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Family Affair [Cast Recording]

Family Affair Audio CD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Family Affair + Her First Roman (1993 Studio Cast)
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 18, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Drg
  • ASIN: B000AXWHA8
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,078 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Overture
2. Anything For You
3. Beautiful
4. My Son The Lawyer
5. Every Wants To Get Married
6. Right Girls
7. Kalua Bay
8. There's A Room In My House
9. Football Game
10. Harmony
11. Now Morris
12. Wonderful Party
13. Revenge
14. Summer Over
15. What I Say Goes
16. I'm Worse Than Anybody

Editorial Reviews

Evita and Phantom director Hal Prince got his start here-and what an auspicious beginning. He teamed with John Kander, William Goldman and James Goldman, raking in the accolades along with the show's stars, Eileen Heckart, Shelley Berman and West Side Story lead Larry Kert. This is what happens after boy meets girl, and this is the CD debut for this original-cast album!

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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3.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WORTHY, IN SPITE OF ITS SHORTCOMINGS . . . . . October 27, 2005
Format:Audio CD
Don't let the 3-star rating discourage you from buying this album. If you're a serious student of the American Musical Theatre and/or a collector of Broadway musicals, this is a must, in spite of my low rating.

No plot summary appears in the liner notes, so I dug out my old LP only to discover none exists there either. Therefore, the following synopsis is courtesy Music Theatre International, the show's publisher:

"Gerry Siegal and Sally Nathan, a young suburban Chicago couple, decide to get married... thereby setting off a marital World Ward III! Between Sally's Uncle/Mother/Father Alfie Nathan and Gerry's extensive extended family, the couple's wedding arrangements could prove more difficult than anything their marriage might ever present. It's the biggest family feud since the Montagues and Capulets, as caterers, dressmakers, rabbis, florists, photographers and a domineering wedding planner are put through the proverbial wringer in the looniest wedding this side of `Father of the Bride!'

"An early work by John Kander (`Cabaret,' `Chicago'), James Goldman (`Follies,' `A Lion In Winter') and William Goldman (`Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid,' `The Princess Bride'), `A Family Affair' is a neurotic, tuneful, wickedly funny and universally appealing picture of what really goes into the smiling wedding portrait in the family album."

With music by John Kander, book by James Goldman, lyrics by William Goldman, a stellar cast (stand-up comedian Shelley Berman, Academy Award winner Eileen Heckart, Larry Kert, Rita Gardner, Broadway veterans Morris Carnovsky and Bibi Osterwald), and direction by Harold Prince, why did it last for only 65 performances?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars it could have been so much more... December 7, 2006
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
While the songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb gave us some of the all-time great theatre scores ("Cabaret", "Chicago", "Kiss of the Spider Woman"); they also wrote some middling failures like "Flora the Red Menace", "The Happy Time" and A FAMILY AFFAIR.

A FAMILY AFFAIR (featuring a book by James Goldman) starred Eileen Heckart and Shelley Berman, two performers with little experience in musicals. It's certainly a novelty hearing acclaimed actress Eileen Heckart croaking her way through "My Son the Lawyer" and "Summer is Over". Stand-up comedian Berman reveals a reasonable tenor voice in his numbers.

Filling out the supporting roles are tried-and-true musical theatre veterans Rita Gardner ("The Fantasticks"), Cathryn Damon (who'd later get a bigger role in the duo's "Flora the Red Menace"), Bibi Osterwald ("The Golden Apple"), and Larry Kert (the original Tony in "West Side Story").

While the score isn't the best ever written by the team, songs like "Right Girls", "Wonderful Party", "Anything For You", "What I Say Goes", and "Now Morris" are quite enjoyable. "Summer is Over" is a quiet little 11 o'clock number for Heckart's character of Tilly Siegel. By all accounts, the show wasn't much to write home about, and it shuttered after 65 performances.

The sound quality on this 1962 cast album is average, with hiss and flutter evident throughout the recording. Because this was one of the first (and last) cast albums preserved on 35mm magnetic film stock, the stereo fidelity of the recording has badly-deteriorated over the years, creating a harsh sonic tone on this CD premiere (refer to Mark Andrew Lawrence's review).

Nevertheless, die-hard collectors will want this title, and we should thank DRG for bringing it back into the catalogue. [DRG 19068]
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4.0 out of 5 stars John Kander's first musical February 14, 2012
By Phantom
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful rarity from the Golden Age, and known chiefly for being the first Broadway score composed by John Kander, and it is very unusual for Kander. It doesn't sound like the more familiar musicals he later wrote with longtime partner Fred Ebb. Nevertheless, it is full of unusual character songs and "special material" that should find their way into many a Cabaret act. I for one, was surprised that Shelley Berman could sing as well as he does, and that Eileen Heckart could sing at all. It won't be an album I play all the time, but will certainly be one I listen to when I want to smile.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
John Kander is a great composer. However, before he met up with the equally great lyricist, Fred Ebb, he composed this trite, forgettable score. It isn't entirely Mr. Kander's fault that the score is bad. No, his melodies are sometimes lovely, sometimes exiting and show promise. That doesn't mean their especially memorable though. However, the lyrics really are insipid and awkward in this show. William and James Goldman (the latter to write the book to Sondheim's brilliant Follies) are not great lyricists unfourtunately.

However, there are two songs on this album that make it worth purchasing. The first is an odd little song called "My Son the Lawyer" which is quite inventive. However, the greatest song of the score is "Harmony", a very tuneful, musically inventive song. Even the lyrics aren't too bad here.

So if you like buying albums for a few songs, go ahead. However, if you're looking for an overall excellent piece, this is not for you.
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