The compilations — created in partnership with Playbill — draw from the vast catalogs of Sony Classical/Columbia Masterworks and RCA Victor. The albums only feature selections from original cast recordings, as opposed to film soundtracks.
"Broadway Scene Stealers" — which boasts songs from shows that have earned a total of 62 Tony Awards — is the first in a series of thematic "Editors' Choice" compilations put out by Masterworks. Executive producers for the series are Playbill president Philip S. Birsh and theatre producer and director Richard Jay-Alexander. Playbill.com senior editor Andrew Gans wrote the liner notes for both discs and refers to "Scene Stealers" as "those actors who inhabit a character and a song so completely and with such originality that it's hard to imagine anyone else playing that role."
In a statement Jay-Alexander said, "We've all seen 'The Best of the Best' collections. But these collections have been very incomplete, with soundtracks replacing original cast performances. We're trying to lead people in the direction of mining these shows from a fresh point of view. We're on a mission to bring back the words 'original cast recording' as opposed to 'soundtrack.'
"Let's say a kid in high school is looking for audition songs. He's never going to find some of these numbers. 'Giants in the Sky' [from Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods] is a beautiful audition song for someone with a personality, but it's never featured in a collection."
"Broadway Scene Stealers: The Women" includes Barbra Streisand ("Miss Marmelstein" from I Can Get It for You Wholesale); Betty Buckley ("He Plays the Violin" from 1776); Jane Connell ("Gooch's Song" from Mame); Debbie Shapiro Gravitte ("Mr. Monotony" from Jerome Robbins' Broadway); Dorothy Loudon ("Little Girls" from Annie); Nell Carter ("Get Some Trash for Your Cash" from Ain't Misbehavin'); Debra Monk ("Everybody's Girl" from Steel Pier); Linda Hopkins ("Deep in the Night" from Inner City); Randy Graff ("You Can Always Count on Me" from City of Angels); D'Jamin Bartlett ("The Miller's Son" from A Little Night Music); Susan Johnson ("Ooh, My Feet" from The Most Happy Fella) and Mary McCarty ("When You're Good to Mama" from Chicago). "Broadway Scene Stealers: The Men" includes Cyril Ritchard ("Captain Hook's Waltz" from Peter Pan); Art Lund ("Joey, Joey, Joey" from The Most Happy Fella); John Travolta ("Dream Drummin'" from Over Here); Paul Wallace ("All I Need Is the Girl" from Gypsy); Lonny Price ("Franklin Shepard, Inc." from Merrily We Roll Along); Swen Swenson ("I've Got Your Number" from Little Me); André de Shields ("The Viper's Drag" from Ain't Misbehavin); Leonard John Crofoot ("Bigger Isn't Better" from Barnum); Ronald Holgate ("The Lees of Old Virginia" from 1776); Austin Pendleton ("Miracle of Miracles" from Fiddler on the Roof); Ben Wright ("Giants in the Sky" from Into the Woods) and Barney Martin ("Mister Cellophane" from Chicago).
The digital versions of these recordings — which will be available on iTunes — will feature bonus tracks: "The Men" will also include Larry Marshall's "There's a Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon for New York" from Porgy and Bess, while "The Women" will feature Priscilla Lopez's "Nothing" from the original cast of A Chorus Line.
For more information visit www.sonybmgmasterworks.com.