The sun will come out tomorrow…because that’s the release date for Stage Door Records’ world premiere CD release of the Original London Cast Recording of Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse, and Martin Charnin’s beloved musical Annie. A little over a year after its smash, Tony Award-winning debut on Broadway, Annie opened in the West End at the Victoria Palace Theatre (today the home of Hamilton). While original star Andrea McArdle repeated her performance for the first 40 performances, the role of Annie was assumed by Ann-Marie Gwatkin who got the opportunity to preserve her interpretation on CBS Records’ cast album. Gwatkin starred opposite Sheila Hancock as Miss Hannigan, Stratford Johns as Daddy Warbucks, Kenneth Nelson as Rooster, Judith Paris as Grace, Clovissa Newcombe as Lily, and Matt Zimmerman as Bert Healy. The album, recorded in June 1978 with producer Nicky Graham at the helm, followed the same 16-song sequence as the Broadway original. Stage Door’s limited edition has been remastered directly from the master tapes as housed in the Sony vaults. It’s available now from Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada (out today in the U.K. and next Friday in North America).
Ben Bagley’s DeSylva, Brown, and Henderson Revisited is the latest title in Kritzerland’s reissue campaign of the late Bagley’s long-running Revisited series. DeSylva, Brown, and Henderson (Good News) didn’t have the household name status of many of their contemporaries, but their songs like “You’re the Cream in My Coffee,” “Birth of the Blues,” “The Thrill Is Gone,” and “The Varsity Drag” remain familiar today. As usual, Bagley concentrated not on those familiar chestnuts, but on lesser-known songs of equal quality. He assembled an all-star cast under the musical direction of Norman Paris, including Dorothy Loudon, Cab Calloway, Blossom Dearie, Margaret Whiting, Sandy Stewart, Ann Hampton Callaway, and Gloria DeHaven. Kritzerland’s reissue brings this entry – one of the rarest in the series – back into print with newly spruced-up sound and original cover artwork by Harvey Schmidt. It’s limited to 500 copies and will begin shipping by the first week of April, though pre-orders placed directly with the label typically arrive earlier. Place your pre-orders from Kritzerland here!
Once upon a time, America’s biggest and most prestigious companies – including General Electric, Ford, DuPont, Xerox, Whirlpool, American Standard, and McDonald’s – staged full-blown musical theatre productions at their sales meetings and conventions. These weren’t fly-by-night shows; while the subjects of the musicals were, naturally, the company’s products, the creative teams and performers were top-notch. Chita Rivera, Susan Stroman, Florence Henderson, John Kander and Fred Ebb, and Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick are just a few of the legends who participated in these “industrial musicals” which proliferated from the 1950s through the 1980s. Late Show with David Letterman writer Steve Young’s passion for the offbeat cast albums that resulted (which were generally available only to employees) led to the award-winning 2018 documentary Bathtubs Over Broadway. Now, Mondo has brought its soundtrack – featuring original music penned for the film as well as over two dozen selections from rare industrial cast recordings – to vinyl in a deluxe 2-LP set released exclusively by Mondo in 180-gram black vinyl and 180-gram red-and-blue iterations. Steve Young (also co-author of the history Everything’s Coming Up Profits: The Golden Age of Industrial Musicals) has contributed new liner notes. You can place your orders for this zany soundtrack right here!