The National Academy of Record Arts and Sciences will award the 40th annual Grammy Awards in a televised ceremony 8-11 PM (ET) Feb. 25 on CBS-TV. Nominated Jan. 6 in the Best Cast Recording category were the following five CDs:
* (Songs From) Ragtime The Musical -- Jay David Saks, producer; Lynn Ahrens, lyricist; Stephen Flaherty,composer. Released by RCA Victor. * Titanic: A New Musical -- Tommy Krasker & Maury Yeston, producers; Maury Yeston, composer and lyricist. Released by RCA Victor.
Check out the results of our Playbill Poll and see which of the above got your vote.
Maury Yeston, composer of Titanic, said he was "stunned" at being nominated. "I think it's thrilling news for the show. It's a wonderful statement about the quality of singing ... and music-making by the cast. There would have been no nomination without that. It's one more reinforcement of the generous acceptance of this material by the public."
Chicago composer John Kander told Playbill On-Line, "The whole experience over this year with Chicago has been like some sort of present somebody gave us. We had no idea when City Center did this revival that it was going to become what it became -- and the Grammy nomination is frosting on the cake."
Kander also said he is "very proud" of the Steel Pier cast album, which was not nominated. The original 1975 cast recording of Chicago was also nominated for the Grammy in this category.
The Life's Cy Coleman, whose The Will Rogers Follies won in the early 1990s, told Playbill On-Line, "I think this album is the best I've ever done. [The nomination] is a recognition of the work of this incredible cast. There's not a bad voice in the lot. And I think we caught them really well on this album. I'm happy about everything that brings the quality of the show forth. The longevity of a show has to do with score. From the days of Rodgers & Hammerstein, a show opens and runs on its reviews, but you get into those really long runs once people know the score."
Coleman began composing The Life some 10 years ago, and it had its first workshop in 1990. A concept album followed, which led to the 1997 Broadway production.
Downloadable clips from all the Grammy-nominated cast albums are available on the Playbill On-Line website, in the Audio Clips area.
Among the eligible cast CDs not nominated: Steel Pier, Candide, Once Upon a Mattress, Play On! and Floyd Collins.
Side Show and The Lion King were released after the Grammy deadline and will be eligible in 1999 -- as will the original Broadway cast album of Ragtime; the CD nominated this year is the concept album with only part of the Ragtime score.
Grammy winners for the last three years: Smokey Joe's Cafe in 1996 and Riverdance (over Rent) in 1997.
Here are some other Grammy nominees of interest to theatre folk:
* For BEST SPOKEN COMEDY ALBUM --"God Said Ha!" Julia Sweeney.
* For BEST INSTRUMENTAL ARRANGEMENT -- Award to the Arranger. (Artists' names appear in parenthesis): "America" Michael Abene & Dave Grusin, arrangers (Dave Grusin). Track from: "Dave Grusin Presents West Side Story" [N2K Encoded Music].
* For BEST INSTRUMENTAL ARRANGEMENT WITH ACCOMPANYING VOCAL(S) - Award to the Arranger. (Artists' names appear in parenthesis.): " My Heart Belongs To Daddy" John Clayton, arranger (Dee Dee Bridgewater). Track from: "Dear Ella" [Verve Records]
"Our Love Is Here To Stay" Don Sebesky, arranger (John Pizzarelli). Track from: "Our Love Is Here To Stay" [RCA Records].
"The Summer Knows" Mike Renzi, arranger (Maureen McGovern). Track from: "The Music Never Ends" [Sterling Records]
For BEST SMALL ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE (WITH OR WITHOUT CONDUCTOR) -- Award to the Ensemble and to the Conductor: "Shakespeare's Musick - Songs And Dances From Shakespeare's Plays" (Works Of Byrd, Dowland, Holborne, Etc.) Philip Pickett, conductor; Musicians Of The Globe. [Philips].
-- By Robert Viagas