Review: The Sound of Music Live (The Show Must Go On)

Despite great work from supporting players like Audra McDonald and Laura Benanti, The Sound of Music Live isn’t a great advert for The Show Must Go On

“Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her”

In some ways, turning to the series of live TV musicals to continue The Show Must Go On now that Andrew Lloyd Webber has exhausted the content he is willing to give for free, for weekends at a time. The problem is, its opening salvo – The Sound of Music Live from 2013 – really isn’t a good example of the form. 

Directed by Rob Ashford and Beth McCarthy-Miller, it has all the requisite component parts and as a piece of live entertainment, it is all very competently done. There’s an impressively capacious set, slick camerawork and a well-drilled ensemble who barely put a foot wrong throughout the 2 hours plus of the show. Continue reading “Review: The Sound of Music Live (The Show Must Go On)”

News: Creatives and company for Broadway Classics in Concert

Manhattan Concert Productions (MCP) is pleased to announce the following creative team for Broadway Classics in Concert, on TuesdayFebruary 208:00 p.m., in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall.

Don StephensonStage Director
Kevin StitesMusic Director/Conductor
Christopher AshProjection & Video
Jason LyonsLighting
Dave HorowitzSound
Gary MickelsonStage Manager
Telsey + Company / Craig Burns, CSACasting

MCP also welcomes Nikki Renée Daniels who will be joining the outstanding alumni cast for Broadway Classics in Concert.

The full alumni cast includes Michael Arden (Ragtime, Hunchback of Notre Dame)Sierra Boggess (The Secret Garden)Carolee Carmello (Broadway Classics 2013)Allan Corduner(Titanic)Nikki Renée Daniels (The Secret Garden)Quentin Earl Darrington (The Secret Garden)Ramin Karimloo (Parade, The Secret Garden)Norm Lewis (Ragtime)Laura Osnes(Crazy For You)Lea Salonga (Ragtime)Ryan Silverman (Titanic) and Tony Yazbeck (Crazy For You). Continue reading “News: Creatives and company for Broadway Classics in Concert”

Album Review: The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (2012 New Broadway Cast Recording)

“Old man sorrow’s
Come to keep me company”

In terms of advance publicity, you couldn’t really ask for more than Stephen Sondheim bringing your show to the world’s attention before it has even got near a stage. True, you might prefer him to be in favour of your work rather than ripping you a new one but it does raise interesting questions about how we expect musical theatre classics to be treated in the modern age – recreated faithfully time and time again, radically revised at directorial whim, or somewhere inbetween.

The vociferousness of Sondheim’s critique would lead you to believe it was the middle of these options but though Diane Paulus’ production does indeed have substantial differences from those that have done before, they’re not so wholesale as to be so easily dismissed. Suzan-Lori Parks’ reworked book feeds in much more backstory for the characters through dialogue in place of recitative and the operatic (in length as well as in nature) scale has been stripped back, a Broadway sized orchestra plays this abridged set just fine. Continue reading “Album Review: The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (2012 New Broadway Cast Recording)”

Album Review: Promises, Promises (2010 New Broadway Cast Recording)

“What do you get when you fall in love?
A guy with a pin to burst your bubble”

One of the criticisms levelled at Close To You: Bacharach Reimagined was that it, well, reimagined Burt Bacharach’s songs. Well for those who prefer a more traditional approach to his music, his one foray onto Broadway Promises, Promises will be making its way to the Southwark Playhouse early next year, following on from the successful Broadway revival of 2010, which was the show’s first since being written in the late 1960s.

And I suppose if traditional is what you are looking for, then you won’t be disappointed here. Neil Simon’s adaptation of The Apartment sits loosely on a collection of Bacharach and David songs, augmented by the inclusion here of some of their other hits to beef up the recognisability quota, and it’s all rather cutesy and undemanding and depending on your viewpoint, either nicely retro or insufferably twee. Continue reading “Album Review: Promises, Promises (2010 New Broadway Cast Recording)”

Album Review: Scott Alan Live

“And there it is…”

For a composer who hasn’t had a major show on over here, Scott Alan inspires an amazing amount of evangelical joy from his fans. This has come from a series of albums and concerts in which his songwriting has been showcased by a wide-ranging collection of Broadway and West End stars, culminating in a rapturously received residency at the St James Theatre a couple of months ago. I like his work, having previously reviewed a couple of his albums, but I haven’t been as ecstatic as some about it so I thought I’d go back to the ones I hadn’t listened to. 

His double album Live offers reworkings of many of his songs and mixes things up further by retaining many of his frequent collaborators but letting them loose on different songs, even switching up genders on some of them. It’s a great move – Natalie Weiss smashes the joyful ‘I’m A Star’, Laura Osnes wraps her delicate voice beautifully around ‘Now’ and Jeremy Jordan is charming as ever on ‘Please Don’t Let Me Go’ and that’s all in the opening five songs. The slightly indulgent length of the album means we don’t always maintain such intense quality over both discs plus bonus tracks.

Continue reading “Album Review: Scott Alan Live”