Ricky Ian Gordon's My Life With Albertine Score Preserved on CD April 1

News   Ricky Ian Gordon's My Life With Albertine Score Preserved on CD April 1 The cast album of the Off-Broadway musical, My Life With Albertine, will be recorded in Manhattan April 1.
Chad Kimball and Donna Lynne Champlin in My Life With Albertine.
Chad Kimball and Donna Lynne Champlin in My Life With Albertine. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker confirmed that Playwrights Horizons and PS Classics will join forces to record Ricky Ian Gordon and Richard Nelson's musical, which is based on a section of Marcel Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past." The musical ended its scheduled run at Playwrights Horizons March 30. No disc release date has been announced.

The cast, including Tony Award-winner Brent Carver as a middle-aged Marcel who looks back on his first and deepest love, joins the orchestra under Charles Prince's musical direction. Although Emily Skinner — a selling point for the disc — missed recent performances, she is expected to be heard on the album, as well. Krasker, who produced composer-lyricist Gordon's "Bright-Eyed Joy" and "Only Heaven," as well as Playwrights Horizons' Floyd Collins album, will produce the Albertine album.

The show got mixed-to-negative reviews, but observers regard the score as Gordon's most unified, cohesive and haunting work yet, rich in a period sound that evokes both late 19th-century classical music (Gordon said he was influenced by Poulenc and Satie, and French film composers like Georges Delerue) and European music hall.

On March 13, Playwrights Horizons opened the elegant new show by composer and co-lyricist Ricky Ian Gordon and Richard Nelson, who wrote the book, co-wrote the lyrics and directed.

The piece was set up as a theatrical memory show in which older Marcel, apparently a composer, presents a theatre piece in a Paris living room, where a tiny proscenium has been constructed. He is apparently exorcising through art the most significant experience in his life. The trio at the center of the production are Brent Carver as the older Marcel, Chad Kimball as the young Marcel and Kelli O'Hara as Albertine. The period-flavored original music and lyrics mesh to form a score made up of lullabye, children's folk song, ballads, laments and lusty cabaret songs, all written by Nelson and Gordon.

Song titles include "Is It Too Late," "Balbec-by-the-Sea," "Lullabye," "Ferret Song," "Song of Solitude," "The Different Albertines," "My Soul Weeps," "I Want You," "I Need Me a Girl," "Sometimes," "The Letters" and "If It Is True."

My Life With Albertine was the inaugural production in PH's new 42nd Street complex, on the mainstage. Previews began Feb. 18.

Despite the overtly theatrical frame, the musical has naturalistic echoes of Nelson's reserved and tasteful James Joyce's The Dead, for which the playwright won the Tony Award for Best Book.

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My Life With Albertine is drawn from a section of Marcel Proust's mammoth novel, "Remembrance of Things Past." Albertine is introduced in the second volume of Proust's opus, "Within a Budding Grove," as the leader of a captivating clique of young girls Marcel encounters at a seaside resort. Over the course of the book, Marcel grows increasingly obsessed with the mercurial and mysterious Albertine until he finally takes her for his lover, against the wishes and advice of friends and family.

Once they are living together in Paris, Marcel becomes more and more possessive, shifting from love to jealousy and concocting all sort of fantasies of Albertine's duplicity in his head. He is particularly maddened by suggestions that Albertine leads a secret, libertine, perhaps bi-sexual double life.

Ricky Ian Gordon is known for his art songs (Only Heaven is a collection of sung Langston Hughes poems) and Off-Broadway's Dream True (with collaborator Tina Landau).

The full Playwrights Horizons includes Carver (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Kimball (Into the Woods), O'Hara (Sweet Smell of Success), Donna Lynne Champlin, Brooke Sunny Moriber, Nicholas Belton, Caroline McMahon, Paul Anthony McGrane, Jim Poulos, Paul A. Schaeffer, Brad Spencer, Rena Strober and Laura Woyasz.

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PS Classics, devoted to the heritage of Broadway music and American popular song, will record the revival cast album of Broadway's current Nine in late April. For more information about the independent label, visit www.psclassics.com.

Chad Kimball, Brent Carver and Kelli O'Hara in <i>My Life With Albertine</i>.
Chad Kimball, Brent Carver and Kelli O'Hara in My Life With Albertine. (Photo by Joan Marcus)