Unsung Musicals: The Ultimate Collection

Unsung Musicals: The Ultimate Collection



A stage musical may fail for any number of reasons, but when it does, it takes everything -- the actors' performances, the choreography, the sets, the songs -- with it, and in the case of the music, that has meant, over the years, quite a body of good show tunes that went unrecorded. Producer Bruce Kimmel, on his three volumes of Unsung Musicals, aimed to rescue some of that music; this compilation presents the best of those collections, the first recordings of 18 songs from flop musicals of the 1960s to the 1990s. Often, the songwriters succeeded elsewhere, as names like Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors), Martin Charnin (Annie), Cy Coleman (Sweet Charity), Marvin Hamlisch (A Chorus Line), Mary Rodgers (Once Upon a Mattress), Charles Strouse and Lee Adams (Bye Bye Birdie), and Jule Styne and Bob Merrill (Funny Girl) suggest. Sometimes, the shows in question (which either never progressed beyond workshops or out-of-town tryouts, or closed quickly on Broadway) sound like good ideas. There is Sherry!, a musical version of the hilarious play The Man Who Came to Dinner, for example, which ran only 65 performances on Broadway, as well as La Strada, based, like Sweet Charity, on a classic Federico Fellini movie, which lasted only one performance. The presence of so many talented professionals results in songs that are of high quality and identifiably in a Broadway show tune style. Many of them sound like they could be taken out of their shows to become standards, since they often are articulate, melodic love songs. (No doubt Kimmel intended to find just such songs.) Of course, there are also some tracks that benefit from insider knowledge. The only instance in which the performer who actually sang the song on-stage also sings it here is Jodi Benson's "Disneyland" from Smile, and it may increase the listener's enjoyment to be aware that Howard Ashman, who details a love of Disneyland in his lyric, went on to write songs for animated movie musicals at Disney, starting with The Little Mermaid, the title character of which was voiced by Benson. These sorts of details are featured in the liner notes by Ken Mandelbaum, who knows his way around Broadway failures, having written the book Not Since Carrie: 40 Years of Broadway Musical Flops. In addition to Benson (who also went on to Broadway success in Crazy for You), the singers include many talented Broadway and cabaret performers, such as Debbie Gravitte, Harry Groener, Judy Kuhn, and Michael Rupert, but special mention must be made of Christine Baranski's bravura reading of the Cole Porter-like lyric (courtesy of James Lipton) to "Sherry" and Liz Callaway's sensitive interpretation of the lullaby-like "New Words" from Maury Yeston's One, Two, Three, Four, Five. These are songs deserving of a second life, which is the whole point of the album.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/05/2001
Label: Varese Sarabande
UPC: 0030206211122
catalogNumber: 062111

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jodi Benson   Vocals,Track Performer
Sally Mayes   Vocals,Track Performer
Tom Fay   Musical Direction
Jonathan Freeman   Vocals,Track Performer
Nikki Harris   Taps
Melba Joyce   Vocals,Track Performer
Liz Callaway   Vocals,Track Performer
Christine Baranski   Vocals,Track Performer
Lisa Beth Carroll   Vocals,Track Performer
Christa Fuller   Vocals,Track Performer
Jason Graae   Vocals,Track Performer
Judy Kuhn   Vocals,Track Performer
Lisa Mayer   Vocals,Track Performer
Lanny Meyers   Musical Direction
Michael Rupert   Vocals,Track Performer
Lee Wilkof   Vocals,Track Performer
Debbie Gravitte   Vocals,Track Performer
Gregory Jbara   Vocals,Track Performer
Lynne Wintersteller   Vocals,Track Performer
Brent Barrett   Vocals,Track Performer
Harry Groener   Vocals,Track Performer
Gregg Edelman   Vocals,Track Performer
Carolee Carmello   Vocals,Track Performer
Timothy Jerome   Vocals,Track Performer
Tammy Minoff   Vocals,Track Performer
Kristine Fraelich   Vocals,Track Performer
Jolie Jenkins   Vocals,Track Performer
Victor Pond   Vocals
Dori Rosenthal   Vocals
Patrick Levis   Vocals
Kimberlee L. Wertz   Vocals
Jason Workman   Vocals
Armsted Christian   Vocals
Julie Anne Aho   Vocals

Technical Credits

Sheldon Harnick   Lyricist
Lee Adams   Lyricist
Howard Ashman   Lyricist
Vincent Cirilli   Engineer
Nikki Harris   Choreographer
Bruce Kimmel   Producer,Liner Notes
Larry Moore   Orchestration
Maury Yeston   Lyricist
Lanny Meyers   Arranger,Orchestration
Martin Charnin   Lyricist
Ken Mandelbaum   Liner Notes
Matt Dubey   Lyricist
Alfred Uhry   Lyricist
Bonnie Janofsky   Orchestration
Steve Orich   Orchestration
David Campbell   Lyricist
David Carney   Lyricist
Paul Stryker   Lyricist
Marta Kauffman   Lyricist
Jon Forster   Lyricist
Ralph Allen   Lyricist

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