We're doing something a little different this week. I'm sharing with you seven of my favorite Broadway Cast albums, for either your edification, or to serve as a "what to buy" for the Musically Inclined on your Christmas list (or for yourself!)
These are not in any particular order, except for 1 and 2, because 1 and 2 are freaking indisputable.
he Phantom of the Opera: Original Broadway Cast Recording.
It's the best selling cast album of all time. So, you know. It's also the Cast Recording that made me fall head-over-heels in love with musical theater. You really cannot know awesomeness until you have this cast recording. The great thing is, it's almost the entire show. (If you want the whole show on disc, you want the 25th anniversary cast, but that's not as good, vocally, as the original. So if you're only getting one, go here.)
Les Miserables: 10th Anniversary Concert recording
This is THE RECORDING. I have the "complete symphonic recording" from when I did Les Miz a few years back, and I wanted the whole thing on disc. But the 10th anniversary cast is the creme de la creme. There is no better "Bring Him Home" in the entire Freaking Universe.
Titanic: Original Broadway Cast Recording
This is such a fantastic show, and it's much more choral in nature than any of the other choices here. The writing is complex, vivid, and the end of the show is an emotional gut-punch. "The Proposal/The Night Was Alive", "Lady's Maid", "In Every Age" and "Still" are just a few of the highlights.
Parade: Original Broadway Cast Recording.
Yes. It's a show about a lynching and a murder. But man, the music is incredible. Jason Robert Brown is one of my favorite contemporary composers, and what he does here is magic from beginning to end. I was fortunate enough to be in this show several years ago and it is my favorite musical experience to date.
he Scarlet Pimpernel: Original Broadway Cast Recording
rank Wildhorn makes my alto heart happy. Scarlet Pimpernel, a retelling of the novel, is beautifully written, sharp, witty, and has some of the best melodies he's ever churned out, that have never gotten the attention that J&H got. Also, "Storybook" is my signature piece, so I have to include this recording.
Jesus Christ Superstar: 1997 Revival Cast
Is it wrong that I listen to this every Holy Week? If it's wrong, I don't want to be right.
OK, seven is a tie. I'm sorry. But it is :)
Fun Home: Original Broadway Cast. I love this recording. Michael Ceveris (who is also on the Titanic soundtrack) is in great voice here, as is Judy Kuhn (who is also on the Les Miz recording). The music is written differently, and in new forms,but the end, in particular, is just devastating (in a good way). Great performances all around.
The Producers: Original Broadway Cast
It's just so funny. This CD brightened many gray winter commutes in my life. And it's much better than the movie version of the musical. Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick are in top, top form here.
To round out a "top ten", here's three honorable mentions:
The Bridges of Madison County: Original Broadway Cast Recording
Sunset Boulevard (really, any recording works. I prefer the one with Judy Juhn as Betty Schaffer.)
The Secret Garden: Original Broadway Cast Recording