Thursday, August 18, 2011

Give my Regards to Broadway, Part 2

Without further ado, here are the rest of my picks for best Broadway soundtracks.

6. Gypsy

Sing out, Louise! This iconic musical based on the memoirs of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee has been popularly revived on Broadway many times, turned into a classic film with Natalie Wood and Rosalind Russell, and made into a TV movie starring Bette Midler. Gypsy tells the story of Lee’s rise to fame, no thanks to her Mama Rose, who is the ultimate stage mother. Though the backstage shenanigans are fun, it’s the heart-wrenching relationship between mother and daughter which gives this play its soul.

Check out the 2003 Broadway revival starring Bernadette Peters.

Or the TV version starring Bette Midler.

7. West Side Story

Pay no attention to the ill-conceived 2009 revival of this Shakespearean classic. West Side Story is an old standby, and it’s fantastic the way it was. It’s Romeo and Juliet set in 1950s New York, with rival gangs and ethnic groups instead of families. Though the amount of ballet dancing it contains renders it not realistic, it’s still an awesome musical with a memorable soundtrack.

8. Chicago

Chicago is Kander and Ebb’s classic, iconic musical, and it’s still a delight to listen to. This soundtrack contains classic songs such as “All That Jazz” and “Nowadays,” and just oozes Broadway and Fosse. Bebe Neuwirth and Ann Reinking put new faces and voices on the memorable Velma and Roxie, and their rendition remains my favorite.

9. Cabaret

Cabaret is another well known musical, set in the late 1930s, when Berlin was full of decadence and sex. The play chronicles the lives of the performers at the Kit Kat Klub, who are trying as hard as they can to avoid the fact that the world is falling apart around them. The songs Sally Bowles sings end up as parallels to the rise of the Third Reich and the impending war. The best part of the most recent revival is the addition of “Maybe This Time”, an import from the film version.

10. An honorable mention goes to the Book of Mormon, the newest and hottest ticket on Broadway. I haven’t heard or seen this 2011 Tony winner yet, but if it’s all it’s cracked up to be, it’s bound to be brilliant and hilarious. The music and lyrics are a collaboration between South Park’s Matt Stone and Trey Parker, and Avenue Q’s Robert Lopez, so I don’t see how it could go wrong! If you end up getting your hands on this before I do (I’m pretty far down on the holds list!), let me know what you think.

- GT

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