The tremulous Johnny Mathis croons contemporary Broadway show tunes on a new disc, "Mathis on Broadway," released by Columbia Records on April 25. It's been 30 years since Mathis released a Broadway-themed recording (1960's "Rhythms and Ballads of Broadway"), and the new disc reflects a new generation of writers and songs, including Jonathan Larson's "Seasons of Love" (from Rent), Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's "Our Children" (from Ragtime) and Claude Michel-Schonberg and Alain Boublil's "Bring Him Home" (from Les Miserables).
Betty Buckley, Nell Carter and voices from Forever Plaid sing with Mathis in "Children Will Listen/Our Children," "Seasons of Love" and "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries," respectively.
Also on the disc are "On Broadway" (featured in Smokey Joe's Cafe), "All I Ask of You" (from The Phantom of the Opera), "Loving You" (from Stephen Sondheim's Passion), "Once Upon a Dream" (from Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse's Jekyll & Hyde).
For the rhythmic "They Live in You," from The Lion King, Mathis is joined by co-writer and vocal arranger Lebo M's South African Choir. Nell Carter and Mathis are also backed up by a choir for "Seasons of Love."
The disc features the orchestrations of Bill Ross, Jonathan Tunick and Jorge Calandrelli.
Jay Landers and Richard Jay-Alexander are producers.
-- By Kenneth Jones