Monday, May 27, 2013

I'd Like To Thank You Strouse And Charnin (Music Review: Annie - The New 2012 Broadway Cast Recording)

I have expressed here my thoughts on the current revival of Annie on Broadway, and suffice it to say, I really wasn't that happy with the production. So I approached listening to "The New 2012 Broadway Cast Recording" with a little trepidation. I wanted to be fair in my assessment of it. And I have to admit - my first go-round wasn't really positive. Maybe it's because I know every click and hiss of the Original Cast Recording, it's one of those scores that's very dear to me, and of course, the original production was my very fist Broadway experience. At first listen, the orchestrations sound a lot thinner, and I miss the energy of Andrea McArdle. But I gave myself a challenge and listen tot he recording again. And again. And again. And I started to love it. The beauty of the music shone through - it really is a great Charles Strouse score, and even though Martin Charnin's lyrics could be corny and uneven, it has charm in spades, which is something I rarely find in today's musicals. Lilla Crawford, in all her Brooklyn awkcent glory may be a little too much of a spitfire for the role thereby losing some of the vulnerability, has the voice for the iconic songs. She gives justice to "Tomorrow," and "Maybe," and that's difficult to pull off. Anthony Warlow, who was superb in the production, was successful in translating that performance in the recording, and even Katie Finneran, who I thought was weak in the production, is great here. Perhaps without the trappings of the staging, they are able to essay their roles. I am glad I dis not dismiss this recording - it's a wonderful representation of the score, and is better than the flawed thing at The Palace. And just think of the hundreds and thousands of little Broadway divas who will be using this as a benchmark for their Broadway careers - may their light shine bright tomorrow! (It's only a day away!)

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