We Think You're Just Sensational — The Essential Angela Lansbury on Disc

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11 Jan 2014

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Prettybelle — Original Cast Recording

Unfortunately, yet another disaster awaited Angela Lansbury, when she starred in Jule Styne and Bob Merrill's 1971 Prettybelle, which never even made it to Broadway, closing out of town in Boston. Luckily for posterity, Lansbury and members of the original cast reunited in 1982 to record a cast album preserving Lansbury, still in top vocal form, rip-roaring through this eclectic, idiosyncratic score. If even Grandmother Laureate Lansbury can’t make material like "I Never Did Imagine" (about how rape can be beneficial!) work, she scores with the lovely "To A Small Degree" and "I'm In A Tree," comedy numbers like "When I'm Drunk, I’m Beautiful" and the rare chance to hear veteran Jule Styne working in a 1970s mold as in my favorite Prettybelle track, "How Could I Know?" Yes, I enjoy that 1970s showbizzy vibe, and I lament the fact that Angela Lansbury never starred in a schmaltzy, over-produced television variety special. In some ways, the original cast album of Prettybelle offers a taste of what that might have sounded like.


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