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May 16, 2003

Yet another dip in the bin of new releases.

Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
Run, Freedom, Run The Ultimate Broadway CD 2 (2003) Hunter Foster and Company In the selection from the original cast recording of Urinetown rebel Joe Bobby Strong exhorts the unhappy and not overly bright populace to unite behind the cause of free toilets. Urinetown is the story of a small industrial town in which private toilets are banned and everyone is forced to use the public pay facilities maintained by a greedy corporation. Described as "a neo-Brechtian absurdist melodrama", the show won three 2002 Tony Awards.
Dat's Love Carmen Jones (OC 1944) Muriel Smith, Company Oscar Hammerstein II's 1944 musical Carmen Jones transplants Bizet's Carmen from Spain in the 1870s to America in 1944. The action takes place in and around a parachute factory in the south and all the characters are African Americans. Bizet's music is basically unchanged but Hammerstein gave it new lyrics. "Dat's Love" is set to the tune of the famous "Habanera" from Act I of the original.
Stan' Up and Fight Carmen Jones (OC 1944) Glenn Bryant, Company In Bizet's original it's the Toreador Song sung by Escamillo; in Hammerstein's version it's sung by the boxer Husky Miller.
I Had a Ball (1964) was the first and only Broadway appearance of comic Buddy Hackett. The show had music and lyrics by Jack Lawrence and Stan Freeman and a book by Jerome Chodorov. By all accounts, Hackett was very funny when he actually stuck to the script, but by the time the show got to Broadway Hackett, who had no real stage experience apart from comedy clubs, had become increasingly temperamental and demanding. Eventually he announced that he was taking a two-week vacation — in June, when box office revenues were on the upswing — but refused to allow anyone else to take over his part while he was gone. After an argument with producer Joe Kipness that escalated into a fistfight, Hackett left the show on June 15th, 1964, and it closed. Long out of print, the original cast recording has now been re-issued on Decca, digitally remastered and with some bonus tracks, including two songs cut from the show pre-Broadway because Hackett couldn't "hack it" vocally.
Dr. Freud I Had a Ball (OC 1964) Buddy Hackett I Had a Ball takes place in Coney Island where Hackett plays The Great Garside, a combination fortune teller and pop psychologist, who claims to see the future in his crystal ball. When he suddenly DOES start seeing things in the ball he tries to use his newfound mystic powers to arrange the romantic lives of his friends, with nearly disastrous results. Here he tries to come to grips with his newfound powers by appealing to the spirit of his idol, Sigmund Freud.
I Had a Ball I Had a Ball (OC 1964) Karen Morrow, Company Jeannie, the ferris wheel operator, rejoices in her marriage to con man Brooksie - a match she will later recognize as a very bad idea.
Skywriting Levity (OS 2003) Eels Levity is a drama about a criminal (Billy Bob Thornton) just released from prison after 20 years and trying to come to grips with his past the with the effects of his crime. The score is by Mark Oliver Everett, better known as "E" and front man for the band Eels. Although the film is just now making its way into some venues (it opened in St. Louis, where this show is produced, on May 16th, 2003) the soundtrack CD has been out since April 22nd.
Gravity Levity (OS 2003) Mark Oliver Everett
Main Titles Thunderbirds (2003) Studio orchestra conducted by Barry Gray Thunderbirds, for those of you not in the know, was a 1960s British sci-fi/action series chronicling the adventures of the top-secret organization International Rescue in the year 2065. There were no human actors - all the characters were puppets created by Gerry Anderson (who later went on to produce the wondefully cheesy Space: 1999 and UFO series, among others). He called his technique of using electronics to match the pre-recorded voices of the actors to the puppets' mouth movements "Supermarionation". Personally, I have never understood the appeal of this show, but there appear to be plenty of fans on-line, which is probably why Silva Screen/Carlton has released this disc of music from the original soundtrack.

Acronyms and other mysteries defined:

OC: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Cast recording of a Broadway show, along with the date.

OS: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Soundtrack recording of a film, TV show, etc.

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