CastAlbums.org: REVIEW: Nice Fighting You: A 30th Anniversary Celebration Live at 54 Below

Originally published on CastAlbums.org.


Nice Fighting You

Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty have the kind of versatility that makes it hard to consider their output as one body of work. Do the Caribbean rhythms of Once On This Island have anything in common with the Americana of Ragtime or the soft rock of Rocky? This new release on Broadway Records argues not only that they do, but that each of these scores and the rest of the Ahrens and Flaherty catalog bear revisiting.

Recorded live over the course of three nights at 54 Below, the New York City nightclub in the basement of Studio 54, Nice Fighting You offers 36 of the duo’s songs performed by a starry cast of Broadway talent, many of whom have (or, in one case, will) played these roles in original productions and Broadway revivals. Your favorites are all here, sounding their best: Liz Callaway revisiting “Journey to the Past,” which she introduced in the film Anastasia, Mary Testa proving she can belt “Rita’s Confession” and “Fancy Meeting You Here” from Lucky Stiff as thrillingly as she did in 1988, and Marin Mazzie proving that “Goodbye, My Love” and “Back to Before” work as well in a tiny cabaret as they did in the gigantic original production of Ragtime. Kevin Chamberlin‘s gentle reading of “Solla Sollew” from Seussical may leave you wondering how that show could have possibly flopped. And Jeremy Jordan‘s introduction of “Dancing Still,” from the upcoming Little Dancer may compel you to research tickets to Washington, DC, where the show will have its first production at the Kennedy Center this fall.

That new song isn’t the only surprise on the album. Continue reading

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Fynsworth Alley: Liz Callaway: Feelin’ Groovy

Originally published on Fynsworth Alley.

Liz CallawayLiz Callaway is about to release her first new album in over five years, a collection of songs from the 1960’s called The Beat Goes On. This album will join Liz’s two other solo efforts in the Fynsworth Alley catalog, Anywhere I Wander, a Frank Loesser tribute, and The Story Goes On, an eclectic collection of theatre songs, ranging from Sondheim to Berlin and more. Liz came to the recording world from Broadway, where she appeared in the original casts of Merrily We Roll Along, Baby, and Miss Saigon, before joining the cast of Cats for five years as Grizabella. You may also recognize her voice from her many animated roles, including Anastasia and The Swan Princess. Lately, Liz has been touring the globe, both with her sister Ann Hampton Callaway (in their show “Sibling Revelry”) and on her own.

Her new album, The Beat Goes On, will be available exclusively on the Fynsworth Alley website beginning Februrary 5th, with pre-orders starting on January 22nd.

DL: You were the first vocalist to record an album with Bruce. How did that happen?

LC: He actually just wrote me a letter and introduced himself. He was with Bay Cities at the time, and he just said he wanted to know if I wanted to record an album of Frank Loesser music for him. And it’s funny because I at the very end of my time with Miss Saigon, I had thought, “Boy, I would sure love to do an album,” but I had no idea how to go about getting one made. And I had even said to my husband that this should be a goal of mine, when this letter came. So I was spared the grunt work! I met Bruce, and we hit it off.

And then it was a matter of Bruce sending me tapes of songs he liked, and finding a musical director, and that was it. Continue reading