Busker Alley [Original Cast Recording]

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Musical theater history is replete with lost shows that, for one reason or another, never got to New York. One of these was Busker Alley, until November 13, 2006, when the off-Broadway York Theatre Company put on a one-night-only semi-staged concert performance of the score as a benefit; the next day, the cast trooped into a recording studio and made the show's first-ever cast album. The history of the work dates back to the late '60s, when the sibling songwriting team of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, best known for the movie musicals Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (both since adapted for the stage) teamed up with librettist A.J. Carothers to ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Musical theater history is replete with lost shows that, for one reason or another, never got to New York. One of these was Busker Alley, until November 13, 2006, when the off-Broadway York Theatre Company put on a one-night-only semi-staged concert performance of the score as a benefit; the next day, the cast trooped into a recording studio and made the show's first-ever cast album. The history of the work dates back to the late '60s, when the sibling songwriting team of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, best known for the movie musicals Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (both since adapted for the stage) teamed up with librettist A.J. Carothers to write what was initially called Piccadilly, based on the 1938 British film St. Martin's Lane (American title: The Sidewalks of London), starring Charles Laughton and Vivien Leigh, about the May-December relationship between a mature London street entertainer and an opportunistic young woman. The show didn't get a staging then, but it came closer in a revised version called Blow Us a Kiss in 1982. Finally, in 1994, Broadway star Tommy Tune became involved in what was now called Busker Alley, and in 1995 he took it on a pre-Broadway national tour that came to an abrupt end two weeks before the scheduled New York opening when he broke his foot performing at the last stop on the tour. That was it for another 11 years, until Tony Walton, director of the 1990s production, persuaded the York to put it in front of an audience, if only for one night. This time, the cast featured Jim Dale, the Tony-winning veteran of 1980's Barnum, with his Barnum co-star Glenn Close brought in as a "special guest star" in what turned out to be almost a cameo as an older version of the female lead (played for most of the show by Jessica Grové) in a framing device at the start and end of the show. For all the turmoil associated with Busker Alley, it comes off as a modest entertainment, even with an excellent cast. Although they are Americans, the Sherman brothers have always had an evident affection for period British settings, and this is another one. One need only recall songs like "Chim Chim Cheree" and "Step in Time" from Mary Poppins to have a sense of what their take on the cockney style is. (Of course, the influence of My Fair Lady is apparent.) Numerous "H"s are dropped (one song is even called "Where the 'Ell Is 'Ome?"), and the tunes are singsongy and simple. The score features many songs that might be called "production" or "source" songs, in the sense that they are just presented as songs the buskers sing on the street, although there are also plot songs in which the characters express their thoughts and feelings. In neither case is the material, while unfailingly pleasant, more than serviceable, even though Dale (who was 71 years old at the time of the recording and relying more on his phrasing than his old vocal power) and the rest of the cast give it an enthusiastic reading. Busker Alley will interest musical theater fans and, with Mary Poppins on Broadway, may even attract a real production, but it is not a major work.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/13/2007
  • Label: Jay Records
  • UPC: 605288140020
  • Catalog Number: 1400
  • Sales rank: 134,767

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Act 1. Opening - Diane Wasnak (1:17)
  2. 2 Act 1. Blow Us a Kiss - Diane Wasnak (1:52)
  3. 3 Act 1. Hula Love Song - Diane Wasnak (1:41)
  4. 4 Act 1. Never Trust a Lady - Diane Wasnak (0:56)
  5. 5 Act 1. When Do I Get Mine? - Diane Wasnak (2:13)
  6. 6 Act 1. Strays - Diane Wasnak (1:43)
  7. 7 Act 1. Mates - Diane Wasnak (2:18)
  8. 8 Act 1. What To Do With 'er? - Diane Wasnak (1:42)
  9. 9 Act 1. He Has a Way - Diane Wasnak (2:04)
  10. 10 Act 1. Busker Medley. Moonlight in Brighton / Crazy Happy Tears / A Mil - Diane Wasnak (2:53)
  11. 11 Act 1. He Has a Way / She Has a Way - Diane Wasnak (2:22)
  12. 12 Act 1. Busker Alley - Diane Wasnak (3:35)
  13. 13 Act 1. When Do I Get Mine? (Reprise) - Diane Wasnak (0:31)
  14. 14 Act 1. How Long Have I Loved Libby? - Diane Wasnak (2:27)
  15. 15 Act 1. Baby Me - Diane Wasnak (2:15)
  16. 16 Act 1. How Long Have I Loved Libby? (Reprise) - Diane Wasnak (1:04)
  17. 17 Act 2. Ordinary Couple / I'm On the Inside - Diane Wasnak (3:52)
  18. 18 Act 2. Tin Whistle Tune - Diane Wasnak (2:48)
  19. 19 Act 2. Mates (Reprise) - Diane Wasnak (2:00)
  20. 20 Act 2. The "New Show" Audition. All Around the Town / Beautiful Girls - Diane Wasnak (2:33)
  21. 21 Act 2. Where the 'ell Is 'ome? - Diane Wasnak (2:15)
  22. 22 Act 2. Where Are the Faces? - Diane Wasnak (2:05)
  23. 23 Act 2. Paddle Your Own Canoe - Diane Wasnak (2:36)
  24. 24 Act 2. Charlie the Busker - Diane Wasnak (1:05)
  25. 25 Act 2. Epilogue - Diane Wasnak (0:53)
  26. 26 Act 2. He Had a Way - Diane Wasnak (2:02)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Jim Dale Primary Artist, Vocals, , Track Performer
Simon Jones
George S. Irving Vocals,
John Meyers Drums
Glenn Close Vocals, , Track Performer
John Bolton Jr. Vocals,
Marshall York Synthesizer
Anne Rogers Vocals,
Jessica Grové Vocals, , Track Performer
Brian Drye Trombone
Noah Racey Vocals,
Patrick Wetzel Vocals
Mark York Synthesizer
Busker Alley Cast Ensemble Choir, Chorus
John Meyers Drums
John Bolton Vocals,
George Irving Vocals,
Elizabeth Inghram Flute, Vocals
Aaron Gandy Piano, Conductor
Simon Jones
Technical Credits
Troy Halderson Engineer
Richard M. Sherman Composer, Lyricist
Robert B. Sherman Composer, Lyricist
Tony Walton Director, Liner Notes, Cover Illustration, Logo Design
John Yap Producer, Executive Producer, Audio Production
Doug Craib Cover Design
A.J. Carothers Book
John A. Yap Producer, Executive Producer
James Morgan Liner Notes
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