By Kenneth Jones
03 Oct 2006
PS Classics, the record label devoted to musical theatre and popular song, released the CD. The score by newcomers Joshua Salzman (music) and Ryan Cunningham (lyrics) is heard on 18 tracks.
The writers conceived I Love You Because as their thesis project at NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program; staged readings quickly followed at the East 13th Street Theatre and the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT).
Dubbed "a modern day musical love story," I Love You Because follows Austin Bennet, "an uptight greeting card writer whose life is turned upside down when he finds his long-term girlfriend in bed with another man. Forced back out into the treacherous New York dating scene, Austin meets Marcy Fitzwilliams, a free-spirited photographer whose spontaneity is matched only by her ability to drive him insane. They are constantly misguided by Austin's brother Jeff and Marcy's best friend Diana Bingley. Together, they explore the 'rules' and nuances of dating in the big city as they learn how to love someone, not in spite of their differences, but because of them."
Productions are already planned for Coral Gables, Boston, Chicago and Seattle. The new recording features the Off-Broadway cast: Farah Alvin, David A. Austin, Tony Award nominee Stephanie D'Abruzzo and Colin Hanlon, with Jordan Leeds and Courtney Balan.
Orchestrations are by Larry Hochman. Christopher Gattelli choreographed. Daniel Kutner directed. Musical direction is by Jana Zielonka. Larry Gates produced the CD.
"We thought Josh and Ryan's score was incredibly fresh and clever — not to mention melodic — when we heard it in the theatre," PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker told Playbill.com. " "If possible, we think even more highly of it since working on the CD these many months. It's been over a decade since we all starting talking about the 'next generation of theatre composers' — I guess Josh and Ryan, who are fresh out of the NYU graduate musical theatre program, are the next generation after that. It feels good to work with guys who are so young, so talented, and so full of promise."
Founded in 2000 by Tommy Krasker and Philip Chaffin, PS Classics is known for its diverse line of cast recordings (including Grammy Award-nominated albums of Assassins and Nine: The Musical); solo albums by such artists as Jessica Molaskey, Christine Andreas, Jason Danieley & Marin Mazzie, and Rebecca Luker; songbook tributes to composers ranging from Billy Strayhorn to Maury Yeston to Jason Robert Brown; and, through its nonprofit division, restorations of forgotten musicals (Kay Swift's Fine and Dandy) and recordings drawn from rare sound archives, including "Sondheim Sings, Volumes I & II." PS Classics is distributed by Image Entertainment.