Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|John Kander, Fred Ebb, Ann Reinking|
Chicago - The Musical (1996 Broadway Revival Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
"Chicago's plot was cynical and satirical in 1975, but today feels like a documentary." So says Walter Bobbie, the director responsible for this revival of the Kander, Ebb, and Fosse "musical vaudeville," which began as a ... more »
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"Chicago's plot was cynical and satirical in 1975, but today feels like a documentary." So says Walter Bobbie, the director responsible for this revival of the Kander, Ebb, and Fosse "musical vaudeville," which began as a minimalist concert staging for New York City Center's Encore! series before moving on to Broadway, critical acclaim, and Tony Awards. Actually, it'd be hard to go wrong with any production, no matter how it's staged, because the Roaring '20s jazz-based music here is simply great. Some people actually prefer the original's Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera as Roxie and Velma to Ann Reinking and Bebe Neuwirth, but no matter. Joel Grey is perfect as Amos Hart, James Naughton matches Jerry Orbach's original Billy Flynn, and again, the music here is wonderful. A near-flawless classic. --Bill Holdship
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A dynamic recording
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 01/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For many, this was their introduction to the galvanising score of Kander and Ebb; the delightful cast-recording to the 1997 Broadway revival that would have never been possible without the now-legendary Encores! concert version in 1996.The cast is uniformably excellent; Ann Reinking is a playful powerforce as Roxie Hart, Bebe Neuwirth's dry wit serves her well as the bitchy Velma Kelly, James Naughton is the epitome of suave as crooked lawyer Billy Flynn, Joel Grey is the perfect foil for Roxie as the henpecked Amos Hart, Marcia Lewis' powerful voice brings Matron 'Mama' Morton to life, and D. Sabella's breathtaking operatic chops are put to the test with gender-bending sob sister Mary Sunshine.Rob Fisher's unparalled musical direction enlivens each and every recording that he conducts for, and CHICAGO is no exception. Brassy, well-paced and evocative, his direction is fantastic under the renowned Coffee Club Orchestra.Ann Reinking's vocal style is fine; her singing is quite character-driven, and one can forgive her lack of singing finesse on the fact that she IS Roxie Hart, and danced the role for all its worth.Numbers like "All That Jazz", "Funny Honey", "Cell Block Tango", "When You're Good to Mama", "Mister Cellophane", "Nowadays" and "Roxie" are all show-stoppers. I've said it many times; this score is simply dud-free, and in my opinion only rivals CABARET as Kander and Ebb's greatest score."
A WONDERFUL RECORDING!!
theycallmemimi01 | San Diego, CA USA | 03/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, this is the recording that got me interested in Chicago. Velma, (my favorite character)is played by the beautiful and talented Bebe Neuwirth. She is a wonderful and witty Velma Kelly. Ann Reinking is a great Roxie. I actually prefer her raspy voice over Renee Zellweger's soft Roxie. James Naughton is SUPERB as Billy Flynn, he can make you laugh without hardly trying. Joel Grey as Amos Hart was a wonderful choice, and finally, Marcia Lewis as 'Mama' Morton and D. Sabella as Mary Sunshine were also great contributions to this album. Here is a list of the songs and their ratings.1.Overture- Great music, 4 stars
2.All That Jazz- Love Velma's voice, great kaereoke song, 5 stars
3.Funny Honey- Lovely song about Roxie and Amos's love, 5 stars
4.Cell Block Tango- Film version of this song is better, 3 stars
5.When You're Good to Mama- Marcia's voice is perfect, 5 stars
6.All I Care About- Better version than the film by far, 5 stars
7.A Little Bit of Good- Interesting..., 3 1/2 stars
8.We Both Reached for the Gun- One word... fun, 5 stars
9.Roxie- Ann Reinking's best performance, 4 1/2 stars
10.I Can't Do It Alone- I love this song, 5 stars
11.I Can't Do It Alone (reprise)- Not really a song, 3 1/2 stars
12.My Own Best Friend- Roxie and Velma's duet, 4 stars
13.Entr'Acte- Fun to listen to, 4 stars
14.I Know A Girl- Witty song about Velma's jealousy, 4 1/2 stars
15.Me and My Baby- Cute song about Roxie's new "baby", 5 stars
16.Mister Cellophane- Amo's life story, very sad, 5 stars
17.When Velma Takes the Stand- Self explainable, 4 stars
18.Razzle Dazzle- Interesting song, 5 stars
19.Class- Powerful and funny song, 5 stars
20.Nowadays-Good song, 4 stars
21.Hot Honey Rag- Very fun music, 5 stars
22.Finale- Great ending, 4 stars"
Bebe Neuwirth and Joel Gray--what more could you ask?
Rebecca M. Deaver | Memphis, TN, USA | 11/22/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not going to go into the merits of the Chicago musical itself here. I'm sure you all know of its cynical, witty plot, its joyously gritty mood, and its dazzling, jazzy score. Instead, I'm going to compare this cast to the original.In general, this cast is something of an improvement over the original, especially in the field of singing, although the acting is a little off in some cases. Bebe Neuwirth has turned the mood-setting "All that jazz" into a true show-stopper, combining seduction and snobbery to form a Goddess-like feel that will make any man melt. She continues this throughout the score, adding a touch of cynical grit when appropriate, and dazzling us with her stunning, hypnotic vocal beauty.The only performer to surpass Ms. Neuwirth is Joel Gray, who is in his sixties, but still sounds almost as wonderful as he did in Cabaret. Thank God his voice didn't fade, as so many do. His acting is perfect, stunning, turning Amos from an outright idiot to an immensely naive, sweetly pathetic slave to his own love for Roxie. Amos was already my favorite character (I've always been intrigued by his being the one decent person in the Chicago cast), but I absolutely worship Gray's interpretation of him.)As for the rest of the cast, Mama Morton is actually a good bit scarier and more fascinating in this version. James Naughton as Billy Flynn sings far better than Jerry Orbach, but his acting is nowhere near as good. Mary Sunshine is less impressive than in the original, and her dark secret (which I won't reveal, as it would spoil the surprise) is less well hidden. Also, quite apart from that, she is simply a less effective singer, though still so talented that I have little right to complain.However, the real reason I gave this recording four stars rather than five is twofold; first, my favorite song, the sardonic humor number "Cell Block Tango", is rather ruined by the addition of sub-par singers and actresses and the lack of subtlety in line delivery. And secondly...Anne Reinking, the star, was clearly chosen both for her dancing abilities and because she was the late Bob Fosse's wife, which made her an ironically fitting choice to succeed Gwen Verdon, the original Roxie and also Fosse's ex-wife. However, Reinking _completely_ misinterprets Roxie, portraying her as a vicious, drooling psychopath. The original Roxie was meant to be portrayed as selfish, cynical, extremely shrewd and cunning, and in general far _too_ sane, to the point of being almost pure evil. In addition, Reinking's singing, while certainly tolerable, is slightly sub-par in comparison to the rest of the cast. This is mainly a problem because Roxie is, after all, the star, and thus the most crucial role of all in the play, although she thankfully has a relatively minor role on this CD compared to Ms. Neuwirth.Despite this, I simply cannot pick a favorite from the main pair of Chicago recordings. Both are a must have, and as an intro to the actual music, this one is more flattering due to its stars' greater vocal talent. If you like cynical humor, fast, jazzy music, Bebe Neuwirth, or Joel Gray, get this CD. You'll love it."