ON THE RECORD: Betty Buckley's "Ah, Men!," Plus "Scott Alan Live" and Call Me Madam

By Steven Suskin
26 Aug 2012

Scott Alan

Scott Alan Live [Billy-Boo BBR-1206]
Songwriter Scott Alan returns with his fourth album, in a string which started with "Dreaming Wide Awake" back in 2007. This time out we have "Scott Alan Live," a cram-packed-with-talent concert recorded on April 30 at Birdland. Alan writes distinctive, highly emotional songs which stand on their own as performance pieces; that performers are attracted to work of this sort is apparent from the lineup of theatre names who stepped in to sing a solo each. This two-disc set has 25 songs, all but two recorded live at Birdland; how they had time to cram it into one set, and how they had space to fit 30-or-so singers plus a 12-piece band into the club on the far side of West 44th, I can't imagine.

Yet here they are, a lineup showcasing stars and newcomers, including a fair assortment of leading players from last season’s crop of new musicals. Which is to say Laura Osnes, Jeremy Jordan and Melissa van der Schyff from Bonnie & Clyde; Mr. Jordan and Ben Fankhauser, from Newsies; and Richard Fleeshman and Caissie Levy from the now departed Ghost. Plus a host of favorites including the Callaway sisters, Stephanie J. Block, Sierra Boggess, Ramin Karimloo, Christiane Noll, Julia Murney, Lea Salonga.

All of them and more came together to sing Mr. Alan's typically soaring solos. It must have been some wild night; there are crowd ovations after each and every number, so loud and vociferous that you kind of wish they were engineered down on the CD. Alan, meanwhile, remains one of those up-and-coming songwriters whose work continues to intrigue us.

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(Steven Suskin is author of "Show Tunes" as well as "The Sound of Broadway Music: A Book of Orchestrators and Orchestrations," "Second Act Trouble," the "Broadway Yearbook" series and the "Opening Night on Broadway" books. He also pens Playbill.com's Book Shelf and DVD Shelf columns. He can be reached at Ssuskin@aol.com.)