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Tennessee Williams: Words & Music

5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 8, 2014
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Tennessee Williams: Words & Music + Beautiful: The Carole King Musical + If/Then: A New Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
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Editorial Reviews

Alison Fraser s Tennessee Williams: Words and Music features songs and monologues from several Tennessee Williams plays, which together tell a compelling new story of their own. This album, recorded in New Orleans, is a document of Alison s one-woman show that premiered at The Tennessee Williams Festival in Williams birthplace Columbus, Mississippi and went on to great acclaim at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival.

The songs compiled by the show s director David Kaplan who also serves as the Provincetown festival s curator are accompanied by piano powerhouse Allison Leyton Brown, a classically-trained virtuoso known for driving the beat and rattling the rafters in a dazzling array of musical styles, and a band of extraordinary jazz musicians aptly named The Gentlemen Callers.

Country-western ballads, Mississippi blues, and Latin love songs are just some of those musical styles on display here, which thrill in lifting classics by the likes of Duke Ellington, Nöel Coward, and W.C. Handy to new heights.
Alison Fraser is a nationally celebrated performer across all entertainment mediums. She is a two-time Tony Award nominee for The Secret Garden and Romance/Romance and has co-starred in other theatrical productions with such luminaries as Patti LuPone, Kelli O Hara, Steven Pasquale, Laura Benanti, Nathan Lane, and Mandy Patinkin.

Alison has had an extensive recording career with two solo albums and numerous cast albums such as March of the Falsettos, Falsettos, In Trousers, Swingtime Canteen, Lizzie Borden, and Prodigal already under her belt.

On television, Alison has appeared on Smash, Law and Order SVU, and Third Watch. Her film work includes The Thing About My Folks playing opposite Paul Reiser and Peter Falk. Her web series work includes a recurring role in the award-winning Jack In The Box. Alison s voice can be heard in the hugely popular video games Grand Theft Auto IV and V as well as on many audiobooks and thousands of TV and radio spots.


1. If I Didn t Care
2. It s Only a Paper Moon
3. One Night s Shelter
4. You re the Only Star (In My Blue Heaven)
5. New San Antonio Rose
6. Yellow Dog Blues
7. Do You Remember Jean Harlow?
8. Sweet Leilani
9. Estrellita
10. Come le Rose
11. Sophisticated Lady
12. St. Louis Blues
13. I m Forever Blowing Bubbles
14. The Party s Over Now
15. Thinner and Thinner
16. Bye Bye Blues

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 8, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ghostlight
  • ASIN: B00IBQ5OWY
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,205 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Scott Kenan on April 27, 2014
Format: Audio CD
I slipped into another world when I played Alison's disk - I'm not certain what I expected, but this was SO MUCH MORE! I'm not much of a musical reviewer, and I was not at all familiar with Alison's previous work (although I knew she acted in the premier of Tennessee's IN MASKS OUTRAGEOUS AND AUSTERE, which he wrote much of while I was the playwright's assistant). Alison's voice moves effortlessly through the material, illuminating it in new ways, as The Gentleman Callers' pitch-perfect accompaniment seems to seamlessly dance with and make love to her.

I was transported back to the early 1980s when Tennessee and I and others listened to Jane Smith at small dinner parties, as she sang on demand for Tennessee, a cappella - and smoky nights in Manhattan clubs and piano bars of that era.

And while, on first listening, I favor some numbers over others, what truly penetrated my soul was Alison's reading of short pieces of Tennessee's writing - and mostly pieces about "the delicate moths", as he sometimes called them, women who would be CRUSHED in today's hard world, but lived in the more languid Southern atmosphere of a time now long gone - poetry on gossamer wings.

And even beyond all that - and David Kaplan, who conceived the project and directed Alison, had a most important hand in this too - part of what would SET TENNESSEE WILLIAMS ON FIRE about this recording, is the choice of materials associated with CLOTHES FOR A SUMMER HOTEL and SOMETHING CLOUDY, SOMETHING CLEAR, two completed plays that always seemed on Tennessee's mind in 1981 and 82.

This effort of Ms. Fraser/Mr. Kaplan seems actually perfect to me - a true spiritual link to my old boss and friend. I salute all who worked on it, and suggest that if you have read this far, please don't forget to buy it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Douglas McKeown on May 2, 2014
Format: Audio CD
This is not your average songbook. Rich lines of dialogue cleverly excerpted, sensuously spoken by the very talented actress Alison Fraser, smoothly transition to great standards, sensuously and evocatively sung by — the very talented singer Alison Fraser! The authentic New Orleans jazz sound is perfect. It's as if Tennessee Williams had written a one-woman musical.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pamala on April 24, 2014
Format: Audio CD
I give Alison and Tennessee five stars any time. She's takes you to the Milky way, soars with you on a steaming comet, whispers and growls through the streets of New Orleans, dives deep into an endless journey of emotions...she's a marvel! She's a singer with a gift for taking you into one tight embrace with life and abandoning you on the cliff while her magical music talents rescue you, comfort you- so yes, she leaves you breathless! Take your emotions, your fast beating heart and grab hold of Alison as best you can- grab this CD and enter a whole new world- drink it in- Feast. You will love it!
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By Robert A. Horek on November 21, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Who knew he wrote such wonderful lyric's? Great!!!!!
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Faulk on April 13, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a singer! What an actress! What a bouquet, what a billet-doux, what a champagne toast for Tom&Tenn Williams!

All materials are drawn from the live stage production conceived and directed by David Kaplan and premiered at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival in 2008.

TW-LOVER DAVID KAPLAN'S PHRASES...

...in the 6-page booklet provide insight into this varied oh-so-entertaining collection:

...Alison Fraser begins her extraordinary voyage led on by extraordinary New Orleans musicians, the Gentlemen Callers [playing trombone, bass, drums, sax, trumpet, guitar, ukulele] alongside the hot piano chords of orchestrator Allison Leyton-Brown...Fraser pours it out in her pure dark alto...muted Dixieland brass...Her voice is in the clear now...Bumptious...she sets out with grace, as songs overheard in a play by Williams are often called to do...Yellow Dog Blues, famously wailed into an Edison wax cylinder by Bessie Smith...Sweet Leilani boiled down to the sugary essence of the wind-up Victrola Williams remembered all his life...languid Mexican romancero...Come le Rose, an Italian beauty from The Rose Tattoo...Sophisticated Lady, the music pours like some thick liqueur...Fraser catches fever from the heated brass and smoking keyboard...the eerie sweetness of Leyton-Brown's arrangement...Fraser drops to the deepest part of her remarkable range...there's a heavenly encore, Bye Bye Blues...

THE 16 TRACKS

Seven tracks include Alison's fresh spontaneous true "recitations" from the plays:

If I Didn't Care
"Voulez-vous coucher...
Read more ›
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