The Off-Broadway cast recording of The York Theatre Company's musical revue from 1999-2000, Taking a Chance on Love: The Lyrics and Life of John Latouche, will be released Nov. 18 at specialty stores in Manhattan, followed by a wider release.
The disc will be immediately available at Footlight Records and Colony Records in New York City, and should be available in chain stores within a month, according to the show's creator, Erik Haagensen.
The single CD set offers 30 songs with lyrics by John Latouche (1914-1956), whose life story was the basis for the revue. Eight composers are represented on the recording, including Leonard Bernstein, Duke Ellington, Jerome Moross and Vernon Duke. Shows represented on the disc include Cabin in the Sky, Candide, The Golden Apple, The Vamp, The Ballad of Baby Doe and the more obscure Ballet Ballads, Beggar's Holiday and Banjo Eyes.
Haagensen said 18 of the songs have never before been available on CD, and the vast majority of those are receiving their very first recording. Among them are two Leonard Bernstein rarities: the title song of the film, "On the Waterfront," and the world premiere recording of "Plain Words,"a duet cut from Candide.
The recording offers the four original cast members of last winter's York Theatre production: Terry Burrell (Swinging on a Star, Dreamgirls and the current tour of Barry Manilow's Copacabana); Jerry Dixon (Once On This Island), Donna English (Ruthless!) and Eddie Korbich (Lincoln Center's Carousel, Assassins). The show was commissioned by The York Theatre Company, which gave it a full production in February 2000.
Playwright-lyricist Erik Haagensen devised the show from Latouche's songs, letters and journals. York Theatre's artistic director James Morgan directed, with musical staging by Janet Watson. Musical arrangements and direction are by Jeffrey R. Smith, who also plays the show's twin piano accompaniment opposite David Harris. Robert Sher produced the recording for Bruce Yeko's Original Cast Records label.
The disc is available for purchase at the York Theatre (in the basement of St. Peter's Church at the Citicorp Building, at the corner of East 54th Street and Lexington Avenue), on Amazon.com, and by mail from Original Cast Records. Call (203) 544-8288, or visit their website at www.originalcastrecords.com.
— By Kenneth Jones