Comparative Cast CD Reviews III

by John Kenrick

(Copyright 1998-2003)

This section compares various recorded versions of popular scores. Just because I own every version doesn't mean you have to.

The King and I

As this is my favorite Rodgers & Hammerstein score, I have every version that has ever come my way. Most have their good points, but I use one as a coaster.

The King & I verdict: The 1977 Broadway cast is the most satisfying recording, but the Angel studio version rates thanks to Julie Andrews.


Critics have hated this show for decades, but what of it? Audiences the world over have long since taken Kismet and its glorious score to their hearts. It certainly is one of the most frequently recorded Broadway scores. Based on themes by Borodin, it has proven irresistible to opera singers and conductors for half a century.

Final Kismet verdict: The original cast recording is essential to any cast album collection. If you want more, the TER 2-disc is the most comprehensive and lots of fun.

Kiss Me Kate

Cole Porter's masterpiece, this score has received its richly deserved share of recordings over the years. Well, one or two are thoroughly undeserved – or as Porter might say, "Too Darn Not!"

The final Kiss Me Kate verdict: The Original Cast is easily the best, but most fans will want the 1999 NY Revival version too.

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