|Michael Ball||Raoul, Marius|
|Andrew Lloyd Webber||Actor|
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This live recording of Cameron Mackintosh's extravagant and ambitious revue features all the brightest stars of the musical stage. Hailed by critics and fans during its 1998 run at the Lyceum Theatre of London, the show includes old classics and new favorites by Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Julian Slade, Lerner and Loewe, Cole Porter, Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil, Stephen Swartz, and Louis Jordan. Performers include Jonathan Pryce, Julie Andrews, Michael Ball, Bernadette Peters, Elaine Paige, Judi Dench, Colm Wilkinson, Hal Fowler, Brian Blessed, David Campbell, Lea Salonga, and Hugh Jackman. ~ Sarah Welsh
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This concert tribute to producer Cameron Mackintosh showcases the talent that graced his productions over the past two decades, uniting performers from both Broadway and the West End in one remarkable evening. Among the more notable names to grace the stage are Julie Andrews (as announcer), John Barrowman, Hugh Jackman, Elaine Paige, Lea Salonga, Ruthie Henshall, Michael Ball, Colm Wilkinson, and Bernadette Peters. DETAILED REVIEW: Memorable ensemble sequences are those from "Les Miserables," (performed by the Michael Ball, Lea Salonga, Ruthie Henshall, and Colm Wilkinson), "Miss Saigon," (featuring Lea Salonga and Jonathan Pryce), and "The Phantom of the Opera," (starring Colm Wilkinson as the phantom). Favorite solo numbers include "One, Two, Three," (John Barrowman), "Being Alive," (Bernadette Peters), "I'm Martin Guerre," (David Campbell), and "Losing my Mind," (Michael Ball). In addition to stellar performances by well-known stars, the tribute concert also has some unexpected showstoppers, such as "Nicer in Nice," "Gotta Get a Gimmick," and an exquisite ballet sequence from "Carousel." Finally, the coup de grace is a performance by none other than Stephen Sondheim AND Andrew Lloyd Webber: the two fan-proclaimed rivals share a piano to sing a lighthearted parody about Cameron Mackintosh, making frequent reference to their disagreement on musical composition! (For the die-hard fan, the above sentence likely prompted a click to add this dvd to either "Cart" or "Wishlist," and, for them, the following discussion on drawbacks to the concert are pointless). However, for the less obsessive music lover, there are some notable negatives to the tribute which may deter you from purchase. Not all numbers featured during the gala are of equal quality- unfortunately, a few could be bested by an ambitious high school theatre troupe. The cause boils down to the fact that a small percentage of performers are terribly miscast for the songs they perform, and quite a few selections from popular shows (such as "Cats," "My Fair Lady," and "Oliver!") are downright startling in their mediocrity. In fact, the pacing admittedly prompts a "fast-forward" on the dvd player more than once. But by far the greatest annoyance is the inability to identify lesser-known performers: they are neither introduced during the showcase nor are they credited at the end of the concert dvd. ***The cd of the concert (not included with dvd) does, however, list the performers for each track*** BOTTOM LINE: Devotees of the modern musical will find few things more satisfying to add to their collection than "Mr. Producer! The Musical World of Cameron Mackintosh." The majority of the numbers are true treasures, perfect for aficionados of the evening's featured talent. A warning against purchase, however, is given to fans of specific shows who have no particular devotion to the performers featured: they may find the gala subpar. ***Technical notes on the dvd: it offers subtitles in traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, and English. Audio options are AC3 5.1, DTS, and Stereo. You can navigate by chapter according to show.***