By Adam Hetrick
16 Oct 2013
The original musical, which was inspired by the memoirs and oral histories of gay and straight WWII service members, features a book and lyrics by David Zellnik and music by Joseph Zellnik. Yank! premiered at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2005 and played an Off-Broadway run at the York Theatre Company in 2010. It received seven Drama Desk nominations, three Outer Critics Circle nominations and two Lucille Lortel nominations – all including Best Musical.
Revised since its 2010 premiere, Yank! will reunite actors from the original York company for the cast album, including Tony nominee Bobby Steggert (Big Fish, Ragtime, 110 in the Shade), Ivan Hernandez (Into the Woods), Nancy Anderson (Far From Heaven) and Jeffry Denman (White Christmas, Passion), as well as Tally Sessions, David Perlman, Chris Ruth, Joseph Medeiros, Zak Edwards, Todd Faulkner and Denis Lambert.
Cast members will gather Nov. 21 and 22 to record the album, which will feature orchestrations by Tony Award winner Jonathan Tunick. PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker will produce the album, which will be released Jan. 21, 2014. It is currently available for pre-order at PSClassics.com.
PlaybillStore.com also offers numerous cast albums and theatre recordings.
"We were initially hoping to give folks Yank! in time for the holidays, but we had to wait a bit until the full cast, music director Rob Berman and orchestrator Jonathan Tunick were available," Krasker told Playbill.com. "It seemed much more important to put all the pieces in place, to get Yank! 'right,' rather than rushing into the recording studio without key cast members, or without giving Rob and Jonathan a chance to hear and refine the charts before we record them. Yank! has been waiting so long for a cast recording; we want to make sure this album is everything it can be."
The creative team also completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to help supplement the recording. Newly added to the team are recording executive producers Hugh Hayes and Matt Schicker, both associated with the 2010 York Theatre Company production; Kay and Thomas Stretton, of Philadelphia; and Third Coast Creative, a Houston-based producing entity most recently known for LMNOP at Goodspeed.
"The response from fans was overwhelming, and we're equally grateful that our outreach efforts netted us this amazing band of executive producers, whose belief in the show translated into sizeable donations," composer Joe Zellnik told Playbill.com. "Thanks to these executive producers – all with the same dream of making the album a superlative, first-class record – we'll be able to double the number of musicians we had Off-Broadway, and give Jonathan Tunick the full complement of players that he wanted."
Music direction for the album will be by Rob Berman, who has been a part of the Yank! family since its premiere at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2005.
According to the creators, "Yank! is a love song to Hollywood's 'it takes one of every kind' platoon flicks and to 1940's Broadway. The show tells the story of Stu, a scared Midwestern kid who becomes a reporter for (the real) Army magazine Yank, faces his fear in battle, and perhaps even scarier for him, finds love with a fellow soldier named Mitch. With a lively score inspired by the theatre and pop sounds of the 1940's, the show captures the spirit and exuberance of the World War II era even as it explores questions of prejudice, courage and survival."
Founded in 2000 by Tommy Krasker & Chaffin, and an eight-time Grammy nominee (for its cast albums of Assassins, Nine: The Musical, Grey Gardens, Company, A Little Night Music, Sondheim on Sondheim, Follies and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess), PS Classics celebrates the heritage of Broadway and American popular song through award-winning cast recordings; solo albums by such artists as Maureen McGovern, Victoria Clark, Steven Pasquale, Liz Callaway and Christine Andreas; and restorations of long-lost musicals, including Sweet Little Devil, Sweet Bye and Bye and Strike Up the Band 1930. Recent releases include Rebecca Luker’s solo disc "I Got Love (Songs of Jerome Kern)," the world premiere recording of Anthony Rapp’s one-man show, Without You, and the revue Noel and Cole.
Upcoming albums include the Off-Broadway cast recording of Far From Heaven and Philip Chaffin's new solo disc "Somethin’ Real Special (The Songs of Dorothy Fields)," both due in stores Nov. 12.