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Stephen Sondheim, Angela Lansbury, Mary Martin Feature in Latest Masterworks Line-Up

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Some of The Great White Way’s brightest stars will be on the receiving end of the latest reissue bonanza from Sony’s Masterworks Broadway label.  Leading the pack is the 1985 Original Cast Recording of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies in Concert.  Lee Remick, Barbara Cook, Mandy Patinkin and George Hearn star in the 1985 recording of Sondheim’s 1971 musical currently enjoying a critically-acclaimed, hit revival on Broadway.  Follies in Concert will arrive at general retail on CD in a new eco-friendly digipak format, while the long out-of-print soundtrack to Jerry Herman’s 1996 television film Mrs. Santa Claus will make its digital debut.  Sondheim and Herman favorite leading lady Angela Lansbury starred as Mrs. Santa Claus and can be heard on disc singing an all-new score by the classic songsmith behind Hello, Dolly! and of course, Lansbury’s triumph Mame.  These two releases are joined by two more vintage recordings making their debuts as CD-Rs and digital downloads: the 1951 Studio Cast of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s Babes in Arms starring Mary Martin and Jack Cassidy, and the 1953 Studio Casts of Blackbirds of 1928 and Shuffle Along.  All releases will be accompanied by new album pages and photos on

Babes in Arms made its Broadway debut in 1937 in the days before original cast recordings became commonplace. The Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical may be best-known for a dramatically altered 1939 MGM film adaptation starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.  Producer Goddard Lieberson and musical director Lehman Engel enlisted one of Broadway’s reigning stars, Mary Martin (who had recently scored a success in a later Rodgers musical, South Pacific) to star in their recording of the show, one in a line of successful studio recreations of vintage musicals.  The Columbia Records album, also starring Jack Cassidy and Mardi Baynee, spotlights the incredible standards that originated in the musical: “Where or When,” “The Lady is a Tramp,” “I Wish I Were in Love Again,” “Johnny One-Note,” and of course, “My Funny Valentine.”  Even today, it’s hard to believe that such a group of standards premiered in one musical! The October 24 release, the first authorized since the LP era using the original mono master, will be available as a digital download and as disc-on-demand, with the original cover art, via both and 

When Stephen Sondheim’s Follies arrived at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre in 1971, the musical wasn’t universally recognized as the masterwork it’s now so righftully hailed to be.  The unfortunate decision to entrust the cast album to Capitol Records resulted in a heavily truncated single-LP recording which didn’t give Stephen Sondheim’s rich, haunting and varied score its due.  Yet it remained the only commercial recording of the score for years.  (The New York Times’ Clive Barnes famously dismissed the score including now-standards like “Losing My Mind” and “Could I Leave You?” as “the kind of musical that should have its original cast recording out on 78s.”)  When Follies in Concert was staged at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall on September 6  and 7, 1985 and recorded by RCA Records and producer Thomas Z. Shepard, the show’s majesty and significance came into view.  Those who attended still speak of those evenings today, more than twenty-five years later.  Follies in Concert presents Sondheim’s score in full, as electrifyingly performed by Lee Remick, Barbara Cook, Mandy Patinkin and George Hearn, plus Carol Burnett (“I’m Still Here”), Elaine Stritch (“Broadway Baby”), Liliane Montevecchi (“Ah, Paris!”), Phyllis Newman (“Who’s That Woman”), and the legendary team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green (“Rain on the Roof”).   As on the original CD release, this straight reissue of the 2-CD set also includes Stephen Sondheim’s orchestral score to the 1974 Alain Resnais film StaviskyFollies in Concert arrives on October 24.

Hit the jump for more on Shuffle Along/Blackbirds of 1928 and just in time for the holidays, Mrs. Santa Claus!

RCA Victor’s 1953 studio album of songs from the pioneering all-black musicals Shuffle Along (1921) and Blackbirds of 1928 (1928) were early recordings of these landmark scores in something resembling their original forms, albeit with just four songs from each show. Shuffle Along introduced the Eubie Blake/Noble Sissle hit “I’m Just Wild About Harry,” and Blackbirds of 1928 gave the songwriting team of Jimmy McHugh (“I Can’t Give You Anything But Love”) and Dorothy Fields (“The Way You Look Tonight”) their first Broadway success with such classics as “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “Diga-Diga-Doo.” Eubie Blake himself conducts and plays piano on the four songs from Shuffle Along, featuring Thelma Carpenter and Tony nominee Avon Long (Don’t Play Us Cheap). Carpenter and Cab Calloway perform the four selections from Blackbirds of 1928, with Lehman Engel at the podium. The November 15 release of these recordings is the first reissue to use the original masters and will be available as a digital download and as disc-on-demand, with the original cover art, via and

RCA Victor originally issued the soundtrack to the CBS television film Mrs. Santa Claus, written by Mark Saltzman with the first full score from Jerry Herman since his Tony Award-winning triumph with La Cage aux Folles in 1983.  The holiday film reunited Broadway composer Jerry Herman with Angela Lansbury who picked up Tony Awards for two of his musicals, Mame and Dear World. Charles Durning, Michael Jeter and Terrence Mann joined Lansbury in the period musical set in 1910.  True to form, Herman turned out a charming title song, “Mrs. Santa Claus,” as well as other delightful showstoppers for Lansbury including “Almost Young,” and “Whistle.”  The original CD of Mrs. Santa Claus fetches high prices on, so the November 15 release will prove particularly welcome!

You can order CD-Rs exclusively at Arkiv Music and, and the 2-CD set Follies in Concert will receive a wide, general release.  Each title will be accompanied by a new page at Masterworks Broadway’s website!

Studio Cast Recording, Babes in Arms (Columbia LP ML 4488, 1951 – reissued Masterworks Broadway, 2011)

  1. Overture
  2. Where or When
  3. Babes in Arms
  4. I Wish I Were in Love Again
  5. Way out West
  6. My Funny Valentine
  7. Johnny One Note
  8. Imagine
  9. All at Once
  10. The Lady Is a Tramp
  11. You Are So Fair
  12. Finale

Original Cast Recording, Follies in Concert plus Original Soundtrack Recording, Stavisky (RCA Red Seal RCD2-7128. 1986 – reissued Masterworks Broadway, 2011)

CD 1

  1. Overture
  2. Beautiful Girls
  3. Don’t Look at Me
  4. Waiting for the Girls Upstairs
  5. Rain on the Roof
  6. Ah, Paris!
  7. Broadway Baby
  8. The Road You Didn’t Take
  9. In Buddy’s Eyes
  10. Who’s That Woman
  11. I’m Still Here
  12. Too Many Mornings
  13. The Right Girl
  14. One More Kiss
  15. Could I Leave You?
  16. Loveland
  17. Love Will See Us Through/You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow

CD 2

  1. Buddy’s Blues
  2. Losing My Mind
  3. The Story of Lucy and Jessie
  4. Live, Laugh, Love
  5. Finale: Waiting for the Girls Upstairs/Beautiful Girls
  6. Theme from Stavisky
  7. Salon at the Claridge No. 1
  8. Arlette by Day
  9. Auto Show
  10. Easy Life
  11. Secret of Night
  12. Erna
  13. Distant Past
  14. Arlette by Night
  15. Airport at Biarritz
  16. Trotsky at Saint-Palais
  17. Montalvo at Biarritz
  18. Operetta
  19. Arlette and Stavisky
  20. Recent Past
  21. Salon at the Claridge No. 2
  22. Suite at the Claridge
  23. Old House
  24. Goodbye Arlette
  25. Hideout at Chamonix
  26. Erna Remembered
  27. The Future
  28. Women and Death
  29. Theme from Stavisky

Studio Cast Recording, Shuffle Along/Blackbirds of 1928 (RCA Victor LPM-3154, 1953 – reissued Masterworks Broadway, 2011)

  1. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
  2. Diga-diga-doo
  3. I Must Have That Man
  4. Doin’ the New Low-Down
  5. Love Will Find a Way
  6. I’m Just Wild About Harry
  7. Bandana Days
  8. Gypsy Blues

Original Soundtrack Recording, Mrs. Santa Claus (RCA Victor CD 09026-68665-2, 1996)

  1. Overture
  2. Seven Days ‘til Christmas
  3. Mrs. Santa Claus
  4. Avenue A
  5. Avenue A (Reprise)
  6. A Tavish Toy
  7. Almost Young
  8. Almost Young (Reprise)
  9. Suffragette March
  10. We Don’t Go Together at All
  11. Whistle
  12. Dear Mrs. Santa Claus
  13. Whistle (Reprise)
  14. He Needs Me
  15. The Best Christmas of All

Written by Joe Marchese

October 20, 2011 at 10:13

2 Responses

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  1. any idea whether any of these (esp. Follies) have been remastered?


    October 20, 2011 at 17:21

    • Hi Erik! As with Masterworks Broadway’s other recent repackagings of vintage titles into digipaks, I do not believe that FOLLIES has been remastered, unfortunately. Occasionally new photos and artwork are present in the new booklets. The new-to-digital/CD-R titles (BLACKBIRDS, BABES IN ARMS) are straight transfers from the master tapes; Sony’s very talented Maria Triana has been the mastering engineer on some of these in the past and so they technically are, indeed, remastered, and usually sound very good. I doubt MRS. SANTA CLAUS has been remastered. Hope this helps!

      Joe Marchese

      October 20, 2011 at 17:38

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