Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, Adolph Green|
On the Town
Genres: Soundtracks, Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
Many people are more familiar with Hollywood's version of On the Town than with the original Broadway show. While Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly's movie is pretty swell in its own right, the score ditched much of Bernstein's... more »
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Many people are more familiar with Hollywood's version of On the Town than with the original Broadway show. While Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly's movie is pretty swell in its own right, the score ditched much of Bernstein's electrifying compositions as well as songs like the hilarious "I Can Cook Too." Since the 1944 show had never been properly recorded, original cast members Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Nancy Walker, and Chris Alexander finally got in a studio in 1960 while Bernstein himself conducted the New York Philharmonic. The Philharmonic can be a bit stiff at times, but this tale of three sailors on leave in New York is so full of energy and humor that it could be done by a string quartet and still blow the roof off. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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Superb recording of a classic Broadway score
A. Andersen | Bellows Falls, VT USA | 12/01/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This fabulous stereo sound spectacular recreates the 1944 show (a first for Bernstein, Robbins, Comden and Green) in all of its glory. The orchestra is extraordinary and the performers are exceptional, both vocally and dramatically. The cuts I UNDERSTAND and DO RE DO originally did not fit on the LP release. The latter was "squeezed" onto the LP re-issue when the show was revived with Bernadette Peters. Finally the CD gives us all the music. This is one of the all time great cast album recreations. The movie is a Gene Kelly film and only contains three songs from the show (the score was scrapped to make way for Kelly dances and new songs - all mediocre). Only a few years ago Michael Tilson Thomas did a studio cast recreation with Frederica Von Stade, Tyne Daly, Thomas Hampson and Samuel Ramey that was almost as good as this one. Did it go out of CD print in just a few years? It shouldn't have. Keep an eye out for the cast album of the new Broadway revival - comparisons are sure to be made. Don't miss adding the 1960 recording to your collection."
James M. Shertzer | Winston-Salem, NC USA | 01/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An expansion of Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins' early 1944 ballet hit "Fancy Free," "On the Town" launched careers of Bernstein, Robbins and writers Adolphe Comden and Betty Green (who also starred in it) on the Great White Way in December 1944. Truncated versions of some Broadway shows had started appearing (notably "Oklahoma!") then, but owing to various problems, possibly contractual, a major recording of the "On the Town" score wasn't attempted then. And it's just as well. There's SO much music - in addition to the songs, Bernstein's extended jazz and bluesy ballet numbers simply couldn't have been set down on short 78s. Luckily, most of the original principal reassembled for this belated cast recording, in fine stereo, in 1960. Even then, some material had to be shortened and one number ("I Understand"), though recorded, was dropped completely. The first CD version reinstated that cut (mournfully sung by the late George Gaynes of "Police Academy" films). The remastered CD now includes the overture (in a performance conducted by Lehman Engel) and the short suite of three dance numbers Bernstein recorded in 1963 with his New York Philharmonic (which are fine but a bit stodgy, as was Bernstein's recording of "Fancy Free" done about the same time.) What's thrilling about THIS recording is the energy of it all. The high spirits are contagious and the rollicking fun of it fairly spills out of your speakers. Although nearly 20 years older than when they first appeared in the roles, the cast members have a joyful reunion that celebrates not only the show and the start of their fabulous careers but a shining moment in both American history and American musical theater."
The rest of my review
Tommy Peter | 06/09/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"...Walker, Comden and Green did singles of their numbers in the 40s) Leonard Bernstein also makes his Broadway debut as a composer with this show (Jerome Robbins also did his first Broadway choreography in the original production), and while he includes his trademark classical and symphonic elements in the ballet and dance music, his music for the songs (And even some of the ballets) is "Broadway" all the way: energetic, brassy, tuneful, and always lectrifying. Yes, the man must've been a genius, because these two very different types of music coexist incredibly well together in this score. Likewise, Comden and Green's lyrics are just as brilliantly hilarious (if somewhat dated) as their later works are. The story of the show is rather simple - three sailors get one day's shore leave in New York, New York (as in a helluva town) for just one day and find fun, adventure, and romance. The cast is great. Walker easily steals the recording (and undoubtedly stole the original show) as Hildy, the amorous taxi driver who lands one of the sailors. Cris Alexander, as the sailor she lands, even though he'd rather be a tourist than a lover, is appealing. Green, as another of the sailors, and Comden, as a sex-starved anthropologist he meets up with, are delightful. Reardon sings beautifully as Gabey, the third sailor, who spends most of the day looking for a girl on a subway poster that he's fallen in love with. The orchestrations are great...(PS- I should have also mentioned, in my list of songs that shouldn't have been cut from the film, the hilariously depressing "I'm Blue," sung by a somewhat overemotional singer in a nightclub before Hildy and company push her offstage to express their devotion to the depressed Gabey in the jazzy "Ya GOt Me." Every time I hear this singer's overwrought, nasally version of the song, I crack up)"