FOR THE RECORD -- May 1998
On her first solo album for Varese Sarabande, Tony winner Judy (The Phantom of the Opera) Kaye saluted the divas of the Broadway stage, performing songs that had been originally created by such theatrical stars as Ethel Merman ("The Hostess with the Mostess"), Mary Martin ("A Cockeyed Optimist"), Patti LuPone ("Where is the Warmth?") and others. On her second recording, which has just been released by Varese, Kaye continues the diva theme, this time paying tribute to the women of the silver screen.
In the liner notes for Judy Kaye: Songs from the Silver Screen, the current star of Ragtime writes, "For all the ladies who have sung on screen, for the ladies who have sung for the ladies on screen, for anyone who has ever dreamed of singing on screen, I dedicate this recording to you." Kaye possesses a clear, strong voice that easily switches between belt and soprano, and she is most effective on "Everything," which Barbra Streisand sang for A Star Is Born; "You'll Never Know," Alice Faye's hit from Hello, Frisco, Hello; and the Leslie Bricusse tune, "You and I," which Petula Clark recorded for Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Kaye is joined on this CD by Jason Graae in the "Ginger and Fred Medley" and by David Green on a lovely duet of "Two Sleepy People."
Available now: The new two-CD recording of the Broadway cast of Ragtime is now in record stores from RCA Victor and will be featured in next month's column. Available shortly: Two hit revivals, Cabaret (Alan Cumming and Natasha Richardson) and The Sound of Music (Rebecca Luker and Michael Siberry) will be available toward the end of the month, also on the RCA Victor label. . .Coming soon: The electric performances of Ute Lemper and Ruthie Henshall in the London company of Kander and Ebb's Chicago have been preserved and will be released shortly. . .One for the road: Will the appearance of Vanessa Williams in this month's City Center Encores! production of St. Louis Woman warrant a new cast recording? Boasting songs like "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home," one certainly hopes so.
SPOTLIGHT: Elaine Paige
For the past two decades Elaine Paige has dominated the musical theatre stage in the West End, starring in Evita, Chess, Piaf, Anything Goes and, most recently, Sunset Boulevard. Paige is one of the rare theatre performers who has managed as successful a career in the recordings industry as she has had onstage; in fact, Paige has garnered numerous gold and multi-platinum albums.
Her latest recording, recently released in the U.K. and available at such import music stores as New York's Footlight Records, is a compilation album entitled From a Distance (BMG). The CD showcases Paige's versatility as a singer, one who is equally at home with pop tunes as she is with theatre ballads and standards. Included in this collection are live versions of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "One Night in Bangkok" from the musical Chess as well as numerous tracks from her albums for RCA Records. In addition to performing many standards a beautiful version of "September Song" and a haunting "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" the award-winning performer also shines on some pop hits: her soaring renditions of "From a Distance," the Julie Gold song that was a hit for Bette Midler, and "True Colors" are thrilling. -- By Andrew Gans