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on July 3, 1999
This recent Broadway incarnation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic film is lovingly captured in this recording. Broadway's original "Annie," Andrea McArdle, is in fine form, with her clear strong voice shining on "Might As Well Be Spring" and "The Next Time It Happens." The score from the original film has been augmented with material from some lesser known - and less successful - R&H shows, but with only minor exceptions, the result is a pleasing whole. The orchestrations are first rate, and this recording will make a fine addition to any show music collection.
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on November 12, 2007
I was lucky to live in Des Moines, Iowa the week that "State Fair" premiered at the Civic Center. It was great fun to see the celebrities come to town for the first performance of this musical of which Iowans are very proud. Patricia Neal was there as well as Mary Rodgers representing her father and others.
The Premier was planned to coincide with the actual Iowa State Fair, and the musical's leads waved to the crowds proudly from their convertibles as they rode in the State Fair parade(John Davidson, Kathryn Crosby, Andrea McArdle, Donna McKechnie, Scott Wise, and Ben Wright). It was truly a photographer's "hey-day", and cameras were snapping pictures all along the route.
Then came the actual production itself. Before seeing the show, I was most concerned about two numbers: "All I Owe Ioway" and "Boys And Girls Like You And Me".
The first (because if not handled right) can make Iowans appear in a bad light. But, it was done as the huge production number of which farmers and urbanites alike could proudly join together and celebrate their love of the fair.
R & H have tried to interpolate "Boys And Girls..." into several shows without success, but happily it has finally found a place where it could fit in and make sense.
The performers all gave top-notch efforts. Donna McKechnie proved she still had it even though several years had passed since "Chorus Line", and Scott Wise lived up to the praise he had been given in "Jerome Robbins' Broadway". What can you say about Andrea McArdle except that she's great! and Ben Wright wore his heart on his sleeve as McKechnies' love-lorn swain. The leads John Davidson and Kathryn Crosby sat back and let the kids have their fun and opined on growing older and fretting over blue ribbons to be won at the fair.
All together you had a simple story with lavish sets, good orchestrations, spot-on choreography, and great performers to interpret and make the whole thing come off in grand style.
One New York critic said the production cried out for a ferris wheel which isn't very practical for the Broadway stage, but I hope someday the show will be given a blue ribbon revival, and somehow that critic can get his ferris wheel in the production. Until then, enjoy this well recorded and delightful cast album.
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on March 18, 2016
For what will most likely be remembered as producer David Merrick's swan song on Broadway, it had a lot going against it before coming to New York thanks to the press's attacks on various issues with the production. When you've got ground-breaking shows on Broadway like the over-rated "Rent" and the "British Invasion" of "spectacles", something old fashioned like "State Fair" is going to be fashionable for the matinee ladies and probably nobody else unless you're a tourist from Iowa where this takes place. Perhaps purists also disliked taking old movie musicals and putting them on stage, but there's a lot to love here, and the CD is a lot of fun. Andrea McCardle is perky as the romantic heroine, and her "It Might as Well Be Spring" is quite poignant. Donna McKechnie shines in a supporting role as the state fair's main attraction, while John Davidson and Kathryn Crosby are simply lovable as decent country folk, with Davidson singing a love song to a hog and Crosby concerned if her entries in the cooking contests will win. Several songs are interpolated from lesser "Rodgers and Hammerstein" shows like "Me & Juliet" and "Pipe Dream", but the songs written for the movie, "It's a Grand Night For Singing" and "All I Owe Ioway" are wonderfully staged. This is one that deserved a better chance in a downtime on Broadway for the good old fashioned musical comedy, but like other shows that closed early, "Everything old becomes new again", as evidenced by its success in theater companies outside New York.
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on February 8, 2001
Just a little different point of view. I personally have been in and around theatre and musical productions for nearly 10 years now, and had the opportunity to perform in an off-broadway production of State Fair. I personally feel this is one of the best musicals that I have performed in, not only for the storyline, but the musical score as well. I would recommend this CD to any lover of the musical industry!
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on December 25, 2002
I got this CD a while ago at a used CD store mainly because it had Ben Wright (of "Into the Woods" fame) and Andrea McArdle (of "Annie" fame.) Needless to say, I listened to it once, then set it on my shelf to collect dust. Then I purchased Bernadette Peters' "Bernadette Peters Loves Rodgers & Hammerstein" where I fell in love with the songs "So Far" and "It's A Grand Night for Singing." I put my "State Fair" soundtrack in the CD player, and really listened to it, and realized how great it actually is. I am so glad that this musical happened. The success of the songs from the "failed" R & H shows is worth the soundtrack itself. On this CD, my faves are definitely "So Far," "That's For Me," and "Isn't It Kinda Fun?" All of the voices are marvelous. Andrea McArdle and Ben Wright have truly grown up since their earlier appearances on Broadway, and both display true musical theatre voices. If you love Rodgers & Hammerstein, Broadway musicals, or just good music, I would DEFINITELY reccommend this soundtrack. It's becoming one of my favorite Rodgers & Hammerstein shows.
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on August 15, 2007
State Fair is often deemed a simple and boring show. I say simple - yes, but boring - no way! The music in this show is catchy and entertaining. This has quickly become my favorite Broadway recording, and I listen to it every time I'm in the car. This is easily my favorite R&H score and is one of the few recordings that I listen through entirely. That's right - I never skip a single song. I can't speak highly enough of this delightful recording. All of the cast members deliver top notch musical performances, as does the orchestra behind them. This recording cannot dissapoint.
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on February 5, 2015
What does "Original Broadway Cast" mean? The original cast members are either dead or retired in Palm Springs! This title is very misleading. Sad to say, it is used for a lot of musicals to sell them.
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on January 6, 2005
What a delight to finally own the C.D. of what I remember to be such a fine show, Everything is first rate and the inclusion of color photographs and the incredible costume and set designs is a plus for collectors. I can just picture the show listening to the C.D. and seeing the beautiful costumes took me right back to 1946 and era my husband and I shall never forget. Our grandchild considers this her favorite show an she likes Usher!
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on May 22, 2000
Having been lucky enough to see this production when it was on Broadway I was glad to see that it made it to CD. I was overjoyed to see that so much of this score(an amalgamation of both movie versions plus songs from other R&H musical including a cut song from Oklahoma!) was preserved. There is so much about this recording to treasure. The cast is first rate! Their interpretation of the score is excellect and in character with the time the play is set in. The orchestration and vocal arrangemets are absolutely first rate. Most of the dance music was included on the recording making for an almost theatrical experince. To bad no video of this show was made the sets, lighting, costumes, choreograhpy and acting were steller. I would highly recomend this cd to anyone interested Musicals the way they should be, Great songs, great arrangments, great performances.
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on October 8, 2014
A great old time musical. I have both the film versions. There is wonderful freshness to this blended production of both films. The voices are spot on. I only wish someone had made a DVD of the show. I am sure it was great fun.
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