Broadway Scene Stealers – The Women [Digital Version]
- Disc 1
- 3. Deep In The Night (from Inner City – Linda Hopkins)
- 5. The Miller’s Son (from A Little Night Music – D’Jamin Bartlett)
- 6. Gooch’s Song (from Mame – Jane Connell)
- 7. Miss Marmelstein (from I Can Get It For You Wholesale – Barbra Streisand)
- 8. Little Girls (from Annie – Dorothy Loudon)
- 12. You Can Always Count On Me (from City Of Angels – Randy Graff)
Featured on this Masterworks Broadway / Playbill Records release are twelve multi-talented scene stealers – actresses who inhabit a character and a song so completely and with such originality that it is hard to imagine anyone else playing that role. All are forever part of Broadway history.
Few boasted a voice like the late Susan Johnson, who created the role of tough-talking waitress Cleo in The Most Happy Fella. It was one that could be as big and brassy as any of her counterparts, yet it also throbbed with emotion and warmth, and all of those elements can be heard in her version of “Ooh! My Feet!”
While it is often hard to distinguish one pop singer from another, the distinctive sound of Broadway performers has always been a trademark. No one would ever misidentify Ethel Merman’s trumpeting tones, and the late Nell Carter was also blessed with a sound uniquely her own. Just listen to the Tony-winner’s infectious “Cash for Your Trash” from Ain’t Misbehavin’.
Linda Hopkins appeared in just four Broadway musicals, but she was Tony-nominated for two of them: Black and Blue and Inner City. Hopkins won the coveted award for her performance in the latter, and her soulful sounds on “Deep in the Night” pierce the heart with laser-like intensity.
Over a decade before she entered our collective memory as the Tony-winning Grizabella in Cats, Betty Buckley was already stopping shows. As Martha Jefferson in 1776, Buckley wowed audiences as she wrapped her beautiful, powerful tones around “He Plays the Violin.”
D’Jamin Bartlett may have only been part of one hit musical, but her performance in A Little Night Music as Petra, the passionate maid who dreams of more as she finally realizes she will marry “The Miller’s Son” was enough to endear her to fans for years to come.
Jane Connell may not have been blessed with operatic pipes, but she was certainly blessed with unbeatable comic timing. In fact, it’s hard to imagine anyone else wringing more laughter out of Mame‘s “Gooch’s Song.”
It is also hard to imagine a time when the lush tones of Barbra Streisand were not part of the fabric of our musical history, but in 1962 audiences were getting their first taste of her breathtaking sounds in I Can Get It For You Wholesale. Streisand’s performance of “Miss Marmelstein” is the stuff of legend, and that character role led to her starring role in Funny Girl. From there Streisand went west to conquer Hollywood and the music industry, but Broadway had her first.
Few could have stolen a show from an orphan and her trusty dog, but the late Dorothy Loudon did just that in Annie. In fact, there was no stopping Loudon when she let loose as the deliciously evil Miss Hannigan, explaining just why she didn’t relish “Little Girls.”
Debra Monk had already won a Tony Award® when she was cast as Shelby Stevens in Kander and Ebb’s Steel Pier, but few expected the show-stopping performance she would give singing the bawdy “Everybody’s Girl.”
It was a rarely-heard Irving Berlin song, “Mr. Monotony,” that helped Debbie Shapiro win her Tony Award® in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. Standing center stage, Shapiro delivered a dynamic version of the Berlin ballad with her crystal-clear alto and instantly became a Broadway favorite.
The revival of Chicago has been knocking ’em dead for a decade, but the original production also delighted audiences who thrilled to the charms of Chita Rivera and Gwen Verdon as well as Mary McCarty, who rose to the occasion eight times a week belting out the suggestive “When You’re Good To Mama [Mama’s Good To You]”.
She had already played Fantine in Les Misérables, but it was her dual roles in City of Angels – and her comical and belty rendition of “You Can Always Count On Me” – that brought Randy Graff to the attention of theatergoers and a Tony Award® for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
Still wondering what makes a Broadway scene stealer? Just listen to these twelve tracks, and you’ll have your answer.
— Andrew Gans, Senior Editor, Playbill, January 2007