MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC: RCA Victor has captured the lyrical and musical excitement of the show that swept the Tony Awards on the original Broadway cast recording of Titanic: A New Musical. The production won five Tony Awards, every category in which it was nominated. RCA has also released the original cast albums of Once Upon a Mattress, the current Chicago and concept albums of The Life and Ragtime. (In 1998 it will release the original cast album of Ragtime.) In addition RCA is releasing CDs of three vintage Broadway musicals: The Golden Apple, Rex and Goodtime Charley.
New from Philips: two popular international singers. Italy's Andrea Bocelli is featured on a romantic CD called Romanza, a collection of soothing ballads sung in Italian. On the final track he is joined by Sarah Brightman in the lovely song "Time To Say Goodbye."
Also on the Philips label is David Campbell/Taking the Wheel. Australia's Campbell sings a splendid collection of old and new songs. Among the gems are "I Got Rhythm" (Girl Crazy), "Not a Day Goes By" (Merrily We Roll Along) and "Storybook" (The Scarlet Pimpernel). Says pianist/singer Michael Feinstein: "David's choice of material is impeccable as he deftly mixes old and new standards as if they were long lost cousins."
TITANIC AFLOAT: This clearly was the year for the Titanic. Not only has the musical become a megahit, but publishers have gone aboard with two fascinating spin-offs. Sheridan House has published Titanic Survivor: The Newly Discovered Memoirs of Violet Jessop Who Survived both the Titanic and Britannic Disasters, introduced, edited and annotated by John Maxtone-Graham. In 1970 Mr. Maxtone-Graham met the remarkable Ms. Jessop who had not only survived the Titanic and Britannic disasters as a stewardess, but also the 1911 collision of the HMS Hawke with the Olympic. But it was not until 1996 that he received from Ms. Jessop's relatives a memoir of her extraordinary life written by her in 1934. (Ms. Jessop died in 1971.) This gripping book is the only one about the sinking of the Titanic by a member of the ship's crew ($23.95).
Random House has issued an unusual box format titled Titanic: The Official Story/April 14-15, 1912. This unique box contains reproductions of 18 loose documents, each resembling the originals in London's Public Records Office. They include a blueprint of the Titanic's deck plans; its final, chilling telegram; a riveting, eye-witness, handwritten account by one of the survivors; and a letter from the vessel's owners assuring the government in the early hours of April 15 that there was "no danger of loss of life" ($23.95).
VIDEO BONANZA: Paramount Home Video has released some of that studio's memorable films for home viewing on your VCR, at very reasonable prices. Among the titles are such classics as Sunset Boulevard, Barefoot in the Park, Plaza Suite, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Last of the Red Hot Lovers and Shirley Valentine. These are available for $14.95 each wherever videos are sold. A double video of Ragtime, which inspired the upcoming Broadway musical of the same name, is available for $29.95.
Universal Studios Home Video has some powerful action videos for your holiday enjoyment. The Studios' most powerful TV action heroesHercules and Xenahave joined forces in their first animated motion picture called Hercules & XenaThe Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus starring the voices of Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless (a recent Rizzo in Grease!). The video premieres on January 6, 1998, for a suggested retail price of $19.98.
Also on home video from Universal Studios: Steven Spielberg's The Lost World: Jurassic Park (suggested retail price, $22.98). The film's Widescreen Edition has also been released on laserdisc for $39.98.
-- By Louis Botto