) Shimmers Beautifully But Leaves Us Grounded

We’re stuck listening to people trip without being able to share in their euphoria.

BWW Album Review: FLYING OVER SUNSET (Original Broadway Cast Recording) Shimmers Beautifully But Leaves Us Grounded

FLYING OVER SUNSET - with its music by Tom Kitt, lyrics by Michael Korie, and book by James Lapine - had the kind of pedigree that, on-paper, made it a must-see show. Yet, the musical ran for a scant 63 performances (28 previews and 35 performances). So, many of us missed it. Myself included. Masterworks Broadway offers theatre lovers a window into the production with their release of FLYING OVER SUNSET (Original Broadway Cast Recording). Despite its beauty, the album exposes why the show shuttered so quickly.

Kitt's score for FLYING OVER SUNSET is richly complex. Motifs sparkle and undulate, appealing to the pathos of the listener. The music does its best to convey the transcendence associated with the LSD trips the songs represent. Each composition is evocatively lush and layered with the perfect amount of trills and other flourishes. This artistry is matched in the vocal performances of the cast and also in Korie's thought-provoking and emotionally resonant lyrics. The art on display on the album gracefully tiptoes to the edge of the sublime but fails to cross that threshold. This makes the end product unarguably pretty but ultimately disappointing.

As Aldous Huxley, Harry Haddon-Patton first grabs the attention of the listener with his tangible goofiness on the gleeful "Wondrous." Tony Yazbeck's engaging vocals as Cary Grant first draw us in with the keenly introspective solo "I Have It All." Carmen Cusak's remarkably warm and radiant instrument ensures that the titular song, "Flying Over Sunset," stands out as the album's most memorable and effective musical number. For each of the leads, FLYING OVER SUNSET (Original Broadway Cast Recording) is a superb showcase for their vocal prowess, but their immense talents paired with the material simply leave listeners feeling empty.

The most perplexing thing about FLYING OVER SUNSET (Original Broadway Cast Recording) is that all the ingredients are right, but they just don't meld together in a fulfilling way. The artistry, the intelligence, and the nuance are all present. These aspects keep the listener engaged. However, the finished product feels like a scenario where we agreed to drop LSD with this cast and its creatives, but, for some reason, our dose had absolutely no effect on us, and we're stuck listening to these people trip without being able to share in their euphoria

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