Albums

Broadway: The American Musical – 5 disc set

Broadway: The American Musical – 5 disc set

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Synopsis

For many Americans, the Broadway show tune needs no introduction. Broadway songs are everywhere – they are the standards we play at our weddings, the anthems we sing on the Fourth of July, the lullabies we murmur to our sleeply children. Songs have a special way of taking you back in time, and our documentary series, Broadway: The American Musical, uses the songs and shows of Broadway to explore the broad sweep of American history. The incomparable lyricist E.Y. “Yip” Harburg, who penned both “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” and “Over the Rainbow,” said it best: “Songs are the pulse of a nation’s heart. A fever chart of its health. Are we at peace? Are we in trouble? Are we floundering? Do we feel beautiful? Do we feel ugly? Listen to our songs … “ This collection of songs is drawn almost entirely from original cast recordings, which were a staple of the music industry for decades. The My Fair Lady album, for instance, stayed on the best-seller charts for 482 weeks, setting a record that would outlast Elvis Presley and the Beatles. While many people remember their first Broadway show as if it were yesterday, I first recall those Sunday mornings when my father would put a cast album on the stereo and we would sing along to the voice of Julie Andrews (while searching Al Hirschfeld’s latest drawing of Broadway performers in the New York Times for “Nina”s). The cast album offered a personal Broadway all your own, and when the needle dropped onto a long-playing record of Camelot, you could be a King (or a Queen, as the case may be). Even if you haven’t heard these melodies in years, the songs of Broadway stay alive within us in a very personal place, a place where we allow our optimistic, childlike, joyful selves to remain undaunted by the disturbing daily news. Some tunes will bring back memories of a trip to New York to see a show, or a long-ago performance in a school gymnasium, or the time that a great Broadway star came through town on tour. This compilation is intended to showcase not only the most popular hits, but also to highlight the incredibly vast range of music that has been sung on Broadway. Listening to all of the 106 songs in this collection, you will do more than recall your own experience – you will be taking a journey across 100 years of America’s most influential music, and that is quite a trip.

– Michael Cantor, Producer-Director, Broadway: The American Musical

Credits

COMPOSERS: George M. Cohan, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Kurt Weill, Leonard Bernstein, Frederick Loewe, Harold Arlen, Burton Lane, Frank Loesser, Jule Styne, Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, Stephen Sondheim, Charles Strouse, Cy Coleman, Jerry Herman, John Kander, and many others. LYRICISTS: Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein II, E.Y. Harburg, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Maxwell Anderson, Lorenz Hart, Betty Comden and Adolf Green, Johnny Mercer, Frank Loesser, Marc Blitzstein, Alan Jay Lerner, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Fred Ebb, Leslie Bricusse, and many others. VOCALISTS: Al Jolson, Bert Williams, Fanny Brice, George Gershwin, Fred and Adele Astaire, Eddie Cantor, Gertrude Lawrence, Helen Morgan, Paul Robeson, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Ethel Waters, Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Vivienne Segal, Irving Berlin, Alfred Drake, John Raitt, Harold Nicholas, Ella Logan, Ray Bolger, Patricia Morison, Ezio Pinza, Todd Duncan, Carol Channing, Doretta Morrow, Richard Kiley, Gwen Verdon, Julie Andrews, Judy Holliday, Barbara Cook, Carol Lawrence, Robert Preston, Pat Suzuki, Dick Van Dyke, Jerry Orbach, Richard Burton, Robert Morse, Zero Mostel, Anthony Newley, Georgia Brown, Barbra Streisand, Lee Remick, Angela Lansbury, Joel Grey, Elaine Stritch, Glynis Johns, Chita Rivera, Andrea McArdle, Patti LuPone, Jim Dale, Raul Julia, Betty Buckley, George Hearn, Bernadette Peters, Mandy Patinkin, Michael Crawford, Jonathan Pryce, Gregory Hines, Glenn Close, Matthew Broderick, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Kristin Chenoweth, and many others.