Wonderful Town, the stage musical version of the play, "My Sister Eileen," gets another major recording release Sept. 14, when the Simon Rattle-conducted British studio cast album appears on U.S. store shelves.
The disc, on the EMI Classics label, features American singer-actors performing the 1953 score by Leonard Bernstein and Betty Comden and Adolph Green. The show is renowned for having been written by the collaborators in four weeks, in time for a deadline that otherwise would have seen the flight of its marquee star, Rosalind Russell.
This new recording, which was released in England over the summer, features Kim Criswell as Ruth, Audra McDonald as Eileen, Thomas Hampson as Robert, Brent Barrett as Wreck and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and London Voices, conducted by Rattle.
The 20-track disc (a little shy of 67 minutes) includes:
"Conquering New York"
"One Hundred Easy Ways"
"What a Waste"
"A Little Bit in Love"
"Pass the Football"
"A Quiet Girl"
"My Darlin' Eileen"
"Ballet at the Village Vortex"
"Wrong Note Rag"
"Reprise: It's Love" In 1998, Jay Records released a two-disc "complete" studio recording of Wonderful Town, which included some dialogue, dance music and underscoring. Rebecca Luker was Eileen, Karen Mason was Ruth (the Roz Russell role).
In addition, the original 1953 cast album is on disc, the television cast recording (with Russell) is on disc, and a recent London revival is on disc.
The source material, Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov's "My Sister Eileen," about two sisters from the Midwest who move to Greenwich Village (itself based on stories by Ruth McKenney), was the inspiration for a 1955 movie musical, also called "My Sister Eileen." It starred Jack Lemmon and Betty Garrett. Bob Fosse danced and choreographed. The score was by Jule Styne and Leo Robin.
Comden and Green's lyrics are included in the new disc's booklet.