Cabaret 1999 Studio Cast First Complete Recording
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This 1999 entry in JAY's Masterworks Edition series captures Kander and Ebb's Cabaret in an excellent two-disc release that preserves the complete Broadway score with its original orchestrations and vocal arrangements, as well as an addendum of four songs written for the 1972 motion picture (including "Maybe This Time" and "Money, Money") as well as three written for the 1987 Broadway revival--111 minutes in all. Jonathan Pryce might be too similar to his most famous role as Miss Saigon's Engineer, but Oscar-winner Judi Dench (who shined as Desiree in a London version of Sondheim's A Little Night Music) and lyricist Fred Ebb himself are excellent as the older couple, Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz. Also good are Gregg Edelman as Cliff and Maria Friedman (best known for her role in the video production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) as Sally Bowles. This production may not have the authenticity of the original Broadway cast, the Liza-led star power of the film soundtrack, or the grit of the 1998 revival, but it's a highly enjoyable reading, and the completeness of the score makes it a must for the voracious Cabaret listener. --David Horiuchi
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What this recording DOES NOT HAVE is a decent recording, which proves shrill, and in FINALE ULTIMO, the ghost voices of Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz echoing fragments of their early dialogue are completely inaudible.
Then there are the performances, which aside from the acapello rendition of "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" are overall mediocre at best. Granted, this studio cast has some big shoes to fill with the catalogue of cast and soundtrack albums of this show, but unless there is going to be an artistic goal to the project, what's the point? Judi Dench fares rather well in the shadow of Lotte Lenya voicing the role of Fraulein Schneider. Gregg Edelman as Clifford Bradshaw, and Maria Friedman as Sally Bowles, are capable enough, though no competition for Liza Minelli or Bert Convey for that matter.
The real letdown for me from the get go is Jonathan Pryce in the role of the MC; he is either going through the role in a tone much what William Shatner would do with the daily special menu at Dennys, or shrieking maniacally like Caesar Romero doing his Joker turn at the end of the first act or in the appendix material of "Tiller Girls" He can barely get through the pitter-pat section of the money song, "Sitting Pretty" without stumbling. Enough dissing of Mr. Pryce-- this was a bad idea and we'll leave it go at that.
My major reservation with this recording is this material has been better performed and recorded better in the various productions over the years.
Would not recommend this recording to anyone who is not doing a community theatre production and needs a click-track
This recording features Jonathan Pryce (Engineer of MISS SAIGON) as the M.C. He does pretty well with the material but nowhere near the calibur of Joel Grey of the Original Cast Recording or Alan Cumming of the Revival Cast CD. "Willkommen" is presented in it's original Theatrical format, with no introduction of the girls and boys like the Revival Cast CD. "Two Ladies" is sung well by Louise Gold and Claire Moore (known for her portrayel of Ellen in MISS SAIGON), but Pryce is a bit vocally weak in the higher, falsetto parts. The song is cool, cuz it even has the exit music. "I'm Sitting Pretty" is in it's entirety 5.43 secs. With Introduction to every girl, and monologues in between (The Russian, Japanese, French, American girls.) One dissapointing part is when he slows down the infamous fast part, "I know my little cousin Eric....." that Joel Grey does so well. Pryce does better in "If You Could See Her", "Money", "I Don't Care Much", and "Money Money".
Maria Friedman (Roxie in a production of London's CHICAGO, Narrator of JOSEPH.. the video, also in the new Musical WITCHES OF EASTWICK) plays Sally Bowels. I'm very unsure of her performance. At times it's charming and vocally strong, but mostly breathy, and the work seems to deep for her voice. I can say that she hits some amazing notes in "Mein Herr", "Maybe This Time" and "Cabaret", but when the songs get in the lower register, she seems to struggle. Pay attention to "Perfectly Marvelous" how she goes in and out audibly. But this recording is a plus because it has ALL the dialogue that belongs in the middle of the songs. It even has just the dialogue of "Sally's Revolt" against Cliff, and thier "Break Up", which is interesting to hear. Also a highlight is the small point in the score where Sally does a brief duet with Herr Schultz when he sings "Meeskite."
Dame Judi Dench (Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love, Original London Sally Bowles of CABARET) plays Fraulein Schneider. Her rendition of "What Would You Do" is so powerful and stirring, making it the best one on CD. True, she doesn't have much of a singing voice but her acting is so incredible it shines through. "So What" is sung with more disgust and sarcasm than comedic, as most perform it. Herr Schultz is sung by the Lyricist himself, Fred Ebb. This it a very special album. Although he doesn't have a strong singing voice, it's very enduring. Their version of "It Couldn't Please Me More" is adorable.
Gregg Edelman (CITY OF ANGELS, Javert in LES MISERABLES in 1999) has a wonderful baritone voice. His acting is incredible too. I think he's the best Cliff on Recording. His rendition of "Why Sould I Wake Up" is the first one I liked. I've heard others before but he really knows how to deal with the text. He also does well in "Perfectly Marvelous". He sounds the All-American type.
The Kit Kat girls are all famous London Actresses.
Maria: Louise Gold
Lulu: Gay Soper (Mdme Thenardier LES MISERABLES COMPLETE REC.)
Rosie: Claire Moore (Ellen MISS SAIGON, Christine PHANTOM OF..)
Fritzie: Jacqueline Dankworth (Charity SWEET CHARITY Studio rec.)
Texas: Caroline O' Connor (Anita WEST SIDE STORY Studio rec.)
Frenchy: Calire Burt (Rizzo GREASE London CD) DIVAS, huh?!
So, if you have a few extra bucks, purchase this CD. I'd give it 3 1/2 stars if I could. There are plenty of familiar faces to keep you happy, as well as the entire score to CABARET!
Most recent customer reviews
I loved the 'feel' of this recording, but it did make me wish there was a Original cast recording of the London staging in...Read more