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Best of Broadway: The American Musical

The Best of Broadway: The American Musical

5.0 1
No one is going to witness theatrical legends like Al Jolson, Ethel Merman, Alfred Drake, Mary Martin, and Zero Mostel (or, most likely, such contemporary vocal giants as Barbra Streisand or Julie Andrews) on a Broadway stage ever again, but thankfully, great performances from all of these stars, and more, have been captured. This captivating disc returns the magic of


No one is going to witness theatrical legends like Al Jolson, Ethel Merman, Alfred Drake, Mary Martin, and Zero Mostel (or, most likely, such contemporary vocal giants as Barbra Streisand or Julie Andrews) on a Broadway stage ever again, but thankfully, great performances from all of these stars, and more, have been captured. This captivating disc returns the magic of their unique artistry to us, as well as examples of such talented followers as Andrea McArdie, Betty Buckley, and Michael Crawford. Drawing from such beloved musicals as My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, Funny Girl and West Side Story, as well as such present-day favorites as Phantom of the Opera, Wicked and Hairspray, Best of Broadway gives us a delicious taste of just that. With a representative song from over 20 different shows, we are presented with a capsule history of the genre, its evolution and its artistic highpoints. The Great White Way, from its fabled classic era to today's renewed glory days, has never shone more brightly!

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
By now, the merchandising program is always in place when PBS sponsors another documentary series, whether one of Ken Burns' historical efforts or the films grouped under the heading The Blues in 2003, organized by Martin Scorsese: among other keepsakes, there is the coffee-table companion book, the DVD set, and, for the musical programs, the CD box set. All of these were rolled out in connection with Broadway: The American Musical, a six-part documentary broadcast in October 2004. And this single-disc CD is the cheapest item in the bunch (unless, perhaps, there's also a coffee mug), much less expensive than the box set of five CDs. Although it is called The Best of Broadway: The American Musical, it is not exactly a reduction of that set. The compilers have taken the opportunity to make alternate choices of material (one song per show) in several instances. Here, the title song from Oklahoma! is picked instead of "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'," "America" from West Side Story replaces "Tonight," and the title song from Cabaret is employed instead of "Willkommen." The other 18 tracks all appear on the box set. Even at nearly 77 minutes, of course, this sort of collection is nothing more than a sampler, but since there are many similar compilations in the marketplace, it's worth noting that this one ranges across record labels and presents the original Broadway cast recordings wherever possible in excellent sound quality. (Tracks like "Swanee" and "You're the Top" date from before the era of original-cast recordings that began in the 1940s, but do feature the original stage performers.) Taking the Broadway musical from the 1910s to the 2000s in such a short length of time naturally makes for the occasional odd juxtaposition, but then that gives a sense of the variety of kinds of music subsumed under the term "show music." When Hair's "Let the Sunshine In" (as it is called here; actually, the correct title is "The Flesh Failures") gives way to "Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music, you can't help thinking that there's room on Broadway for some very different musical sensibilities, a notion only reinforced by the appearance of the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber ("Memory," "The Music of the Night") toward the end. This also means that, no matter what Broadway fan listens to this disc, there will be some music likely not to appeal, which may indicate that the compilers have gotten it just about right. (Not so impressive are Laurence Maslon's liner notes, which would have benefited from a more careful editor and proofreader, but even so are needlessly pretentious. Readers are likely to be sent to the dictionary after reading that "You're the Top" is a "bit of stichomythia" or that Michael Crawford is "gracefully crepuscular," only to discover that Maslon could have used simpler words to greater effect.)

Product Details

Release Date:
Decca Broadway


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ethel Merman   Vocals
Paul Robeson   Vocals
Barbra Streisand   Vocals
Melba Moore   Vocals
Jolson   Vocals
Michael Crawford   Vocals
Julie Andrews   Vocals
Mary Martin   Vocals
Robert Alda   Vocals
Galt MacDermot   Conductor
Betty Buckley   Vocals
Alfred Drake   Vocals
Don Pippin   Conductor
Franz Allers   Conductor
Johnny Green   Conductor
Peter Howard   Conductor
Zero Mostel   Vocals
Milton Rosenstock   Conductor
Victor Young   Conductor
Marilyn Cooper   Vocals
Andrea McArdle   Vocals
Lynn Kellogg   Vocals
James Rado   Vocals
Richard Kiley   Vocals
Johnny Green & His Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Victor Young & His Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Max Goberman   Conductor
Milton Greene   Conductor
Frederick Dvonch   Conductor
Chita Rivera   Vocals
Rene Wiegert   Conductor
Harold Hastings   Conductor
Jay Blackton   Conductor
Irving Actman   Conductor
Jill Haworth   Vocals
Neil Warner   Conductor
Idina Menzel   Vocals
Kristin Chenoweth   Vocals
Glynis Johns   Vocals
Stephen Oremus   Conductor
Marissa Jaret Winokur   Vocals
Chorus Line Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Annie Get Your Gun Cast Ensemble   cast
Man of La Mancha pit orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Hairspray Cast Ensemble   cast
Donald Pippin   Conductor
Funny Girl Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Guys and Dolls Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Annie Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Sinbad Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Cabaret Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Guys & Dolls Cast Ensemble   Choir, Chorus
Oklahoma! Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
West Side Story Cast Ensemble   Choir, Chorus
Chorus Line Cast Ensemble   cast
Fiddler on the Roof Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Michael Reed   Conductor
My Fair Lady Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Annie Get Your Gun Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Wicked: A Musical Play Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Hairspray Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Cats Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Hair Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
West Side Story Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Oklahoma Cast Ensemble   Choir, Chorus
Sound of Music Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Phantom of the Opera Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Lon Hoyt   Conductor
Little Night Music Pit Orchestra   Performing Ensemble

Technical Credits

Leonard Bernstein   Composer
George Gershwin   Composer
Andrew Lloyd Webber   Producer
Stephen Sondheim   Composer,Lyricist
Irving Berlin   Composer,Lyricist
Richard Rodgers   Composer
Julie Andrews   Contributor
Marvin Hamlisch   Composer
Sheldon Harnick   Composer,Lyricist
John Kander   Composer
Jerome Kern   Composer
Frank Loesser   Composer,Lyricist
J. Bock   Composer
Irving Caesar   Composer
Joe Darion   Composer,Lyricist
Teese Gohl   Music Direction
Oscar Hammerstein   Composer,Lyricist
Charles Hart   Composer,Lyricist
Dick Jones   Producer
Jack Kapp   Producer
Edward Kleban   Composer,Lyricist
Mitch Leigh   Composer
Alan Jay Lerner   Lyricist
Martin Levan   Producer
Goddard Lieberson   Producer
Cole Porter   Composer,Lyricist
Marc Shaiman   Composer,Lyricist,Producer
Charles Strouse   Composer,Producer
Jule Styne   Composer
Andy Wiswell   Producer
David Horn   Executive Producer
Michael Kapp   Producer
Frederick Loewe   Composer
George R. Marek   Producer
Martin Charnin   Composer,Lyricist
Bob Merrill   Composer,Lyricist
Larry Morton   Producer
James Rado   Composer,Lyricist
Gerome Ragni   Composer
Martha Swope   Cover Photo
Fred Ebb   Composer,Lyricist
Jac Venza   Executive Producer
Scott Wittman   Composer,Lyricist
Sam Rosenthal   Producer
Trevor Nunn   Composer,Lyric Adaptations
T.S. Eliot   Lyricist
Stephen Schwartz   Lyricist,Producer
Martin Starger   Concept
Paul Kolnik   Cover Photo
Peter Kszan   Packaging Manager
Michael Kantor   Liner Notes
Dick Jones   Producer
Laurence Maslon   Liner Notes
Laurence Maslon   Liner Notes

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The Best of Broadway: The American Musical 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Penguin39 More than 1 year ago
I was treated to this while I was having an MRI. They asked what kind of music I liked and I said "show tunes" and this is what they had and played for me. I have some of these on various CDs, but not all on one like this one is. She made a copy of the cover for me so that I could see if I could find it and purchase it---very glad you had it.