Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, Ethel Merman|
Gypsy - A Musical Fable (1959 Original Broadway Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
Considered by many to be the last great musical comedy, Gypsy tells the backstage tale of vaudeville entertainer turned stripper Gypsy Rose Lee and her overbearing mother, Rose. Stephen Sondheim's lyrics--composed in advan... more »
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Considered by many to be the last great musical comedy, Gypsy tells the backstage tale of vaudeville entertainer turned stripper Gypsy Rose Lee and her overbearing mother, Rose. Stephen Sondheim's lyrics--composed in advance of Jule Styne's infectious music--provide a tight structure and natural language to the 1959 score, which produced more than its share of Broadway standards, including "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "Small World," "Some People," "If Momma Was Married," "Together Wherever We Go," and the climactic "Rose's Turn." Although the role of Rose has seen subsequent memorable interpretations by Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, and Bette Midler, the show was written for Ethel Merman, and she remains the definitive stage mother. For this 1999 release, the recording has been remastered with numerous short passages restored and four tracks added. Merman sings alternate lyrics to "Some People" and a medley of "Mr. Goldstone" and "Little Lamb," all with piano accompaniment. Two other tracks are songs cut in tryouts: "Momma's Talking Soft" (gently swung here by Laura Leslie) was a duet for June and Louise that provides some context to the later line "Momma's talking loud," while "Nice She Ain't" is crooned by Bernie Knee, who is infinitely more suave than Jack Klugman ever would have been. Expanded to 63 minutes, this essential cast recording is now even more essential. --David Horiuchi
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Let Them Entertain You
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(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let me entertain you
Let me see you smile
I will do some kicks
I will do some tricks
Sing out, Louise! Sing out!
I'll tell you a story
I'll dance when she's done
You're behind, honey!
Catch up! Catch up!
By the time we're through entertaining you
You'll have a barrel of fun!
Gypsy remains one of the very finest musicals ever produced. With music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim how could you go wrong? Well, they certainly didn't go wrong; and this original cast recording proves it.
I agree with people who believe that the overture for this musical is one of the finest ever written. It flows beautifully and seamlessly through portions of many of the musical arrangements for the songs in this musical. Impressive!
The musical score on this CD contains many songs that to this day remain instantly recognizable. "Let me Entertain You;" "Some People;" "Small World;" "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and "Together Wherever We Go" boast those catchy Jule Styne melodies and incredible lyrics that only Sondheim could have written.
"Let Me Entertain You" is the first song on this CD; and Ethel Merman as Mama Rose with Jacqueline Mayro as Baby June and Karen Moore as Baby Louise perform this flawlessly. The song flows so naturally that you completely believe that the two young girls are truly being coached by their domineering mother as they rehearse for a kiddie show in a vaudeville theater. Ethel Merman delivers "Some People" very convincingly; it is here that we see the first undeniable evidence that Merman was born to play Mama Rose. Merman belts out this song passionately as only she could; Merman blows the roof off the house.
Other great songs on this CD include the beautifully arranged "Small World" which is performed with great sensitivity by Ethel Merman as Jack Klugman joins in to make the song even more romantic; the moving "If Momma Was Married" by Sandra Church and Lane Bradbury as they deeply wish for a reprieve from their pushy stage mother; "Everything's Coming Up Roses" sung without a single superfluous note by Ethel Merman and "Together Wherever We Go" performed by Ethel Merman, Jack Klugman and Sandra Church.
Ethel Merman also delivers one especially powerful number at the end of the musical, "Rose's Turn." Merman's voice remains as strong, vibrant and passionate as ever as her character laments that things didn't turn out as happily as she had planned. The musical arrangement underscores Mama Rose's descent into a type of nervous breakdown as Mama Rose performs her swan song.
The CD continues with four bonus tracks that include entire numbers that originally wound up on the cutting room floor. These tracks add color to the original cast recording and enable the listener to hear even the slightest of differences editors made as they rushed to release the LP only one week after Gypsy opened at The Broadway Theater. Look for some interesting changes in "Some People;" "Mr. Goldstone/Little Lamb;" as well as two songs that were dropped from this production of Gypsy entitled "Mama's Talking Soft" and "Nice She Ain't." Excellent bonuses!
The sound quality is rather good although there were times when I could hear minor surface noise in the background. The liner notes offer black and white pictures from Gypsy and essays by Martin Gottfried and Tom Shepard. There are liner notes reprinted from the original LP jacket by George B. Dale, too.
Gypsy was produced several times more after this production closed. However, this is the definitive version because Ethel Merman carries the show with her zesty and powerful voice. Nobody could or ever will touch Ethel Merman as the quintessential Mama Rose.
I highly recommend this CD for fans of original cast recordings of great Broadway musicals; and of course Ethel Merman fans will thrill to these superlative numbers.
Tom | Philadelphia | 05/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Merman belts the songs out of the ballpark in a way that Midler can't touch and LuPone only nears in 'Rose's Turn.' The additional tracks on this are worth a listen and enhance the perspective, like the included liner notes, of the final production."