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On the Town - The First Full Length Recording Cast Recording, Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, Original recording remastered, September 15, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

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Many people are more familiar with Hollywood's version of On the Town than with the original Broadway show. While Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly's movie is pretty swell in its own right, the score ditched much of Bernstein's electrifying compositions as well as songs like the hilarious "I Can Cook Too." Since the 1944 show had never been properly recorded, original cast members Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Nancy Walker, and Chris Alexander finally got in a studio in 1960 while Bernstein himself conducted the New York Philharmonic. The Philharmonic can be a bit stiff at times, but this tale of three sailors on leave in New York is so full of energy and humor that it could be done by a string quartet and still blow the roof off. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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Product Details

  • Composer: Leonard Bernstein
  • Audio CD (September 15, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B00000AG7N
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,460 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This fabulous stereo sound spectacular recreates the 1944 show (a first for Bernstein, Robbins, Comden and Green) in all of its glory. The orchestra is extraordinary and the performers are exceptional, both vocally and dramatically. The cuts I UNDERSTAND and DO RE DO originally did not fit on the LP release. The latter was "squeezed" onto the LP re-issue when the show was revived with Bernadette Peters. Finally the CD gives us all the music. This is one of the all time great cast album recreations. The movie is a Gene Kelly film and only contains three songs from the show (the score was scrapped to make way for Kelly dances and new songs - all mediocre). Only a few years ago Michael Tilson Thomas did a studio cast recreation with Frederica Von Stade, Tyne Daly, Thomas Hampson and Samuel Ramey that was almost as good as this one. Did it go out of CD print in just a few years? It shouldn't have. Keep an eye out for the cast album of the new Broadway revival - comparisons are sure to be made. Don't miss adding the 1960 recording to your collection.
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Format: Audio CD
Actually, this is not an "original cast recording." True, it features four of the people who were in the original 1944 production of the show (Nancy Walker, Cris Alexander, and Betty Comden and Adoplh Green, who were also making their Broadway debuts as lyricists/librettists with this show), but this recording was done in a studio in 1960, with John Reardon substituting for John Battles, the original Gabey, and other studio substitutes in the supporting roles. (The show never had an official original cast recording, although Walker, Comden and Greend did singles of their numbers in the 40s)...THe orchestrations are great; the orchestra is conducted by Bernstein himself, and Bernstein even appears on the recording as the carnival barker Rajah Bibbe in the final dance sequence. Unfortunately, though this show had a respectable run originally, several revivals (Including one with Bernadette Peters as Hildy) have failed, and it's cheifly known today through the 1949 MGM film with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, which is highly entertaining in its own right but cut all but three of the songs from the original score. SOngs such as "Lonely Town," "Do DO Re Do," "Lucky TO be Me," the dazzling "I Can Cook, Too," "Ya Got Me," and the suprisingly sentimental and haunting "Some OTher TIme" did not deserve this fate. The score may be dated, but it is still Broadway at its brassiest and most exciting, and you need look no further than this recording to see why.
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Format: Audio CD
The original Broadway production of ON THE TOWN, when it premiered, curiously went unrecorded. This recording, done about 10 years later, reunites the original cast of Adolph Green, Betty Comden, Nancy Walker and Cris Alexander, with John Reardon standing in for John Battles.
Saul Chaplin, the arranger for the film version, said he preferred the Broadway score to the film score, and most people agree with him, myself included.
Arthur Freed, who produced the movie, said the Broadway songs were "too sophisticated" for movie audiences, and that a new score had to be written, really only retaining "Let's Go To My Place" and the Pas de Deux.
Among the gems you will find here are "Carried Away", "Lucky To Be Me", "Ya Got Me" and the wistful "Some Other Time" which candidly speaks of the fact that the three sailors might not return from the warfront.
The Overture has been added, along with some of the dance numbers.
This is a great version to have for purists of the score.
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Format: Audio CD
An expansion of Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins' early 1944 ballet hit "Fancy Free," "On the Town" launched careers of Bernstein, Robbins and writers Adolphe Comden and Betty Green (who also starred in it) on the Great White Way in December 1944. Truncated versions of some Broadway shows had started appearing (notably "Oklahoma!") then, but owing to various problems, possibly contractual, a major recording of the "On the Town" score wasn't attempted then. And it's just as well. There's SO much music - in addition to the songs, Bernstein's extended jazz and bluesy ballet numbers simply couldn't have been set down on short 78s. Luckily, most of the original principal reassembled for this belated cast recording, in fine stereo, in 1960. Even then, some material had to be shortened and one number ("I Understand"), though recorded, was dropped completely. The first CD version reinstated that cut (mournfully sung by the late George Gaynes of "Police Academy" films). The remastered CD now includes the overture (in a performance conducted by Lehman Engel) and the short suite of three dance numbers Bernstein recorded in 1963 with his New York Philharmonic (which are fine but a bit stodgy, as was Bernstein's recording of "Fancy Free" done about the same time.) What's thrilling about THIS recording is the energy of it all. The high spirits are contagious and the rollicking fun of it fairly spills out of your speakers. Although nearly 20 years older than when they first appeared in the roles, the cast members have a joyful reunion that celebrates not only the show and the start of their fabulous careers but a shining moment in both American history and American musical theater.
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On the Town - The First Full Length Recording
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