Sunday, April 29, 2018


Before reading this, take a look at MY FAVORITE SCORES, so you may get an idea of what I like and keep in mind two other things. First, I don’t understand nothing about music; second, when it comes to my music tastes, I’m very narrow-minded and old fashioned. 

Now that I got that off my chest, here is a quick look at some of the show music recordings that were released from January to April 2018.

CALENDAR GIRLS – Gary Barlow & Tim Firth musical adaptation of the hit movie has a light pop score, that’s not really my cup of tea. The very British cast, led by Claire Moore and Joanna Riding, sung their songs with honesty. In the entire score there are three numbers that I enjoy, “Sunflower”, “Who Wants a Silent Night?”, where the cast sounds like they’re having fun, and, specially, “So I’ve Had a Little Work Done”, sung with gusto by Sophie-Louise Dann. 

ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE – Would you believe me if I told you that the name Jimmy Buffett meant nothing to me? Well, it’s true. While listening to this recording of a new jukebox Broadway musical I realized one thing, I don’t care much for Jimmy Buffett’s songs. Anyway, the tropical flavor of some of the songs and the nice cast makes this is a listenable recording. Numbers like “Volcano”, "We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About/The Natives Are Restless", "My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink and I Don't Love Jesus" and “Grapefruit – Juicy Fruit” are mildly entertaining. If you’re a Buffett fan, I’m sure you’ll love this.

EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE – This new score with music by Dan Gillespie Sells and lyrics by Tom Macrae, isn’t for me. Its rock/pop songs are far from the style of music I enjoy and, although the cast sings them with heart and soul, I think the songs sound too much alike and only one was able to catch my attention. It’s sung by Josie Walker and it’s called “If I Met Myself Again”. I believe the younger generation and older ones with an open mind will like it.

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR LIVE – People who know me know that I’m not a big fan of Andrew Lloyd Weber, but there’s no doubt the guy writes some great songs, although not great scores. This new recording of one of his first big hits has a strong cast, with John Legend in the title role, but the score was never very high on my list. Anyway, I always liked “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “King Herod’s Song” was an entertaining number in the musical style I love; in this new recording, Sara Bareilles sings the first one with emotion and Alice Cooper has fun with the second one. “Superstar” and “Everything’s Alright” are the other two songs that I don’t mind listening to, the rest of the score is too ‘rockish’ for me. As for this new recording, I don’t think it’s better than previous ones.

KRIS KRINGLE – Christmas is still far away, but here is the studio cast recording of a new Christmas musical. Composers & lyricists Tim Janis & Angelo Natalie managed to get a cast that includes Broadway’s Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Nikki Renée Daniels, Janine LaManna and Kim Crosby, among others. The songs are cheerful, without being great, in the kind of the traditional Broadway style that I enjoy, with some of them on a more modern ballad mood. My favorite ones are “What Is So Merry ‘bout Christmas”, “Something Wonderful in You”, “Skip Ba Doo” and “Tonight We Will Roar”. If you’ll like Christmas songs you’ll enjoy this one.

ONCE ON THIS ISLAND – I have to confess that I never cared much for the original cast recording of this Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens musical, so I was surprised to find this new cast recording very pleasant to hear. It was like listening it for the first time and I enjoyed rediscovering songs like “Ti Moune”, “Mama Will Provide” and “Some Girls”. Some of the music reminded me of THE BOOK OF MORMON but, since the original Broadway production opened in 1990, I know that it should be the other way around. The songs are melodious, and the new cast sung them perfectly. I don’t love this score, but it gets a new life in this recording and that’s good news!

PRINCE OF BROADWAY – This revue or jukebox musical built around the work of Harold Prince take us back to some terrific scores but, with the rare exception of a riveting version of “The Right Girl” from FOLLIES (Tony Yazbeck sounds terrific), don’t bring nothing new to the songs. But there’s plenty to enjoy. Besides the mentioned number, my favorite tracks are Karen Ziemba’s “So What” and “The Worst Pies in London”, Brandon Uranowitz’s “Dressing Them Up” (one of my favorite Kander & Ebb songs), Chuck Cooper’s “Ol’ Man River”, Emily Skinner’s “Now You Know” and Tony Yazbeck’s “This Is Not Over Yet”. As for the new song “Do the Work”, it pales compared with the old ones. Anyway, for me, the highlight is “The Right Girl”!

WORKING – Here is another musical to which I never payed attention to and this London Cast recording won’t be changing it. There’s nothing wrong with the cast, but I don’t find the songs interesting. I know that several people wrote the songs but to my ears they don’t diverge much from one another, it’s like all composers were exactly on the same mood. Only one song caught my attention, “It’s an Art” by Stephen Schwartz. I know this is about real people, but there’s was no need for almost all songs being kind of depressing. Not my kind of score.

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