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110 in the Shade (2007 Broadway Revival Cast) Cast Recording

4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, June 12, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

110 IN THE SHADE is Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt's heartrending musical adaptation of N. Richard Nash's classic play the Rainmaker. Starring 4-time Tony Award Audra MacDonald. This CD includes 21 tracks.

More than four decades after its Broadway debut, the Roundabout Theatre's 2007 revival of 110 in the Shade is a glorious showcase for soprano Audra McDonald, and an eloquent statement for an underrated and neglected work. Based on N. Richard Nash's play The Rainmaker, 110 in the Shade tells the story of a Texas town stuck in a blistering heat wave. Lizzie (McDonald), the daughter of a local widower (Broadway veteran and TV star John Cullum), has resisted all suitors, including the sheriff (Christopher Innvar), until a potential huckster named Starbuck (Steve Kazee) arrives in town promising to bring rain ("The Rain Song"). Just like Marian the librarian, Lizzie thinks she sees right through the scam ("You're Not Fooling Me"). McDonald shines in her solos ("Love, Don't Turn Away," "Old Maid"), but Cullum, Innvar, and Kazee also get their moments either in duets with McDonald ("A Man and a Woman," "Simple Little Things," "Is It Really Me?") or by themselves. 110 in the Shade is obscure compared to Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt's most famous work, The Fantasticks--none of its songs ever entered the popular culture like "Try to Remember"--but it's a beautiful, evocative score that is tailor-made for McDonald's rich voice. It's also much more sumptuous than The Fantasticks, even in Jonathan Tunick's pared-down, Tony-nominated orchestrations. (Also nominated were McDonald, Cullum, lighting designer Christopher Akerlind, and the show itself for Best Revival of a Musical.) P.S. Classics puts out its usual first-rate package, with color photos, introduction by Peter Filichia, synopsis, and libretto. --David Horiuchi

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Another Hot Day
  2. Lizzie's Comin' Home
  3. Love, Don't Turn Away
  4. Poker Polka
  5. The Hungry Men
  6. The Rain Song
  7. You're Not Fooling Me
  8. Cinderella
  9. Raunchy
  10. A Man and a Woman
  11. "She Walked Out On Me..."
  12. Old Maid
  13. Evenin' Star
  14. Everything Beautiful
  15. "Stay and Talk..."
  16. Melisande
  17. Simple Little Things
  18. Little Red Hat
  19. Is It Really Me?
  20. Wonderful Music
  21. The Rain Song (reprise)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 12, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: P.S. Classics
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • ASIN: B000PMG9GW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,488 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Chris Caggiano on June 12, 2007
Format: Audio CD
What a thrill it is to finally have a first-rate recording of the glorious 110 in the Shade.

The original Broadway cast, which has been out of print for years, has significant limitations, mainly the dramatically challenged Inga Swenson in the lead role of Lizzie. Her line readings on the spoken parts of the album are unbelievable and amateurish. Plus the break between her chest- and head-voice is jarring. On the recent concert-cast recording, the otherwise redoubtable Karen Ziemba is miscast in the Lizzie role, at least with respect to her upper range.

Finally, we have Audra.

What more can be said about the dazzling Audra McDonald? Audra has officially joined the pantheon of musical-theater legends, demonstrating not merely the gravitas of her four Tony-Award-winning performances (Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, and Raisin in the Sun) but also the charming playfulness of Mary Martin and the eye-catching ability to fill an entire stage merely with her presence, like Chita Rivera or Gwen Verdon.

As for the other key performers, Steve Kazee, who was underwhelming on stage, acquits himself partially in the recording studio. His presence seemed small in the theater, but on the CD his voice is somewhat richer and his intonation is a bit more accurate. He's still not the magical Starbuck that the role requires, but he's at least serviceable. Christopher Innvar's smoldering performance as File doesn't quite come through on the CD, but Innvar remains vocally rich and highly sympathetic.

Overall, this CD for me becomes the definitive recording of a glorious and underrated show. The score is chockablock with gorgeous and heartrending pieces (including "Is It Really Me?
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Format: Audio CD
110 IN THE SHADE was a musicalization of N. Richard Nash's play (later movie) THE RAINMAKER, about a charismatic rainmaker, Starbuck, who happens upon a drought-stricken Texas town in 1936 and attracts the attentions of a repressed spinster, Lizzie Curry. It was made into a moderately successful musical in 1963 by the songwriting team who gave us THE FANTASTICKS, Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, with a book based upon Nash's play. In 2007 it was revived at New York's Studio 54 with a powerhouse cast including Steve Kazee as Starbuck, Audra MacDonald as Lizzie, and John Cullum as her father, H.C. Curry. This studio recording is a wonderful celebration of hope and passion: great voices, powerful script, and songs that are joyous, melodramatic, and American all at once. I heartily recommend this CD. The booklet is great, too, and includes lyrics.

Thanks, Joe!
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Imagine this. Some modern genius decides that "Porgy and Bess" is out-dated. Let's make those characters (and everybody else in Catfish Row) white! In America these days, we have an epidemic of not-quite-talented people in the entertainment industry who steal the works of others, make changes the original creators never intended, and produce it as an original show. So, here we have Todd Haimes and Lonny Price and Jonathan Tunick who replace Three Point, Texas in 1936 with a place somewhere in the distant future where Texan white folks are only permitted to mate with blacks. This was done some forty years after Jones and Schmidt created a wonderful, rich masterpiece in which a young girl is terrified of living her life alone. Some update, hugh? But this is only a CD I'm reviewing and race is not relevant for that. So, I'll have to ask why someone needed Jonathan Tunich to "update" Schmidt's orchestrations? The present version of "110," though beautifully sung by everyone in the cast, is like a cheap imitation of the original....for anyone familiar with the original. The original needed a revival, not an updating.

The packaging of this CD is unusual. A cardboard box protects the jewel case and a large libretto booklet with lots of pictures from the show. (I'm not sure why anyone would need the words of all the songs printed. All the words you hear are easily understandable.)
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Some of the other reviewers here lamented the changes made to the score in this revival of 110 in the Shade. Personally, I found the differences between this performance and the original quite refreshing and a tribute to the material itself--that it can be rethought and presented afresh with no fundamental loss to its spirit. One writer, for example, felt that the orchestrations had been reduced, suggesting that they sounded undernourished. I heard arrangements that were not simply pared down but entirely reconsidered to suit a very different approach to the score. They were warm and appealing, making up in subtlety what they lost in sheer volume. They also allowed the singers, especially Ms. MacDonald, an opportunity to explore the lyrics in a more personal way. But make no mistake; the big numbers still "peak" as they should and provide all the excitement one could want.

All in all this cd makes it appear that the theater that was used perhaps was much smaller and intimate, eliminating the need for everyone to play to the back of the house. This seems evident especially in the extended dialog given here. It was understated but for all of that no less characterful. I will keep both the original cast and this album for a long time. They prove that when the material has real quality, it allows new interpretations and benefits from various viewpoints.
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