Post image for Album Recommendation: SONDHEIM UNPLUGGED: “THE NYC SESSIONS – VOLUME ONE”

by Connor McCormick on June 25, 2022



Every song in this collection is fabulous, from the standards to the more obscure songs from the Sondheim cannon. Any collection like this will be a mixed bag. Sure there are some great interpretations, but there are others which don’t always do justice to the originals. Still, the voices are outsyanding: Blaine Krauss on “The Glamourous Life” thrills, as does performers who have appeared in Sondheim shows on Broadway: Teri Ralston (who does a stellar “In Buddy’s Eyes”), Danielle Ferland (an aching “Children & Art”), & Claybourne Elder and Christina Bianco (a thrilling “Color & Light”). There are some very good original arrangements on the group numbers here too: “Something’s Coming,” “Being Alive,” “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd.” Other stand-outs include Marta Sanders deliciously frank “I’m Still Here,” Lucia Spina’s hilarious “The Boy From…” and Alton Fitzgerald White’s thoughtful combo of “Someone is Waiting/Pretty Women.”

In contrast to some of the grand concert presentations of the composer’s work, Sondheim Unplugged strives to convey each song simply and essentially, burnished by impeccable performances and enhanced by spare yet elegant piano accompaniment. The album highlights many of the best-loved tunes from the master composer’s catalog (“Send in the Clowns,” “Broadway Baby”), as well as lesser-heard, sparkling treasures from shows like The Frogs and Road Show. Recorded in the studio throughout 2020 and 2021, this is a once-in-a-generation compendium of some of the most classic songs in contemporary musical theater history. Well worth it and an important contribution to major Sondheim recordings. I am actually happy that two more volumes are coming out. and


Disc One

  1. Something’s Coming – Marquee Five
  2. Broadway Baby – Michelle Dowdy
  3. What Can You Lose? – Nicholas Rodriguez
  4. The Right Girl – Aaron Ramey
  5. The Boy From – Lucia Spina
  6. Sooner or Later – Brian Charles Rooney
  7. Someone Is Waiting / Pretty Women – Alton Fitzgerald White
  8. Everybody Ought to Have a Maid – Jim Brochu
  9. I Remember – Lina Koutrakos
  10. The Glamorous Life – Blaine Krauss
  11. Ariadne – Eric Michael Gillett
  12. Gee, Officer Krupke – Jacob Hoffman
  13. Multitudes of Amys – John Treacy Egan
  14. In Buddy’s Eyes – Teri Ralston
  15. Old Friends / Like it Was – Donna Vivino
  16. Good Thing Going / Growing Up – Michael Winther
  17. By the Sea – Liz McCartney
  18. Send in the Clowns – Sally Mayes
  19. Children and Art – Danielle Ferland
  20. Being Alive – Christina Bianco, Carole J. Bufford and Scott Coulter

Disc Two

  1. The Ballad of Sweeney Todd – Marquee Five
  2. Agony I – Tally Sessions and Jeff Kready
  3. What More Do I Need? – Lucia Spina
  4. No One Is Alone – Blaine Krauss
  5. Changing / Beautiful – Melanie Vaughan and Courter Simmons
  6. Let Me Entertain You / Broadway – Kate Loprest
  7. Unworthy of Your Love – Annie Golden and Michael Winther
  8. Live Alone and Like It – Karen Mason
  9. There Won’t Be Trumpets – Gabrielle Stravelli
  10. Your Eyes Are Blue – Stearns Matthews
  11. The Story of Lucy and Jessie – Victoria Cook
  12. Talent – Hunter Ryan Herdlicka
  13. Not While I’m Around – Julie Reyburn
  14. The Road You Didn’t Take – Eric Michael Gillett
  15. On the Steps of the Palace – Erica Spyres
  16. Maria – Brian Charles Rooney
  17. The Ladies Who Lunch – Alice Ripley
  18. Someone in a Tree – Jacob Hoffman
  19. Rain on the Roof – Stearns Matthews and Natalie Arneson
  20. I’m Still Here – Marta Sanders
  21. Color and Light – Claybourne Elder and Christina Bianco
  22. Sunday – Charlie Levy

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