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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2005 Original Broadway Cast) Cast Recording
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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Soundtrack (2005 Original Broadway Cast)
With this giddily entertaining show, David Yazbek confirms that The Full Monty wasn't a fluke--few on Broadway can equal his melodic verve and lyrical cleverness. Based on the 1988 movie of the same name, the show deals with a pair of con artists swindling rich women on the French Riviera. Lithgow brings debonair charm to the Michael Caine part, while Norbert Leo Butz (Wicked) proves to be a comic dynamo in the Steve Martin part. And Yazbek provides them with an array of catchy tunes (adorned in beautiful Bacharach-style arrangements by Harold Wheeler). Butz goes ballistic on the hilarious "Great Big Stuff," which demolishes conspicuous consumption, then pairs up with feisty leading lady Sherie Rene Scott on "Love Is My Legs," a wicked sendup of Celine Dionstyle torch epics. Meanwhile, Lightgow nails the tender ballad "Love Sneaks In." A delicious jazz reprise of "Nothing Is Too Wonderful to Be True" by Scott and pianist Bill Charlap shows that Yazbek's songs don't need flashy pizzazz to be memorable. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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Top Customer Reviews
Happily, this is the case with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
The stage show is pure, fun old-fashioned musical comedy, but with modern style, pizazz and kicks. Jack O'Brian has done some of his best work in directing this marvelous show and Jeffrey Lane did a fantastic job developing the movie into a smart, fast-paced, fun show.
But, the real acheivement, that really shines on this recording, is the uber-catchy, uber-funny and uber-witty score by David Yazbek. Yazbek, a Hollywood veteran, had a hit on Broadway in 2001 with his first stage show, a musical version of The Full Monty. The show had a healthy run and was well-recieved, if a bit over-shadowed that year by The Producers, which dominated the press, the public and the Tonys. But the score to The Full Monty was full of zaniness and wacky intelligence, and with it, luckuly for us, Yazbek caught the Broadway bug.
His score to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is full of some of the most intelligent and down-right wittiest, and catchiest (Man, are these tunes catchy!) tunes to hit Broadway in some years.
Showstopper after showstopper. And, most important in a Broadway Cast Recording, the "re-listenable factor" is through the roof. Yazbek can be hysterically vulgar one lyric and then go into "Cole Porter mode" the next.
His lyrical genius can asily be observed in any of the songs. But the greatest asset is that his wit doesn't prevent him from being very funnily inane the next minute. ("Magic can happen anywhere/I knew this guy at camp/Who ate his t-shirt on a dare/My hotel gives away free shampoo/Nothing is too wonderful to be true").
The music itself is very "Hollywood-ish" and it works perfectly for the show.
The cast is magnificent in every sense of the word.
John Lithgow was more impressive actually seeing him onstage because he is at such ease. But his voice, though passable at best, posesses a quality that fits Yazbek's score miraculously. He's not a singer, that's for sure, but he is just fine and passes with flying colors. He is just so smooth and suave. A great performance on this recording.
Norbert Leo Butz's performance relies heavily on the physical comedy, so the sheer magnitude of his performance doesn't fully transfer, but his voice is golden and he shines.
Sherie Rene Scott has one the most crystal clear, powerful, yet sweet voices I've ever heard. I could listen to her for hours. Her first song, 'Here I Am' is funny and gorgoeusly sung. Her voice is heaven-sent.
Joanna Gleason is a legend and she shows it here, even though it is in a supporting role. She still posesses that beautiful quality to her voice that won her a Best Actress in a Musical Tony in 1988 for INTO THE WOODS. Her ability to perfectly interpret a lyric is a rare gift.
Gregory Jbara is even better on this recording than he was live. Not a stand-out, but still great. And his song 'Chimp in a Suit' is beautifully interpreted.
To sum up this score and this recording in three words:
Yet from the first moment the overture began, I was transported. The mood of the piece is immediately set, and you are swept up in the intrigue and underhanded dealings of our loveable scoundrels. I was delighted from the start. The performances are all utterly top-notch. Lithgow is simply a marvel, and it's such a treat to see him here, I was literally awestruck at his first appearance on the stage. His "Love Sneaks In" is definitely one to pull on the old heart strings. Sherie Renee Scott has always been one of my favorite Broadway singers...her voice is simply unreal for its crystal quality and clear belt, not to mention her ability to carefully and tenderly interpret lyrics (every time I hear her exclaim "These fries are French!" I laugh). Joanna Gleason is a legend. She's got such ease and charm, it's a pleasure to watch and even more so to hear her.
Of course, he who truly runs off with the production is none other than Norbert Leo Butz. The rumors are true: He's incredible. I've always loved his gorgeous voice, from "The Last Five Years" to "Wicked" to this production. He doesn't get the opportunity to play the swooning love interest like the previous two productions, but the lushness and depth of his voice still shines through. And his miraculous range as a performer is astounding both in person and on this soundtrack. He goes from "Great Big Stuff" to "All About Ruprecht" to "Love is My Legs" (my far-and-away favorite track, it never ceases to make me smile) and manages to infuse each number with so much energy and magnetism. I can only imagine the outcry if he doesn't roll away with the Tony.
The cast as a whole has one thing which really makes the difference between an okay show and a great one: Joy. Every actor has such a good time up there, it's obvious. And infectious. There's nothing an audience responds to better than the cast that truly enjoys themselves and each other. And you need only listen to "Dirty Rotten Number" to witness the obvious admiration and affection our two main scoundrels have for each other both in and out of character.
Combine the beautiful music and this stellar cast with the amazingly witty and literate lyrics in each number. Every track must be listened to several times over before all the references and jokes and asides are deciphered. There are still moments of awe when I pick up a line I previously missed or wonder to myself, exactly how DOES a writer pull off something like that?
In all, this is a truly unique experience. No, it's not laden down with some deep message about life or love. No, it's not scathing social commentary (though there are a few lines in there, most especially the "Bushes from Tex" passage in "Ruprecht", which speak to today's audience: "The Bushes from Tex were nervous wrecks because their son was dim....But look what happened to him!" Let me assure you, the audience went wild!). It's good, (mostly) clean fun, the soundtrack to which I have played innumerable times since I was fortunate enough to receive a free copy before the performance. Of course, there is bonus material on the newly-released soundtrack which makes me wonder if I shouldn't go buy that as well! It's worth the money for the ticket AND the soundtrack. If you're fortunate enough to live in close proximity to Broadway, I urge you to see it. If not, listen to this soundtrack and enjoy thoroughly.