Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ron Raines, Karen Ziémba|
110 in the Shade (1999 Studio Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
While 110 in the Shade isn't as familiar to audiences as Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones's The Fantasticks (but then what is?), the original Broadway production was a modest success in 1963 and this 1999 studio recording make... more »
While 110 in the Shade isn't as familiar to audiences as Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones's The Fantasticks (but then what is?), the original Broadway production was a modest success in 1963 and this 1999 studio recording makes a compelling case for its evocative and beautiful music. Based on N. Richard Nash's play The Rainmaker, it's set in a western state in the middle of a devastating drought. Enter a stranger (Ron Raines) who promises to bring rain, but first must convince the town spinster (Karen Ziemba, 2000 Tony winner for Contact) of his powers--and of course romance ensues. (Music Man, anyone?) This excellent studio cast (also including Richard Muenz and Walter Charles, plus Kristin Chenoweth in a cameo) features a number of principals from the 1992 New York City Opera revival, and the two-disc set incorporates new songs from that production as well as transitional music and underscoring to create a complete recording that is a near-theatrical experience. The choral and orchestral work is outstanding, and the beautiful booklet includes a detailed synopsis, an essay on Schmidt and Jones as well as new notes by both, and photographs, but no lyrics. As an extra treat, though, the booklet also has Schmidt's striking paintings, which he used to help him visualize certain scenes as he was composing. This is very simply one of JAY's best releases ever. --David Horiuchi
Similarly Requested CDs
A wonderful surprise!
burghtenor | Washington, DC | 03/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones are best known for their chamber musical, THE FANTASTICKS. 110 IN THE SHADE is another sweet little musical with a simple story, so I must admit that I was hesitant to purchase such a pricey recording of the show. Why the high price? It's a foreign import and it's a double CD, even though it features only 97 minutes of music. Despite the price, this is one of my favorite recordings I own of any musical.THE STORY:
Lizzie Curry, a likeable, well-educated, but somewhat awkward woman, worries that she will become an old maid. However, in the course of a 24-hour period in the Western town in which she lives with her brothers and father, her self confidence is restored through her conversations with two men: File, the local sheriff who's considered the most eligible bachelor in town, and Starbuck, a fast-talking traveler who claims he can break the town's drought.
In my opinion, although the story is well-written (based on N. Richard Nash's THE RAINMAKER) and the score is great (except for "Lizzie's Comin' Home"), this is a difficult musical to do well. The actress playing the part of Lizzie must walk a fine line between being sympathetic or merely pathetic. THE RECORDING:
Fortunately for us, one of the first musicals that album producer John Yap saw in London was 110 IN THE SHADE, and it moved him. Inspired by the 1992 New York City Opera revival of the show, Yap has given it a complete symphonic recording, including the underscoring and the alternate arrangements of several pieces by the City Opera production. The liner notes, so often a problem in JAY Productions recordings, are detailed and informative, much of them written by Jones. It's obvious that the production of this recording has been a labor of love by all involved.The leads are fantastic. Stealing the show is Karen Ziemba, star of the City Opera production. She makes Lizzie noble while still exposing her insecurities. Her voice soars on three of the best numbers in the score: "Love, Don't Turn Away," "Simple Little Things," and "Is It Really Me?" Some people may argue that her voice becomes a bit whiny in the original take of "Raunchy", but I argue that she uses this vocal tone to show Lizzie's discomfort. Her dialogue over some of the underscoring is so well done, it's almost poetic.Ron Raines makes an excellent Starbuck, with all the brashness and surprising "introspectiveness" needed to pull off the part. Jones comments on Raines' performance of the "Rain Song": "...it never worked the way it should until I heard Ron's rendition." Raines' take on "Melisande" is wonderful, too. His acting talents are also apparent in the spoken dialogue.Richard Muenz (also from the City Opera cast) rounds out the leads as File. While I am not usually a fan of Muenz's work, his vocal qualities are a perfect match for the lonely sheriff, especially on "Gonna Be Another Hot Day," "A Man and a Woman," and "Why Can't They Leave Me Alone?" His rendition of the "Poker Polka" is also excellent, although it seems a bit out of character.The supporting cast (including Schmidt and Jones in small speaking parts) is great. The standout is Kristin Chenoweth as Snookie in "Little Red Hat." SUMMARY:
It's an expensive recording, but it's very good. This is a must-have for Broadway fanatics. Wait for it to go on sale, or buy it used."
John McWhorter | New York, New York United States | 11/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Schmidt and Jones are tragically underrrated as Broadway composers; everything they do combines beauty with intelligence. Nowhere is this more in evidence than 110 IN THE SHADE, and this recording is absolutely fabulous.There have always been some people who hate this score -- I suspect they find the Texas accents corny or trivial, a tad "Lone Ranger". And there is little sex or "grit" in the score other than "Raunchy" -- this one is not about "You Go Girl" in any way.But if you can see vernacular beauty in the accent and don't need bumping and grinding à la CHICAGO, then this score is truly magnificent -- the Rodgers and Hammerstein model divested of saccharinity and applied to some real people.This recording is just stunning. The orchestra sounds fantastic. Karen Ziemba is not a GREAT singer, but thoroughly adequate and, as such, a more plausible gal out on the plains than the creator of the role, Inga Swenson, who sounded like she would rather have been doing LA BOHEME. Everybody else is cast just right, including the nice treat of Kristin Chenoweth in LITTLE RED HAT.The going wisdom has always been that Robert Horton's Starbuck was somehow inadequate, that he was just stuck in because he was a TV star, and wasn't up to the task. I have never quite understood this -- maybe there was something wrong with him on stage (I am too young to have caught the original), but as far as singing goes, he sounds great on the original to me, and I suspect that the verdict on him was due in part to a reflexive anti-television snobbery. And if anything, his youth fit the part in lending him an earnest callowness that the more burnished Ron Raines does not have. However, Raines does quite well.Of course there are little issues. Edwards sometimes conducts too slowly. I think he is trying to bring out the luscious Hershy Kay orchestrations (and God, they are good -- just listen to how much he sticks into something as potentially throwaway as "Lizzie's Comin' Home"), but at times this means subverting the intended atmosphere. "The Rain Song" really should be more peppily revivalistic than the leisurely tempo Edwards takes, even if he allows us to hear every fillip in the wind and brass section, for example.But then NO recording will ever strike any individual listener as perfect, and at least Edwards' intentions are good. This is THE recording of 110 IN THE SHADE, complete with bonus tracks of City Opera arrangements. These two CDs eloquently demonstrate that many Broadway musicals are substantial musical literature, one of America's most valuable contributions to art. If you can hear sincerity in a country accent and don't need "hot" in your musical theatre scores, then buy this one -- support JAY so that they will keep recording America's musical theatre legacy while American companies are too crass to realize they should be doing it themselves."
3dogs3 | Eagan, MN | 10/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've always loved this story, but had never heard the musical before. This is amazing!!! And Ron Raines is terrific. Another reviewer said he "sings the hell out of the score" and I enthusiastically second that. "Rain" is one heckuva song, and Raines is one heckuva singer. It's a dynamite combination. Karen Ziemba's first rendition of "Raunchy", however, is like fingernails on a chalkboard. The second, in the bonus tracks, is much better. The score is so wonderful and Raines is so powerful that Ziemba's few screeching moments can be overlooked (most of what she sings is lovely). Buy this set - you won't be disappointed."