Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Harvey Schmidt, Tom Jones, Audra McDonald|
110 in the Shade (2007 Broadway Revival Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
Four-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald triumphantly returns to Broadway in the role she was born to play: Lizzie Curry in 110 in the Shade, Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt?s heartrending musical adaptation of N. Richard N... more »
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Four-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald triumphantly returns to Broadway in the role she was born to play: Lizzie Curry in 110 in the Shade, Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt?s heartrending musical adaptation of N. Richard Nash's classic play The Rainmaker. Amidst a heat wave in 1930's Texas, Lizzie ? despite her wit, intelligence and homemaking skills ? is on the verge of becoming an old maid, until a charismatic rainmaker named Starbuck enters town and her world is shaken. 110 in the Shade originally premiered in 1963 ? Jones and Schmidt?s first Broadway musical following their unprecedented off-Broadway triumph with The Fantasticks. Joining McDonald for the new Roundabout Theatre Company revival are two-time Tony Award-winner John Cullum and, fresh from Spamalot, Steve Kazee as Starbuck. PS Classics and the Roundabout previously collaborated on Grammy-nominated and top-selling recordings of Nine: The Musical and Assassins; this latest CD is sure to result in another definitive Broadway cast album, this time headed by one of Broadway's brightest crown jewels.
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110 in the Shade: The Definitive Recording
E. Chris Caggiano | Boston, MA USA | 06/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a thrill it is to finally have a first-rate recording of the glorious 110 in the Shade.
The original Broadway cast, which has been out of print for years, has significant limitations, mainly the dramatically challenged Inga Swenson in the lead role of Lizzie. Her line readings on the spoken parts of the album are unbelievable and amateurish. Plus the break between her chest- and head-voice is jarring. On the recent concert-cast recording, the otherwise redoubtable Karen Ziemba is miscast in the Lizzie role, at least with respect to her upper range.
Finally, we have Audra.
What more can be said about the dazzling Audra McDonald? Audra has officially joined the pantheon of musical-theater legends, demonstrating not merely the gravitas of her four Tony-Award-winning performances (Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, and Raisin in the Sun) but also the charming playfulness of Mary Martin and the eye-catching ability to fill an entire stage merely with her presence, like Chita Rivera or Gwen Verdon.
As for the other key performers, Steve Kazee, who was underwhelming on stage, acquits himself partially in the recording studio. His presence seemed small in the theater, but on the CD his voice is somewhat richer and his intonation is a bit more accurate. He's still not the magical Starbuck that the role requires, but he's at least serviceable. Christopher Innvar's smoldering performance as File doesn't quite come through on the CD, but Innvar remains vocally rich and highly sympathetic.
Overall, this CD for me becomes the definitive recording of a glorious and underrated show. The score is chockablock with gorgeous and heartrending pieces (including "Is It Really Me?," "A Man and a Woman," "Old Maid") as well as rousing character numbers ("Melisande," "Wonderful Music"). There are a few superfluous songs (including "Little Red Hat"), but for my money, 110 in the Shade ranks with any of the better-known musical theater classics, and in many cases surpasses them."
Small show, big emotions
krebsman | New York, NY United States | 06/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a fan of Jones and Schmidt's music since the original cast recording of THE FANTASTICKS came out in 1960. All of their scores for the theatre are wonderful and 110 IN THE SHADE is one of their very best. The original production of 110 was before I lived in New York, but I did see the City Opera revival in the 1990s with Karen Ziemba, which I liked a lot. But the new production is far and away more moving. In the theatre there was not a dry eye in the house at intermission or at the final curtain. To my surprise this new recording had the same effect on me. In a perfect world there would have been a bigger cast. (I think there are five, count `em, five townspeople.) The only place the new recording suffers in comparison to the original is in the choral numbers. These songs demand a bigger chorus. But to my surprise, the streamlined orchestrations work just fine. I always felt that the orchestrations on the original cast recording at times overwhelmed the songs, but I think these new Jonathan Tunick orchestrations really support and emphasize the gorgeous Harvey Schmidt melodies. There have been a few minor lyric changes that I found jarring at first simply because I'm so used to the original ones. I understand that these were made in order to accommodate Political Correctness and to make certain high vowels easier to sing. Fortunately there are only a few of them. There's a song included in this version that was not on the original recording, "Evening Star," sung by Starbuck. It has the same melody as the beginning of "Another Hot Day." I like the song because it adds depth to Starbuck's character. Alas, the overture is not included in this version. (The overture was left off the original vinyl LP because there wasn't room for it, but was included on the CD reissue.) The voices on this recording are for the most part excellent. McDonald, of course, is just terrific. The men's voices took some getting-used-to for me. Christopher Innvar has the right quiet manly presence on stage for the reclusive sheriff and that quality comes across on the recording. I just wish his sense of pitch were more certain in his first song. He hits the notes, but rather tentatively, I think. As Starbuck, Steve Kazee has the show's most difficult role. His interpretation is more offbeat than the others I've seen and it works. His Starbuck faces an uncertain future; he's not a superman who's going nowhere but up. The voice is a little quavery for my taste, but, I don't mind it as much now that I've gotten used to it. 110 IN THE SHADE is a musical, but the emotions are big enough for opera. This recording gets five stars from me because it's extraordinarily affecting on a deep, emotional level. It's gorgeous. I'd recommend it without any hesitation at all."
A good show reconsidered
Larry A. Verdugo | Pasadena, CA USA | 09/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some of the other reviewers here lamented the changes made to the score in this revival of 110 in the Shade. Personally, I found the differences between this performance and the original quite refreshing and a tribute to the material itself--that it can be rethought and presented afresh with no fundamental loss to its spirit. One writer, for example, felt that the orchestrations had been reduced, suggesting that they sounded undernourished. I heard arrangements that were not simply pared down but entirely reconsidered to suit a very different approach to the score. They were warm and appealing, making up in subtlety what they lost in sheer volume. They also allowed the singers, especially Ms. MacDonald, an opportunity to explore the lyrics in a more personal way. But make no mistake; the big numbers still "peak" as they should and provide all the excitement one could want.
All in all this cd makes it appear that the theater that was used perhaps was much smaller and intimate, eliminating the need for everyone to play to the back of the house. This seems evident especially in the extended dialog given here. It was understated but for all of that no less characterful. I will keep both the original cast and this album for a long time. They prove that when the material has real quality, it allows new interpretations and benefits from various viewpoints.