We Think You're Just Sensational — The Essential Angela Lansbury on Disc

By Ben Rimalower
11 Jan 2014

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Gypsy — Original London Cast Recording

To some, it may seem odd that Gypsy would rank even as low as #5 (beneath Prettybelle, of all things!) on my list of essential Angela Lansbury recordings. Missing out on Lansbury's Tony Award-winning turn is one of my great regrets in life and I have no doubt the experience would have changed my life. Still, for me, strictly speaking of recordings, it's hard to hear Lansbury's top-notch renditions of the songs from Gypsy without comparing them unfavorably to the recordings featuring Ethel Merman, Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters and Bette Midler, all more straight-up singers, even when not acting (i.e. they do concerts), as opposed to Lansbury, an actor who sings. That said, no Rose on record finds as much wit and variety in Sondheim's lyrics and this album is joyfully indispensable. To dream about what it would have been like to actually see the performance, one can find only tantalizing glimpses.  

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