A Closer Look at Recent Recordings

A Closer Look at Recent Recordings FOR THE RECORD -- Sept., 1996

FOR THE RECORD -- Sept., 1996

GETTING THE BEAT: When director George C. Wolfe asked the gifted tap dancer Savion Glover what kind of work he wanted to do at The Public, Glover (l.) responded: "I want to bring in 'da noise; I want to bring in 'da funk." Over a year later, the result, Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk, would transfer from The Public to Broadway's Ambassador Theatre and win four Tony Awards. Now, Glover, Ann Duquesnay, Jeffrey Wright and the rest of the talented cast can be heard on the show's original cast recording for RCA Victor. Recorded live, the CD/cassette presents both the songs (lyrics: Reg E. Gaines; music: Duquesnay, Zane Mark, Daryl Waters) and the text (Gaines) and manages to capture the excitement and artistry of this highly moving and inspirational musical.

A HELLUVA TOWN: New York is the theme of Nonesuch Records' Leonard Bernstein's New York, which features an all-star cast‹Judy Blazer, Audra McDonald (left), Richard Muenz, Donna Murphy, Mandy Patinkin and Dawn Upshaw‹and reflects the great impact that Manhattan had on the legendary composer. The songs, which are drawn from four of his musicals‹West Side Story, Wonderful Town, On the Town and Fancy Free‹celebrate life, love and, of course, the Big Apple. Highlights include a joyful "Ya Got Me," sung by Blazer, Murphy and Patinkin and McDonald's beautiful "A Little Bit in Love."

SOUND BYTES: The Obie Award-winning musical Bed and Sofa is now available on Varèse Sarabande. Based on the 1926 Russian film of the same name, the "silent movie opera" stars Jason Workman, Michael Martin and Terri Klausner. . . The acclaimed Company revival, presented at London's Donmar Warehouse, has been recorded for RCA Victor. Adrian Lester leads the cast in this Sondheim/Furth classic.

LAURIE BEECHMAN WARBLES WEBBER: Laurie Beechman follows her previous Varèse Sarabande CD, The Andrew Lloyd Webber Album, with a set of "songs of hope and inspiration" culled from the Broadway songbook. Beechman explains that the recording, titled No One Is Alone, Beechman explains that the recording "reflects my deepest feelings of optimism and hope, which during my ongoing eight-year battle with cancer, continue to burn bright."

Beechman's voice, one that defines the term Broadway belt, can also be soft and vulnerable and is the perfect instrument for this collection of hopeful songs that range from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "You'll Never Walk Alone" to Sondheim's "Being Alive." Composer Alan Menken says that Beechman sings "from the soul . . . from her toes to the top of her head, and I'm swept away." After listening to her rendition of Menken's "These Are the Good Times" or her riveting "I Am Changing" from Dreamgirls, you can hear what he means.-- By Andrew Gans