"Burt Bacharach's patented songwriting style is on luxurious display in Some Lovers, the new musical he wrote with Steven Sater, one of the creators of Spring Awakening," wrote The Los Angeles Times upon the musical's 2011 premiere at San Diego's Old Globe. "Octogenarian composer Bacharach brings youthful freshness to the project," opined Variety. "[Some Lovers] is packed with nearly 20 new songs by pop virtuoso Burt Bacharach," offered The San Diego Union-Tribune, "and in theater it doesn't get much more rare (or for fans, more welcome) than that." Now, ten years after the musical's bow, Some Lovers has finally received its world premiere recording. It's streaming now from Broadway Records, and arrives November 26 on CD from the label.
With book and lyrics by Tony Award winner Sater, Some Lovers marked the legendary composer's first foray into the musical theatre since 1968's Tony Award-winning Promises, Promises, co-written with lyricist Hal David. Loosely based on O. Henry's short story The Gift of the Magi, Some Lovers follows Ben and Molly, a couple struggling with life and love who have to reconcile past and present to keep their love alive.
Though decades had passed since Promises, Promises, the prolific Bacharach effortlessly returned to a theatrical milieu, bringing his shifting rhythms, unexpected time signatures, and unrivaled melodic beauty to Sater's words. Following the initial Old Globe production, Sater and Bacharach continued to refine Some Lovers. It was performed in concert at New York's Lincoln Center in 2016 and in a full production at London's Other Palace in 2017; a 2018 Adirondacks Theatre Festival production returned it to America. The new recording reflects the score to the intimate show's most recent incarnation.
Producers Michael Croiter and Ben Hartman (joined by co-producers Bacharach, Sater, and Cody Lassen) have assembled an A-list cast for this concept-style recording featuring different Broadway stars tackling each distinctive song. These stars include Colton Ryan (Dear Evan Hansen) and Molly Gordon (Alice by Heart) on the driving opening number "Molly," the Falsettos duo of Betsy Wolfe and Tracie Thoms on the gorgeously wistful, swooning title song, and Ramin Karimloo (Love Never Dies, Les Miserables) on the pulsating, vintage-uptempo-Bacharach "Welcome to My World." Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele, co-stars of Spring Awakening and Glee, offer the yearning "Love Me for an Hour" while Katrina Lenk and Ari'el Stachel of The Band's Visit reunite for the tense "Living with a Ghost."
Kristin Chenoweth, who starred opposite Sean Hayes in the 2010 revival of Promises, Promises, brings power and vulnerability to the dramatic "Just Walk Away" which can't help but recall her showstopping "Knowing When to Leave" in the earlier musical. Jennifer Holliday, who so recently stole the Tony Awards with her thunderous revival of Dreamgirls' "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," brings hard-earned intensity and R&B flavor to the supremely moody "Every Other Hour." Santino Fontana (Tootsie) and Laura Osnes (Cinderella) tenderly caress the gentle "Hush," and Auli'i Cravalho (Moana) and Graham Phillips (The Good Wife) ring in the yuletide season early with the touching "This Christmas." All of the songs are heard in the expert, flavorful orchestrations by Promises' original orchestrator, Jonathan Tunick, for a small but energetic band.
A handful of the standout songs from Some Lovers have trickled out over the past decade. Italian singer Karima recorded "Every Other Hour" and "Just Walk Away" in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Japanese vocalist Takashi Hamazaki recorded "Welcome to My World" in 2010, the same year British singer-songwriter Rumer introduced "Some Lovers" on her Rumer Sings Bacharach at Christmas EP. A few years later, in 2014, Bacharach's longtime muse Dionne Warwick recorded "This Christmas" for a digital single. Finally, these songs can be heard in context.
With this remarkable recording, Some Lovers takes its place alongside Promises, Promises in Bacharach's musical theatre canon, with honorable mentions to the television musical On the Flip Side and big-screen musical Lost Horizon as well as to the 2015 play-with-music New York Animals. The latter, featuring another clutch of new Bacharach/Sater songs (including the infectious "Window Shoppin' and Dreamin' Dreams," imported from the Old Globe's first staging of Some Lovers), was staged in Manhattan in 2015 and also awaits a recording. "The songs are classic Bacharach," observed The New York Times. "Even when they're new, they sound vintage mellow."
Other musicals with which Bacharach has been involved haven't yet made it to the stage. In the mid-1990s, he and lyricist B.A. Robertson worked on an abortive adaptation of Snow White which reportedly yielded 14 as-yet-unheard songs. He and Elvis Costello also penned songs in the mid-2010s for a musical version of their 1998 album Painted from Memory and a stage adaptation of Austin Powers. While neither project has materialized - a workshop of Painted from Memory did take place with a book by Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory) and direction from Tony Award winner John Doyle - Costello's 2018 Grammy-nominated album Look Now featured a number of new songs from the Painted from Memory stage score.
The world premiere recording of Some Lovers is just the latest project from the composer, now 93. He's just re-entered the studio with Costello and continues to write with Nashville-based Daniel Tashian (with whom he released the Grammy-nominated EP Blue Umbrella, now available on digital platforms, vinyl, and made-on-demand CD-R).
Classic yet contemporary, Some Lovers is filled with romance, beauty, and emotion. It can be streamed now on YouTube, Spotify, and all of the usual services, while the CD can be pre-ordered from Broadway Records with a November 26 release date. We'll update with Amazon links once they're available.
Burt Bacharach and Steven Sater, Some Lovers: World Premiere Recording (Broadway Records, 2021)
- Molly - Colton Ryan and Molly Gordon
- Some Lovers - Betsy Wolfe and Tracie Thoms
- Aren't We?/Another Start - Ethan Slater and Lilli Cooper
- Love Me for an Hour - Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele
- Living with a Ghost - Katrina Lenk and Ari'el Stachel
- Hold Me - Conrad Ricamora and Ashley Park
- A Thousand Things That Were You - Derek Klena
- Ready to Be Done with You/A Thousand Things That Were You (Reprise) - Derek Klena and Christy Altomare
- Welcome to My World - Ramin Karimloo
- Every Other Hour - Jennifer Holliday
- Just Walk Away - Kristin Chenoweth
- Hush - Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes
- This Christmas - Graham Phillips and Auli'i Cravalho