In celebration of the RCA Victor record label's 100th anniversary this year, the company is releasing a series of compilations in a number of disciplines, including two Broadway discs — "Broadway Divas" and " Great Musicals," both in stores Aug. 7.
RCA's prestigious history with Broadway cast albums is evident on both discs. RCA A&R director Bill Rosenfield penned the liner notes, which chart — on the "Great Musicals" collection — Candide, Fiddler on the Roof, Hello, Dolly!, Cabaret, Ain't Misbehavin', Guys and Dolls, Sweeney Todd, Ragtime, Titanic, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Les Miserables, Falsettos, Parade and The Sound of Music.
The 15-track "Broadway Divas" collection includes the voices of Ethel Merman (singing "I Got the Sun in the Morning," in the 1966 Annie Get Your Gun revival), Liza Minnelli (a spring chicken, singing "Sing Happy" from Flora, the Red Menace), Nell Carter ("Mean to Me" from Ain't Misbehavin'), Bernadette Peters (with Mandy Patinkin, an honorary diva, singing "Children and Art" ), Mary Martin (in the somewhat obscure Jennie, singing Dietz and Schwartz's "Before I Kiss the World Goodbye), Patti LuPone (singing "Being Alive" from "Sondheim — A Celebration at Carnegie Hall"), Eartha Kitt ("Monotonous" from New Faces of 1952), Sarah Jessica Parker (belting "Shy" from the revival of Once Upon a Mattress), Bebe Neuwirth ("All That Jazz" from the Chicago revival), Julia Murney ("Raise the Roof" from Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party), Madeline Kahn and Jeanne Lehman ("Not Getting Married Today" from "Sondheim — A Celebration at Carnegie Hall"), Marin Mazzie ("Back to Before" from Ragtime), Barbara Cook (singing what many consider the definitive "Losing My Mind" from "Follies in Concert"), Barbara Harris ("What Did I Have That I Don't Have?" from One a Clear Day You Can See Forever) and Angela Lansbury ("Everything's Coming up Roses" from the first Broadway revival of Gypsy).
The tracks are not strictly drawn from the cast albums of original shows and revivals, but also from concert discs and solo studio recordings. The Les Miz track ("Bring Him Home") on "Great Musicals," for example, is drawn from Colm Wilkinson's "Stage Heroes" disc. William Finn's "Unlikely Lovers" was recorded at Joe's Pub in 2001 and was not released on the recent RCA disc, "Infinite Joy," which documented that cabaret concert. The tracks representing Ragtime on both "Broadway Divas" and "Great Musicals" are from RCA's "Songs From Ragtime, the Musical, the preview disc that was released prior to the 1996 Toronto opening of the musical.