ON THE RECORD -- August 1997
With his score for Titanic, Maury Yeston joins Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber and a select group of others as one of the great theatre composers of his generation. This composer/lyricist won the 1982 Tony Award for Best Score for his work for Nine, which included such powerful songs as "Unusual Way" and "Be On Your Own," and received the same accolade this year for Titanic. Yeston has also composed a song cycle for cabaret chanteuse Andrea Marcovicci, entitled December Songs, as well as an acclaimed version of The Phantom of the Opera, titled Phantom
His score for Titanic is extremely melodic, and the opening number as the passengers board the ill-fated ship is one of the most glorious pieces of writing in recent theatre memory. What is so appealing about the score is the great use Yeston makes of the entire cast there is beautiful choral singing that swells to climactic finishes throughout the entire piece. The score is also aided by an extremely talented cast, with high praise going to Brian d'Arcy James's beautifully sung Frederick Barrett and Victoria Clark's delightful comic turn as second-class passenger Alice Beane. Some highlights: the aforementioned d'Arcy James in "Barrett's Song" and his Act I duet with Martin Moran, "The Proposal/The Night Was Alive"; Jennifer Piech and company singing of a new life in America in "Lady's Maid"; "No Moon," which leads into the dramatic Act I finale; the haunting "We'll Meet Tomorrow" as only a portion of the passengers are able to board the lifeboats; and Larry Keith and Alma Cuervo's declaration of love in "Still." Orchestrations are by the Tony-winning Jonathan Tunick. Titanic, available on RCA Victor, is a must for all musical theatre devotees.
Last October, cabaret singer KT Sullivan received wonderful notices for her cabaret act In Other Words, which concentrated on the songs of Bart Howard. Her show was recorded live at New York's posh cabaret room, Rainbow & Stars, and was just released on DRG Records. Entitled In Other Words: The Songs of Bart Howard, Sullivan lends her rich soprano to such Howard tunes as "My Love Is a Wanderer" and "Young Just Once." . . . Another cabaret singer,
Ian Shaw, who has been enthralling European audiences the past few years, has recently issued a CD of Rodgers and Hart tunes entitled Taking it to Hart. Available from RSJH Music Limited, the CD includes such R & H gems as "I Wish I Were in Love Again," "Blue Moon" and "My Funny Valentine."
SPOTLIGHT: Jekyll & Hyde
Some incredible singing can be found on the original Broadway cast recording of Jekyll & Hyde. The Leslie Bricusse/ Frank Wildhorn score has been recorded twice before as concept albums, the first starring Irish tenor Colm Wilkinson and the second with Australian stage star Anthony Warlow. However, all three CDs have one major talent in common, Linda Eder (above), the "Star Search" winner who has been drawing raves for her dynamic singing. USA Today exclaimed that Eder's Streisandesque voice "elevates everything it touches," and her treatment of her two big numbers from J & H, "Someone Like You" and "A New Life," are more than evidence for this statement. The new recording also stars the Tony-nominated Robert Cuccioli as Jekyll/Hyde, who delivers a passionate version of the show's anthem, "This Is the Moment." Another highlight: Eder and Christiane Noll's second-act roof-raiser, "In His Eyes."