Critics Picks: Our Reviewers Pick the Best Broadway Albums of 2019!
Our album critics have gone through all of the amazing recordings released this year and painstakingly chosen their favorites. From Broadway to West End, big screen to small, we've got a full list to keep you listening to the best of the best!
Check out their selections below!
"The year's most unusual cast album is also one of its best. By re-orchestrating and revamping the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein score, this revival takes a Golden Age classic with a reputation for shallow fluff and reminds us of how groundbreaking it was and still can be. Curly becomes a rockabilly crooner courtesy of Damon Daunno, while Ado Annie has never been more exuberant and unabashed than in the hands of Ali Stroker. A small but mighty cast captures the urgency, the raging emotions, and the roughness, lending this recording an updated - but still beautiful - feeling that feels like it was always meant to be this way." - Amanda Prahl
Little Shop of Horrors
"Released December 20, this one almost came out too late to be included on this list. But, I would totally remiss not to include it. Sure, I haven't had much time to digest it, but I absolutely adore that it, more or less, reverts to sonically to the original 1982 Off-Broadway cast recording. There are some delightful new/updated orchestrations that make the album fresh and unique, but you definitely get the "little show that could" vibe across every track, making this star-studded iteration all the more fun. Jonathan Groff's Seymour is tangibly nerdy, but his vocals are also sleek, sexy, and also tinged with some wonderous darkness in towards the end. Tammy Blanchard's Audrey sounds roughed-up and tired, not spritely. The rest of the cast more than delivers in their respective roles." - David Clarke
Christmas is a Season of Love
"Idina Menzel's holiday album, Christmas: A Season of Love is true to this icon's sound, style, and unforgettable presence. Featuring all of the classics we know and love, such as "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," and "O Holy Night," as well as Broadway favorites from Rent, this album is chock full of the season's most prevalent themes - love, acceptance, gratitude, and friendship. It gives listeners all of the warm and fuzzy feelings and doesn't get lost in the repetitious melodies of the holidays that seem to blend together, year after year. A refreshing gift!" - Courtney Savoia
"Anais Mitchell's folk-and-jazz retelling of classic mythology made for one of the most memorable and unique Broadway scores in years. It's a well-structured score that evokes the cyclical nature of the storytelling in subtle ways and gives every member of the talented cast a chance to shine. From Patrick Page's gravel-voiced Hades to Amber Gray's bluesy Persephone, from the uproarious "Livin' It Up On Top" to the sweeping power of "Wait For Me," it's an experience that stays with you. Every song packs layers and layers of nuance, meaning, and emotion, creating an experience that rewards listening again and again." - Amanda Prahl
Sing to Me Instead
"Ben Platt's SING TO ME INSTEAD has truly been the pop album I left on repeat all year long, and deservedly so. His soaring vocals, especially those grandiose belts, sans the affectations of Evan Hansen dazzle across the record, make each of the tunes - whether an up-tempo bop or a soulful ballad - completely unforgettable. A songwriter indeed, Platt has a writing credit on each of the tracks on SING TO ME INSTEAD. Moreover, the record feels like a love child between Sam Smith's and Matt Doyle's individual abilities to craft a heartfelt lyric that sticks to your ribs and to compose a melody that moves you with its unabashed emotional sincerity." -David Clarke
"The best jukebox musical of the year wasn't on Broadway - it was the Elton John biopic Rocketman. By telling Elton John's own story but untethering the songs from their real-life chronology, the soundtrack achieves that rare balance between creative theatricality and delightful recognition. Taron Egerton pulls off a similar balancing act, capturing the pop icon's voice and inflections without doing an impersonation, and leading the way on the majority of the album's many songs. The sweet sincerity of "Your Song" is a highlight, but so is the gleeful chaos of "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" and the bittersweet devastation of "Rocketman.""- Amanda Prahl
"The Abominables is a delightfully amusing and satirical musical parable about the rigors of youth hockey. The effervescent music bops along, telling the story of Mitch who gets bumped from the A team to the B team by Harry, who happens to be a Yeti. Originally performed at Children's Theater Company in Minneapolis in 2017, the carefree and casual pop score is laden with sugary, bubblegum hooks that easily appeal to the imagination. However, this show shouldn't be written off as simple kid's theatre. Friedman's lyrics vacillate between being tender and heartfelt, charming and comical, and bitingly sardonic. The intellectual humor present in the writing easily appeals to adults, allowing them to chortle at the meanings dancing below the shimmering surface of the piece. Vocally, Gerard Canonico delivers a striking performance as Harry, making songs like "Yeti Prayer" and "Crouching Harry, Hidden Yeti" true standout moments on the album. Tapping into the zany, whimsical nature of the piece, Audrey Bennett on "I Am the Princess of Everything Else" and Brian Charles Rooney on "The Curse of The Blizzards" offer delightful studies in character and charisma." - David Clarke
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