Broadway Showstoppers (John McGlinn) Rebecca Luker/Judy Kaye/Brent Barrett
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The title of this album, Broadway Showstoppers, is a bit misleading. Yes, there are some big hits included, like Swanee and Tea for Two. However, there also are wonderful numbers from some wonderfully obscure shows and two from a complete flop. Kurt Weill's September Song is given in its original, somewhat menacing version, totally unfamiliar from all the cover versions. Bill from Show Boat is performed in the version with the original, 1918 lyrics by P.G. Wodehouse which was removed from the show it was originally intended for. The CD also contains the first recording of the original version for soloists and chorus of Kern's All the Things You Are, taken from the flop Very Warm for May, a show about summer stock theaters. There are three engaging numbers from Kern's 1929 Sweet Adeline. Perhaps most notably, the CD includes two numbers from the 1976 Lerner/Bernstein flop, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. One of them, Duet for Two, is a virtuoso romp for Judy Kaye, who portrays two successive First Ladies in the same number. The album is beautifully sung overall, while John McGlinn presides over the whole of it with wisdom and verve. The sound engineering is remarkably fine, as well. In sum, Broadway Showstoppers may be a somewhat optimistic title, but this CD offers many real pleasure nevertheless (far more than the majority) and is one of the benchmarks in this sort of presentation.
This is an impressive recording. Out of the fifteen tracks, there are four numbers from Jerome Kern's Sweet Adeline, of which one, "Some Girl Is on Your Mind," was compared in a New York Times review of a revival of the show by Encores to the great ensembles of Verdi! "Triplets" can be uproariously funny - and it is here. One of the best moments in the CD comes at the end...it is the original version of "All the Things You Are" from Kern's Very Warm for May. It's a huge, soaring and powerful double duet with chorus. Magnificent.
If you love Broadway, the well known and the trivial, you will love this recording. A talented group of singer-actors (Kim Criswell, Judy Kaye, Davis Gaines, etc.) present some well known songs and some novelties, and it makes for an enjoyable concert that you can program at will.
I've got to believe that listening to this CD is tantamount to being in some sort of "Heaven". It's the kind of CD that you want to buy up all the spare copies of to give out to everyone you know, so you can all listen to this wonderful (and powerful) music together, and know what it must be like when all is right with the world. When all is well. This CD is a bloody marvel!
2. Tea for Two
3. Dancing In The Dark
5. Here Am I
6. The President Jefferson Sunday Luncheon Party March
7. September Song
8. Why Was I Born?
9. Some Girl is On Your Mind
11. Duet For One
13. Don't Ever Leave Me
14. Come To The Moon
15. All The Things You Are