REVIEW: The Golden Apple – First Full-Length Recording

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goldenappleThe Golden Apple is one of those scores that has taken on something of a mythic air, which is entirely appropriate for this Broadway rethinking of The Iliad and The Odyssey through the lens of turn-of-the-century Americana. The original production was an early transfer from off-Broadway, and despite critical enthusiasm, it shuttered within four months. It left behind a frustratingly truncated original cast album, which (to add insult to injury) was out of print for many years. Despite fans’ adoration of this score (music by Jerome Moross, lyrics by John Latouche), the scope of the show (24 named characters plus chorus and full orchestra) has made it difficult to revive or record. (A persistent rumor of Encores! artistic director Jack Viertel‘s dislike of the show has further aggravated fans.) All of which is to say, when PS Classics announced a full-length recording of the show’s recent production at the Lyric Stage of Irving, Texas, with massive cast, expanded chorus, and 36-piece orchestra, a certain segment of the show tunes collecting community let out massive cheers. Continue reading Review: Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

Originally published on

Lady Day album coverLady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill is one of those shows that feels like it’s been around forever, making regular appearances at small venues around the country whenever a local singing actress wants to flex her chops a bit with a show that’s pre-sold on the name of its subject, Billie Holiday. In reality, the show debuted in 1986 at the Alliance in Atlanta before coming to New York in a well-received off-Broadway production and has been twice recorded before, in 1997 with Gail Nelson in the title role, and in 1998 with Pamela Isaacs.

I had never given much thought to the play itself, structured as a concert during Holiday’s drug-fueled decline, and when it was announced for Broadway with no less than Audra McDonald in the title role, I was frankly surprised she’d bother with the show. But once performances started, it quickly became a hot ticket, and I don’t know anyone who’s seen her performance and not been thrilled. Continue reading

Fuck Yeah Stephen Sondheim: Don’t fucking download this album.

Originally published on Fuck Yeah Stephen Sondheim.

Asker ms872 Asks:
So I was just wondering if you had a download link for Follies. I can’t seem to find one. Thanks for making this awesome page, btw!! I love it!
fuckyeahstephensondheim fuckyeahstephensondheim Said:

This post might make me sound like a dick, but well, sometimes I am a dick. So let me start by saying thanks, I’m really glad you enjoy this page.


Don’t fucking download this album. Buy this album. There is no reason this album should exist. There are already too many other versions of Follies on the market. With a cast and orchestra this size, it had to have cost between $200,000 and $300,000 to produce, which means it is highly unlikely to recoup its costs in any reasonable amount of time, particularly given that the show is closing soon so there won’t be lobby sales.

If you want to illegally download an album that was produced twenty years ago, I’m not going to judge you so harshly. That’s already made its money. But this one isn’t even in stores yet.

The bottom line is that if you want albums like this to exist, you need to support them financially. That’s why I bought Follies directly from the label, so they’d get my full $16 (as opposed to the $6 or so they’d end up with after the store and distributor took a cut had I bought it through Amazon or a brick-and-mortar store). My $16 is a pledge to Tommy Krasker and the rest of PS Classics that I support the work they’re doing and want to see more of it. They are not a huge multinational corporation like Sony-BMG or Universal. Your $16 actually matters to them and will help determine whether they record more albums like this and, really, whether they continue to exist or not.

If you don’t have $16 to put towards the album right now — save up for it. We don’t all have to own everything the minute it becomes available.

If saving $16 for a leisure purchase still feels unobtainable to you — and it might, for perfectly good reasons — buddy up with your local librarian. If they don’t have the album, and you can’t get it through interlibrary loan? Most libraries have at least a small collection development budget. Tell them you’d like them to add this album to their collection.

Okay, I think that’s the end of this rant. It’s not really aimed at you, ms872. (Or may I call you Mark?) I don’t know you or anything about you. But the way cast albums — new cast albums, recorded by tiny companies on the verge of bankruptcy in tight economic times — are traded on Tumblr concerns me.