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BWW Album Review: SONDHEIM UNPLUGGED: THE NYC SESSIONS - VOLUME TWO is Glorious

Each number is performed with technical precision and tangible emotional resonance.

BWW Album Review: SONDHEIM UNPLUGGED: THE NYC SESSIONS - VOLUME TWO is Glorious

Released on what would have been Stephen Sondheim's 92nd birthday - March 22, 2022 - Yellow Sound Label's SONDHEIM UNPLUGGED: THE NYC SESSIONS - VOLUME TWO is the glorious middle chapter of an epic trilogy of beloved Sondheim show tunes sung by musical theater luminaries. Like the previous entry, this collection is chock full of talented artists skillfully performing hits from Sondheim's complex yet accessible catalog with glorious dexterity.

There's not a single bad or weak song across SONDHEIM UNPLUGGED: THE NYC SESSIONS - VOLUME TWO's magnificent 44 tracks. Each number is performed with technical precision and tangible emotional resonance. This is certainly because before it was a collection of albums, SONDHEIM UNPLUGGED was a smash New York revue. Thus, each of these tunes has been perfected in rehearsal rooms and tried out in front of live audiences before being preserved in perpetuity in a recording studio.

Standout moments across this collection include Nicholas Rodriguez opening the album with a heartfelt rendition of "Marry Me a Little." Jacob Hoffman's "You Could Drive a Person Crazy" is filled with wonderful personality and sparkles with humor. Natalie Arneson and Donna Vivino's take on "There's Always a Woman" is filled with delightful pizzaz and delicious snark. Natalie Douglas serves us a glorious jazz ballad iteration of "Losing My Mind." Singing "Giants in the Sky," Hunter Ryan Herdlicka's vocals shimmer with youthful exuberance. Closing out the first disc, Karen Mason's "Being Alive" is a rousing rendition of this beloved classic.

Christina Bianco opens the second disc with fantastic brightness and some rib-tickling comedy, singing a vastly enjoyable version of "Sunday in the Park with George." Courter Simmons brings tangible sultry life to "More." Leenya Rideouts take on "Not a Day Goes By" is perfectly heartrending in addition to being devastatingly gorgeous. Emily Skinner's "Children Will Listen" is wondrous and intellectually satisfying. "It Wasn't Meant to Happen" is evocatively sung with stunning clarity by Stearns Matthews. Lastly, Sarah Rice closes out the collection with a sublime version of "Goodbye for Now."

Produced by the series creator Phil Geoffrey Bond and featuring Music Director Joseph Goodrich on piano, SONDHEIM UNPLUGGED: THE NYC SESSIONS - VOLUME TWO is now available for purchase at YellowSoundLabel.com and SondheimUnplugged.com. The third and final installment, which will ensure this landmark collection encompasses 70 singers and 120 songs, is expected on June 1.


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