By Kenneth Jones
26 Jun 2001
The production may be a memory, but the melodies of Bells Are Ringing linger on in the revival cast album being released in stores June 26.
The disc is the first musical cast album on the new Fynsworth Alley label, helmed by Bruce Kimmel, who got show tune fans through the lean days with his Varese Sarabande recordings in the last decade. (Those who are faithful to Fynsworth's website were able to pre-order the album and have had the discs in their CD players since last week.)
The revival cast, led by Faith Prince and Marc Kudisch, recorded the classic 1956 Betty Comden-Adolph Green-Jule Styne score May 14 at Right Track studios in Manhattan. The show was nominated for Tony Awards for Best Revival and Best Actress in a Musical (for Prince), but lost out to 42nd Street and closed June 10 at the Plymouth Theatre.
The Bells Are Ringing score includes "The Party's Over," "Just in Time," "Long Before I Knew You" and the lesser known "Better Than A Dream," which was added to the original Broadway run after a year and was not recorded on the original cast album. The song is also heard in the 1960 film version.
Bells Are Ringing, in which an answering service operator meddles in the life of her clients (and falls in love with one of them) offers a breezy, satiric, but sweetly affectionate view of then modern New York City. The Comden-Green Big Apple is a place were subway rides turn friendly ("Hello, Hello There!"), meetings in the park become reasons for singing ("Just in Time") and celebrity soirees can make a working-class girl feel inferior ("The Party's Over").
The score also includes "Mu-Cha-Cha," "I Met a Girl," "It's a Simple Little System," "Salzburg," "I'm Going Back," "Long Before I Knew You," "Is It a Crime?," "It's a Perfect Relationship" and "The Midas Touch."
For the revival, Don Sebesky handled orchestrations, David Evans was musical director. The production opened at the Plymouth Theatre April 12.
The original cast album, with Judy Holliday, is also in stores, with added music and special tracks of obscure demo material featuring composer Jule Styne.
Find Fynsworth Alley at www.fynsworthalley.com.