Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 01/30/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"GRAND HOTEL is still one of the most ambitious Broadway musicals ever written. The lovely score by Maury Yeston (NINE, TITANIC) as well as Robert Wright and George Forrest is simply sublime. One of the best 'ensemble' musicals ever written.The story concerns the various guests and employees at a well-to-do hotel in Berlin: the ageing ballerine Elizaveta (Liliane Montevecchi - NINE) and her lesbian companion Raffaela (Karen Akers - NINE); the dashing Baron Felix (Brent Barrett); the ambitious hotel typist Miss Flaemmchen (Jane Krakowski); Mr Kringelein (Michael Jeter), the dying clerk looking for one last fling; and the Doctor (John Wylie) who guides us through these various stories and relationships.Standout numbers include the manic "Fire and Ice", the Baron's beautiful ballad "Love Can't Happen", Flaemmchen's jaunty-yet bittersweet "I Want to Go to Hollywood", "Who Couldn't Dance with You" and "Bonjour Amour".David Carroll originated the role of Baron Felix in the Broadway production, though he was very ill, suffering from the ravages of AIDS. Carroll left the production before the cast album was recorded and died shortly after. Brent Barrett from the national tour was brought in to record the role for the cast album. Added as a bonus here is David Carroll's rendition of "Love Can't Happen", recorded live at Steve McGraw's with Wally Harper at the piano.Highly-recommended. [RCA 09026-61327-2]"
Loved it live
Ann-Marie | USA | 01/09/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This show is very good live, but of course its kind of hard to see it live right now becuase it isnt playing anywhere, but oh well. The music is mostly wonderful. I get bored with bits of it, but i'm rarely happy with everthing. I love "roses at the station" and "The Grand Parade" most of all. You can listen to Grand Parade on this site but they didnt put on Roses, which annoys me, so you will just have to trust me that its good. For the Allie McBeal fans, "Elane" is on this CD as the second lead female (and she is wonderful). If you can imagine Les Miserables and Little Shop of Horrors combining to make a musical, you would have Grand Hotel. It's very dark and depressing, but its also funny in bits and it has a really small cast."
A "Grand" show
Simon Cross | RUSTINGTON, West Sussex. United Kingdom | 04/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw the London production of this show, starring Brent Barrett and Liliane Montevecchi from the Broadway cast. It was an excellent evening's entertainment. I went and bought the Broadway cast recording, and it became one of the first cast recordings that I found myself listening to a) lots and lots, and b) the whole way through.It begins with a typical Maury Yeston opening, introducing all the characters (he does this too, in Titanic.) The tension created between the anger of the boiler workers and the tenderness of the rich guests begins to shape the show. Music ranges from dance numbers such as "Maybe My Baby Loves Me" to ballads such as "Bonjour Amour."Of an excellent cast, I select Karen Akers to comment upon first, for the heartbreaking portrayal of Liliane Montevecchi's indispensable and devoted confidante and assistant. Ally McBeal fans may be interested in Jane Krakowski's stenographer desperate to get to Hollywood, to be Berlin's first big star. The central portion of I Want To Go To Hollywood, in which she tells the mirror of her lifestyle is pretty moving. Brent Barrett brings just the right amount of grandeur and good looks to the role of the Baron. Liliane Montevecchi is suitably delicate as the fading ballerina the Baron "befriends."This is a good value CD, with little comments from the cynical Doctor that keep one abreast of the storyline. At the end of the show, you learn just enough of most of the characters to enable you to imagine what the future has in store for them."
A really unusual show
P. Morris | the UK | 01/27/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It is hard to sumerise exactly what Grand Hotel is about. It concerns the lives of the guests who stay at this famous Berlin hotel during the 1930's. While this is fascinating, it does mean that the score often has a tendancy to drift from character to character without much focus on them. This is undoubtedly not helped by the fact that it was written by a number of people and does feel as though it has been cobbled together in parts.However, despite this, there is something quite compelling about the recording. The music fits with the period when it has to, but also takes a Broadway approach to ballads and chorus numbers. All of the performers are faultless from the biting cynical doctor, the hopelessly in love couple, and the fading actress.It's not a CD that I listen to over and over again because it is quite hard to get in to, and very easy to turn off. However, with some concentration, it is possible to understand what is going on, and only then does the full scope of the score become apparent."
This one grows on you
Mark Andrew Lawrence | Toronto | 10/17/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"On stage GRAND HOTEL was a beautiful, seamless, enlessly entertaining show. For some reason, however, the cast album was not made until near the end of its 2 1/2 year broadway run. Many of the cast members had departed and were called back to make the recording. Sadly David Carroll (who created the role of The Baron) collapsed and died (of AIDS) in the studio before his numbers could be taped. The rest of the original cast is here with Brent Barrett filling in for Mr Carroll (as he did on Broadway and on tour.)The score was pieced together with some songs by Robert Wright and Chet Forrest, and others by Maury Yeston. Yeston also reworked some of the Wright/Forrest songs (without their complete approval - which may explain why the recording took so long to get made.) However Wally Harper was on hand to orchestrate everything so it does tend to sould all of one piece. The more you listen to this fascinating show the more you like it.The recording has some flaws..wrong notes here and there and maybe they should have used a bit more dialogue and created a condensed version of the show. But the performances are great. And the pulsating score keeps with the musical's theme "Time is running out."It really is too bad that Tommy Tune's staging was not video-taped because this is one show we'll probably never see again."