WICKED, STARRING KRISTIN CHENOWETH, IDINA MENZEL AND JOEL GREY. Decca Broadway proudly presents the original cast recording of WICKED, Broadway's most talked about new musical. The box office is already over $10 Million! With a score by Stephen Schwartz (Broadway's Pippin, Godspell), libretto by Winnie Holzman (TV's My So-Called Life) and based on the best-selling novel by Gregory Maguire, the musical is a prequel to the legendary classic, THE WIZARD OF OZ. WICKED explores the early life of the witches of Oz: Glinda and Elphaba. One witch, born with emerald green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. WICKED stars Tony AwardÂ® winner Kristin Chenoweth (You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown) as Glinda, Idina Menzel (Rent) as Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and TonyÂ® and OscarÂ® Winner Joel Grey (Cabaret) as The Wizard. The Original Cast Recording -- featuring an essay by Wicked novelist Gregory Maguire, original color photos from the show and a complete libretto. One of the most common complaints about musicals is that the books are flimsy pretexts from which to hang numbers. Wicked runs into the opposite problem: it has a great plot, but too often the songs just get in the way. Based on Gregory Maguire's novel of the same name, Wicked tells us what happened between Glinda the Good and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, before Dorothy showed up in Oz. And the show is lucky to boast a pair of ace leading women in the main roles. As Glinda, Kristin Chenoweth delivers a sensational star turn, displaying a crystal-pure voice and sharp comic timing; Idina Menzel lends her powerful pipes to the tricky role of Elphaba. Unfortunately, you wish they had better material to work with. Stephen Schwartz's pop score is often dragged down by overly synthetic orchestrations and sentimental lyrics (think Chicken Soup for the Witch). Still, at its best Wicked is a seductive slice of popular entertainment that could well give a younger audience a lasting taste for mu...
The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast)
It's the most successful musical of all time, the best-selling cast album ever-and now it sounds better than ever! The cast album of the original 1986 London production (with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman) has been remastered by none other than Andrew Lloyd Webber; this 2-CD set also includes a new 56-page companion booklet. The Phantom lives!
Jersey Boys (2005 Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Manufacturer: Rhino Records
Recounting the rich history and reliving the timeless sounds of the phenomenal Frankie Vallie & The 4 Seasons, the new Broadway musical Jersey Boys answers the musical-and philosophical question, "How did four would-be wise guys from Newark, NJ, become one of the greatest chart-topping successes in pop music history?" Jersey Boys celebrates legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, and Nick Massi who, as the 4 seasons, wrote their own songs, invented their own identity, and sold 175 million records worldwide-all before they were 30. Although it squarely falls in the "jukebox musical" category, Jersey Boys doesnÂ¹t try to integrate its songs in an artificial plotline. The show tells the story of the early-1960s group the Four Seasons, and the musical numbers tend to be introduced in context, as when songwriter Bob Gaudio comes up with a tune, or the quartet performs a show. This allows Jersey Boys to flow better than some of ill-fated peers, and the actors can shine without having to bend backward to accommodate an inane book. The show's most (only) daring move is to start with a hip-hop-tinged French-language version of "December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)," an actual hit in France in 2000. After that it's all VH1-biopic territory, but it's done with so much flair, taste and energy that the ride's a fun one. The Four Seasons had enough hits ("Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Rag Doll," etc.) to easily fill an evening at the theater, so it's left to the cast to do right by them. And it does, particularly John Lloyd Young as the bandÂ¹s star lead, Frankie Valli. Young hits all the falsetto notes and brings real freshness to the part. His "CanÂ¹t Take My Eyes Off You," a second-act peak, is signed, sealed and delivered with a star's acumen. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
Manufacturer: Sony Legacy
Brand: Provident Distribution Group
On Songs From The Silver Screen, Jackie Evancho applies her brilliant voice and extraordinary artistry to an entirely new set of classics. On her first two full-length albums, Jackie explored musical classics from arias to holiday standards. For Silver Screen, she offers her interpretations of a whole new category of classic music the much-loved movie melodies that have become part of our cultural landscape. "When I saw the movie version of The Phantom of the Opera when I was 7 years old, it made me want to become a singer 'The Music of the Night' is one of the most beautiful songs ever written and I've always wanted to perform it"[in public] says Jackie. "My enjoyment of the Phantom score is one of the things that gave us the idea to focus an entire album on songs that stayed in our minds for a long time after the movies were over." For this album, Jackie collaborated with Grammy-winning producer/engineer Humberto Gatica, whose lengthy and impressive experience in the music industry has seen him work closely with Grammy award winning producer, David Foster, as well as with superstars like Michael Buble, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey and Barbra Streisand. Jackie has some impressive company on some of the tracks. Famed violinist Joshua Bell accompanies her on one track ("My Heart Will Go On"from Titanic) as does trumpet player Chris Botti ("The Summer Knows" from The Summer of 42) and 2Cellos ("Se" from Cinema Paradiso). There are also very special duets, one with The Canadian Tenors ("Come What May" from Moulin Rouge) and one with her older brother, Jacob Evancho ("I See the Light" from Tangled). No one can sing classical crossover music with the technical precision, emotion and intelligence that Jackie brings to it, says Gatica. With the songs we've selected for this album, we can show her fans how her talent has only deepened and matured since Dream With Me, which I think was one of the most outstanding albums of 2011.
KRALL DIANA THE LOOK OF LOVE The Look of Love doesn't tamper with Diana Krall's ongoing success, continuing the emphasis on romantic ballads and embracing them with lush string arrangements. At the core, of course, is Krall's voice. She's developing into one of the great torch singers, with an approach that's both direct and subtly nuanced, true to the song and yet deeply personal. There's a combination of restraint and drama here, as Krall ranges from the confident to the wistful, from loss to playful insinuation, as each song requires. "Cry Me a River" is bittersweet triumph, while "Love Letters" and "Maybe You'll Be There" maintain the most tenuous emotional hold, at once fragile and resilient. "Besame Mucho" and "Dancing in the Dark" are sultry romances wafted on light Latin beats. The songs develop their intimacy in the setting of Krall's quartet, which usually includes bassist Christian McBride and drummer Peter Erskine and several fine guitarists, most frequently Russell Malone. They're a superb complement to her voice and piano, and the close communication carries through the depth and sheen added by Claus Ogerman's rich orchestrations. --Stuart Broomer
Into Broadway's creative vacuum of revivals, movie adaptations, and Hollywood star vehicles comes Rent, the story of squatters, junkies, performance artists, struggling musicians, drag queens, aspiring filmmakers, and HIV-positives (and you thought Miss Saigon's helicopter landing was cool). Undoubtedly among the defining pop cultural events of 1996, Rent has already won four Tony awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. More importantly, it threatens to bring substance back to the Great White Way. Transposing Puccini's 100-year-old opera La BohÃ¨me into modern day Bohemia (19th-century Paris's Left Bank becomes late-20th-century New York's East Village where the scourge of tuberculosis becomes the plague of AIDS) Rent celebrates life among the young, sick, and unconventional. While Broadway shows are hardly the place for authentic portrayals of the latest marginalized hipsters, composer Jonathan Larson (who died at age 36, days before his musical opened) managed to sculpt vivid characters and scenes that bring Avenue A as close as it will ever come to 42nd Street. And by telling a socially relevant story of living without the guarantee of a future (renting, that is), Larson does his own little bit to define an X'ed generation. At worst, Rent is the Hair of the '90s. For the majority of us who won't be seeing Rent anytime soon, the Original Cast Recording is more than just an after-show souvenir. Well-packaged with a complete libretto, the two-CD set is a worthwhile album separate of live performance. Full of songs that are funny and catchy, inspiring and touching, smart and hip and not overly sentimental, Rent mixes show tune pop with elements of rock, R&B, dance, gospel, and tango to make one of the best albums of the year--certainly the best rock opera in decades. Into Broadway's creative vacuum of revivals, movie adaptations, and Hollywood star vehicles comes Rent, the story of squatters, junkies, performance artists, struggling musicians, drag queens, aspiring filmmakers, and HIV-positives (and you thought M...
The Sound of Music (35th Anniversary Collector's Edition)
Manufacturer: Sony Legacy
This double-disc celebration of the beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein movie musical starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer will get you nearly every note from the film soundtrack including extended versions of favorite songs, orchestral tracks and even an interview with Richard Rodgers.