CD Review: 2018 TONY AWARD SEASON (Various Artists on Broadway Records)

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by Eve Meadows on June 8, 2018

in CD-DVD,Theater-New York


For quite a few years now, the Grammy Foundation has released a CD with the top Grammy nominated recordings in pop, R&B and Country categories. But it’s a strange brew — a mixed bag of genres that doesn’t satisfy as a listening experience. Now for the second year, the American Theatre Wing is releasing a compilation of Tony Award nominees, and while styles may fluctuate, it’s always music from the world of theater, and mostly from musicals, so all the songs work well on one album. Here’s an exceptional way to taste the current Broadway musical season and help a worthy cause at the same time. Broadway Records has asked each musical from the 2017-2018 season, including the 2018 Tony-nominated musicals, to proffer the song that they would like to contribute to this project, which not only gives a great sampling of today’s greatest musicals, but raises money for The Broadway League and American Theatre Wing’s education initiatives (one is Broadway Bridges, which gives every high schooler in NYC the chance to see a Broadway show before graduation).

And while the serious collector of all things Original Cast Recordings will find much of the material already in their collection, the casual fan will find this a knockout. Additionally, there are selections on this joyous assortment which are currently unavailable: Adrian Sutton, who composed War Horse and Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, offers highlights from his remarkable unreleased score of the Tony winner for Best Revival, Angels in America; and Branford Marsalis does the same with his sumptuous music from the revival of “Children of a Lesser God.”

Additionally, Lifetime Achievement Awards have been bestowed this year on Chita Rivera and Andrew Lloyd Webber; so the vault of Broadway’s best was visited, giving us Chita doing “All That Jazz” from the original Chicago (1975), and two songs to represent Lloyd: his most popular show, The Phantom of the Opera, gives us “The Music of the Night” and his latest, School of Rock, gives us “Stick It to the Man.” (Certainly business reasons are why we don’t get a song from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, but must we get one that we’ve heard ad nauseam from Phantom?)

Still, there’s a hefty sampling with selections from Once on This Island, My Fair Lady, SpongeBob SquarePants, Frozen, Mean Girls, The Band’s Visit (Tony-winning score), Escape to Margaritaville, Frozen, Mean Girls, Summer, and Prince of Broadway. The specially commissioned comical art of Broadway’s faces that grace the CD cover and all 24 pages of the full-color booklet — which has liner notes by Jennifer Ashley Tepper — is by the remarkable Justin “Squigs” Robertson.

2018 Tony Award Season
various artists
Broadway Records
released June 8, 2018
14 tracks | 54:31
available on Amazon and iTunes

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