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|Roger Rees||Vocals, cast|
|Faith Prince||Vocals, cast|
|Sean McCourt||Guitar, Vocals|
|A Man of No Importance Orchestra||Performing Ensemble|
|A Man of No Importance Cast||cast|
|William David Brohn||Orchestration|
|Scott Lehrer||Sound Advisor|
|Terrence McNally||Liner Notes, Book|
|John Yap||Producer, Executive Producer, Audio Production|
|James McMullan||Cover Painting|
|Stephen Flaherty||Composer, Producer, Vocal Arrangements, Audio Production|
|Ted Sperling||Music Direction|
|Brett Alan Sommer||Programming, Electronic Design|
|Keith Shortreed||Digital Editing|
|Lynn Ahrens||Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Liner Notes, Audio Production|
|Jane Greenwood||Costume Design|
|Janet Takami||Assistant Management|
|John A. Yap||Executive Producer|
Posted October 1, 2010
As far as musical theatre goes, there have been very few teams in the last decade or so that have been able to create as amazing and beautiful pieces of theatrical brilliance as Flaherty and Ahrens. And thank God the two have been able to impart so many great works. From "Once On This Island" to "Ragtime", it seemed like they would never be able to top themselves. And then this comes to my attention. At first listen, I was disappointed. I was expecting something along the lines of a new "Ragtime"- with an Irish twist. And no, "A Man of No Importance" is perhaps not as instantly accessible as the infectious "Ragtime" is, but give it a few tries. It has quickly become my favorite Flaherty/Ahrens score. In most musicals, there are one or two songs that require a quick push of the "skip" button on my CD player, but "A Man of No Importance" is an exception. There isn't a single clunker in this collection. From the lovely title song to the beautiful "Welcome to the World", this score soars with a jubilant and sometimes heartrendering outlook that can develop its characters in as much as a three minute song. The plot can be easily discerned from the songs and with a little help from the more-than-complete synopsis included with the CD's liner notes. Based on the 1994 film, "A Man of No Importance" tells the tale of Alfie Byrne, a Dublin bus driver determined to put on a church production of Oscar Wilde's "Salome". Along the way, he confronts his own sexuality and changes the lives of those around him. One of the main assets behind the success of the score is the plot. Unlike the somewhat more distant "Ragtime", "A Man of No Importance" deals with characters not unlike people you may have known. Perhaps it is even possible to see yourself in Alfie Byrne. This is, for the most part, more than can be said with the class-driven society in "Ragtime". Indeed, even the conclusion of "A Man of No Importance" reflects the uncertainties and difficulties of social acceptance present in modern society; a far cry from the pat and dry ending of the very sentimental "Ragtime". It's hard to pick out a few musical highlights, but if pressed, I would choose "The Cuddles That Mary Gave", a funny and yet mournful recollection of an older man's dead wife, "Confession", where Alfie almost confesses his love for another man to the local priest, "Art", an infectious and funny melody in which Alfie faces the difficulties of putting on a play, "The Streets of Dublin", a poetic ode to the city of Dublin set to a driving rock beat, and "Love Who You Love", a beautiful melody that is passionate and yet so very realistic in its idiomatic language. A beautiful work. Listen to it, give it a chance, and love it.
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Posted October 26, 2008
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