CD Review: DESPERATE MEASURES (Original Cast Recording, Off-Broadway)

Post image for CD Review: DESPERATE MEASURES (Original Cast Recording, Off-Broadway)

by Jim Allen on November 11, 2018

in CD-DVD,Theater-New York


This Off-Broadway hit, which just closed at New World Stages on October 28, 2018, is a Wild West musical inspired by, meaning it’s very loosely based on, Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.

When the dangerously handsome Johnny Blood’s (Conor Ryan) life is on the line, he must put his fate into the hands of a colorful cast of characters: a mysterious sheriff (Peter Saide); an eccentric priest (Gary Marachek); an authoritarian governor (Nick Wyman); a saloon girl gone good (Lauren Molina); and a nun out of the habit (Emma Degerstedt). Before the sun sets, will they rise up and pull off the greatest caper yet, or will Johnny be left hanging?

If you like clever, campy take-offs with a clever premise and Broadway quality music, here it is. Sure you’ll miss most of the iambic pentameter dialogue from Peter Kellogg’s book, but you’ll hear enough on this Original Cast album to show just how inventive this show is. What you will get is his silly, sharp, perfectly-rhymed lyrics and David Friedman’s tuneful, melodramatic, country score: a “Riders-in-the-Sky”-esque ballad (“The Ballad of Johnny Blood”); a campfire crooner (“That’s Just How It Is”); an operetta patter song with recitative (“Some Day They Will Thank Me”); a down-and-dirty saloon ditty (“It’s Getting Hot in Here”); bluegrass (“Just for You”); and a graceful Tennessee Waltz (“Look in Your Heart”). The tuneful Old West songs, delivered by an super-fun six-member cast and a four-member band (violin and cello were added for this recording), will never let you forget you’re listening to a traditional musical that’s got it’s soul squarely set in country-western — a bit in the vein of The Robber Bridegroom (but don’t expect that show’s timeless score). A beautiful booklet chockablock with color photos includes lyrics.

Desperate Measures — Original Cast Recording
Masterworks Broadway
25 tracks | 48:52 | released August 10, 2018
available on Amazon and iTunes

Leave a Comment