Sunday, July 17, 2011
CD OF THE WEEK: CHICAGO
I have to start this with my all time favorite score, John Kander & Fred Ebb’s CHICAGO.
There are several recordings of this musical, including a fine movie soundtrack, and although the terrific Broadway Revival Cast is more complete, I have to choose the fantastic Original Broadway Cast starring Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera and Jeff Orbach.
When I was 12 years old, my parents gave me this cast album as a Christmas gift and, from the first time I played it to today, it never fails to give me a fabulous time. Everything in it is perfect: the brilliant songs, the exciting Ralph Burns orchestrations, the decadent front cover, a cast made in heaven and a strong theatrical feeling that is missing from all the other recordings of the score. Nevertheless, I’ve to confess that I can’t resist the contagious “Me and My Baby“ and “Hot Honey Rag” tracks of the Broadway Revival Cast.
There isn’t a song here that I don’t like (not an easy task), but I always have a special spot in my heart for the emotional “My Own Best Friend”, the terrific “Nowadays” and the genial “Cell Block Tango”.
When I’m listening to it, all I have to do is close my eyes and I’m there, in a dark theatre with the best cast in earth and Bob Fosse’s debauched staging. It’s an unforgettable experience!