Cranks – Original London Cast starring Anthony Newley


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The landmark revue ‘Cranks’ was first performed just before Christmas 1955 and upon receiving glowing reviews it quickly moved into the West End to the St. Martin’s Theatre. Written and devised by John Cranko, a respected choreographer of the Sadler’s Wells Ballet Company and John Addison who composed the score, Cranko’s new wave revue had a style and approach of its own, and this followed the choice of musical accompaniment – a harpsichord, doubled with a piano, and a harp. The cast were a deliberate mix. One black male and a white female joined two white men: Anthony Newley, with a score or so non-singing films under his belt, and ballet dancer Gilbert Vernon. The remaining two other performers were the American Hugh Bryant making his first appearance in Britain and Annie Ross, the jazz singer: both were replacements for the West End transfer but featured in the cast recording. ‘Cranks’ totalled a respectable 223 performances in London before opening, cast intact, on Broadway. Long unavailable, the cast recording of ‘Cranks’ has been digitally remastered for this CD release. For bonus tracks we include ten songs performed by Annie Ross, mainly recorded in the mid-1950s, around the time she was in ‘Cranks’, and most are appearing on CD for the first time.


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