Of all Leonard Bernstein scores this has always been my favorite and it never sounded as good as it sounds in this new cast recording. Thanks to Rob Fisher’s musical direction and vocal arrangements it sounds more exciting than ever and the result is a fresh rewarding recording.
Like in the show, the best thing is Donna Murphy (she should have won the Tony for Best Leading Actress in a Musical) and it’s her tracks that make all the difference. “One Hundred Easy Ways” is sung with perfect comic timing and it was never funnier. Her renditions of “Conga!”, “Wrong Note Rag” and specially the hilarious “Swing” are a riot. She’s brilliant!
The rest of the cast gives her good support and have their moments. Jennifer Westfeldt is a sweet Eileen and has a good moment with “It’s Love”, like Greg Edelman (who sounds better on the CD than on stage) has.
There are a couple of songs that I never cared much, like “Pass the Football”, “Conversation Piece” and “What a Waste”, and I haven’t changed my mind with this new cast. But the rest of the score is so good that I prefer to forget that those songs are there. My favorite song has always been “Wrong Note Rag”, specially the middle section, and here it’s simple fantastic. And of course I love the beautiful “It’s Love”.
Before this one, my favorite recording of the score have been the London cast with Maureen Lipman, but now, of all WONDERFUL TOWN recordings, this revival is the one that I recommend.