New Albums Highlight Graae, Ziemba, McNair, McKechnie

New Albums Highlight Graae, Ziemba, McNair, McKechnie FOR THE RECORD, Part 1 -- August 1996

FOR THE RECORD, Part 1 -- August 1996

ALL SMILES: A recent cast member of the L.A. company of Forbidden Hollywood, Jason Graae has just released his first solo album for Varèse Sarabande. Entitled You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile, it is a compilation of songs by Charles (Annie) Strouse. Graae's stage charm and ease, evident in such N.Y. productions as A Grand Night for Singing and Hello Mudduh, Hello Faddah, comes through on this recording, which runs the gamut from upbeat tunes (the title tune from Bye, Bye, Birdie) to tender ballads (All American's "Once Upon a Time"). Other tracks include Dance a Little Closer's "There's Always One You Can't Forget," a duet with Kaye Ballard ("You've Got What I Need") and the CD's title song.

DO I EVER: Karen Ziemba, who dazzled audiences in Kander and Ebb's And the World Goes 'Round and the Tony-winning Crazy for You, recently starred Off-Broadway with "Married with Children"'s David Garrison in the revival of the Tom Jones/Harvey Schmidt musical I Do! I Do! The new 1996 cast recording is available on Varèse Sarabande and includes the beautiful ballad "My Cup Runneth Over."

SOUND BYTES: Soprano Sylvia McNair and pianist Andre Previn have teamed up for a new CD that celebrates the Harold Arlen songbook. Entitled Come Rain or Come Shine (Philips Classics), the recording features such wonderful standards as "Stormy Weather" and "It's Only a Paper Moon." . . . The cast recording of the recent Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, State Fair, has been released by DRG Records. The all-star cast, which includes John Davidson, Donna McKechnie and Andrea McArdle brings to life this down-home story.

-- By Andrew Gans