Comparative Cast CD Reviews IV

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.

Man of La Mancha

Critics often complain about this show's sentimentality, saying it is not faithful to the Cervantes novel. Audiences have ignored that bunk and responded to La Mancha with affection. There have been many recordings, some brilliant and some . . . well . . . read on.

Final Man of La Mancha verdict: The Original Broadway Cast is essential, with the hard to find London Cast LP a super back-up. All copies of the film and its soundtrack should be burned to prevent contamination of the innocent.

The Music Man

What a wonderful, timeless and appealing score! Meredith Willson's material is so solid that (wonder of wonders) every recording of it that I have encountered is entertaining.

The final Music Man verdict: In the end, the versions I listen to most are the 1957 and 2000 Broadway recordings. If you held a gun to my head and demanded I choose one . . . I'd be a dead musical theatre buff.

My Fair Lady

Many – myself included – think this is the greatest Broadway musical ever. No show has as much charm, style, melody and sheer genius. Since Columbia Records was a major investor in the show, there were numerous recordings, almost always on the Columbia label. Each has its points of interest.

The final My Fair Lady verdict: The original Broadway cast is the essential version, but those seeking a fresh perspective may appreciate the 1976 revival.

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