PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Liz Callaway Shares Her "Merry and Bright" Songs for the Season

Playlist   PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Liz Callaway Shares Her "Merry and Bright" Songs for the Season
 
Liz Callaway, a Tony Award nominee for her performance in Baby, is "Merry and Bright" on her Christmas album. Here, she chooses her favorite merry holiday tunes as part of this week's Playbill Playlist.
Liz Callaway
Liz Callaway

The five-song EP is available at Amazon.com, iTunes and other digital services.

The recording, Callaway writes, "features a duet with my amazing sister, Ann and a fun (and slightly twisted) a cappella song, arranged by and sung with my son, Nicholas."

The complete track list follows:

1. Joy to the World
2. Grown-Up Christmas List
3. Silent Night/Mary, Did You Know? (Duet with Ann Hampton Callaway)
4. Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Featuring Nicholas Callaway Foster)
5. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

In addition, Callaway will appear on "The Meredith Vieira Show" Dec. 15 at 2 PM to perform the duet from "Merry and Bright." She will play 54 Below Dec. 22-27 at 7 PM. Click here for more information

Callaway, most recently on Broadway in The Look of Love, made her Broadway debut in the original cast of Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along, and she also took part in the anniversary concert of that musical. For her work in the musical Baby, she received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, and her other Broadway credits include The Three Musketeers, Miss Saigon and Cats. Callaway's solo recordings include "Passage of Time," "The Beat Goes On," "Anywhere I Wander—Liz Callaway Sings Frank Loesser" and "The Story Goes On."

"Sleigh Ride." If I had to choose one favorite uptempo holiday song, it's probably "Sleigh Ride." I'm not sure why. I know it's kind of goofy, but it makes me happy to hear it. And, I like the structure of the song; it kind of has two bridges. We have so many of Johnny Mathis' Christmas albums, I had to include one of his songs.

"Hallelujah Chorus." I've loved this ever since ever I sang it in high school, and every year at Christmas my family and I sing it around the piano with my mom playing. I, of course, love the traditional Messiah version, but the Quincy Jones recording is pretty spectacular.

"It Happened in Sun Valley." I only discovered this song in the last year, but I'm kind of obsessed with it. I want to sing it in concert someday when I have backup singers. I like that it tells a story. It's kind of the "Meadowlark" of snow songs!

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." This Top 10 list is only my favorite fun holiday recordings, but I had to include one ballad. Of course I love so many ("White Christmas," "Christmastime is Here," "Grown-Up Christmas List," "Merry Christmas Darling" to name a few), but my all-time favorite Christmas ballad is "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." It's so simple, but so moving.

"Let it Snow." There have been many recordings of this song (the recent Johnny Mathis/Bette Midler duet pairing it with "Winter Wonderland" is very fun), but I am particularly fond of Gloria Estefan's rendition. I especially like the instrumental…

"Many Moods of Christmas Suite #1" (Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra). When I was growing up, my parents would play this album as soon as we woke up; it meant it was officially Christmas, and we could see what Santa brought us! To this day, we still continue this tradition, only now we play the CD. Someday when my son has a family he'll probably stream it…

"Sugar Cookies" (Everett Bradley and Ann Hampton Callaway). I had to include this song of merriment: it's so much fun. My sister Ann and Everett Bradley wrote this and sang it on Everett's wonderful Christmas album "Toy." Listen to it, and Christmas baking will never be the same!

Click here to listen on iTunes.

"Emmanuel/Little Town" (Amy Grant). On their own, these two songs might not have made my list, but I think this is a really cool arrangement. By the way, I am a huge fan of Amy Grant's Christmas albums.

"Jingle Bells" (The Carpenters). I love the Carpenters' Christmas albums, and this is on my list, not necessarily because of the song itself, but because I LOVE the back-up vocals. They are a riot!

"December Will Be Magic Again." This one is a little… unusual. I must admit I had never listened to Kate Bush, but I discovered this song on a holiday compilation album. It's kind of strange, but it makes me smile.

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