Kritzerland’s Bruce Kimmel wasn’t one to rest on his laurels over the Labor Day weekend. The soundtrack and cast album specialist label announced on Monday its latest two-CD deluxe release, a reissue of the 1972 Original Broadway Cast Recording of Sugar. For those who missed out on Kimmel’s Promises, Promises, don’t pass up the chance to hear this terrifically fun album in a new light. Sugar, the musical version of Billy Wilder’s seminal film Some Like It Hot, was assembled by a Broadway dream team. Music and lyrics were by two names who had already made major contributions to the Great American Songbook, Jule Styne and Bob Merrill. Both were theatrical pros, accomplished pop songwriters (Styne having given Frank Sinatra such songs as “Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)” and “Time After Time” and Merrill the man behind “How Much is That Doggie In The Window?" and “Mambo Italiano”) and collaborators on Prettybelle and the enormously-successful Funny Girl. The screenplay by Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond was adapted for the stage by Peter Stone (Charade, 1776) and the show was directed and choreographed by Gower Champion, of Bye Bye Birdie and Hello, Dolly! fame. Enlisted to star were Tony Roberts (a favorite sidekick of Woody Allen), Robert Morse (now a star of television’s Mad Men) and newcomer Elaine Joyce, now Mrs. Neil Simon.
Perhaps because any adaptation of Some Like It Hot was bound to suffer in comparison with that storied film, Sugar wasn’t the smash hit hoped for by legendary producer David Merrick. (Merrick also produced the other Billy Wilder adaptation released by Kritzerland: Promises, Promises!) Still, Sugar racked up Tony and Drama Desk nominations, and lasted a none-too-shabby 505 performances on Broadway. It spawned a now-beloved cast recording on United Artists Records (UAS-9905) which was reissued by Rykodisc in 1999 as part of Ryko’s extensive MGM Soundtracks series (Rykodisc 10760). Read more about Kritzerland’s plans for Sugar after the jump!
As with his acclaimed reissue of Promises, Promises, producer Bruce Kimmel discovered in reviewing MGM’s tapes that Ryko had used a remix (albeit one very similar to the original LP’s sound) for that first CD release of Sugar. So Kritzerland is presenting on Disc 1 of its two-CD set the authentic 1972 LP mix of Sugar, of course in remastered form. As with Promises, Disc 2 will present Kimmel’s freshly-remixed version; this remix has been made from the original 16-track master tapes. Also as with Promises, this Kritzerland release will be the only time Kimmel’s remix will be released; any future licensing from MGM will be of the newly-found original album mix only.
In remixing, Kimmel has stripped the album of the extensive reverb which had been added to both that original LP and the remix used by Rykodisc. He has applied reverb only where necessary. The vocals by Robert, Morse, Joyce, Cyril Ritchard (Captain Hook opposite Mary Martin’s Peter Pan) and the cast have been largely unburied from the orchestra, and if Promises’ remix is any indication, Kimmel’s will offer new definition and clarity in both those vocals and the splendid orchestrations by Philip J. Lang. For any theatre fans unfamiliar with Sugar, its brassy overture is sure not to disappoint, a stunner in the tradition of Styne’s work on Gypsy and Funny Girl. The rest of the score is similarly tuneful, brassily evoking 1930s Chicago jazz through Styne and Merrill’s Broadway and Tin Pan Alley-honed style. Its best songs include Morse and Roberts’ catchy opening “Penniless Bums,” Joyce’s showstopping “Hey, Why Not!” and best of all, the memorable title song.
Kritzerland’s two-CD set of Sugar: Original MGM Broadway Cast Recording is a 1,000-copy limited edition only available here. It is said to be going fast, as did Kritzerland's Promises two-CD set. Sound samples are also available at the label's site, and you can hear the difference between the original, reverb-laden mix of “The Beauty That Drives Men Mad” and the crystal-clear remix. The official release date is the second week of October, but pre-orders may ship as early as four weeks prior.
Sugar: Original MGM Broadway Cast Recording (United Artists UAS-9905, 1972 - reissued Kritzerland, 2010)
Track listing is the same on Disc 1 and Disc 2. Disc 1 contains original album mix; Disc 2 contains remix.
- Penniless Bums
- The Beauty That Drives Men Mad
- We Could Be Close
- Sun on My Face
- November Song
- Hey, Why Not!
- Beautiful Through and Through
- What Do You Give to a Man Who’s Had Everything?
- It’s Always Love
- When You Meet a Man in Chicago