Christine Andreas Embraces Bway Divas on Show Tune CD, 'Here's to the Ladies,' Oct. 15

News   Christine Andreas Embraces Bway Divas on Show Tune CD, 'Here's to the Ladies,' Oct. 15

Christine Andreas' CD cover art.

Christine Andreas, the Tony Award-nominated actress remembered for the 20th anniversary revival of My Fair Lady, and revivals of On Your Toes and Oklahoma! — plus The Scarlet Pimpernel — is heard on a new solo album, "Here's to the Ladies," a tribute to great divas of the musical theatre.

PS Classics releases the disc Oct. 15. The 15-track recording is billed as Andreas' celebration of "the women who influenced her — from Martin and Merman to Lansbury and Cook — and the songs they introduced." Songs include "I Could Have Danced All Night," a nod to Julie Andrews. Andreas, of course, wowed audiences singing the Lerner and Loewe song in the 1976 My Fair Lady revival that starred Ian Richardson (the cast album has yet to issued on CD). Andreas was Tony nominated for On Your Toes and 1979's Oklahoma!

Her next Richard Rodgers gig is playing sultry Vera in the Prince Music Theatre's staging of Rodgers and Hart's Pal Joey, Nov. 2-17, in Philadelphia.

On Oct. 20, Andreas will sign copies of her CD at Footlight Records, the cherished Manhattan cast album and record store on 12th Street, 1-3 PM.

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The genesis of the "Here's to the Ladies" recording is a set of performances Andreas did at the Cafe Carlyle in the spring of 2001, but the song selection has evolved since then — Andreas rethought and tailored the program for CD. Unlike her Carlyle work, the songs are now sweetened by a 45-piece orchestra, with charts by Michael Starobin and Doug Besterman (The Producers, Thoroughly Modern Millie).

"Christine and I first worked together on a Gershwin concert back in 1989, but our paths hadn't crossed in over a decade," said PS Classics founder Tommy Krasker, whose label is devoted to the heritage of American popular song and musical theatre. "We got back in touch in February, because she and her husband, Marty Silvestri, had recorded her album — Marty had produced — but before they started post-production, they were looking for a distributor. They sent me a still-unmixed version, and I took a listen. I confess that even when I heard the unmixed CD, I was struck how many levels it worked on: Not only were the performances triumphant, but I found them especially moving because they all resonated with Christine's admiration for the women who'd introduced the songs, and for the artistry of the songs themselves. It was all deeply personal, which I think is remarkable in a collection like this."

Krasker, Andreas, Silvestri and engineer Tom Lazarus collaborated on the post-production."

The disc includes the following musical numbers. The ladies who introduced the songs are in parentheses.

  • "Moonshine Lullaby" (Ethel Merman)
  • "They Say It's Wonderful" (Ethel Merman)
  • "I'm Flying" (Mary Martin)
  • "I Could Have Danced All Night" (Julie Andrews)
  • "Don't Rain on My Parade" (Barbra Streisand)
  • "My Best Beau"/"If He Walked Into My Life" (Angela Lansbury)
  • "Bill" (Helen Morgan)
  • "Some People" (Ethel Merman)
  • "A Wonderful Guy" (Mary Martin)
  • "Will He Like Me?" (Barbara Cook)
  • "Shall We Dance?" (Gertrude Lawrence)
  • "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" (Mary Martin)
  • "The Music That Makes Me Dance" (Barbra Streisand)
  • "My Ship" (Gertrude Lawrence)

* Discs from PS Classics so far include the big-band, Hollywood influenced "Philip Chaffin: Where Do I Go From You?"; "Windflowers: The Songs of Jerome Moross"; a studio cast recording of Vincent Youmans' obscure 1932 musical, Through the Years, with Brent Barrett and Heidi Grant Murphy; Jessica Molaskey's distillation of 1920s and '30s standards, "Pentimento"; and singer Darius de Haas' "Day Dream (Variations on Strayhorn)," a disc of Billy Strayhorn songs. Recently announced by the label for future release are the world premiere recordings of Rodgers and Hart's Spring is Here and Michael John LaChiusa's First Lady Suite. On oct. 1, a live recording of Ricky Ian Gordon's Langston Hughes song cycle, "Only Heaven," was released and is earning solid reviews.

For more information, visit PSClassics.com.

— By Kenneth Jones