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Show Boat (1988 Studio Cast): Von Stade; Hubbard; Hadley; McGlinn
David Garrison, Leslie Fyson, John McGlinn
Show Boat (1988 Studio Cast): Von Stade; Hubbard; Hadley; McGlinn
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #3

John McGlinn's sprawling, monumental three-CD set is about all the Show Boat any listener could ever ask for. In an obvious labor of love, McGlinn reconstructs the show as it ran on opening night, November 15, 1927, includ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: David Garrison, Leslie Fyson, John McGlinn, London Sinfonietta
Title: Show Boat (1988 Studio Cast): Von Stade; Hubbard; Hadley; McGlinn
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Angel Records
Original Release Date: 9/28/1988
Re-Release Date: 10/25/1990
Album Type: Box set, Cast Recording, Soundtrack
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
Styles: Vocal Pop, Musicals, Traditional Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaCD Credits: 3
UPCs: 077774910828, 077774910842

John McGlinn's sprawling, monumental three-CD set is about all the Show Boat any listener could ever ask for. In an obvious labor of love, McGlinn reconstructs the show as it ran on opening night, November 15, 1927, including every song, the original orchestrations, and all underscored dialogue. The most significant restoration is the dark choral number "Mis'ry's Comin' Aroun'," as Show Boat's serious subject matter helped establish its place as the most important turning point in the history of American musical theater. McGlinn also adds an appendix that includes songs cut before opening night and every song subsequently written for the show's many productions, most notably the love duet "I Have the Room Above Her," written for the 1936 film. (The recording is also available in a one-disc reduction called the "Broadway Show Album.") Rest assured this 221-minute blockbuster is not just dry scholarship; it's also terrific listening, with McGlinn conducting a dynamic London Sinfonietta and a strong cast including Frederica von Stade as Magnolia, Jerry Hadley as Ravenal, Teresa Stratas as the tragic Julie, Bruce Hubbard as the worldly wise Joe, Karla Burns as Queenie, and David Garrison and Paige O'Hara as the comic couple Frank and Ellie. And of course the songs by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II are among the most glorious ever written: "Ol' Man River," "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," "Make Believe," "Why Do I Love You," "Bill," "You Are Love," and "Life upon the Wicked Stage." Also included are exhaustive production notes, a history of the show, a detailed synopsis, and a libretto. John McGlinn's Show Boat is a staggering achievement and a recording for the ages. --David Horiuchi

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CD Reviews

Still takes my breath away
Michael K. Halloran | 12/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I bought this set ten years ago when it first came out and thought it was absolutely incredible. I recently listened to it through again and my opinion of it has only grown. "Show Boat" is a revolutionary musical in the history of the genre. First produced by Florenz Ziegfeld in 1927, it was not only ground-breaking but tremedously popular. This recording aims to present all the music written for the show; this includes variants, substitutions, cuts -- you name it, this set has got it. Indeed, the shock of the first word ("Niggers") sets the tone for this set. "Show Boat" never aims to be easy: it challenges prevailing racial attitudes by showing the past as it was, not whitewashing the unfortunate truth.Fortunately, besides a wealth of wonderful music and challenging drama, the cast, chorus, conductor, and orchestra are all top-notch. Frederica von Stade takes the pivotal role of Magnolia with charm and sincerity. While one may wish for a true soprano timbre in the role, von Stade's performance is so winning that any misgivings are quickly set aside. Teresa Stratas as Julie sings ravishingly: after hearing "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" and "Bill" in the original soprano keys, you'll be discontent with the belter Julies normally heard today. Jerry Hadley, Bruce Hubbard, Karla Burns, David Garrison, and Paige O'Hara are all equally suited to their roles and perform with total commitment and great zest.John McGlinn is to be commended for his work toward restoring the guts and heart to "Show Boat" after years of its mistreatment as an operetta. It is not that: this is an American Opera, as surely as "Porgy and Bess" and "Street Scene," and McGlinn's care and passion for this score show in every bar.When I listened to this set all the way through a few days ago, I found tears coming to my eyes during the final reprise of "Ol' Man River." Surely this sprawling, ambitious work is nothing less than the distillation of the American experience: good (Magnolia's triumph over adversity) and bad (the racist attitudes that eventually destroy the tender Julie). Our nation's past is littered with both glory and shame, and "Show Boat" is here to remind us of that."
One of the greatest musical theatre albums ever produced
albertatamazon | East Point, Georgia USA | 02/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There have been recordings of "Show Boat" since the 1930's, and there will be more recordings of it in the future. And there is a definitive 1936 film version, with four of the original Broadway cast members and one London cast member, which gives one as close an idea of what the original stage production may have been like. But for those who want to experience all of "Show Boat"'s astonishingly beautiful score, well sung with its original lyrics (which do include the "n" word--be warned if you are playing this album for an unsuspecting guest), as well as the original 1927 orchestrations and vocal arrangements, this is the album to have.

It is not so much the individual singers that make this album so great. After all, the 1951 soundtrack album does have Howard Keel and William Warfield, the 1936 film does have Irene Dunne, Allan Jones, Helen Morgan and Paul Robeson, and the 1994 Harold Prince revival (the Toronto version), is one of the finest sung show albums ever made. But in the case of the 1988 EMI recording, what really impresses is the delicate care with which the score has been treated. The songs are never overdone, and conductor John McGlinn never "interprets" the score by changing the tempos of the songs. The score is never sentimentalized as it so frequently has been in earlier albums, and that includes the soundtrack to the overly popular 1951 film version. It is performed romantically and with great depth of feeling without the schmaltziness that often makes 1920's musicals sound syrupy.While listening to this album, we know we are in the hands of people who love this show and wish to represent it as best they know how.

There are a few minor drawbacks. There is way too much dialogue, included solely for the purpose of showing how composer Jerome Kern underscored the dramatic scenes. While this is interesting, after the second or third hearing, one begins to program the CD's so as to eliminate as much dialogue as possible, especially when you have such a dubiously acted Cap'n Andy as Robert Nichols's (who apparently can't avoid really hamming it up) and the late Nancy Kulp (Miss Jane on "The Beverly Hillbillies") equally over-the-top and annoying as Parthy. Of all the non-singing actors, only Lillian Gish acts with true sublety-- and shows what a great artist she was in only two minutes.

The other drawback is that sometimes Teresa Stratas' diction is unclear, as often happens with her, and with Julie's songs ("Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" and "Bill"), with their poignant lyrics, that could have been a disaster, but thankfully, enough comes through and she is in gorgeous voice.

Don't let these drawbacks stop you, though; this is a monumental album that deserves to be forever in print. Let's hope that EMI/Angel keeps it that way."
The only really great operatic staged recording of a musical
Jay Dickson | Portland, OR | 11/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Eighties saw many recordings of classic musicals by operatic stars; many of them were passably solid (Frederica von Stade's SOUND OF MUSIC and ANTHING GOES), some were astonishingly odd (the WEST SIDE STORY with Kiri Te Kanawa as Maria and José Carreras--!!!--as Tony). But John McGlinn's loving re-creation of SHOW BOAT--in all its entirety, with all its many variations in songs and music--was by far the most spectacular and most beautifully accomplished. The operatic cast is ideal, from Teresa Stratas as a terrifyingly vulnerable Julie to Jerry haldey as a suitably overripe Ravenal, and the musical comedy stars like Paige O'Hara and David Garrison shiune in their roles. Best of all, it showcases many of the songs Kern and Hammerstein wrote for diofferent versions of SHOW BOAT that have been lost over the years, from the dark and haunting "Mis'ry's Comin' Round" chorus from Act I to the thrilling New Year's chorus of Act II. McGlinn has a great Magnolia in Frederica von Stade, who--unlike most operatic stars--has a voice ideally suited for musical theatre. She seems truly willing to try anything, and she's as fine as the bizarre specialty numbers written for the part (such as "Gallivantin' Around") as the classic standards (such as "You are Love" and "Make Believe"). Best of all, she does a raucous version of the amazingly difficult number "Nobody Else But Me" that Kern and Hammerstein wrote for their favorite of all Magnolias, Jan Clayton; pay attention when you listen to it both how infectious its melody is despite the fact that every other phrase changes key!"