The Broadway cast recording of The Lion King won a Grammy Award in the 41st annual recording industry honors Feb. 24.
In the category of Best Show Album, the leonine tuner from the Walt Disney Company beat out Ragtime, Cabaret, The Wizard of Oz and the London album of the Chicago revival.
The only other theatre-related Grammy winner in the ceremony hosted by Rosie O'Donnell was "The Children's Shakespeare" (Dove Audio, with Jim Belushi, Linda Hamilton and more) for Best Spoken Word Album for Children.
Michael Feinstein lost out to Patti Page in the Category of Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance. Her 50th anniversary Carnegie Hall CD beat his "Michael & George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin" (Concord Jazz).
* Competing for the honor of Best Show Album were cast albums of Chicago (the London cast featuring Ute Lemper and Ruthie Henshall), Cabaret (the new Broadway cast album with Alan Cumming and Natasha Richardson) and The Wizard of Oz (the Madison Square Garden cast recording with Mickey Rooney and Eartha Kitt).
The nomination for the Madison Square Garden staging of The Wizard of Oz is a boon to the TVT Soundtrax label, which began producing cast albums in 1997. TVT's two-disc recording of Paper Mill Playhouse's Follies, which includes some previously unrecorded material and a bevy of star turns, was officially released Nov. 3, 1998, beyond the Sept. 30, 1998 Grammy eligibility cutoff date. It will be eligible for a Grammy in 2000, said TVT publicist Lisbeth Cassaday.
This is the second year in a row Ragtime and Chicago earned Grammy nominations. The one-disc concept album, Songs From Ragtime (with most of the same principals from the nominated two disc Broadway cast album), was nominated in 1998, as was the Broadway album of Chicago, which won the Grammy.
It so happens all shows that spawned the nominated discs are still running: Wizard of Oz is on tour starring Rooney and will return to The Theater at Madison Square Garden May 5-16, Lemper is appearing in the national tour of Chicago (which will nestle into Las Vegas' new Mandalay Bay Resort March 3) and Cabaret, Ragtime and Chicago are still going strong on Broadway.
RCA Victor is the label for Chicago, Ragtime and Cabaret, Walt Disney Records is the label for The Lion King.