The cast album of the stylish 1996 Broadway revival of Chicago won the 1998 Grammy Award as Best Musical Show album Feb. 25.
The 40th annual Grammy ceremony was televised on CBS from Radio City Music Hall, where eight months ago Chicago won the 1997 Tony Award as Best Musical Revival.
In winning the Grammy, Chicago beat Titanic, Jekyll & Hyde, The Life and Songs From Ragtime, the latter a studio album. The Ragtime original cast album was recently recorded, and will be eligible in 1999.
The Chicago cast album came in a close third in voting this week by Playbill On-Line members, who preferred Titanic for the Grammy.
Based on the 1920s play also called Chicago, the musical tells the cynical story of a woman who kills her husband, then uses a crooked lawyer to manipulate the press and the court system to win an acquittal. Like the 1975 original, this revival has music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Directed by Walter Bobbie, the revival was presented as a tribute to choreographer Bob Fosse. This revival, which starred Bebe Neuwirth, James Naughton, Anne Reinking and Joel Grey, began as a presentation of the Off-Broadway "Encores!" series at the New York City Center, and later transferred to Broadway under the auspices of Fran and Barry Weissler.
Here is a list of the 1998 Grammy nominees and how many votes they received from Playbill On-Line members:
* Titanic: A New Musical -- Tommy Krasker & Maury Yeston, producers; Maury Yeston, composer and lyricist. Released by RCA Victor. 94 votes
* (Songs From) Ragtime The Musical -- Jay David Saks, producer; Lynn Ahrens, lyricist; Stephen Flaherty,composer. Released by RCA Victor. 87 votes
* Jekyll & Hyde -- Karl Richardson & Frank Wildhorn, producers. Leslie Bricusse, lyricist; Frank Wildhorn, composer. Released by Atlantic Theatre. 78 votes
* The Life -- Mike Berniker & Cy Coleman, producers. Ira Gasman, lyricist; Cy Coleman, composer. Released by Sony Classical. 65 votes
Downloadable clips from all the Grammy-nominated cast albums are available on the Playbill On-Line website, in the Audio Clips area.
This is the fourth year that Playbill On-Line has surveyed members about the Grammys. The Grammy voters agreed with members by giving the Grammy to Passion in 1995, but diverged in 1996 and 1997. In 1996 they gave the Grammy to Smokey Joe's Cafe, when PBOL members had voted their preference for the cast album of the Matthew Broderick How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying revival. In 1997 the NARAS gave the Grammy to Riverdance when PBOL members had overwhelmingly favored Rent.
Also in the 1998 Grammys: the late Paul Robeson, an actor who created many stage roles and whose voice is heard singing "Old Man River" in the film of Show Boat, was awarded a posthumous Grammy for Lifetime Achievement.