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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
This is a re-jigged edition of the 2003 Broadway revival recording of WONDERFUL TOWN, featuring 2004 replacements Brooke Shields and Jennifer Hope Wills as Ruth and Eileen Sherwood, respectively. In one of those rare occurances where 2 different recordings exist for a single revival, it's great to be able to compare Shields and Wills with their predecessors (Donna Murphy and Jennifer Westfeldt). Brooke Shields gamely brings her own spin to the role of outspoken self-reliant Ruth, and her "100 Easy Ways to Lose a Man" is full of comedy and mirth. Jennifer Hope Wills has a glowing and lilting soprano voice which suits the numbers of Eileen to a tee. The rest of the cast remains the same (only the tracks of Shields and Wills are new, the rest recycled from the 2003 album). Not essential if you were satisfied with the Donna Murphy effort, but one can never have too many recordings of this heavenly score.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Okay, so Brooke Shields is not a premier vocalist. Let's remember that the part of Ruth Sherwood was initially written for THE non-vocalist of musical theater, Rosalind Russell, and was tailored to her vocal limitations. As I recall from that cast recording, her shortcomings were more than compensated for by the sheer force of her acting chops. While Shields is no Roz Russell, she acquits herself fairly well on this recording and is certainly never less than a complete pro. One internet review accused her of having pitch problems, which may be true, but anyone who's listened to Donna Murphy (or Russell, for that matter) could make the same claim. Shields manages. Unfortunately, her occassional tendency to mimic the vocal mannerisms of Murphy is a bit too obvious and is a distraction. On the other hand, Jennifer Hope Wills makes for a saucy Eileen and is a great addition to the new recording. Of course, new is relative here since everything else on this CD is a holdover from the initial Murphy CD. Still, I have to give this one 4 stars because the score is still magnificent and this is as pristine and dynamic a cast recording as I've ever heard. These songs fairly leap out of the speakers and listening to them is an absolute delight. It may not be the definitive version of the score (that honor belongs to Murphy's) but it's so close to perfection that it shouldn't be ignored because of the supposed limitations of a perfectly fine performer. Listen to Brooke, and you'll still want to CONGA!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I had the pleasure to actually see Brooke in Wonderful Town on it's closing week, 3 times!!! The most touching was the closing night's performance when her husband actually brought their daughter to the theatre and handed her to Brooke on the stage for a few minutes.

I was lucky i saw her performance all 3 times from right in the front row!!! It was just an amazing experience!

When i bought the Cd, just before seeing the first performance i was quite disappointed in it, but when i actually saw it the same night i was fascinated by it!!! On stage she sang with all her heart and emotions and that counts more than having big pipes...althought her role doesn't require a necesseraly good singer but she did a marvelous job with it! Just seeing her belting out that last note in One Hundred Easy Ways was just amazing! She actually can sing! (Although just listening to the Cd might be not enought to judge that)

In the numbers Conga and Swing she was also just fascinating!

It's just a shame she has been overlooked at the Tony awards this year, at least a nomination she would have deserved!

Nothing compares to seeing her live and every time i listen to the Cd, the emotions what i felt sitting in the theatre watching this fascinating woman working hard right in front of me and displaying an acting range which she never got a chance to proove in movies.

Althought eventually she performed the same play but all 3 times i saw it she always made it fresh and new and Ladies and Gentleman that IS A SIGN OF A REAL ACTRESS!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2005
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I had the pleasure of watching Brooke Shields and Jennifer Hope Willis on Broadway, and I was thrilled to get the album with the cast I saw! Even though I had already purchased the 1999 studio recording of the show, I had to have this one, and I have not regretted it. Both Brooke and Jennifer were great in the show, and so was Gregg Edelman. And yes Brooke can sing, and she was very funny, perfect for the role of Ruth (and she was there!). It would be hard to get in front of Broadway audiences night after night as she did, giving the performance she did, if she could not sing. Her dedication was much appreaciated by lovers of this and all other shows on Broadway. Enjoy the recording!
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2005
Format: Audio CD
In 2004, Donna Murphy recieved heavy criticism for her lack of attendance in the Broadway Revival of the classic show Wonderful Town. In September Donna left the show, and the show was left in shambles. The Weisslers new stunt cast for the role of Ruth was a shocker to many. They casted Brooke Shields in the role, previously on Broadway in Grease and Cabaret (recieved mixed reviews in both). Once Brooke started in the show, it was a breath of fresh air for the revival. The critics loved Brooke, and gave her stellar reviews.

We all know Brooke isn't much of a singer, but in Wonderful Town she really tries. As stated before the role dosen't call for a singer. Donna Murphy could almost be considered a miscast for this role, because of her amazing vocals she used in the role, didn't really fit the character. Brooke gives a vocal performance similar to the original Ruth, Rosalind Russell. I think Brooke sounds pretty damn good on the harmony in "Ohio", with the new Eileen Jennifer Hope Will's. She gives a comedic "One Hundred Easy Ways", and she gives a great "Conga", and "Swing". Ofcourse, the vocals Donna Murphy gave sounded wonderful, and were a joy too listen to. Brooke gives a very comedic and fun Ruth, and her vocals aren't as dissapointing as some are saying.

This new recording with Brooke Shields and Jennifer Hope Wills should not be missed, it's a great addition in your "Wonderful Town" collection. Brooke and Jennifer are a delight. See them in the Broadway Revival before it closes Jan 30.
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on February 11, 2008
Format: Audio CD
New York City Critics Said:
"In replacing the beguiling Donna Murphy, Shields hasn't so much replicated her performance as rejuvenated the role of Ruth Sherwood and the show itself. She hasn't done it, it should be mentioned, through the application of a new kind of show-biz razzle-dazzle; instead, Shields triumphs by taking the show back to its roots. And in doing so, she's found something that Murphy - while excellent in the role - somehow lacked"
-Talkin' Broadway-
"Brooke is a Delight"
-Ben Brantley, New York Times-
"She's a terrific performer, careful and resilient, with an unerring sense of humor and a style that can make ungainliness graceful and reticence explosive. She is the perfect Ruth, a would-be writer, who sees herself as the Ugly Duckling second banana to her younger, glamorous magnetic sister Eileen"
-Clive Barnes, New York Post-

There is nothing I need to add. Brooke Shields, Jennifer Hope Wills and original cast member Gregg Edelman are the ideal cast for Wonderful Town.
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on December 16, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This show is nice, very broadway. The music is nice, lyrics fun, and whole show a nice piece. It isn't something I would listen to over and over which is why it's only getting three stars, but it isn't something that I won't play from time to time. Of the two recordings I have (this one and the 2003 revival) there are MINISCULE differences, but I would say the 2003 revival is the better of the two (and cheaper). I like Donna Murphy's character over Brooke Shields. Good CD for collectors and new broadway listners alike. Fav Song: "Conga"
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on January 9, 2009
Format: Audio CD
No one in his or her right mind would purchase this recording after hearing the Donna Murphy revival. While I actually have a lot of respect for Brooke Shields as a comic and "pop" dramatic actress, I was extremely disappointed with her acting and singing on this recording. All one needs to do is play the Brooke Shields CONGA directly followed by the Donna Murphy CONGA and let one's ears be the judge. This album is a waste of money.
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Although Brooke Shields recived positive reviews in her run as Ruth in Wonderful Town I was VERY VERY disapointed with this recording, I think it is just verry simpal Brooke Shields is no Donna Murphy. Considering that Brooke Shields isn't one of our better vocalists, it is still a load of crap. Beyond Shields' and Wills' vocals, the rest of the recording remains the same as it was with Murphy and Westfeldt. Several tracks are untouched from the 2004 edition; these include the overture, "Christopher Street," "Pass the Football," "A Quiet Girl," "Ballet at the Village Vortex," almost all of "My Darlin' Eileen," and, but for a spoken line or two, "Conquering New York" and "What a Waste."

BUY THE ONE WITH DONNA MURPHY- A REAL BROADWAY STAR
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7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This album makes me upset. There was a beautiful wonderful album already released with the brilliant Donna Murphy and then the producers put this out to compete with it? Why would they do that? Get the one with Donna Murphy, you won't regret it.
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