2017 Tony Award Season Album Review
Broadway Records has done it again. They have given us a treat of album, this time one that celebrates the 2016-2017 Broadway Season. What a terrific idea to create a compilation of the best-of-the-best, one song from almost every musical that opened on Broadway leading up to this year’s Tony Awards. It’s an archive of a year’s worth of Broadway excitement for fans to look back at a period of musical theatre. It makes one wonder why someone hasn’t done this sooner. Make no mistake, the 2017 Tony Award Season album will be a welcome addition to your musical theatre library.
The album smartly commences with the electrified ensemble of In Transit performing “Deep Beneath the City/Not There Yet". Considering the musical’s short tenure on Broadway this year, it sure makes me want to buy the entire album. Next on the list in the intoxicating “Times Are Hard for Dreamers” from Amélie, Phillipa Soo wrapping her lovely voice around the musical’s best song. Falsettos is represented by a buoyant “The Baseball Song”, followed by Glenn Close reminding us why she dazzles in Sunset Boulevard, thrilling us with ‘With One Look.”
A Bronx Tale makes a good case for itself with “In A World Like This”, despite the show receiving zero Tony nominations. Thankfully, Dear Evan Hansen is represented by something besides the overplayed (though effective) “Waving Through a Window” and instead opts for the lively and witty “Sincerely, Me.” “Shaking the Blues Away” from Holiday Inn gives us a nice dose of the more traditional showtune. “It Must Be Believed to Be Seen” from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory gives us a chance to revel in a little Christian Borle, Willy Wonka wackiness. The hypnotic “Letters” from Nastasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 is an interesting submission for this album, but Josh Groban’s voice is a welcome addition to any recording. It also opened my ears up to the sultry voice of Denée Benton.
Miss Saigon, the pop opera revival, offers a soaring and sumptuous “The Last Night of the World”, performed by Eva Noblezada and Alistair Brammer. Jenn Colella and the company of Come From Away enchant with the reflective “Me and the Sky.” Bandstand’s “Nobody” features Laura Osnes, Corey Cott and company in an explosively swinging performance. Two standards follow with Christy Altomare performing “Journey to the Past” from Anastasia with total abandon, and then a classic recording of Elaine Paige singing “Memory”, representing Cats. The album concludes with an a penetratingly haunting “Seeing You” from Groundhog Day, performed by Andy Karl, Barret Doss and the company. The number is so well executed, it has prompted me to give the Tim Minchin score of Groundhog Day a second listen.
Notably absent from the album are Hello, Dolly!, War Paint and Paramour, who presumably declined to participate. Considering that part of the album’s proceeds are going to the American Theatre Wing and Broadway League charities, it seems somewhat ungenerous that they would choose to not be involved, so let us hope that it was merely a matter of logistics. Whatever their reasoning, their music and presence is missed here. It’s still a delightful album and there is plenty to relish, even if it doesn’t give us the full spectrum of the season.
The best part of this album (and a good reason to buy it) is that it is a sampler of the season, opening listeners eyes (and ears) to what they may have missed. I’ve already added several of these cast albums to my library simply because one song off this recording reeled me in. Let’s hope that the album is a successful endeavor and that Broadway Records will be justified in making these compilations a yearly tradition.
2017 Tony Award Season cover illustration by Justin "Squigs" Robertson