While the months of January and February are usually down times on Broadway, Sony's Masterworks Broadway is keeping things going during the winter by announcing a quartet of musical theater titles to be released between now and March.
The most expansive release, due February 26, is another entry in Sony's long-running Essential series: The Essential Stephen Sondheim. Sondheim, of course, needs no introduction to musical theater aficionados. Perhaps the most acclaimed theatrical composer and lyricist of the past 50-60 years, his breathtaking canon includes shows ranging from shows like West Side Story and Gypsy to Company and Sweeney Todd. Sondheim's shows are constantly performed all over the world and have been made into several movies, with the most recent being 2014's Into The Woods. The new 2-disc Essential gathers material from various recordings including original cast versions, soundtracks and concerts. However, all of the material is pulled from Sony-controlled sources. Therefore, some original cast performances are missing, most notably anything from the 1971 original production of Follies. This also precludes any of Sondheim's more recent works, such as Road Show, appearing on the compilation. As a matter of fact, there is nothing on the two discs from after 1995. But it is a reasonably priced introduction to Sondheim's work. If you're hoping for a deeper look at his career, you could also seek out 2008's The Story So Far 4-disc box set, also from Sony.
The other three releases on Masterworks Broadway's announcement are cast album reissues. Released first is the original London cast recording of Sweet Charity, which comes out tomorrow, February 12. Charity tells the story of dance hall hostess Charity Hope Valentine and her relationship with the neurotic Oscar, whom she meets in the elevator of the 92nd Street Y. She hopes that this new romance will allow her to move on from her currently unfulfilling life. Written by Neil Simon, with music and lyrics by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields, the original production was directed by Bob Fosse and starred Gwen Verdon and John McMartin. Sweet Charity opened in January, 1966 and ran for over six hundred performances. A few months after closing on Broadway, the musical opened in London in October, 1967 where it ran for nearly 500 performances. It starred Juliet Prowse, who had once been engaged to Frank Sinatra and co-starred in G.I. Blues with Elvis Presley. The London Cast Recording has previously been available on CD from Sony West End, but this marks its first U.S. release.
Next up is another London offering, the original cast recording of Salad Days, due to be released on March 18. This show, which is not as well known in the U.S. as in the U.K., revolves around a magical piano and even involves a flying saucer. Its music was written by Julian Slade, with lyrics written by him and Dorothy Reynolds. Reynolds also performed in the musical which opened in June 1954 in Bristol before transferring to the West End in August of that year. It ended up running for 2,283 performances, which was a record at the time. It has received several British revivals in the ensuing decades, and was once again previously available via Sony West End.
On April 15, Masterworks Broadway will release the Lincoln Center revival of Kismet from 1965. Based upon a 1911 play of the same name, Kismet takes places in fictional Baghdad and concerns a fast talking poet, Hajj, and his daughter's romance with the Caliph. It features music (original and adapted from the music of Alexander Borodin) and lyrics by Robert Wright and George Forrest. Some of its famous songs include "Baubles, Bangles and Beads" and "Stranger in Paradise." The original production, starring Alfred Drake, opened in 1953 and won the Tony for Best Musical in 1954. It was made into a film in 1955 and has received several revivals over the years. One of those was from Richard Rodgers' Music Theatre of Lincoln Center in 1965; Rodgers had in the previous year begun a series of musical revivals which would last until 1969. This production also starred Drake, but was designed as a limited run with only 39 performances. This was enough, however, to garner a new cast recording which was first reissued on CD by RCA Victor itself.
For the past several years, Masterworks Broadway's cast album reissues have been MOD discs, meaning that they are CD-Rs. That is not indicated on this round of releases, but we will update you when we have confirmation on whether these are pressed discs or not.
We've got the press release below together with the complete track listings if you'd like to give these titles a listen.
NEW YORK - Masterworks Broadway announces a slate of releases for Winter 2016 including the release of three classic albums from the archives - Sweet Charity (February 12), Salad Days (March 18), and Kismet (April 15). On February 26, Masterworks Broadway releases The Essential Stephen Sondheim, celebrating the 85th birthday year of the legendary theater composer and lyricist. Upon release, each title will be accompanied by new album pages and photos on MasterworksBroadway.com.
Winner of the 1967 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Musical, Sweet Charity stars Juliet Prowse as everyone's favorite dance-hall hostess in the Cy Coleman/Dorothy Fields musical. Also featuring Rod McLennan, Josephine Blake, and Paula Kelly, the production originated in Las Vegas at the newly opened Caesar's Palace earlier that year. Sweet Charity - The Original London Cast Recording will be officially released for the first time on CD in the U.S. February 12, with streaming and downloads available the same day.
Stephen Sondheim, the pre-eminent Broadway composer and lyricist of the modern era, has been awarded eight Tonys, eight Grammys, an Oscar, a Pulitzer Prize, five Oliviers and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Essential Stephen Sondheim spans this iconic artist's unparalleled career, from West Side Story (1957) through Passion (1994), and also includes important works from his forays into television and film. This new 2-CD collection features performances by Bernadette Peters, Mandy Patinkin, Ethel Merman, Jason Alexander, Angela Lansbury, Elaine Stritch, Victor Garber, Barbara Cook, Carol Burnett, Rita Moreno, Dean Jones, Glynis Johns, Marni Nixon, Lee Remick, Jim Walton, Lonny Price, Peabo Bryson, Nancy Wilson and many more. The Essential Stephen Sondheim will be released on February 26, with streaming and downloads available the same day.
Starring Eleanor Drew, John Warner, Salad Days was commissioned in 1954 by the Bristol Old Vic. The show ran there for three weeks and then moved to the Vaudeville Theatre in London, where it played for a then unprecedented 2283 performances. With music by Julian Slade, and book and lyrics by Dorothy Reynolds and Slade, the story features a young and impetuous couple, a tramp who possesses a magic piano that makes everyone who hears it dance and a flying saucer that ultimately helps track down the piano when it goes missing. Salad Days - Original Cast Recording will be released on March 18, with streaming and downloads available the same day.
Famed composer Richard Rodgers produced a series of musical revivals for Lincoln Center from 1964-1969 at New York's State Theatre. Kismet opened for a limited summer run in June 1965 starring Alfred Drake, recreating his Tony-winning role as the Hajj, as well as Henry Calvin from the original Broadway production. "Bored," a song written by Robert Wright and George Forrest for the 1955 movie version, was added to the score of the Tony-winning Best Musical for this production. Also staring Anne Jeffreys, Lee Venora, Richard Banke, Rudy Vejar, Albert Toigo, and Anita Alpert, Kismet - Music Theater of Lincoln Center Cast Recording will be released on April 15, with streaming and downloads available the same day.
Various Artists, The Essential Stephen Sondheim (Masterworks Broadway, 2016) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- America - Rita Moreno and Ensemble
- Tonight - Larry Kert and Carol Lawrence
- Somewhere - Jim Bryant and Marni Nixon
- Everything's Coming Up Roses - Ethel Merman
- You Gotta Have a Gimmick - Faith Dane, Chotzi Foley and Maria Karnilova
- Comedy Tonight - Jason Alexander and Company
- Everybody Says Don't - Harry Guardino
- Do I Hear a Waltz? - Elizabeth Allen
- I Remember - Bernadette Peters
- Another Hundred People - Pamela Myers
- The Ladies Who Lunch - Elaine Stritch
- Being Alive - Dean Jones and Company
- Broadway Baby - Elaine Stritch
- I'm Still Here - Carol Burnett
- Losing My Mind - Barbara Cook
- A Weekend in the Country - Company
- Send in the Clowns - Glynis Johns
- Pretty Lady - Tim Fujii, Patrick Kinser-Lau and Mark Hsu Syers
- Pretty Women - Len Cariou, Edmund Lyndeck and Victor Garber
- A Little Priest - Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury
- Not a Day Goes By - Bernadette Peters
- Old Friends - Ann Morrison, Lonny Price and Jim Walton
- Sunday - Mandy Patinkin
- Move On - Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin
- Agony - Chuck Wagner and Robert Westenberg
- Finale: Children Will Listen - Bernadette Peters and Company
- Sooner or Later - Karen Ziemba
- Unworthy of Your Love - Greg Germann and Annie Golden
- Loving You - Peabo Bryson and Nancy Wilson feat. Christian McBride and Brad Mehldau
CD 1, Tracks 1 & 3 from West Side Story: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Columbia OS 2070, 1961
CD 1, Track 2 from West Side Story: Original Broadway Cast Recording, Columbia OS 2001, 1957
CD 1, Tracks 4 & 5 from Gypsy: Original Broadway Cast Recording, Columbia OS 2017, 1959
CD 1, Track 6 from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, recording from Jerome Robbins' Broadway: Original Broadway Cast Recording, RCA Victor 60151-1, 1989
CD 1, Track 7 from Anyone Can Whistle: Original Broadway Cast Recording, Columbia KOS 2480, 1964
CD 1, Track 8 from Do I Hear a Waltz?: Original Broadway Cast Recording, Columbia KOS 2770, 1965
CD 1, Track 9 from Evening Primrose, recording from Mandy Patinkin: Dress Casual, CBS MK 45998, 1990
CD 1, Tracks 10-12 from Company: Original Broadway Cast Recording, Columbia OS 3550, 1970
CD 2, Tracks 1-3 from Follies in Concert, RCA Red Seal RCD2 7128, 1986
CD 2, Tracks 4-5 from A Little Night Music: Original Broadway Cast Recording, Columbia KS 32265, 1973
CD 2, Track 6 from Pacific Overtures: Original Broadway Cast Recording, RCA Red Seal ARL1-1367, 1976
CD 2, Tracks 7-8 from Sweeney Todd: Original Broadway Cast Recording, RCA Red Seal CBL2-3379, 1979
CD 2, Track 9 from Merrily We Roll Along, recording from Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall, RCA Victor, 1993
CD 2, Track 10 from Merrily We Roll Along: Original Broadway Cast Recording, RCA Red Seal CBL1-4197, 1982
CD 2, Tracks 11-12 from Sunday in the Park with George: Original Broadway Cast Recording, RCA Red Seal RCD1-5042, 1984
CD 2, Tracks 13-14 from Into the Woods: Original Broadway Cast Recording, RCA Victor 6796-1, 1987
CD 2, Track 15 from Dick Tracy, recording from Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall, RCA Victor, 1993
CD 2, Track 16 from Assassins: Original Cast Recording, RCA Victor 60737-2, 1991
CD 2, Track 17 from Passion, recording from Color and Light: Jazz Sketches on Sondheim, Sony Classical SK 66566, 1995
Original London Cast Recording, Sweet Charity (CBS 70035, 1967 - reissued Masterworks Broadway, 2016) (Amazon U.S.)
- You Should See Yourself
- Big Spender
- Rich Man's Frug
- If My Friends Could See Me Now
- Too Many Tomorrows
- There's Got To Be Something Better Than This
- Charity's Theme
- The Rhythm of Life
- Baby Dream Your Dream
- Sweet Charity
- Where Am I Going
- I'm A Brass Band
- I Love To Cry At Weddings
Original Cast Recording, Salad Days (Oriole MG 20004, 1954 - reissued Masterworks Broadway, 2016) (Links TBD)
- The Things That Are Done by A Don
- We Said We Wouldn't Look Back
- Find Yourself Something To Do
- I Sit In the Sun
- Oh, Look At Me
- Out of Breath
- It's Easy To Sing
- We're Looking For a Piano
- The Time of My Life
- The Saucer Song
Music Theater of Lincoln Center Cast Recording, Kismet (RCA Victor LSO-1112, 1965 - reissued Masterworks Broadway, 2016) (Links TBD)
- Sands of Time
- Rhymes Have I
- Not Since Nineveh
- Baubles, Bangles and Beads
- Stranger in Paradise
- He's In Love
- Night of My Nights
- Was I Wazir?
- And This Is My Beloved
- The Olive Tree
Stewart Gooderman says
It should be noted that the Lincoln Center Kismet is a CD re-issue, not a first-time-on-CD issue. The original CD pressing is easily available on amazon.com