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A Class Act - A Musical About Musicals (2001 Original Cast) [Cast Recording]

Carolee Carmello, Edward Kleban, Lonny Price, Randy GraffAudio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

Price: $8.58 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 19 Songs, 2001 $9.99  
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Light On My Feet (From "A Class Act")Lonny Price 5:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Fountain in the Garden (From "A Class Act")Nancy Kathryn Anderson0:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. One More Beautiful Song (From "A Class Act")Lonny Price 2:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Friday At Four/Bobby's Song (From "A Class Act")Lonny Price 2:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Charm Song (From "A Class Act")Jonathan Freeman 1:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Paris Through the Window (From "A Class Act")Lonny Price 3:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. MonaNancy Kathryn Anderson 3:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Making Up Ways (From "A Class Act")Lonny Price 1:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Under Separate Cover (From "A Class Act")Carolee Carmello 2:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Gauguin's Shoes (From "A Class Act")The Company 3:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Follow Your Star (From "A Class Act")Randy Graff 2:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Better (From "A Class Act")Lonny Price 3:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Scintillating Sophie (From "A Class Act")Lonny Price 1:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Next Best Thing To LoveRandy Graff 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Broadway Boogie Woogie (From "A Class Act")Carolee Carmello 2:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. One/Better (reprise)/I Choose You/Light on my Feet (reprise) (From "A Class Act")The Company 5:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Say Something Funny (From "A Class Act")Carolee Carmello 2:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. When The Dawn Breaks (From "A Class Act")Lonny Price0:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. Self Portrait (From "A Class Act")The Company 6:10$0.99  Buy MP3 

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A Class Act - A Musical About Musicals (2001 Original Cast) + The Life (1997 Original Broadway Cast)
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 20, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: RCA Victor Broadway
  • ASIN: B000058DWH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,592 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards" runs the famous observation by Kierkegaard, but in a sense it also applies to the making of this "musical about musicals," which draws on the life and work of Ed Kleban. Though already assured of a place in musical theater's pantheon for having written the lyrics to the pathbreaking A Chorus Line, Kleban was far more than a one-hit wonder. In fact he composed both music and lyrics for a variety of musicals that never got produced, leaving a trunk of songs behind unheard at his untimely death in 1987 at age 48 (just a few days off from his "favorite holiday," Valentine's Day). These are the basis for A Class Act, a show put together by Kleban's friend Linda Kline and Lonny Price (best known for the role of Charley Kringas in Merrily We Roll Along). Instead of a posthumous "tribute" simply piecing together unrelated songs willy-nilly, the concept here--first unveiled at the Manhattan Theatre Club before moving to Broadway in February 2001--is far more intriguing. It uses a flashback frame to retrace the high and low points of Kleban's personal and professional life, which is punctuated by several near-breakdowns (and a bona fide one, during college, which led to his epiphany that he was meant to spend his life as a songwriter). The show integrates songs from widely different projects into the narrative, their topics ranging from the tricks of the songwriting trade to divorce and self-scrutiny, as each number crystallizes a particular moment of insight. Kleban's craft, especially when experienced in this context, is imbued with a personal, quirky touch, and it's impressive: there's a Sondheim-like cleverness and poignancy to much of the word play (Sondheim himself reportedly has expressed open envy for "Better," which gives a lift to act 2's opening), an inventive use of conversational rhythms, and a natural flow to the melody that becomes genuinely memorable in songs like "Next Best Thing to Love" (a ballad for Kleban's platonic soul mate, Sophie, movingly performed by Randy Graff) and "Say Something Funny." Ronny Price brings a vulnerable yet likeable demeanor as the Kleban character, thereby offsetting the role's tendency to self-pity and kvetch. By the final summing up of "Self-Portrait," with Kleban's returned ghost surrounded by friends, the payoff feels not sentimental but earned. It's a thoughtful addition to what is after all an impressive line in musical theater--the "meta"-musical--but also a loving, specific portrait of a lost era of show biz in the making. --Thomas May

Product Description

No Description Available.
Genre: Original Cast Recordings
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 20-FEB-2001

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It will warm your heart March 5, 2001
Format:Audio CD
"A Class Act" is a small musical with a lot of heart. The story of Edward Kleban, a prolific songwriter who is best known for writing the lyrics of " A Chorus Line", is told through his music. His trunk songs that he always wanted the world to hear. I will be seeing the show on Broadway in May. As one Amazon reviewer noted it is better on CD. This may be, however, I am looking forward to seeing it. Lonny Price is an actor who should be seen with more regularity. As Ed, he embodies the songwriter in spirit and voice. An excellent cast that includes Carolee Carmello, Jonathan Freeman, David Hibbard and Randy Graff are nothing short of marvelous. Ms Graff, as Sophie, Ed's lost love, has some very touching moments that she plays so well. This is one show that lives up to its name. It is truly "A Class Act."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars That he was. February 28, 2001
Format:Audio CD
It's remarkable to think that these are all "trunk" songs from unsuccessful Ed Kleban projects (and one excerpted from his "A Chorus Line") -- ordinarily when songs are taken from other sources and interpolated into a show, even extensive reworking can't hide the fact that they don't fit cleanly. These, though, fit very cleanly even though they haven't been revised very much at all. It's a piece of poetic justice; while Kleban couldn't get a break while he was alive, he effectively managed to musicalize his own life. He never saw "A Class Act", and yet it seems as though his spirit has guided and shaped the entire project.
The disc pays powerful tribute to his talent, reaching peak after peak. Among the highest of these peaks: the instantly memorable "Better", the in-jokey "Charm Song", "Under Separate Cover", "Next Best Thing to Love", and the touching "Self Portrait" finale. Kleban wasn't as strong a composer as he was a lyricist (though it must be said that Stephen Sondheim, often accused of the same fault, reached his peak as a composer when he was much older than Kleban was at his death), but these are some delightful tunes.
The cast (half of which abandoned the show before it reached Broadway) is happily the equal of the material, particularly the women: Randy Graff ("Les Miserables") is tough, sweet and funny as Ed's soulmate Sophie, Carolee Carmello ("Parade") is warm as Lucy, and Nancy Kathryn Anderson and Julia Murney ("The Wild Party") provide solid support. The men are given a bit less to work with, but Jonathan Freeman, Ray Wills and David Hibbard each have a couple of big laugh-out-loud moments.
This kind of intimate chamber musical is seldom seen on Broadway, and seldom realized so brilliantly. Between that and the remarkable circumstances of its origin, it's something that even casual theatre fans should look into.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Score - Couldn't Ask For More September 23, 2001
By Jeremy
Format:Audio CD
Wow. I bought this musical for one reason: to hear "Better," which Stephen Sondheim said he wished he had written. My faith in Sondheim has not been shaken. That song, as well as all of the ones included on this CD, are wonderful. There is something very Sondheim-like in the music, the lyrics, and even Kleban's story (begrudgingly starting out as just a lyricist, moving on to writing music, too, having trouble getting his shows produced). The performers are wonderful, and the songs range from funny to extremely touching. I wouldn't say that Kleban's work equaled the quality of Sondheim's (I don't think anyone's does, so I may be biased), but anyone with half of Sondheim's talent (and Kleban possesses much more than this) is worth checking out.
If you like Kleban's work, buy "A Chorus Line" (for which Kleban wrote the lyrics to Marvin Hamlisch's score) - the Broadway version, because this contains the entire "Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen" montage, a hilarious and entirely true song about puberty and the teenage years, another very Sondheimesque piece.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deeply moving portrait of a songwriter January 29, 2002
By jjo
Format:Audio CD
The music in this show consists of a group of unrelated and previously unrecorded songs written by Ed Kleban (the lyricist for Chorus Line, but really a songwriter). The writers have done a masterful job of combining these songs into a show that tells the story of Kleban's life. This is not a musical revue but a fully conceived musical.
One can talk about the individual songs, and many of them are great. The ballad The Next Best Thing To Love is one of the best I've heard in a while. But what really make this work shine is the portrait the show paints of Kleban, a toubled man who had various breakdowns and loves, but for whom songwriting was the real love that made life worth living. You don't always like him, but that only makes him real. By the time you hear the beautiful and heartbreaking last song, Self Portrait, you have come to know and love Kleban through his music, which is exactly what he would have wanted. This album haunts me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great CD from a great show July 19, 2001
Format:Audio CD
A Class Act was a terrific show - I loved how Lonny Price and Linda Klein built a show around Kleban's existing songs. It really worked well onstage. This CD is a super recording, and while it doesn't have "Don't Do It Again", which was added after the move to Broadway, it's still a fine record of Kleban's music and lyrics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUT OF THE TRUNK AND ONTO THE STAGE-FINALLY March 11, 2001
Format:Audio CD
The Manhatan Theater Club's cast recording of A CLASS ACT is delicious. It is heartfelt, funny, lyrical and warm...things that many modern musicals are not! The action begins on stage of the Shubert Theater in 1988, during the run of A CHORUS LINE where the urn holding the remains of lyricist Ed Kleban are placed on stage and the friends still in his favor at the time of his death, begin to gather en memorium. No matter where the show goes, to the mental hospital where Kleban once spent time, to the Toronto theater where he was working with and fired by John Gielgud, to the love of his life's lab, his remains remain lit down stage left. Having seen (and worshipped) the transferred-to-Broadway production, and without meaning to take anything away from this CD, my small complaint is that I find it slightly incomplete, in the way that parts of "The Montage"were omitted from A CHORUS LINE's recording. Most omissions are in the dialogue (there is still plenty) which drives the story along. A major source of joy in ACA was the homage to ACL which centered on Kleban's relationships with Michael Bennett and Marvin Hamlisch. Gone is Kleban's first meeting with Bennett which sets up the song "Broadway Boogie Woogie" and gone is much of the underscoring which was filled with hints of melodies that became ACL. Long ago, I decided I would stop seeing regional productions and tours of ACL because it's become a caricature of itself and I prefer my memories. ACA is like adding a footnote to that milestone show, like visiting an old friend. Consequently, I missed the small cuts that showed bits of the original choreography being created. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Just didn't speak to me
Although Stephen Sondheim said he wished he had composed the song "Better," this "Musical About Musicals" did not reach out to me. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Allen Smalling
3.0 out of 5 stars A Class Act is compelling but repetitive at times, but I like it.
much of it is the feeling and sound. Compelling in parts, humorous in others. I like the variety, tii.
Published 10 months ago by Judith Williamson
2.0 out of 5 stars Unhappy End
I first met Ed Kelban in 1965 as a member of Lehman Engle's BMI Musical Theater Workshop. He was the star of the class, wrote the brightest, freshest songs -- but alas, they have... Read more
Published on November 11, 2010 by Stagedoor Johnny
4.0 out of 5 stars Life of Kleban
A CLASS ACT is one of the more unusual musicals produced in the past few decades, a tribute to the works of a man who is known essentially for just one piece, but that one... Read more
Published on September 6, 2010 by Anthony J. Adam
5.0 out of 5 stars Success, Again
Ed Kleban had only one major musical hit, his lyrics for A Chorus Line, which one him a Tony. After his death, however, unpublished music found in his trunk and stitched together... Read more
Published on November 22, 2009 by James J. Best
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic tribute to Ed Kleban
Overshadowed by "The Producers" and "The Full Monty" during it's season on Broadway, "A Class Act" never really got the chance it deserved. Read more
Published on July 25, 2004 by JustMe123
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST MUSICAL EVER!!!!!
I have seen many musicals and this is by far the best. Not the typical characters. But still Love it. And for any one that says this is corny or fake. Read more
Published on May 23, 2003 by "pnjh"
3.0 out of 5 stars I WANTED TO LIKE IT!!! I REALLY DO!!!!!!!!
I have tried my very best to enjoy this album... this show! I even decided to spend [the money] to see this show to try to get to like it. No such luck. It's toooo corny. Read more
Published on July 19, 2002 by "jbhapgood2"
5.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Surprize
I bought this CD not knowing what to expect...Okay, A Chorus Line was a smash, but what did he do after it? Read more
Published on January 21, 2002 by William A. Pelzer
4.0 out of 5 stars A Class Act is well titled
Best "new" b'way score of this millenium (so far). Excellent music with intelligent lyrics fashioned into a psuedo biography of the composer/lyricist. Well done.
Published on December 28, 2001 by loesser
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