The original cast album of composer Jeanine Tesori’s Off-Broadway musical, Violet, is trickling into New York City’s record shops just days after the limited release that offered it by mail order only.
The album was on the racks Oct. 14 at Footlight Records (a show-music specialty shop) and Colony Records, both in Manhattan.
Bruce Yeko of distributor Original Cast Records said the Oct. 13 release from Resmiranda Records is no longer by mail-order only and will appear in selected stores in Top 10 markets around the country within a month.
Yeko said it will take a few weeks for the product to appear on the database so stores can order it. He also hopes Tower, Barnes and Noble and Borders stores around the country will have the disc in coming weeks.
Ron Saja, owner of Footlight Records, at 113 E. 12th St., in New York, said he ordered 60-90 discs and began selling Oct. 14. “We’ve been getting calls about it for weeks,” Saja told Playbill On-Line Oct. 15. The $16.95 CD can also be ordered by phone from indie label Resmiranda at (800) 636-5886.
The beloved 1997 Off-Broadway musical, about a disfigured girl’s spiritual journey across the South, was delayed as a CD release several times, most recently to allow more time to print a booklet with the complete lyrics by Brian Crawley (who also wrote the book).
After its original production at Playwrights Horizons, which won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, Violet failed to get a commercial transfer or a major record label offer, composer Jeanine Tesori and colleague Buryl Red approached Resmiranda, a Vermont-based indie label. Tesori is the CD’s co-producer with Red.
“We just decided to do it ourselves,” Red told Playbill On-Line Oct. 9. “It’s a real labor of love.”
The disc was scheduled for release in late spring, 1998, but the date was pushed back to July 15, then to late August, then to Sept. 1 and finally to Oct. 13.
The score has been recorded, but mixing took longer than expected; then the release was delayed to coincide with planned resident theatre productions.
Eschewing the common practice of a one-day cast album recording session, the Violet score was recorded over a period of weeks in fall 1997 with several of the original cast members, including leads Lauren Ward and Michael McElroy. The CD also includes performances by special guest artists The Jordanaires and The Broadway Gospel Choir.
Resmiranda Records is an 11-year-old Vermont-based company that specializes in classical/inspirational music. It also released Tesori’s “Music from the Lincoln Center Theatre Production Twelfth Night.”
Based on the Doris Betts short story, "The Ugliest Pilgrim," Violet, directed by Susan Schulman, told the story of a young woman who travels across the South, seeking an evangelist whom she believes can cure her disfigured face. Along the way she meets two soldiers who become her traveling companions.