A trio of upcoming releases will be sure to raise the pulse of theatre and cast recording fans out there!
Harbinger Records and the Musical Theatre Project have continued their Songwriter Showcase Series with another entry dedicated to the late composer Cy Coleman. Barnum: Backer's Audition finds Coleman and lyricist/librettist Michael Stewart presenting the score to their potential Broadway musical to an enthusiastic audience of potential investors in an Upper East Side apartment. With this release, you can be a fly on the wall for one of these exciting and rare presentations at which future classics like "The Colors of My Life" and "Come Follow the Band" were first heard. As Hugh Jackman prepares to portray P.T. Barnum in this winter's big-screen musical The Greatest Showman, here's a chance to revisit the original Barnum musical which ran 854 performances on Broadway between 1980 and 1982, originally starring Jim Dale, and subsequently in London with Michael Crawford as the titular showman. Barnum: Backer's Audition is available on CD and DD at Amazon U.S. / Amazon Canada !
On October 6, another rare set of recordings will arrive - this time from the U.K.'s Stage Door Records. Half a Sixpence, the musical adaptation of H.G. Wells' novel Kipps, featured music and lyrics by David Heneker and book by Beverley Cross. The musical comedy opened at London's Cambridge Theatre in March 1963 with Tommy Steele as Arthur Kipps, sealing the pop star's fate as a theatrical star. It recently enjoyed a successful revival in London, as well. On March 21, 1962 (one year prior to the musical's opening in the West End), demo recordings for the show then called Kipps were recorded at London's Olympic Studios. Tommy Steele, Rita Williams, Roy Sone (Steele's understudy), Joanna Rigby and writers David Heneker and Beverley Cross all participated in the recording sessions. Backed by the Kenny Powell Trio, the demos feature many of the classic songs that eventually made it into the production including the infectious likes of "If the Rain's Got to Fall" and "Money to Burn," and the classic title song. Cut songs are also featured on this 25-track collection. Look for Half a Sixpence: The Original Demo Recordings on Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada!
On November 27, 1957, the legendary Mary Martin brought her portrayal of Annie Oakley in Irving Berlin and Herbert and Dorothy Fields' Annie Get Your Gun to life on a television broadcast. Martin was joined in the musical by John Raitt as Frank Butler, Reta Shaw (Mary Poppins) as Dolly Tate, William O'Neal as Buffalo Bill, Donald Burr as Charlie Davenport, and Luke Halpin (Flipper) as Little Jake Oakley. The 105-minute rare B&W broadcast has been newly restored by VAI Music and is finally seeing the light of day on Blu-ray and DVD in an edition also containing bonus features. This first-ever authorized release is made possible by arrangement with the estates of Rodgers and Hammerstein (the musical's original producers) and the authors, and although links aren't yet available at Amazon, Annie is available now for pre-order from VAI on DVD and Blu-ray! The DVD is shipping now, with the Blu-ray to follow on September 21.