Tuesday, July 17, 2018

CD Review: Hello, Dolly! (New Broadway Cast Recording)

In honor of the Divine Miss M's return to her Tony-winning role tonight, I offer my views on the cast recording she headlines.  I had the great fortune of seeing the original revival cast of Hello, Dolly! when it was fresh.  And while I know it was an event, and Ms. Midler was, as always, great to see, I wasn't thrilled with her Dolly. I never once forgot I was seeing BETTE MIDLER.  Don't get me wrong, I loved seeing her,and reveled in her greatness as a performer and bombastic personality. But she was Bette-saying-and-singing-Dolly, not being Dolly. The  costumes and scenery were a delight, as was Warren Carlyle's loving recreation tribute to Gower Champion's choreography. Most of the rest of the cast was also superb.  I left highly entertained and felt I had gotten my money's worth.

Grade: B-

Title: Hello, Dolly!
Artist: The New Broadway Cast 
Label: Masterworks Broadway
Number: 88985 40592 2
Format: Single CD
Case: Single Jewel Case
Booklet: Full color, 40 pages. Complete lyrics. Art direction and design by BLT Communications. Photo by Julieta Cervantes. Essay by Steven Suskin. Album produced by Steven Epstein.  Executive producer Scott Farthing.
Where you can get it: Amazon (currently $11.89 - includes a digital copy); iTunes ($11.99)

But, take away the scenery, lights, costumes and choreography, and you are left with just the cast and the orchestra.  And a new cast recording of a beloved American musical classic.  I pretty much have the same reaction to it as I did the show: it's a Bette Midler record with a side of Broadway brilliance.  Again, that's not a bad thing, necessarily. I mean, I have a few of her albums already, so why not add another?  

What I love about this recording:

  • I love the gorgeous sound of the orchestra!
  • I love the ensemble's vocal performance!
  • I love that some of the dance music is included!
  • I love Kate Baldwin. "Ribbons Down My Back" is so damned beautiful!
  • I love every time Gavin Creel and Taylor Trensch do anything on this recording!
  • And I love that Bette's in better voice than when I saw her live.

Related image

What I wish was better about this recording:

  • I wish Bette played a character like everyone else on the recording.
  • I wish there were more pictures. One??? Really???
  • I wish it was longer. Full versions of all the songs would have been great. And how about a tad more dialogue?

Image result for hello dolly 2017

What I could have done without on this recording:

  • I hate "Penny In My Pocket." There's a reason they cut it back in 1964.
  • I really don't care for David Hyde Pierce's performance here.  He was much better in person.
  • I don't care for the feeling that the recording is so pristine and perfect that it feels sterile at many points.  It isn't the feel-good version of a feel-good musical.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...