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 Posted:   Dec 6, 2013 - 11:54 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

That's a shame. All 3 of them were magical together -- Patti, Mandy, and Bob -- and I treasure those 6 performances I saw them (5 1/2 in the case of Patti). Sometimes an understudy can be great -- I had gone for the 2nd time to this revival of "Evita" at the Shubert Theatre in Century City (now torn down) and the guy playing Peron was out, but his replacement was soooooooooooooo much better!

 
 Posted:   Dec 6, 2013 - 12:22 PM   
 By:   moviejoemovies   (Member)

That's a shame. All 3 of them were magical together -- Patti, Mandy, and Bob -- and I treasure those 6 performances I saw them (5 1/2 in the case of Patti). Sometimes an understudy can be great -- I had gone for the 2nd time to this revival of "Evita" at the Shubert Theatre in Century City (now torn down) and the guy playing Peron was out, but his replacement was soooooooooooooo much better!

I never did get a chance to go back and see it with them. Terri Klausner (Patti's Understudy) was OK but well....you know, she was no Lupone. Don't remember who was Mandy's Understudy but he was OK too. I did get to see Bob Gunton though.

Similar situation years later when I had tickets for Cabaret with Natasha Richardson and Alan Cumming. A Heating/Air Conditioning unit fell from the top of a New York building into the street on the same block as the theatre. The block was closed down for a week and so was the theatre (all performances cancelled). It was to be Natasha Richardson's final performance so there was no going back to see her even though Alan Cumming was still in it. Now, 15 years later, I'm getting another chance as that same Production is coming back to Broadway with Alan Cuming as the emcee and, this time, Michelle Williams as Sally Bowles. So I'm belatedly getting to see it after all. Beyond these 2 bad experiences, all my years of theatregoing (both in New York and Philadelphia) have been exciting and wonderful and I can't recall missing out on any other big stars. I still say the original cast of "Follies" was my greatest night in the Theatre.

 
 Posted:   Dec 6, 2013 - 2:09 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Well, Terri Klausner was also Patti's understudy in L.A., so she stepped in after intermission closing night, and I thought she was fine. She was my 3rd favorite Eva: Patti LuPone, Valerie Perri, and Terri. As for Natasha Richardson and Alan Cumming, we'll never have a chance to see Richardson again, which is terrible, and I can't watch Cumming on "The Good Wife" without thinking of him as his leering Emcee character in "Cabaret" (or that nasty character he played in the 1995 movie "Circle of Friends" with Chris O'Donnell and Minnie Driver).

I had an odd experience with Lloyd Webber's "Phantom." When Michael Crawford left Broadway and brought the show to our Ahmanson Theatre here in Los Angeles, I had a great seat the very first Friday hight, and even though I had long loved the original London recording, I was simply bored to death by the show. I kept asking myself why I had spent so much money for it. The saving grace were the many nuances that Crawford had developed in the years since that recording, making his performance amazing (and oh how I wish he could have re-recorded it at that point!). But the show itself was, for me, still very disappointing. Jump forward about 23 years and I watched the 25th anniversary performance of "Phantom" from Albert Hall with Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess and I simply loved it and bought it as soon as it was released on Blu-ray, and have watched it several times and never felt any of the itchiness I felt while watching that touring production with Crawford. For me, at that point, I just couldn't get into it, which is odd, since I love the much later production so much.

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 4:40 AM   
 By:   Thomas   (Member)



This is a Lloyd Webber piece I have never fully appreciated. I seen the West End Production around a year after it opened, and subsequently the UK Touring Production a few years later, with some plot changes and extra music, and yet never really enjoyed either. The score always seemed to me too unsure whether to be an ALW piece or Steinman. Saying that, I do think there are a few decent tunes on the Cast Recording to enjoy, “Whistle Down the Wind”, “A Kiss is a terrible thing to waste” and “Children Ruled the World”. I believe “No Matter What” is actually Lloyd Webber’s most successful single recording from any of his shows.

There was also a ‘concept’ album released the year prior, featuring artists like Tom Jones, Meatloaf, Boyzone and Tina Arena, similar to the idea of the ‘Starlight Express’ album released in the US at the time of that show.

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 12:45 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Thomas:

You may have seen my posting of the version of "No Matter What" that the group Boyzone did at Lloyd Webber's birthday celebration about 10 years ago. If you didn't, I'll try to find it and post it again. Ronan Keating puts wonderful emphasis on parts of it that he didn't in the group's excellent studio recording of the song.

Actually I started something with the title ANY BOYZONE FANS OUT THERE? And here's that live version of "No Matter What," including Stephen Gateley, who died a couple of years ago.

https://soundcloud.com/ron-hardcastle/no-matter-what

 
 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 7:15 AM   
 By:   Thomas   (Member)

Ron

I think it was actually reading your thread from a month or so ago that prompted me to give 'Whistle' another listen.

I have that Birthday Celebration DVD you mention, and I agree with you that the version Boyzone performed that night was very good. I also enjoy how the song is performed in the musical itself, obviously with a much different arrangement.

I really like Tina Arena performing 'Whistle down the Wind' from that DVD as well. Very nice.

 
 Posted:   Dec 13, 2013 - 1:37 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Thomas: Re: "I really like Tina Arena performing 'Whistle down the Wind' from that DVD as well. Very nice."

I'll have to put it on and watch for that. I also have been wanting to watch it to pay attention to something that Kiri Te Kanawa sang -- my friend John B. Archibald made a comment on this thread, I think, about her singing something that's not been commercially released. I need to put my Sony CD recorder back into my component system and try to remember how I used to record the audio off of DVDs (and now Blu-rays) so I can then transfer the audio to my iTunes.

I notice that Sierra Boggess, who played Christine in the wonderful 25th anniversary production of "Phantom of the Opera" (as well as the original production of the sequel "Love Never Dies") has just released her first solo album recorded live at an NYC club (Awakening: Live at 54 Below) -- I just placed a pretty big order at Amazon and forgot to move that CD up, so now have to wait until I place my next one there. But it won't be long.

 
 Posted:   Dec 13, 2013 - 2:45 AM   
 By:   Thomas   (Member)

I'll have to put it on and watch for that. I also have been wanting to watch it to pay attention to something that Kiri Te Kanawa sang -- my friend John B. Archibald made a comment on this thread, I think, about her singing something that's not been commercially released. I need to put my Sony CD recorder back into my component system and try to remember how I used to record the audio off of DVDs (and now Blu-rays) so I can then transfer the audio to my iTunes.

'The Heart is slow to Learn', you are referring to Ron. I remember we spoke about it recently. The 'aria' from Love Never Dies, which was originally composed for a Phantom sequel, but found itself in The Beautiful Game before it was removed and ended up where it was intended to be.

That brings me nicely onto this, which I listened to a few nights ago...



I really like Wilkinson's voice on this recording. Very different to Crawford, but he manages to make the role sound darker and more sinister. Rebecca Caine is also fantastic as Christine, certainly on a par with Brightman. It's very comprehensive for a 'highlights from' release, well worth seeking out if you don't have it.

 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2013 - 10:56 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

No, Thomas, don't have it. As a big Colm Wilkinson fan, I'll look for it.

I assume you are aware of Wilkinson's studio recording of highlights from Frank Wildhorn's "Jekyll & Hyde"? He's great in it, especially in the stirring "This Is The Moment." On that recording, Linda Eder, who would later become Mrs. Frank Wildhorn, sings both female leads. I adored "Jekyll & Hyde" (which was criticized by some as too much like Lloyd Webber's "Phantom," although Wildhorn wrote it in college BEFORE "Phantom"), and became a huge fan of Linda Eder, and for a few years was editor and writer of her newsletter and got to know both of them and even went to one of the recording sessions for the complete 2-CD set of "Jekyl" with Antony Warlow (while Linda was recording the exuberant "Bring On The Men"). "J&H" didn't do well when they took it to Broadway, which was a shame, and while I didn't agree with some of the changes made by the director, there's an amazing original Broadway cast recording of it on a single CD, and I've always thought that that show would do better in countries like Britain, where theatre music seems to have a far greater appeal than it does here in the States.

Follow-up: Thomas: I ordered it! $4.49 through Amazon. I sampled some of the tracks, and, for me, it'll be great having Colm Wilkinson's versions of some of those songs from the show. Thanks!

 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2013 - 2:37 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Re: Michael Hayden in both London and Broadway revivals of "Carousel"

A few years ago I bought both of these cast albums with Michael Hayden as Billy Bigelow after seeing him on an episode of "Law And Order" and sampling some of his music online. I was wondering if anyone saw him in either of these? I think the London production was 1993 and Broadway the following year. He kinda reminds me of Mandy Patinkin from about 30 years ago. Incidentally, did anyone see the new HBO documentary "Six By Sondheim"? I was reminded in the "Sunday" clip from "Sunday In The Park With George" what a gorgeous voice Mandy Patinkin had back in those days.

 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2013 - 7:20 PM   
 By:   Gary S.   (Member)

Wilkinson can be seen doing a piece of Phantom on the video release of Hey, Mr. Producer. It is a terrefic tribute concert for Cameron McIntosh.

 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2013 - 9:10 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Gary S: Re: Wilkinson can be seen doing a piece of Phantom on the video release of Hey, Mr. Producer. It is a terrefic tribute concert for Cameron McIntosh.

Remember Colm Wilkinson coming out at the end of the 25th anniversary performance of "Phantom" at Albert Hall and being the heart of a stage load of "Phantoms"? He was wonderful, although he's getting along in years (as some of us are!). As I wrote above, I just ordered his highlights CD of the Canadian version of the show with him as the Phantom. I still fondly remember the American tv entertainment magazine program called "20/20" doing a profile of "Les Miserables" just before it opened on Broadway. One of the creators of the show said that when they were preparing to open it in London, they were all so impressed by Wilkinson's voice that they added the song "Bring Him Home" specifically for him, and we know how that song has stopped shows for over 25 years! (Wilkinson is also seen at the end of the 25th anniversary performance of "Les Miserables.") I also have some of his solo efforts, such as his "Stage Heroes" CD, as well as the already mentioned "Jekyll & Hyde" original.

 
 Posted:   Dec 18, 2013 - 11:21 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Thomas: Re: Ron, I assume this is a recording on youtube of the production you seen...



However, this production was different from the Original London show that I had seen. That US tour production was the rewritten version, after London had closed. Personally, I prefer the original.


I wanted to resurrect this, because this morning I played big chunks of the video of the Los Angeles production, and want to warn anyone about to watch it that it is a very rough, sometimes even wretched, recording of a performance, out of focus and awkward zooming, with lots of cuts -- the entire opening segment during the war has been omitted, with it starting at the point after Guerre tells his war buddy his story. And later, when the very young and naive Guerre doesn't consummate his marriage, they've also skipped what leads up to his brutal flogging. But it's still more than worthwhile for those, like me, who love the show and still can't understand why they weren't able to take it to Broadway. Thomas, I remain grateful that you posted this, and honestly believe that if you had seen this version in person (or heard a decent recording of it) you might be less likely to choose the London version over it.

 
 Posted:   Dec 23, 2013 - 5:05 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Thomas: Re: That brings me nicely onto this, which I listened to a few nights ago...



I really like Wilkinson's voice on this recording. Very different to Crawford, but he manages to make the role sound darker and more sinister. Rebecca Caine is also fantastic as Christine, certainly on a par with Brightman. It's very comprehensive for a 'highlights from' release, well worth seeking out if you don't have it.


I received the above CD last week and as you said, it was definitely worth seeking out. It's a wonderful set that I hate to refer to as "highlights" -- it seems far more than that, doesn't it? And both Colm Wilkinson and Rebecca Caine have fuller and maybe deeper voices than I'm accustomed to hearing in those roles, and are wonderful, as is Byron Nease as Raoul. I don't want to take anything away from Michael Crawford's original Phantom, because he truly WAS the Phantom, but as wonderful as he was (and I've written about the amazing nuances he had added to his performance after it was set in stone in the recording studio), he always seemed to me to be asexual on stage and in the recording studio, and I never got any sense that Christine was being pursued on a sexual level. But I can't say the same about Ramin Karimloo's Phantom or especially Colm Wilkinson's here -- this is no boy with a high pitched voice and you feel his palpable heat as he doggedly pursues her. I am sooooooooooooooo glad you told us about it!

 
 Posted:   Dec 23, 2013 - 5:25 PM   
 By:   Mark R. Y.   (Member)



Listened to this for the first time in years the other night. Such a witty and wonderful score, and Lesley Ann Warren is hilarious. smile

 
 Posted:   Dec 23, 2013 - 5:28 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Although I had long heard about this, mainly because of Elliott Gould's participation, I never heard the music. His voice worked perfectly in "I Can Get It For You Wholesale," so we don't know if son Jason got his voice from his father or his more musical mother!

Note to Thomas: Please go back to page 3 for something I wrote you on your recommendation that I get the Canadian cast recording of "The Phantom of the Opera."

 
 Posted:   Jan 3, 2014 - 1:37 AM   
 By:   Thomas   (Member)

Note to Thomas: Please go back to page 3 for something I wrote you on your recommendation that I get the Canadian cast recording of "The Phantom of the Opera."

Hi Ron

Glad you like it. I remember reading before that you are a fan of Colm, so I was interested in what you would think. I agree, I really like his vocal on the recording as well. I like the sound of him and Rebecca Caine together. I would have loved to have seen him in the role on stage, the segment on the 'Hey, Mr Producer!' DVD certainly whets the appetite.

I don't have too many recordings of 'Phantom' actually, just that Canadian Cast, the Original London and the 25th recording. Are there any other recordings worth seeking out?

 
 Posted:   Jan 3, 2014 - 9:47 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Thomas: Re: "Are there any other recordings (of "Phantom"} worth seeking out?"

I just know the ones you cited. When PBS broadcast the wonderful 25th anniversary performance of the show from Albert Hall, during one of the pledge breaks star Ramin Karimloo (who is soooooooo good as the Phantom!) tells how, as a child growing up in Canada, he went to see "Les Mis" with Colm Wilkinson and went backstage to meet him and how Wilkinson was an important factor in his decision to become a stage singer/actor, which adds poignance to when we see them grasping hands during the wonderful number at the end -- I bought it on both Blu-ray and CD and, in the case of the latter, am still angry they weren't able to include Sarah Brightman's contributions in the big finale.

 
 Posted:   Jan 5, 2014 - 10:57 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

I can't seem to find the discussion that morphed into the subject of Julie Andrews once preparing to do a never-to-be movie version of the Bock/Harnick "She Loves Me" and whether or not she could have rescued that show on Broadway had she been the star instead of Barbara Cook, but this is probably the place for such a discussion anyway.

So many of us adore the original Broadway cast recording with Barbara Cook, Daniel Massey, Barbara Baxley, and the great Jack Cassidy as the suave womanizer Kodaly (who broke the mold when he did it!). But there's a 1964 West End production with the lovely Anne Rogers and Rita Moreno on EMI. Even better is the 1993 Broadway revival with Diane Fratantoni and Boyd Gaines, with a suave Howard McGillin as Kodaly and a delightful Brad Kane (the singing voice of Aladdin) as young Arpad on Varese Sarabande. And while I've seen quite competent professional stage productions of the show, my all time favorite is one I saw in the late 70s at UCLA with mostly college students. Whether or not Julie Andrews could have bettered Barbara Cook in the original production is anybody's guess (though her popularity at the time would have probably kept it running), but the cast album with Cook remains a treasure.

 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2014 - 6:07 AM   
 By:   Thomas   (Member)

A recent comment on the ‘Downton Abbey’ thread about Julian Ovenden led me to listen to this again. He starred in the Original London Cast along with Alex Hanson and Ruthie Henshall a few years ago. I’ve never seen the show, but I like this recording with some good songs by Michel Legrand and lyrics by Alain Boublil. As far as I’m aware, this is Legrand’s only attempt at a musical, but that may be wrong.

 
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