The offer from the show about con men almost sounds too good to be true. Is it a con? "No joke," says the announcement.
Producers are inviting the public to an 11:30 AM-1 PM April 27 gathering at the Imperial, where the limited-edition discs will be distributed and where principals — including John Lithgow, Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie Rene Scott — from the musical comedy will be on hand to sign discs.
"I grew up with a Broadway where we all came into the theatre humming the tunes," producer Marty Bell said in a statement. "I've been searching for a method to recreate that. By getting 50,000 CDs into our audience's homes and cars, we hope to kickstart the process of familiarizing theatregoers with David Yazbek's uniquely funny, melodic songs. Successful theatre is dependent on word of mouth — and what better way to spread it than to fill the marketplace with this terrific score."
Back in the 1950s and '60s cast albums were created for almost every Broadway show, and the major labels behind them distributed the records quickly and aggressively.
The Dirty Rotten Scoundrels producers financed the album themselves and have partnered with Kurt Deutsch, president of the independent record labels Sh-K-Boom and Ghostlight Records, which allows them to market the cast album in this "unique and revolutionary way." Deutsch of Ghostlight Records said in a statement, "The Cast Album is the most important marketing tool a show has. It has been my goal over the past few years to re-define how these albums are financed and marketed. By co-owning the master recording with the producers, we can work together to figure out how to market the show as well as sell the record. As a show tries to build an audience, they need too be able to use every tool they can. If we can help by doing something unique like this launch, fueling word-of-mouth, we will sell many records for many years to come."
Prior to the official May 10 street date of the disc, on Ghostlight Records, the special free CDs (which include a spoiler-warning message from John Lithgow prior to the climax song of the show) will scatter like seeds on the wind. The producers hope the score by David Yazbek will take root in the hearts of fans and blossom into word of mouth and buzz for the show at the Imperial Theatre.
The discs will first be available to anyone who comes by a special launch party 11:30 AM April 27 at the Imperial, and then to ticketholders at every performance there to May 31.
The giveaway is unprecedented in Broadway and cast album history. The CD will not be available anywhere else until May 10.
(The special CD will not include the booklet of the later CD, and will not have three bonus tracks expected on the commercial cast album.)
Every Dirty Rotten audience member April 27-May 31 also gets a disc.
The recording is produced by David Yazbek and Billy Strauss; Kurt Deutsch is the album's executive producer.
The track list is as follows:
2. Give Them What They Want
3. What Was A Woman To Do
4. Great Big Stuff
5. Chimp In A Suit
7. All About Ruprecht
8. Here I Am
9. Nothing Is Too Wonderful To Be True
10. The Miracle
11. Ruffhousin' mit Shuffhausen
12. Like Zis / Like Zat
13. The More We Dance
14. Love Is My Legs
15. Love Sneaks In
16. Son of Great Big Stuff
17. A Message From John Lithgow
18. The Reckoning
19. Dirty Rotten Number
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels features a book by Jeffrey Lane and music and lyrics by David Yazbek (The Full Monty) and stars John Lithgow, Norbert Leo Butz, Sherie Rene Scott, Joanna Gleason, Gregory Jbara and Sara Gettelfinger. The production, directed by two-time Tony Award winner Jack O'Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, opened on March 3.
The Imperial Theatre is located at 249 West 45th Street between Times Square and Eighth Avenue.