Nearly all the classic Broadway musical scores have been released on CD, though collectors of cast albums have been waiting impatiently for several of the most prized holdouts.
Now, three of the most eagerly sought cast albums are scheduled for release in one batch, on Nov. 11: The Golden Apple, Goodtime Charley and Rex, all on RCA Victor. All three were flops in their day, but have attained varying degrees of cult status in ensuing years for a variety of reasons.
* The Golden Apple, a 1954 musical by John Latouche and Jerome Moross, ambitiously based on Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey," relocated to the American Northwest at the turn of the 20th century. Featured on the album are Kaye Ballard, Bibi Osterwald, Portia Nelson, Stephen Douglass, Charlotte Rae and, of all people, Jerry Stiller. Liner notes for the CD are by Erik Haagensen. Songs include "Lazy Afternoon," "Goona-Goona," "Wildflowers" and "The Sewing Bee."
* Goodtime Charley ran just 104 performances after its May 1975 premiere, but its cast featured Chicago stars Ann Reinking and Joel Grey as Joan of Arc and Charles VII. Music is by Larry Grossman, lyrics by Hal Hackady, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick. The CD has a plot synopsis by Mort Goode, and liner notes by Steven Suskin ("Opening Nights on Broadway").Songs include "Voices and Visions," "Born Lover," "To Make the Boy a Man" and "Merci, Bon Dieu."
* Rex was the second-to-last musical score (1976) by Richard Rodgers, who teamed here with Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof, Fiorello) to tell the story of England's Henry VIII. The cast includes Nicol Williamson as Henry, Glenn Close as Princess Mary, Penny Fuller as both Anne Boleyn and Princess Elizabeth, and Tom Aldredge as Will Somers. Songs include "No Song More Pleasing," "As Once I Loved You" and "From Afar." The synopsis is by Mort Goode and liner notes by Bert Fink. -- By Robert Viagas