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ON RECORD: John Cariani's Five Favorite Cast Albums- 'It Changed My Life'

BroadwayWorld is excited to bring you our latest weekly series- ON RECORD. Ever wonder which Broadway tunes have inspired your favorite performers? Check back every Tuesday to find out which cast recordings have made an impact on Broadway's brightest stars.

In this week's edition, we hear from John Cariani, who is currently starring as 'Nigel Bottom' in Something Rotten!- playing at the St. James Theatre. Read on to find out his top five picks!


1. THE WILD PARTY by Andrew Lippa.

Gabe Barre directed this show. He was working with me on developing my play ALMOST, MAINE at the time...and he allowed me to sit in on tech rehearsals for THE WILD PARTY. And I had never really sat in on a tech and previews for a professional musical. And I loved it. I loved it so much. I loved the process...the artistry of all involved. And that cast-Julia Murney. JULIA MURNEY! Brian d'Arcy James, Taye Diggs, Idina Menzel, Kevin Cahoon, Jen Cody and Alix Korey. And I LOVED the music. Those songs! So many great songs!

Buy it today at Amazon or iTunes.

2. KISS ME KATE.

First musical I saw when I moved to NYC. Such a beautiful production. I was surprised that I knew so many of the songs! They're covered all the time! And Brian Stokes Mitchell and Marin Mazzie were so great. But I will never forget Michael Barresse dancing and climbing up and down and all over the set...and AMY SPANGER. AMY SPANGER. AMY SPANGER. "Always True to You." "Tom Dick or Harry." What a voice. What a dancer. What a comedienne.

Buy it today at Amazon or iTunes.

3. SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD.

I actually don't have this recording-I just have one song. "Christmas Lullaby." Andrea Burns. But-I love it so much. I heard Andrea sing it at a benefit for Jack Cummings' company, Transport Group-on a cold December night...when she was very pregnant...and it was just so moving...because she was singing about the "future of the world inside of [her]!" Everybody cried. It was awesome. Anyway-I bought the CD for my mom-for Christmas-but I have never listened to it...and we keep meaning to listen together...but we forget! Maybe we will the next time I visit. (My mom also loves the "Stars and the Moon" song.)

Buy it today at Amazon or iTunes.

4. SWEENEY TODD.

I played the clarinet pretty seriously in high school and college. And I got drafted to play in the pit orchestra of my college's production of SWEENEY TODD. I knew nothing about the show. But-orchestra rehearsals were so fun because the music was so beautiful-and hard! When we started playing with the cast during tech...I started to wonder what the heck the show was about. Because I could hear some pretty strange and disturbing stuff...stuff that I couldn't believe I was hearing. I remember leaning over to the other clarinetist and asking him. "Are they killing people and making...pies?!?" We were freaked out. But we loved it! And-boy-that music-that story-I think it's my favorite play.

Buy it today at Amazon or iTunes.

5. INTO THE WOODS

The first Broadway show I ever saw. I was in college-first trip to NYC!-and I have to admit-it was hard for me. I couldn't quite follow it. It was complex-musically, lyrically. But I just loved it. The fairytale mashup blew my mind. And when act two began, it changed my life: "Once upon a time...later." Because I think it was in that moment that I learned that the trick to living a decent life is learning how to survive the "later" part.

Buy it today at Amazon or iTunes.


Cariani's Broadway credits include: Fiddler on the Roof (Tony Award nomination.; OCC Award). Off-Broadway includes: Almost, Maine (Transport Group); Two Gentlemen of Verona (The Public/NYSF); Modern Orthodox. Regional includes: Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Old Globe, Center Theatre Group, Barrington Stage Company, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Television: several guest stars including "The Good Wife," and "Homeland;" recurring roles on "Law & Order," "Numb3rs," and "The Onion News Network." Recent film: Deliver Us From Evil, Sleeping With the Fishes, Elephant Sighs, Child of Grace. Playwright: Almost, Maine; Last Gas; LOVE/SICK.


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