CD The Best of Broadway: The American Musical (CD 860970),
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The Best of Broadway: The American Musical

  • 1. Annie Get Your Gun, musical: There's No Business Like Show Business - Ensemble (Annie Get Your Gun)
    2. Swanee, song (for Capital Revue, by various composers) - (Sinbad)
    3. Show Boat, musical in 2 acts: Ol' Man River - Victor Young & His Orchestra (Show Boat)
    4. Anything Goes, musical play: You're the Top - Johnny Green & His Orchestra (Anything Goes)
    5. Oklahoma!, musical: Oklahoma! - Chorus (Oklahoma!)
    6. Guys and Dolls, musical: Luck Be a Lady - The Guys/Robert Alda (Gus And Dolls)
    7. My Fair Lady, musical: I Could Have Danced All Night - Julie Andrews (My Fair Lady)
    8. West Side Story, musical: America - Chita Rivera/Shark Girls/Marilyn Cooper (West Side Story)
    9. Sound of Music, musical: My Favorite Things, The - (The Sound Of Music)
    10. Funny Girl, musical: People - Barbra Streisand (Funny Girl)
    11. Fiddler on the Roof, musical: If I Were a Rich Man - Zero Mostel (Fiddler On The Roof)
    12. Man of la Mancha, musical: The Impossible Dream - (Man Of La Mancha)
    13. Cabaret, musical play: Cabaret - Jill Haworth (Cabaret)
    14. Hair, musical: Let the Sunshine In - Cast/James Rado/Lynn Kellogg/Melba Moore/Cast (Hair)
    15. Little Night Music, musical: Send in the Clowns, A - (A Little Night Music)
    16. Chorus Line, musical: One, A - Cast (A Chorus Line)
    17. Annie, musical: Tomorrow - Andrea McArdle (Annie)
    18. Cats, musical: Memory - Betty Buckley (Cats)
    19. Phantom of the Opera, musical: The Music of the Night - (The Phantom Of The Opera)
    20. Hairspray, musical play: Good Morning Baltimore - Marissa Jaret Winokur (Hairspray)
    21. Wicked, musical play: Defying Gravity - Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked)
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 000329502

  • Credits
    ProducerDick Jones; George R. Marek; Goddard Lieberson; Jack Kapp; Larry Morton; Marc Shaiman; Martin Levan; Michael Kapp; Andy Wiswell; Sam Rosenthal; Stephen Schwartz; Andrew Lloyd Webber; Charles Strouse; Michael Kantor (Compilation); Didier C. Deutsch (Compilation); Steve Berkowitz (Compilation); Darcy M. Proper (Compilation); Brian Drutman (Compilation)

    Audio Mixer: Darcy Proper.
    Liner Note Author: Laurence Maslon.
    Recording information: 01/09/1920-11/10/2003.
    Editor: Adam Zucker.
    Photographers: Martha Swope; Joan Marcus.
    Unknown Contributor Role: Julie Andrews.
    By now, the merchandising program is always in place when PBS sponsors another documentary series, whether one of Ken Burns' historical efforts or the films grouped under the heading The Blues in 2003, organized by Martin Scorsese: among other keepsakes, there is the coffee-table companion book, the DVD set, and, for the musical programs, the CD box set. All of these were rolled out in connection with Broadway: The American Musical, a six-part documentary broadcast in October 2004. And this single-disc CD is the cheapest item in the bunch (unless, perhaps, there's also a coffee mug), much less expensive than the box set of five CDs. Although it is called The Best of Broadway: The American Musical, it is not exactly a reduction of that set. The compilers have taken the opportunity to make alternate choices of material (one song per show) in several instances. Here, the title song from Oklahoma! is picked instead of "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'," "America" from West Side Story replaces "Tonight," and the title song from Cabaret is employed instead of "Willkommen." The other 18 tracks all appear on the box set. Even at nearly 77 minutes, of course, this sort of collection is nothing more than a sampler, but since there are many similar compilations in the marketplace, it's worth noting that this one ranges across record labels and presents the original Broadway cast recordings wherever possible in excellent sound quality. (Tracks like "Swanee" and "You're the Top" date from before the era of original-cast recordings that began in the 1940s, but do feature the original stage performers.) Taking the Broadway musical from the 1910s to the 2000s in such a short length of time naturally makes for the occasional odd juxtaposition, but then that gives a sense of the variety of kinds of music subsumed under the term "show music." When Hair's "Let the Sunshine In" (as it is called here; actually, the correct title is "The Flesh Failures") gives way to "Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music, you can't help thinking that there's room on Broadway for some very different musical sensibilities, a notion only reinforced by the appearance of the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber ("Memory," "The Music of the Night") toward the end. This also means that, no matter what Broadway fan listens to this disc, there will be some music likely not to appeal, which may indicate that the compilers have gotten it just about right. (Not so impressive are Laurence Maslon's liner notes, which would have benefited from a more careful editor and proofreader, but even so are needlessly pretentious. Readers are likely to be sent to the dictionary after reading that "You're the Top" is a "bit of stichomythia" or that Michael Crawford is "gracefully crepuscular," only to discover that Maslon could have used simpler words to greater effect.) ~ William Ruhlmann

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