CD Little Women [Original Broadway Cast Recording] (CD 1068596),
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Little Women [Original Broadway Cast Recording]

  • 1. Little Women, musical: Act 1. Overture
    2. Little Women, musical: Act 1. An Operatic Tragedy
    3. Little Women, musical: Act 1. Better
    4. Little Women, musical: Act 1. Our Finest Dreams
    5. Little Women, musical: Act 1. Here Alone
    6. Little Women, musical: Act 1. Could You?
    7. Little Women, musical: Act 1. I'd Be Delighted
    8. Little Women, musical: Act 1. Take A Chance On Me
    9. Little Women, musical: Act 1. Off to Massachusetts
    10. Little Women, musical: Act 1. Five Forever
    11. Little Women, musical: Act 1. More Than I Am
    12. Little Women, musical: Act 1. Astonishing
    13. Little Women, musical: Act 2. The Weekly Volcano Press
    14. Little Women, musical: Act 2. How I Am
    15. Little Women, musical: Act 2. Some Things Are Meant To Be
    16. Little Women, musical: Act 2. The Most Amazing Thing
    17. Little Women, musical: Act 2. Days of Plenty
    18. Little Women, musical: Act 2. The Fire Within Me
    19. Little Women, musical: Act 2. Small Umbrella In The Rain
    20. Little Women, musical: Act 2. Sometimes When You Dream - (Reprise)
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 4405

  • Credits
    ProducerJason Howland; Joel Moss; Kim Scharnberg; Jason Howland; Joel Moss; Kim Scharnberg
    EngineerJoel Moss

    Composer: Jason Howland.
    Lyricist: Mindi Dickstein.
    Sutton Foster: Sutton Foster; Danny Gurwin, Janet Carroll, Maureen McGovern, Amy McAlexander, Megan McGinnis, Jenny Powers, John Hickok.
    Personnel: Karl Kawahara, Sylvia Davanzo, Eric Degioia, Mary Whitaker, Martin Agee, Sean Carney (violin); David Blinn, Liuh-Wen Ting (viola); Lawrence Feldman (flute, alto flute, piccolo, clarinet, bass clarinet); Lynne Cohen (oboe, English horn); Tony Kadleck (trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn); Russ Rizner-French (French horn); Mark Lusk (tenor trombone, bass trombone, euphonium); Rob Meffe (piano); Jim Saporito (percussion); Peter Hylenski (sound effects).
    Audio Mixer: Joel Moss .
    Liner Note Author: Allan Knee.
    Recording information: Avatar Studios, New York, NY (02/03/2005/02/28/2005); The Hit Factory, New York, NY (02/03/2005/02/28/2005).
    Photographers: Paul Kolnik; Joan Marcus.
    Louisa May Alcott's perennially popular 1869 novel Little Women, recounting the domestic adventures of the four March sisters (particularly the literarily minded middle sister, Jo) in the Civil War era in Concord, MA, has proven perennially popular as a subject of adaptation into other media, especially since the book fell out of copyright. There was the classic 1933 film starring Katharine Hepburn; a 1949 movie with June Allyson; a 1958 TV musical with songs by Richard Adler; a 1978 TV movie; and a well-received 1994 screen version featuring Winona Ryder. And, starting on January 23, 2005, there was a Broadway musical (no relation to the Adler work), with songs by composer Jason Howland and lyricist Mindi Dickstein, starring Sutton Foster (fresh from her Tony-winning performance in Thoroughly Modern Millie) as Jo, with cabaret singer Maureen McGovern as Marmee, the mother of the brood. The show made a modest appearance on Broadway, which had in recent years seen a plethora of musical adaptations of public-domain novels. Neither particularly liked nor disliked by critics, it nevertheless settled in for an extended run, and while the cast album, recorded the month after the opening, seems to have had a little trouble finding a home, such that it did not appear in record stores until May 2005 through the auspices of theater specialist Ghostlight Records, the show was still running at that point. (After the Tony Award nominations virtually ignored it, only giving a nod to Foster, it closed on May 22 after 137 performances.)
    On disc, the reasons for both the theater community's indifference and the public's acceptance are suggested. Certainly, this is not a remarkable score; serviceable would be a better word to describe it. The lyrics have none of the wit that critics revel in when it comes from the pen of Stephen Sondheim, and the music is neither traditional Broadway show music nor entirely in the camp of the sub-operatic style of Andrew Lloyd Webber, though it suggests both at times. But then, Little Women is not the sort of material that would be likely to attract either Sondheim or Lloyd Webber. As the show goes on, it becomes apparent that Dickstein is aiming at a simple, plainspoken language that matches the tone of the book, while Howland, though capable of dramatic passages (particularly employed comically in "An Operatic Tragedy," as Jo recounts one of her overwritten early stories to a friend at the outset), also wants to match his music to the understated particulars of the story. The score is conventional and workmanlike: it gives co-star McGovern two showcases ("Here Alone" and "Days of Plenty") and provides Foster with a typical Broadway "I am" song ("Astonishing"). Indeed, it provides her with much more; this is nothing less than a star vehicle, and Foster, who may be to Broadway what Sandra Bullock was to Hollywood in the early 2000s, a rough-and-ready heroine who can handle a kiss or a pratfall with equal aplomb, is up to that challenge. Slow to get going, Little Women makes its points about family commitment and social responsibility movingly by its end, and it's no surprise that audiences respond to that kind of sincerity. (A national tour of Little Women began on August 30, 2005.) ~ William Ruhlmann

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