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Bacharach, Sondheim, Lloyd Webber Honored by Melissa Manchester, Dave Koz, Stephen Bishop and More on New Kritzerland Releases

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Kritzerland is reaching into the vaults of Los Angeles’ S.T.A.G.E. charitable organization for three star-filled releases celebrating composers who need no introduction: Burt Bacharach, Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber.  These live concert recordings feature renowned artists from the worlds of pop (Melissa Manchester, Stephen Bishop) and jazz (Dave Koz, Ann Hampton Callaway) plus stars from stage, screen and television (Tyne Daly, Felicity Huffman, Len Cariou, Charlotte Rae, Donna McKechnie) and even some rather unexpected performers (Rip Taylor, Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry), all tackling selections from these deep songbooks.  The Lloyd Webber and Sondheim tributes are both 2-CD sets, while the Bacharach is a single disc.  A portion of the proceeds from all three albums will be allocated to AIDS Project L.A. and other AIDS organizations.

These releases mark a return to S.T.A.G.E., or Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event, territory for producer Bruce KimmelOn the Kritzerland label he’s issued Strouse/Schwartz/Schwartz (that’s Charles, Arthur and Stephen!) and prior to that, Kimmel produced numerous concert releases on Varese Sarabande.  As for S.T.A.G.E. itself, the company’s first such benefit took place in October 1984, honoring the music of Leonard Bernstein. Subsequent presentations have paid tribute to composers and lyricists from the musical stage including: Stephen Sondheim (1985, 1987, 1996, 2007), Jule Styne (1988), Jerry Herman (1989), John Kander and Fred Ebb (1990), Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein (1991), Irving Berlin (1992), George and Ira Gershwin (1993, 2009), Harold Arlen (1995), Cole Porter (1997), Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe and Burton Lane (1998), Richard Adler, Jerry Bock and Cy Coleman (1999), Charles Strouse, Arthur Schwartz and Stephen Schwartz (2000), Jerome Kern (2001), Johnny Mercer (2002), Frank Loesser (2003), Andrew Lloyd Webber (2004), Marvin Hamlisch and Harry Warren (2005), and Betty Comden and Adolph Green (2006).

The albums are scheduled to ship the fourth week in May, but pre-orders will likely be mailed several weeks earlier as per Kritzerland’s custom.  Hit the jump for a look at each of this trio of recordings, including full track listings and pre-order links!

The earliest of the three concerts hails from 2004, and celebrates the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, currently represented in New York with three musicals thanks to the recent hit revivals of Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar plus the longest-running Broadway musical of all time with The Phantom of the Opera.  Songs from all three of those musicals can be heard on The Perfect Year: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.  The album is roughly sequenced as mini-suites of Lloyd Webber’s most famous musicals, opening with a quartet of songs from Superstar and ending with another four from Phantom.  In between you’ll hear cuts from Lloyd Webber’s other musicals such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Evita, Song and Dance, Jeeves, Starlight Express and Cats, performed by an eclectic array of singers including Ken Page (original cast member of Cats), Mary Jo Catlett (2 Broke Girls, Desperate Housewives), Betty Garrett (Laverne and Shirley, On the Town), Marissa Jaret Winokur (Hairspray), Tyne Daly and former New Kid on the Block Joey McIntyre.  Daly tackles the dramatic “If This is What We’re Fighting For” from the 2000 West End musical The Beautiful Game.

Lord Lloyd-Webber, born on March 22, 1948, shares a birthday with Stephen Sondheim, born on that day in 1930.  S.T.A.G.E. has delved into Sondheim’s deep catalogue on numerous occasions.  The 23rd Annual Benefit in 2007, By Side By Side By Side By Side By Sondheim, featured artists including Len Cariou (the original leading man of both A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd), Sally Ann Howes, Nancy Dussault, Patrick and Shaun Cassidy, Alice Ripley and Charlotte Rae.  Cariou reprises “You Must Meet My Wife” from Night Music, and Veanne Cox revisits “Getting Married Today,” which she performed in the 1995 revival of Company.  The most-represented musical is 1970’s Company, written by Sondheim and George Furth, from which five songs are heard.  Not far behind with four songs are Sondheim’s 1971 Follies, recently revived on Broadway to great acclaim, 1964’s Anyone Can Whistle by Sondheim and Arthur Laurents, and 1987’s Into the Woods.  Other tracks hail from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Saturday Night, The Frogs, Merrily We Roll Along and the musical then known as Bounce, which later was rewritten as Road ShowDesperate Housewives’ creator Marc Cherry is joined by that show’s Felicity Huffman for the frenetic “Franklin Shepard, Inc.” from Merrily.  With the focus solely on Sondheim as composer and lyricist, there is no material from any of the musicals on which he served as lyricist only (Gypsy, West Side Story, Do I Hear a Waltz?, Candide).

Although Burt Bacharach has only written two musicals in his lengthy career, 1968’s Promises, Promises and 2011’s Some Lovers, his songbook is equally at home in the hands of musical theatre artists and singers of every genre from pop to rock to jazz.  The single-CD Blame It on Bacharach, from 2008, begins appropriately with the electrifying “Overture” from Promises, Promises, launching into three more songs from that musical performed by Danny Gurwin, Vicki Lewis and an ensemble led by original Promises cast member Donna McKechnie.  McKechnie returns with “A House is Not a Home,” interpolated into the 2010 Broadway revival of Promises.  Other highlights include the Bobby Vinton hit “Blue on Blue,” performed here by Stephen Bishop, who introduced Bacharach’s “It’s Only Love” from 1981’s Arthur.  Nancy Dussault offers “The April Fools” from the film of the same name, and Justin Guarini (currently starring in the Stephen King/John Mellencamp musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County in Atlanta) takes on “The Look of Love” from 1967’s Casino Royale.  Dave Koz wraps his saxophone around “This Guy’s in Love with You,” and Melissa Manchester, no stranger to the Burt Bacharach/Hal David songbook herself, performs a medley of “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself” and “Anyone Who Had a Heart.”  Jai Rodriguez’ “Go Ask Shakespeare,” originated on Bacharach’s most recent solo album to date, 2005’s At This Time.

All three titles will ship from Kritzerland the fourth week in May, but pre-orders from the label arrive an average of four weeks early.  They can be pre-ordered now at the links below, and you’ll also find sound samples there!

Various Artists, By Side By Side By Side By Side By Stephen Sondheim: The 23rd Annual S.T.A.G.E. Benefit (Recorded 2007 – issued Kritzerland, 2012)

CD 1

  1. The Glamorous Life – Lisa Vroman
  2. You Must Meet My Wife – Len Cariou & Sally Ann Howes
  3. Send In the Clowns – Sally Ann Howes
  4. Lovely – Pat Marshall
  5. Company – The Company Ensemble
  6. Getting Married Today – Veanne Cox
  7. The Ladies Who Lunch – Carole Cook
  8. Being Alive – Andrew Samonsky
  9. So Many People – Michael Nouri
  10. Agony – Patrick Cassidy & Shaun Cassidy
  11. No One Is Alone – Ann Hampton Callaway
  12. Bounce – Rip Taylor

CD 2

  1. Invocation and Instruction to the Audience – Ronobir Lahiri
  2. Loveland – The Follies Ensemble
  3. In Buddy’s Eyes – Nancy Dussault
  4. Broadway Baby – Betty Garrett
  5. Losing My Mind – Randy Graff
  6. Agony (Reprise) – Patrick Cassidy & Shaun Cassidy
  7. Me and My Town – Alice Ripley
  8. With So Little To Be Sure Of – Valarie Pettiford
  9. There Won’t Be Trumpets – KT Sullivan
  10. Anyone Can Whistle – Len Cariou
  11. Good Thing Going – Michelle Nicastro
  12. Franklin Shepard, Inc. – Marc Cherry & Felicity Huffman
  13. Marry Me a Little – Kevin Earley
  14. Children Will Listen – Charlotte Rae & Company

Various Artists, Blame It on Bacharach: The 24th Annual S.T.A.G.E. Benefit (Recorded 2008 – issued Kritzerland, 2012)

  1. Overture – Orchestra
  2. Half As Big As Life – Danny Gurwin
  3. Turkey Lurkey Time – Donna McKechnie, Valarie Pettiford, Jane Lanier, Sandahl Bergman
  4. I’ll Never Fall In Love Again – Danny Gurwin & Vicki Lewis
  5. Baby It’s You – Catte Adams
  6. What The World Needs Now Is Love – Marilyn Maye
  7. Blue On Blue – Stephen Bishop
  8. A House Is Not A Home – Donna McKechnie
  9. The Look of Love – Justin Guarini
  10. The April Fools – Nancy Dussault
  11. Walk On By – Stefanie Powers
  12. Go Ask Shakespeare – Jai Rodriguez
  13. This Guy’s In Love With You – Dave Koz
  14. Alfie – Valarie Pettiford
  15. I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself / Anyone Who Had A Heart – Melissa Manchester
  16. That’s What Friends Are For – Carole Cook

Various Artists, The Perfect Year: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber: The 20th Annual S.T.A.G.E. Benefit (Recorded 2004 – issued Kritzerland, 2012)

CD 1

  1. Heaven On Their Minds – Michael K. Lee
  2. King Herod’s Song – Paul Ainsley
  3. I Don’t Know How to Love Him – Nita Whitaker
  4. Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say) – Sean McDermott
  5. Pie Jesu – Suzanna Guzmán with Annie Woods
  6. Oh, What a Circus – Michael A. Ross
  7. The Charity Concert – Marissa Jaret Winokur
  8. High Flying Adored – Michael A. Ross
  9. Don’t Cry for Me Argentina – Derin Altay, Valerie Perri and Janis Uhley
  10. Tell Me on a Sunday – Valarie Pettiford
  11. Capped Teeth and Caesar Salad – Leslie Jordan and Christopher Showerman
  12. Unexpected Song – Kim Huber
  13. Half a Moment – Keith David
  14. Other Pleasures – Lee Lessack
  15. The First Man You Remember – Pat Marshall
  16. One Rock’n’Roll Too Many – Mary Jo Catlett
  17. Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats – Cats Ensemble
  18. The Addressing of Cats – Ken Page
  19. Memory  – The Leading Ladies: Teri Bibb, Karen Culliver and Mary D’Arcy

CD 2

  1. Jacob and Sons – Joan Ryan
  2. Close Every Door – Bill Hutton and the Stephen S. Wise Elementary Choir and Vocal Ensemble
  3. Any Dream Will Do – David Burnham, Bill Hutton, Brian Lane Green and William Katt
  4. U.N.C.O.U.P.L.E.D. – Betty Garrett with Jamie Anderson, Cliffton Hall and Mark Smith
  5. Only You/Starlight Express – Jamie Anderson, Cliffton Hall and Mark Smith
  6. If This is What We’re Fighting For – Tyne Daly
  7. Let Us Love in Peace – Joey McIntyre
  8. On the Balcony of the Casa Rosada – Carole Cook
  9. As If We Never Said Goodbye – Valerie Perri
  10. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again – The Leading Ladies: Teri Bibb, Karen Culliver and Mary D’Arcy
  11. All I Ask of You – Anastasia Barzee and Reece Holland
  12. Music of the Night – Franc D’Ambrosio
  13. Think of Me – Dale Kristien

Written by Joe Marchese

April 13, 2012 at 16:32

2 Responses

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  1. What you said: “These live concert recordings feature renowned artists from the worlds of pop (Melissa Manchester, Stephen Bishop) and jazz (Dave Koz, Ann Hampton Callaway) . . . ” What SHOULD have been said: “These live concert recordings feature renowned artists from the worlds of pop (Melissa Manchester, Stephen Bishop, Dave Koz) and jazz (Ann Hampton Callaway) . . . “

    Martin Kasdan Jr

    April 13, 2012 at 22:31

    • Very funny… 😉

      Joe Marchese

      April 13, 2012 at 22:42

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