Original Cast – 1995 / Music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Starring: Walter Charles, Nick Corley, Ken Jennings, Jeff Keller, Joseph Kolinski, Michael Mandell, Robert Westenberg, Andrea Frierson Toney, Joy Hermalyn, Michael X. Martin, Michael Christopher Moore, Bill Nolte, Darcy Pulliam, Emily Skinner, Mary Stout, Gerry Vichi, Theara J. Ward, Christopher Sieber, Natalie Toro, Walter Willison
Rate: 6 (from 1 to 10)
Review: Just in time for Christmas, we have the reissue of the cast recording of Madison Square Garden´s production of the musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic. This big musical played on that avenue for several Christmas, from 1994 through 2003.
The first time I heard this score it didn’t conquer me immediately. But I fall instantly in love with one of the songs, “Abundance and Charity”; this one became one of my favorite Christmas songs and if we close our eyes we can easily imagine Susan Stroman’s choreography (I never saw the show, so I just use my imagination). Alan Menken came up with a very British score and probably this is his most different score, far from his usual pop flavor emotional musical style. There’s good big numbers like “Mr. Fezziwig’s Annual Christmas Ball” or “Christmas Together”. The song “Dancing on Your Grave” sounds like a premonition for Menken’s THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. And of course it has a romantic song, “A Place Called Home”, a nice ballad “The Lights of Long Ago” and a beautiful emotional song, “God Bless Us, Everyone”.
Walter Charles is an excellent Scrooge and the rest of the cast give him strong support. The orchestrations by Michael Starobin and Douglas Besterman keep it alive and we can feel the spirit of Christmas in the end result. So go into your Christmas and enjoy this score!