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Fairly new fan of Broadway - what are five DVDs and five cast alblums I should experience?


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Posted on May 9, 2012 12:56:03 PM PDT
BearguyVA says:
Tons of stuff has already been recommended; some of it I've heard, some of it not... all I can do is add some of "my favorite things"... (yeah, bad pun...)
- Mame, w/Angela Lansbury. Especially the remaster with some of Jerry Herman's demos. "Camoflage" is such a fun number!
- Jesus Christ Superstar, 1971 (NOT the movie)
- Chess, early 1980's. Okay, it didn't make it to Broadway for a while... I prefer the original recording with Murray Head
- The Pirates of Penzance - the version with Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt. I readily admit to bias on this one... the movie version came out not long before we did this one during my senior year of high school.

I don't have many DVD's. "Cats" is good and makes more sense when you see the whole thing. I recently saw "Memphis" on PBS (which is supposedly out on DVD) and although I liked it on TV, I wasn't as enthusiastic about just listening to it on CD.

Have fun exploring and finding new treasures!

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2012 9:03:43 AM PDT
misterposter says:
I love the OCR of "Book of Mormon" but would never recommend it for someone just establishing their Broadway cast recording collection. I play "BOM" all the time but there is so much more out there that is more representative of musical theatre. "Mormon" is a new show and whether it will stand the test of time is unknown - I can assure you that it will never be performed by any high school in America - I've seen it, loved it and have tickets to go again in the summer but still it would not make my top five cast recordings. My five would probably be "A Chorus Line", "Mack & Mabel", "Miss Saigon", "Carrousel" and "Merrily We Roll Along" and if I can squeeze in a 6th it would be the OCR of "Annie" which is pure sing along fun all the way through. But as I suggested previously the public library is a great place to borrow OCR's at no charge - when you find something you enjoy see if there are other works available by the same writers and give them a try - narrowing it down to five should be difficult once you've been exposed to numerous different scores and styles.

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2012 8:56:24 AM PDT
misterposter says:
This was the original London production of "Barnum" (Michael Crawford just prior to "Phantom") . The staging was duplicated for this filming and is said to be a close to the original as possible. Although I am quite familiar with the score I had never seen a production of the show and was just slightly disappointed that it wasn't a big as I had expected - that in no way distracts from the quality or enjoyment of the production I was simply expecting something a bit more lavish. The size may well have been a result of a theatre that was much smaller than one might anticipate for a circus themed musical (if that makes sense). Anyway, I hope you find it enjoyable and a valid representation of the original theatrical production.

Posted on May 5, 2012 3:13:22 AM PDT
Joe Hart says:
One album I don't remember reading here just occurred to me - "Man of La Mancha" - think it had one of the best most interesting stories I've ever run across (how's that for making the obvious explicit?), and also some of the best and some of the worst songs ever written (for a show or anything else) - they range from the hair-raisingly poignant and beautiful to the god awful bad! I don't recommend this album because the bad songs are so bad (I don't have it anymore), but god I love the good ones! I don't think I saw the flick (so don't know how badly deccimated the score is), but think it had Peter O'Toole, James Coco and Sophia Loren in it - could be wrong - but if not - what a movie that must have been! Saw it done at a college a few years ago - just a glimpse of how wonderful the original (Richard Kiley?) must have been - recall the bad songs "worked" as theater, just boring to listen to on the stereo -

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2012 9:06:45 PM PDT
Joe Hart says:
misterposter, sir - Thank you for the info about "Barnum"! I just ordered it. I love Cy Coleman (except "City of Angels") and I love "Barnum". Hope all the songs are there.

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2012 8:36:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 4, 2012 8:36:52 PM PDT
Joe Hart says:
I bought the album of "Book of Mormon" because I like "South Park" and had heard so many scandalous things about the show. I thought it was dull as dirt, the tunes are nothing, the lyrics so-so (maggots on a scrotum or whatever it was is just dumb). Its popularity might not be due to its being any good. Years ago there was a movie called "Blue Lagoon" or something that was supposed to have some frontal nudity (god what a pompous expression) of a couple teenagers. It was a big hit. The matinee I went to was crowded with little old ladies. It was an artsy movie, and no doubt they were interested in art. I didn't go for art. I went for Joe. I do not recommend "BOM" no matter how many people bought it! And the only things that offend me are hawks, Christians, homophobes and racists.

Posted on May 4, 2012 4:54:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 4, 2012 4:56:30 PM PDT
Nanasjt says:
The Book Of Mormon is definately #1 right now. If you aren't easily offended it is THE Broadway Original Cast Album you should have in your collection. It just happens to be the biggest selling Broadway album in almost 20 years. That should tell you something. There are so many others-but here's just a few for thought and ones I think you should have: Original Broadway Cast Album of OLIVER!; Wicked, Rent, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (with Donnie Osmond), Memphis, Funny Girl (Barbra Streisand, of course), Hairspray, The King and I, My Fair Lady---and I almost forgot: The movie version is my favorite movie but the original Broadway cast album is great, too: WEST SIDE STORY. Sorry I listed more than five. LOL

Posted on May 4, 2012 1:51:24 PM PDT
I love Hugh Jackman so have to add Soundtrack from The Boy From Oz. I'm sure the others are all great too.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2012 5:32:56 AM PDT
misterposter says:
Wow, what a daunting task. You're going to get a widel variety of answers from an equally wide variety of people. Best bet would be to borrow cast albums from your local library - everyone looks for something different in a performance and you should get an idea from these CDs what you find enjoyable. Some cast recording stand on there own with little or no information needed about the show. Yet other recordings don't seem to offer the same enjoyment as the songs are production driven and, outside of the show, don't seem very effective. As for DVD's, unless you get an actual recording for a performance, you will get a movie version that, while quite possibly good on its own, will probably not be a true representation of the theatrical production. I recently discovered a 1986 London production of "Barnum" starring Michael Crawford on DVD (available on Amazon) that is quite good.

Posted on Apr 9, 2012 11:53:12 PM PDT
Robby says:
1. Ragtime
2. The Roar of the Greasepaint...The Smell of the Crowd
3. West Side Story
4. My Fair Lady
5. The London cast of "Camelot" with Richard Harris, but substitute Robert Goulet

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 13, 2012 5:31:14 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 13, 2012 5:34:07 AM PST
Joe Hart says:
They may be oop by now anyway, but the Goddard Lieberson Columbia studio recreations of those old shows (conducted and arranged by Lehman Engel and usually starring Mary Martin (who sang the best songs regardless of characters) and Jack Cassidy) have pretty much been replaced by some very good revivals. They were incomplete anyway. These are my favorite shows, and I'd like to mention a few.

1. Babes in Arms (Rodgers & Hart) - on New World with Blazer, Edelman. Graae, etc. - talk about standards! this show set the record with 5, and you've probably heard most of the others - songs and lyrics are complete and as you might guess by the cast, the performances are great.

2. Pal Joey (also Rodgers & Hart) - the 1995 revival cast with Lupone and Neuwirth, has all the songs and all the lyrics - the only minor flaw (who but Boyer would notice) is that Lupone can't speak French (couldn't ANYONE in the studio tell her?).

On Your Toes (Rodgers & Hart) - 1983 revival on TER - all the songs and all the lyrics with original Hans Spialek orchestrations and including the complete Slaughter on 10th Ave - again a flaw - in Slaughter - the sound of gunshots is left out - police whistles are in - I don't like violence either, but really! This has always spoiled it for me. And if you haven't heard Slaughter, you're in I think for a hell of a surprise.

Anything Goes (Porter) - revival on Epic with Hal Linden, Eileen Rodgers - this is a revival that both cut and interpolated songs, but is all Porter and an absolutely wonderful show (not a dud in it), I like it better than the original score.

Posted on Jan 12, 2012 9:20:43 PM PST
misterposter says:
I won't suggest specific titles but would instead suggest that you try the public library. The audio video department of most libraries in major metropolitan ares have a very large collection of theatrical cast recording and DVDs. For cast albums I suggest you start alphabetically and work your way through. Keep a record of the shows you like and look for other shows but the same composers and/or performers. Those things that you discover you like and want to add to your own collection you can purchase as downloads or buy the CDs (new or used) here. I prefer to own the CDs because I want the insterts eith cast information but I know others who a happy downloading.

Posted on Jan 12, 2012 8:36:47 AM PST
Kris Kane says:
It's so hard to narrow it down to only 5 of each.
Cast Recordings:
Jekyll and Hyde
Jesus Christ Superstar
The Last 5 Years
1776
A New Brain

DVDs:
Les Miserables Concert
Into the Woods
Brigadoon
Chicago
Phantom of the Opera

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2012 6:37:26 PM PST
Dee Michel says:
I am glad that someone is listing older shows, esp by Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hart. I saw the off Broadway revival of Boys from Syracuse and loved it. Three super standards in one show, not interpolated: "Falling in love with love," "Sing for your supper," and "This can't be love."

Other faves of mine that are rarely on 'best' lists:
The Apple Tree: Barbara Harris is hilarious, clever lyrics
Fiorello: beautiful and funny songs
Inner City: lots of satire, and Linda Hopkins, recently released on CD
It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman: "You've got possibilities" is one of the all time best show tunes, and Linda Lavin gives it her all
Pal Joey: more standards: "I could write a book." "Bewitched"

Posted on Jan 9, 2012 9:17:35 PM PST
I think the 5 best musicals to own are:
1. West Side Story
2. Ragtime
3. Chorus Line
4. Passing Strange
5. Sweeney Todd

Very honorable mentions:
1. Company
2. Rent
3. Spring Awakening
4. Sunset Boulevard (only 5 songs reworked and reworked but reworked well! LOL)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2012 11:00:49 AM PST
Joe Hart says:
"Ragtime" had enough diallogue to make its racism and violence quite clear. I don't follow Bway so I don't know what's new or in these days. Tell me, do you prefer Cziffra or Hamelin? I didn't razz Martin, I just said I didn't like her, and thought that expression on the SOM cover was nauseous. As for her "control" - talk to Lehman Engel. Or read about her rapport with Pinza in "Soporic". As for Hart, Porter and Coward - I still listen. I assume you listen to what you like?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2012 10:29:42 AM PST
Mark C. Hawk says:
Wasn't "Ragtime" mostly sung-through? So for the most part, the OCAs contain mostly the fun and clever music. And you've never heard of "Grand Hotel" or "Light at the Piazza?" They were nominated for about a dozen Tonys each, both winning about half their categories. (Two very different but both excellent shows.) I seems like now that the composers of 60-70 years ago ("The Best...Hart/Porter/Coward") are gone, some have just stopped listening. There's so much interesting and fresh work out there. If I had to live in a theaterworld of revivals and musicalized versions of (usually unworthy) TV/Film projects, I'd plotz. And does anyone really think that Mary Martin had anything what-so-ever to do with what pictures of her the record companies used on the covers of her 1950s LPs? (I'm not a huge Martin fan, but she should get razzed for that?) It was probably more like, "Mary...stand here and smile. OK, you're 45 years old Mary...make it a bit more coy...girlish. Click. Thanks." She wasn't exactly Streisand or Lucille Ball.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2012 6:02:49 AM PST
Joe Hart says:
I've bought two copies of "Ragtime" and had one given to me. Threw them all away. Couldn't take the story. But I love the music (especiallly the intro, "Crime of the Century" and "Sarah"), and think the lyrics are fun and clever. Never heard of the other 2.

Posted on Jan 3, 2012 5:53:28 AM PST
R. Lee says:
Ragtime is one of my all time favorites along with Light in the Piazza and Grand Hotel.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2012 10:58:54 AM PST
DEWEY M. says:
Bill: No, Julie Andrews as Maria was not all sweetness and light. She is very opinionated, outspoken, and rebellious. Very spunky. There is much more going in these musicals than people think. People don't care to analyze much beyond the surface.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2012 10:53:35 AM PST
Joe Hart says:
Gene Kelly's first big break (after part of Mary Martin's chorus in "Leave It To Me" and a semi-lead in Saroyan's straight play "The Time Of Your Life") was as Joey in O'Hara's (Rodgers & Hart) "Pal Joey" - he played a total heel. Sinatra had the part in the watered down emulsified movie (as one critic said, a part Sinatra was born to play), and in the flick (his first, at Garland's request) "For Me & My Gal" (one of my favorite movies) he plays a WWII draft dodger (who redeems himself in the tear-getting climax). George Murphy on the other hand (Kelly's rival for Garland in the same flick) played a true jerk - it seemed to come natural to him. (You brought up the subject of jerks, you know.)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2012 10:14:10 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 1, 2012 10:15:30 AM PST
Bill Mobley says:
I was surprised when I watched the movie version of "The Sound of Music," and how Maria quite angrily stands up to the Captain in one scene. She's not as sweet as I thought. I had the same experience while watching one of those old backyard musical movies with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. Mickey Rooney angrily tells his father in one scene: "You are nothing but a low down, good for nothing drunk." I thought kids were totally submissive to their parents in those days. I was like, is this 1940 or 2011?
Also, sometimes Gene Kelly's characters were jerks (An American in Paris).
Alright, I ventured away from the topic.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2011 11:44:28 AM PST
DEWEY M. says:
Ah, yes-- inside the album cover. That is Patricia Neway as Mother Abbess.
I've seen productions of "The Sound Of Music" where the children were just too cute and adorable for tolerence. I wanted to get my gun and shoot them and, possibly, myself as well.

Posted on Dec 30, 2011 11:22:22 AM PST
Joe Hart says:
I mean Martin kneeling and looking up at the older woman (Mother Abbess???), I think the older woman is reaching down holding her hand, or Martin in reaching up. I've seen her with the guitar and the (eh) adorable little ones.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2011 11:16:54 AM PST
DEWEY M. says:
We weren't saying Mary Martin couldn't be sentimental. Anybody can be. Bill and I just feel Mary wasn't overtly sentimental on her recording of "The Sound Of Music." For the record, I think Mary's picture on "The Sound Of Music" LP Cover is charming. What else can you do with seven children on stage?
Cheers and Best Wishes
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