Rock-it Science Records has released it’s annual holiday season benefit record, the “Broadway’s Greatest Gifts: Benefits for a Cure 2000” CD. Produced expressly for the benefit of Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids (BC/EFA), “Broadway’s Greatest Gifts" features “original versions of new and old holiday music from casts of almost every show of the Broadway 2000 season.”
Included on the album are cast members from the following shows: Aida, “O Come All Ye Faithful”; Annie Get Your Gun “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep”; Beauty and the Beast, “To Christmas”; Cabaret, “We Three Kings”; Cats (final cast), “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”; Chicago, “Deck The Halls (of Our Winnebago...)”; Jekyll & Hyde, “Chanukah Medley (composed by Paul Zim)”; Jesus Christ Superstar, “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”; Kiss Me Kate “The Colors Of Christmas”; The Lion King, “South African Carol “Esiyabonga”/“Amazing Grace”; Les Miserables, “Wassail Song”; Miss Saigon, “Joy To The World”; The Music Man, “Swing, Mister Santa Claus, Swing!!”; The Phantom Of The Opera, “I Wonder As I Wander”; Rent , “Silent Night”; and Riverdance—On Broadway, “The Wexford Carol.”
The album was recorded in a single, all-day recording session on Sept. 11 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in the West Village. Creative credit for the record goes to engineer George Huckins (Saturday Night Fever), producer Lynn C. Pinto (The Sound of Music), art director Ann Gontarski and arranger/musical director David Nehls (The Great American Trailer Park Musical).
The “inside scoop” on the CD includes a story involving the cast of Cats, which made its final appearance together for “Broadway’s Greatest Gifts.” The record was made the day afterCats' historic closing night. When the final cast of Cats was recording “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” (arranged by David Nehls) the show’s only remaining original cast member, Marlene Danielle, arrived late because she was ringing the closing bell on Wall Street in honor of the show’s long run. Danielle arrived just in time to record a final take of the song, and it is that version that appears on the holiday CD.
So far this season, the “Broadway’s Greatest Gifts” CD is on track to be the best-selling album in its series—sales at shows have “already raised in excess of $130,000 for BC/EFA during the “Gypsy of the Year” fund raiser and through BC/EFA catalogue sales. BC/EFA’s catalogue also includes the Rock it Science Records releases “Broadway’s Greatest Gifts: Carols for a Cure 1999” and “Simple Gifts: Carols from the Abbey” (The nuns and von Trapp kids from Broadway’s The Sound Of Music. The “Broadway’s Greatest Gifts” CD is $20 plus shipping and can be ordered by calling BC/EFA at (212) 840-0770 ext. 250 or visiting www.broadwaycares.org. Patrons may call a toll-free number outside New York at (888) 497-4333.