ON THE RECORD: Yank! Original Cast Recording

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
23 Mar 2014


The second act includes a third upbeat-and-tuneful Army-guy song, "Your Squad Is Your Squad," but the treasure of the show is something called "A Couple of Regular Guys." This is one of those 'one-day-we'll-live-in-a-little-white-house' songs; ironically so, in context, as such a happy ending was unthinkably impossible in 1944. Joseph Zellnik gives it a long melodic line, with the main musical phrase stretched out across eight bars before it resolves. And it is exquisite; one of the most effective new musical theatre songs I've heard in years. Stylistically, it seems to be influenced by late-period Jerome Kern; "A Couple of Regular Guys" fits in musically and lyrically alongside "The Folks Who Live on the Hill," which is high praise indeed.

The Zellniks and PS Classics have splurged on the music department, bringing in Tunick to create a full set of orchestrations. Broadway's preeminent orchestrator is a man of many musical moods, needless to say, but the results suggest that he had a swell time with Yank! Music director Rob Berman, who started with the show back at the NYMF in 2005, leads a ten-piece orchestra including some of Broadway's finest pit musicians.

Most of the York cast is on hand to recreate their roles, albeit performing altered material. Standing out is Bobby Steggert, who, since his performance at the York has been in constant demand (including major roles in Giant, Big Fish and the current Mothers and Sons.) Steggert carries the show, with strong support from Ivan Hernandez (as the 'other' man, singing "Rememb'ring You" and "A Couple of Regular Guys") and Jeffry Denman as the photographer at Yank Magazine who teaches Steggert's character to "Click." (Denman's choreography for the song is prominently recorded.) The central gimmick of the show is the presence of one actress playing multiple characters and singing five songs, with Nancy Anderson doing a droll job.

So here is a full recording of what at this point remains something of an unseen musical. Let us hope that some enterprising producer, or one of the important regionals, listens to the CD and realizes that they must bring Yank! to their audiences.

(Steven Suskin is author of "Show Tunes," "The Sound of Broadway Music: A Book of Orchestrators and Orchestrations," "Second Act Trouble," the "Opening Night on Broadway" books, and "The Book of Mormon: The Testament of a Broadway Musical." He also writes the Aisle View blog at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at Ssuskin@aol.com.)

Previous 1 | 2