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BWW CD Review: SEE ROCK CITY & OTHER DESTINATIONS Off-Broadway Cast Recording

See Rock City & Other Destinations, the Drama Desk Award winning, off-Broadway pop-rock musical tells the story of different travellers and their experiences at major tourist destinations. The musical follows: a wanderer who halts his travels to connect with intelligent life in Roswell, New Mexico, a woman who decides to take a chance on love, three sisters who set off to throw their fathers ashes into the sea, and a troubled bride who debates taking a jump over Niagara Falls.

The show, with music by Brad Alexander and lyrics and book by Adam Mathias, has one of the greatest contemporary-rock soundtracks since Jonathan Larson's Rent.

While the songs on the cast recording include dialogue from the show, the tracks could easily exist as separate songs.The score features folk, rock, and pop tunes that tell the stories of the American travellers of the show, and their overcoming the obstacles of fear and expectation.

The tracks are all very telling of the characters that perform them, as the lyrics manage to dig deep into the characters innermost thoughts and feelings.

Bryce Ryness (Hair, Rent) shows off his rocker pipes in a major portion of the soundtrack - this is probably because he is one of the shows stronger vocalists. While it might not be the number that best represents his vocal abilities, his comedic timing shines in "You are my ...," which he sings with Stanley Bahorek (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee). Ryness does double time as he plays more than one character, as most of the actors do.

Ryness gets the best roles in the show, as he plays Jess and Cutter. He acts as both a romantic lead and a student playing hooky. Naturally, he gets to sing the funny and passion heavy songs as the student, and sing fun, romantic duets opposite Mamie Parris (Wicked) as the waitress who catches his eye.

However, Donna Lynn Champlinn has the honor of performing the shows big ballad, "What Am I Waiting For." Like the rest of the cast recording, this track stands alone as something independent from the show, and as a song you can listen to while working, studying, or just hanging out on your own.

The variety of music styles on this cast recordings goes beyond just pop-rock. The recording also features tracks that are chorus-like, and true to the classic show-tune genre, such as "Three Fair Queens," sun by Parris, Sally Wilfert (Assassins) and Donna Lynne Champlinn (Sweeney Todd).

The stand out song of the recording is without a doubt the track that starts off the show (and the album), "Rock City," sung by Ryness. It sets the stage for not only his characters individual story, but for the show as a whole. The song is about travelling and discovery - an indicator of the story and the theme of the recording. "Rock City" is what "Memphis Lives in me" is to Memphis and what "Rent" is to Rent.

The cast recording of See Rock City & Other Destinations is complete with an extra track, Jeremy Jordan's recording of "Rock City." Jordan's rendition is acapella, and an exceptional addition to the cast recording.

See Rock City & Other Destinations (Original Off Broadway Cast Recording) is now available on iTunes.

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From This Author - Brittany Goldfield Rodrigues

Brittany is currently a journalism student at Ryerson. She spends her time reading, writing, and watching BBC. She strives to expand her knowledge of theater, (read more...)