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The Woman in White Cast Recording


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Audio CD, Cast Recording, November 8, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Musical Sensation Premiered at the Palace Theatre on 15 September 2004. "Freely Adapted" from the Classic Wilkie Collins Novel, this is Another Grand Production of Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Company. The Principles Include Maria Friedman, Angela Christian, Martin Crewes, Jill Paice and the Original "Phantom", Michael Crawford! Unlike Past Cast Albums, this One was Recorded Live on Opening Night, Thanks to the Presence of a Full Recording Studio Actually in the Palace Theatre! all the Passion of the Live Performances Are Captured on this Set, Sans the Applause. Only the Final Scene and Crawford's Performance of "You Can Get Away with Anything" were Re-recorded Due to Extraneous Noise, However, Crawford's Actual Live Performance Has Been Added as a Bonus Track to the Set. It's Another Monumental Lloyd Webber Extravaganza, Sure to Please Theatre Goers around the Globe! Includes the Complete Libretto!

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The Woman in White, Andrew Lloyd Webber's first musical in four years, debuted in London in September 2004. "Freely adapted" from Wilkie Collins's gothic mystery-romance, it tells the story of a young art teacher, Walter Hartright (Martin Crewes), who encounters a mysterious woman dressed in white desperate to tell a secret. But she disappears, and Walter continues on to his assignment teaching a pair of sisters, Marian Holcombe (Maria Friedman) and Laura Fairlie (Jill Paice). Romance develops, but is threatened by the arrival of some shady characters, Sir Percival Glyde (Oliver Darley) and Count Fosco (Michael Crawford).

The score, featuring lyrics by David Zippel (City of Angels), recalls the composer's Aspects of Love, Phantom of the Opera, and Sunset Boulevard, as well as Victorian-themed shows Sweeney Todd and even The Mystery of Edwin Drood. It has some lovely moments, such as "Trying Not to Notice," "All for Laura," "Evermore without You," and "If Not for Me for Her," though for sheer beauty it's no Light in the Piazza. And as with any ALW nearly through-sung musical, a number of the themes recycle themselves to the point where you'll dread the mere mention of certain characters' names. Friedman and Paice give the strongest performances, while Crawford--in his much-anticipated reunion with Lloyd Webber after Phantom--doesn't have a lot to do other than the muggy showpiece "You Can Get Away with Anything." Note that The Woman in White was recorded before a live audience, but "You Can Get Away with Anything" had to be rerecorded in a studio because it was the only number with an audible audience reaction. Crawford's original live performance, however, is included as a coda at the end of the second disc. It's great to have the complete libretto, except that it specifies scene titles while the CD packaging shows track listings and song titles, which means that figuring out where you are takes some detective work. When The Woman in White opened on Broadway in November 2005, Friedman, Paice, and Angela Christian (Anne Catherick) reprised their roles from the London production, while Michael Ball replaced Crawford. --David Horiuchi


Disc: 1
1. Prologue
2. I Hope You Like It Here
3. Perspective
4. Trying Not To Notice
5. I Believe My Heart
6. Lammastide
7. You See I Am No Ghost
8. A Gift For Living Well
9. The Holly and the Ivy
10. All For Laura
See all 12 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. If I Could Only Dream This World Away
2. The Nightmare
3. Fosco Tells Of Laura's Death/The Funeral/London
4. Evermore Without You
5. Lost Souls
6. If Not For Me For Her
7. You Can Get Away With Anything
8. The Seduction
9. The Asylum
10. Back To Limmeridge
See all 12 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 8, 2005)
  • Original Release Date: 2005
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Angel Records
  • ASIN: B000BGR128
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,927 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 98 people found the following review helpful By AndyNYC on November 29, 2004
Format: Audio CD
...but flawed, as most of Lloyd Webber's scores since "Sunset Boulevard" have been. Granted, every score, regardless of the composer, has its flaws, but I have noticed a trend with Lloyd Webber, starting with "Whistle Down the Wind," that continues here, where several strong songs are diminished by lesser ones and occasionally dull recitative dialogue sequences.

"The Woman in White" is in some ways the most complex and interesting score composed by Lloyd Webber since "Sunset Boulevard," which I found as thoroughly enjoyable as "The Phantom of the Opera" in many respects. Here, we have a dark setting, an air of mystery, quite a few intriguing characters and many opportunities for dramatic scoring and romantic performances, all of which add up to a generally winning end result. The opening sequence is memorably spooky, and the cast's vocals shine throughout, particularly on songs like "I Believe My Heart," "Evermore Without You," and my personal favorite, "All For Laura," which is absolutely electrifying.

There are many more good tunes in the score, as well as plenty of skillfully executed recitative dialogue, but there is also quite a bit of bland recitative (the kind where you can't really put your finger on any melody, a situation not helped by occasionally medicore lyrics) and less memorable songs.

Also, it's impossible not to notice that Lloyd Webber has (yet again) ripped off his own "Jeeves" score ("By Jeeves" to those who know its reincarnated version better) as well as "Whistle Down the Wind." Numerous times you can hear the original bridge section of "Half a Moment" from "Jeeves" (a.k.a. the introduction to "Half a Moment" in "By Jeeves"), a clear and direct lift.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Lady Blakeney on June 6, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals have never been popular with the critics, but as box office records show, audiences eat them up with a spoon. They are meant to serve as entertainment, and entertain they certainly do.

"The Woman in White" is not much different from standard Lloyd Webber fare, as the dialogue is still sung through and filled with melodies that repeat over and over and over again. While this might seem annoying, Lloyd Webber manages to get away with it because if there's one thing he can do, it is create pleasant tunes that you don't mind encountering more than once. There are not as many memorable melodies as you might find in "The Phantom of the Opera", but the "Woman in White" theme, "I Believe My Heart", and "You Can Get Away With Anything" are definitely standouts.

The plot is "freely adapted" from the novel by Wilkie Collins, and is very easy to follow. Though it's a touch simplistic and perhaps even a wee bit predictable, it is executed in such a way that it propells you on to see what the outcome will be.

The performances on the CD, recorded live on opening night, are perfect across the board. Michael Crawford, who originated the title role in "The Phantom of the Opera", is at his villainous best as Count Fosco, the obese Italian who pairs with the sinister Sir Percival Glyde (Oliver Darley). Marian and Laura, the half-sisters caught in the middle of the mystery (Marian Friedman, Jill Paice) are wonderful to listen to, and the eponymous Woman in White (Angela Christian, "Miss Dorothy" in the OBC of "Thoroughly Modern Millie) simply breaks your heart.

The musical is expected to make the leap from the West End to Broadway soon. Hopefully "The Phantom of the Opera" will continue to run for years, but if not then "The Woman in White" looks to be a worthy successor.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By K. Crandall on January 13, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I saw the show in London twice last week, due to having purchased a ticket on my own before finding out that our group leader had included the show on our itinerary. Michael Crawford did not perform the first time I went, although his understudy was excellent, so I went the second time hoping to finally see him. Alas, he was still sick, and the "understudy to the understudy" had no chemistry whatsoever with Maria Friedman.

I found the music repetitive and boring. It opened well, but in the first act the establishment of the love relationship could have been cut by two songs. Then the music started to repeat, quite noticeably by the second half. I haven't seen several of the other musicals mentioned here, but I definitely heard snippets of "Phantom" used in the bridges. It seemed as if he ran out of material early and started recycling songs from the first half into the second half. It became extremely annoying.

"All for Laura" was powerfully sung, but in the context of the story was trite and unsatisfying. ALW's treatment of the story really was shallow, requiring no thought whatsoever. A "mystery" or conflict was introduced, only to be resolved in the very next line. It was utterly predictable.

"You Can Get Away With Anything" was one of the only bright, fresh spots in the second act. At last, a new song! And it was staged beautifully.

Overall, I found the musical simplistic and boring. There were a few good moments, including the first song sung by the "woman in white" ("You See I Am No Ghost" and all other variations of it) but I cannot agree that the score approaches the "Phantom" by any stretch. The Phantom of the Opera is complex, textured, emotional and compelling. This musical was too simplistically adapted and two-dimensional.
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