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09 January 2007 @ 03:50 am
Give My Regards to Broadway! Part 1  
I've always loved Broadway musicals (early favorites were Les Miserable, Evita, Pippin, Cats and Phantom of the Opera). I got my love of musicals from my mother who had albums of almost every musical from the 80's and 90's. Because of that, I was able to keep up with shows and stuff without making the effort myself. However, once she went into the hospital and then passed, I mostly let my love of musical fall to the wayside. Sure, I popped in and out and watched the Tony's each year, but I didn't buy or listen to any or anything.

All of that changed last year when I listened to Wicked on a whim and fell totally in love with it (and Idina Menzel). This led to getting a bunch of others, but I still wasn't full-fledged until recently. I don't know why, but I've been on such a Broadway kick lately, it's insane. That's all I've been listening to and I have a bunch of new favorites (my current one being Duncan Sheik's Spring Awakening -- which I'm listening to right now). Below are a list to the Broadway musicals I have on my computer and brief commentary on them. (I'm just doing the first batch -- I have bunches more) I know I have a few fellow Broadway fans on my flist (you know who you are :), so I'd love to hear from you.

Also, I'm more than happy to put up zips of the musicals listed, and I would LOVE to hear some suggestions (and possibly downloads) of ones I don't have on my list.

Aida -- I'm actually not the biggest fan of all performers in the OBC (I've heard a few versions of Idina Menzel as Amneris and as I adore Menzel, it does slightly hurt my appreciation of Sherie Ryan Scott) and yes, it's cheesy and overblown. And, honestly, there are a few songs that I'm not fond of and, in my opinion, the lyrics aren't always that fabulous ... but, but, but, I'm still swept away by the beauty and drama of it. I also love the fated destiny that you get about the two lovers. Plus, I ADORE, ADORE the opening song -- "Every Story is a Love Story" because it's so true ... and yes, I have totally thought of making a Logan/Veronica vid to that song, hee.

A Little Night Music -- I have a confession to make -- I'm only marginally fond of this because I saw the movie version with Elizabeth Taylor (yes, Elizabeth Taylor) as a pre-teen and fell totally in love with it. One reason is that I adored the Eric/Anne subplot because Lesley-Anne Down and Christopher Guard had a really great chemistry and I thought Guard had an amazing voice. Sadly, I was so not impressed with the guy's voice playing Erich (although I think he has a different name in this production). Also Diane Rigg was the AWESOME! Still, I love the words and music, and oh, what I wouldn't do for a copy of the music from the film -- I can't find it anywhere, sigh -- but this is still damn good (and probably much better for most people who didn't see the movie at a young age were thus not corrupted).

Avenue Q -- How can you not love a musical with puppets singing songs like: "It Sucks to Be Me," "Everyone's a Little Racist Sometimes" and "The Internet is for Porn"? Hee! Although, admittedly, I also love the big "ballad" "There's a Fine, Fine Line" which is just beautiful. What can I say? This is funny, outrageous, so politically incorrect, romantic, fresh and lively. And did I mention 'Gary Coleman' is one of the supporting characters?

Beauty and the Beast Original Broadway Cast -- I was surprised to love this so much, but I do and in fact, I actually like this better than the movie. The additional songs are great and I ADORE Susan Egan who played Beauty in the original Broadway cast (and then Meg in the Disney cartoon, Hercules -- with one of my fave songs ('I Won't Say I'm in Love") ever from Disney). The Australian version I have for one reason -- Hugh Jackman plays Gaston. And he is AWESOME!

Beauty and the Beast Australian Company (See B&B OBC)

Cabaret -- Let me say that I do adore Natasha Richardson. I've been a huge fan for about eight years and have seen almost everything's she done, but good Lord! What were the casting people thinking?!?! Yes, she can act -- you can tell just from listening how great an actress she is because you can feel every word she's singing ... Ah, and there we come to the crux of the problem. She. Can. Not. Sing. Sigh. It's really a shame because Alan Cumming as the Emcee IS divine and deserved every solitary word of praise he got. It's worth listening to for him alone.

Caroline or Change -- This didn't get that much attention (although it did get some well-deserved Tony nods and one win), and had only a four-month run, but that was likely because it's not flashy or a spectacle. One review said it was "a play masquerading as a musical" and that's a damn good description. Reviews across the board were pretty much gasping at the heartbreaking beauty of this musical. It's just solid, real and achingly, beautifully amazing. Pinkins' big number ("Lot's Wife") is mind-blowing, heart-wrenching and incredible; she delivers it as well as everything else she does in this musical ... brilliantly. Let me put it this way -- I adore Idina Menzel. Seriously worship her. I have every thing she's recorded, bunches of live performances, etc. have driven my sister crazy talking about how awesome she is ... and if Tonya Pinkins had won the Tony (she was nominated; Menzel took home the prize), I would have felt it perfectly justified. That is how completely kick-ass Pinkins is. The whole thing is just amazing. And for any Dreamgirls (or heck, From Justin to Kelly fans! HAH!) Anika Noni Rose is in this production also -- she won the Tony for featured actress in a musical (and deservedly so). And, Grey's Anatomy fans, Chandra Wilson (Dr. Bailey) has a supporting role as well. Whatever it takes -- check this out!

Okay, if there's any interest in me continuing this with the other 20+ musicals I have, I will. But this is taking a bit of time and I don't really want to do it just for my benefit with no back and forth response. So ... if there's interest (in also maybe sharing Broadway rec's and downloads), I'm all for that.
harper47harper47 on January 9th, 2007 01:14 pm (UTC)
You know I adore musicals. The only problem is I kind of adore all musicals. So it's hard for me to pick favorites as even in storylines that drag there's usually a song or two that I adore.

Responding to what you have listed - Avenue Q owns me. My oldest daughter did Thespians with some other students performing It Sucks to Be Me and won States with it. Best Song Ever. I can't wait to see what the authors do with the Scrubs Musical coming up (they are writing it). One of my favorite CD's to listen to although I always have to be careful to mute certain spots when Kiersten is in the car. Hee!

Arabian: Soft Veronicaarabian on January 9th, 2007 10:32 pm (UTC)
I'm the same way. I have a folder called miscellaneous showtunes that has various songs from musicals.

I love Avenue Q, it's fresh and original. As much as I do like it, I am bummed that it beat out both Wicked and Caroline or Change for best musical that year -- I preferred both.

Yeah, I can't imagine not playing an edited version of some sorts of this musical with kids.

So should I continue this with more of my musicals?
harper47harper47 on January 10th, 2007 12:45 pm (UTC)
Well I enjoy reading it. So my vote is yes.

I think Avenue Q had the advantage of being so fresh and original as you say that it was simply impossible to beat that year. My boss saw it that season on Broadway and he just raved about it. I adore Wicked - I mean what's not to adore, perfect blending of songs, writing and casting but profane puppets are almost unstoppable.
Arabian: Dancing Cucumberarabian on January 11th, 2007 12:23 am (UTC)
True dat. Still, in the long run, I think that CoC is the best of the bunch and Wicked is everything that you think of when you think of Broadway.
WeHo M.: VM - V Huh?afrocurl on January 9th, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC)
I can't explain it, but my favorite Broadway musical has to be "Into the Woods".

At some point when I was about 8 I fell in love with it, and I can watch the movie version and be way too happy.

As for other plays, I'm not that up to date on the current state of Broadway, so I'm a bust for suggestions.
Arabian: Veronica ... Gasp!arabian on January 9th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)
I actually have two versions of ITW -- the original with the divine Bernadette Peters and the revival with Vanessa Williams. I have the Broadway version (with Peters) on DVD.

If I continue with the rest of them (any interest) those are coming up.
harper47harper47 on January 10th, 2007 12:46 pm (UTC)
Oh I adore Into the Woods. I've used several of it's songs in musicals and Hudson played Jack in it several years ago. Great songs (though I'm over Children will listen, way too overdone).

But Giants in the Sky, Agony - adore!

WeHo M.: Lyrics - Invincibleafrocurl on January 10th, 2007 04:58 pm (UTC)
Agony is a great song, I agree.
harper47harper47 on January 10th, 2007 05:10 pm (UTC)
My oldest son sang it at a Thespians competition several years ago and I've always wanted to work it into a musical but it's hard to take it out of context.

I've been meaning to ask you if you minded if I friended you. I know you and Jason are like this (insert crossed finger smiley) -hee! And I'm always following links over to your lj.
WeHo M.: Celebs - JRafrocurl on January 10th, 2007 05:13 pm (UTC)
Go ahead! There's a poll in my sidebar for filters because I'm nice to my RL friends, and then you'll have more access to the Jason insanity that is my life.
harper47: pic#56816094harper47 on January 10th, 2007 05:23 pm (UTC)
Whoops! I see on your LJ page you ask NOT to be asked about friending on other forums. Sorry about that. I tend to live life at a whirlwind - as Jennifer can testify, and am constantly dashing about when I get a moment. I should have checked there first. Thanks for being understanding.
WeHo M.: VM - Facepalm!afrocurl on January 10th, 2007 05:26 pm (UTC)
Oh--no, I should fix that. It's being asked to be a friend is a random public post that has nothing to do with what the post is about. I'm used to comments about things sparking friends requests.

eolivet on January 9th, 2007 02:42 pm (UTC)
Sadly, I was so not impressed with the guy's voice playing Erich (although I think he has a different name in this production)

It's Henrich in the stage show (I think). My sister played the older lady who sang "Liaisons" in a summer theater workshop production. I love certain songs from ALNM -- "You Must Meet My Wife," "A Weekend in the Country," "Now/Later/Soon" (:points to tiny text in lefthand corner of icon: :p ) and the classic "Send in the Clowns." Do you have the zip file of the individual songs or the whole thing? I'd LOVE to get the songs for my new iPod. :p

I've been a huge fan for about eight years and have seen almost everything's she done, but good Lord! What were the casting people thinking?!?!

Ahh, the only "Cabaret" recording I've ever heard is Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey. The original Broadway cast is amazing, though I'm sure Alan Cumming is outstanding, as well. So many good songs there, too...

And I saw "Wicked" on Broadway and...wow. :D I couldn't tell if you'd seen it, from your comment, but you should definitely check it out if you can -- what an amazing stage production!!! :)

Arabian: Bench-Kissing (cap by lapses)arabian on January 9th, 2007 10:37 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's it Heinrich. I love Now/Later/Soon -- the film Erich (Guard) does those long notes amazingly. Here is a zip file -- it's from someone else (where I got the file) but I'm sure it's still good. If not, I'll re-upload it. ALNM - OBC (megaupload).

I LOVE Liza Minelli's "Maybe This Time" and "Cabaret."

I, unfortunately, haven't seen Wicked on Broadway (I'm so jealous ........), but I did (ssh!) see a Bootleg copy. I actually bought a DVD that someone made of the best parts that are out thre. I've watched all the little clips (only Idina's version, thank you very much) I could find. And I did contact the producer because Stephen Schwartz has released earlier B'way musicals on DVD and I was told that they DO plan on releasing it on DVD ... eventually. So, woohoo!!

Wicked is definitely on the list if I continue this. Should I?
eolivet on January 10th, 2007 03:20 pm (UTC)
Eeeee, thank you SO MUCH for the ALNM upload!!! :D Sondheim has the most clever lyrics sometimes, and this is one I've never owned -- just hummed occasionally. :) You ROCK!!! :D

I saw "Wicked" juuuust after Idina had left (!), and her replacement was pretty good. Although I've heard Idina on the cast recording and...yeah. There's a reason she won the Tony. ;)

Definitely continue this list (though I see you already have -- yay!!!) I was raised on musicals (although mostly older, "classic" musicals), but they don't get nearly enough love these days. :D
Arabian: Veronica_Anime-Stylearabian on January 11th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed.

Aww, you missed Idina? Bummer. She's AWESOME!

I didn't actually consider the SA write-up as continuing it, I just had to write about it because I'm so in love. I will work on this more tonight.
Stephsmiles1_9 on January 9th, 2007 04:17 pm (UTC)
I wish I could bring more, but I only ever get to hear the soundtracks, I've only seen one actual Musical- Les Miseabable- which still OWNS me!

I have the soundtrack to Aida and really enjoy it, same with Cabernet. ANother one that I really enjoy is A Chorus Line!!!
Arabian: The Chemical Scenearabian on January 9th, 2007 10:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, I only saw Les Miz on Broadway also. (It was my Graduation present!) But I've seen Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods (original) and Sweeney Todd (original) on released DVD and I have seen bootleg versions of Wicked, Boy From Oz and Aida. Better than nothing!

I know Chorus Line from the movie.
Jordanjordle on January 9th, 2007 10:55 pm (UTC)
I adore Idina Menzel as well, however the only Aida version I have seen is with the OBC and I love it (Mainly because of Adam Pascal). I am not the biggest fan of Sherie Ryan Scott - mainly because her Maureen in Rent was deplorable. I've seen some okay Maureen's but no one does it like Idina does. I have no problem with Scott in Aida though :)

I'm a huge Renthead and I love Adam Pascal, so I pretty much have all of his Broadway stuff (Including 4 versions of Rent).

You're right Idina is Awesome, I cannot stress that enough!
Arabian: Idinaarabian on January 9th, 2007 11:00 pm (UTC)
If you go to to this fansite there are a couple of clips (including a video of her performing "My Strongest Suit" in Broadway on Broadway (the Summer Today Show thingie) -- not televised, taped by a fan, but a GREAT copy).

I know someone who's a huge Adam Pascal fan, I like him, but don't love him. Gah, I can't imagine Scott as Maureen, but she and Idina DO have the same type of voices, but Idina's is much better, imo. She's good in Aida, I just would have preferred Idina ... and knowing she did it (just not original) is frustrating.
Jordanjordle on January 9th, 2007 11:31 pm (UTC)
Scott downplayed Maureen, whereas Idina's Maureen was out there. In Happy New year where Maureen says "Chips Anyone?" Idina says it in this perky voice where as Sherie says it like she doesn't want to be there. I didn't like her Maureen at all.

I'll check out the site, thanks.
Arabian: Little Boy Bluearabian on January 11th, 2007 12:26 am (UTC)
Hmm, yeah, I can't imagine I would have bought Maureen as that at all.
mastermia: King Kongmastermia on January 10th, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
Aida, Wicked and Avenue Q are all on my iPod. I got to see Wicked and Avenue Q on Broadway and they were fantastic.

I would recommend Boy from Oz. There are a few songs that are great, plus if you like Hugh you can forgive some of the unevenness. I just got Drowsy Chaperon in the mail and have not heard it yet, but I hope it is good. I found Putnum County Spelling Bee good live, but few of the songs really stand out on the cd without the action as a backdrop. However, his earlier work - Falsettos and March of the Falsettos are two of my favorite musicals. I also love Aspects of Love. Yes it is icky on paper, but some of the songs - like the fantastic Love Changes Everything - carry it.

I would pass on Light in the Piazza and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I don't think either hold up as just music. I am seeing Scoundrels next year, so I will see if I like it better.
Arabian: CheerLoganarabian on January 11th, 2007 12:31 am (UTC)
Ooh, I'm so jealous. Wicked AND Avenue Q?!?!? Sigh. With Idina!??! Don't tell me, my heart will break from the jealousy!! AAHHHH!

It's on the list -- I have it under "T" for The. It's coming. I actually have seen the bootleg and have the CD. I didn't like the musical at all, horribly put together I thought, but the songs are great and Hugh is HUGH!!!!!!!!!!

I also have Putnam, again under "T" -- duh! I have a bootleg, but haven't watched it yet.

The "Falsettos" I've never heard -- do you have download links perchance? Aspects of Love, I no longer have, but I did love some of the songs. It was too much talky and not enough musical for me. But some beauts in the songs for sure.

I have both LIght in the Piazza and DRS. It's a shame because I loved the bit we saw of Piazza at the Tonys and broke down and bought the musical -- it's eh. DRS, I enjoy, but don't love. Of course, I have leftover Leo Butz love from Wicked.

I'll do more of the ones I have tonight -- most you mentioned I do have so a brief write-up will be included.
mastermia: Brokeback - a moment in timemastermia on January 11th, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
Yes, I saw Idina do Wicked and the original Avenue Q cast. To just add to the jealousy? I saw Hugh do Boy from Oz as well!

I also have Putnam, again under "T" Is this some list I am supposed to see, because your post only goes to Caroline.

I don't have links for Falsettos, it is old. And another really old one is Romance/Romance with Archer from Enterprise and it has some great songs as well. If you happen to run across them I would give them a try. And I also cast votes for Into the Woods, Civil War, Jekyl and Hyde and Scarlett Pimpernel.

Same with me for Light, and the song they did at the Tony's? The only good one. However, DRS's Great Big Things cracks me up every time.

Arabian: Dancing Cucumberarabian on January 11th, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC)
I officially hate you! Idina AND Hugh!!!!!! Grrrr. Sigh. So lucky you are.

There are almost 30 songs. I meant to work on more last night, but forgot to it until it was too late..

No, I've never even heard of Romance/Romance. I've never heard of Civil War, but I have J&H and SP on my list.

Yup, song at the Tony's it. Ah well. The one musical CD I bought that I regret -- I've decided to listen to it more to try and give it a chance, but I'm not sure. Oh yes, GBT is THE best number about that too.
mastermia: Jon:  Happy Dancemastermia on January 12th, 2007 12:07 am (UTC)
Idina and Hugh - let the hatred commence. Hee.

I gave LIP two chances and gave up. Same with Assassins and Titanic. Jane Eyre, though, finally stuck on the second try.

Oh, add Secret Garden to your list as well. Mandy goodness!
Arabian: Dreamy Colbertarabian on January 12th, 2007 12:19 am (UTC)
I'm just so jealous. There are no words. OHMYGOD! If they ever did a musical together, fuck it, I'd go to New York for it!

I only listened to LiP once, so I'll try more. Assassins, I was actually offended by. I'm sure some of it came from my idolization of Abraham Lincoln, but I just found the whole idea disgusting and amoral. I really, really, REALLY hated the concept so much. The singing, lyrics were okay -- but the concept just was wrong.

Titanic, my mom had, and I listened to it once. I liked it and would want to listen again. Jane Eyre I've never heard nor Secret Garden.

Here's a list of what I have and I will do a write-up for all of them:

The 25th Annual Putname County Spelling Bee
A Little Night Music
Avenue Q
Beauty and the Beast (OBC/Australian Cast)
The Boy From Oz
Caroline, or Change
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
The Drowsy Chaperone
Evita (OBC)
* Grey Gardens
* Hairspray
Into the Woods (OBC/Revival)
Jekyll & Hyde
* Kiss Me, Kate (Revival)
Les Miserable (OBC/London Cast -- This I watched on Broadway, not OBC)
The Light in the Piazza
* Mary Poppins
Monty Python's Spamalot
Phantom of the Opera
*The Scarlet Pimpernel
See What I Wanna See
* Seussical
Spring Awakening
Sweeney Todd (OBC - I have the DVD/Revival)
They're Playing Our Song
Thoroughly Modern Millie

* these denote the ones I've only listened to a bit, not at all or am still mulling over.

I tried Jersey Boys because it got such great reviews, even if I couldn't stand the male singer from the Tony's (who won!), but one listen was enough. Not impressed. Maybe I should try again? Oh, and ugh to "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," off the list. Other than Kristen Chenowith's solo, I thought this was horrible and am truly stunned that it's such a well-reviewed and popular play.