Do you remember your first original Broadway cast album? Do you remember when you would turn on the album (or CD) and listen to the recording from beginning to end, letting the album take you on the journey that Broadway audiences got to see live? Of course, that was before the days of YouTube, where a person could practically watch an entire show from their computer screen without ever going to the theater, back when exposure to a Broadway musical was based on what you read and what you heard, so the album producers have gone out of their way to really capture the essence of the piece on the album.
This is what the producers of the MR. SATURDAY NIGHT Broadway Cast Recording did.
Mr. Saturday Night is the new musical from composer Jason Robert Brown and lyricist Amanda Green, with a screenplay by Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel and Billy Crystal, who stars in this play based on the film script the trio wrote in 1992, which also starred Mr. Crystal, as well as David Paymer, who is reprising his film role here. Having Misters Crystal and Paymer in the room packs a heavy punch on stage, and while Paymer’s character has less to do on the album than on stage, her presence here is deeply felt. It’s a wonderful place to begin the Mr. Saturday Night Broadway experience, in person or through check-in. Many will not be able to travel to New York to see this delightful play, and their enjoyment and understanding of the musical lies in listening to the cast album, which completely captures the essence of the spectacle, and beautifully, too. With producing credits for Brown and Green, alongside Jeffrey Lesser and Sean Patrick Flahaven, the Mr. Saturday Night cast album features just the right amount of incidental dialogue to flavor the listening experience, and the performances of the actors who capture the theatricality of this new American musical. And Mr. Saturday Night is a musical in the classic tradition.
Mr. Saturday Night The Cast Album does a deft job of bringing the listener into the play currently playing at the Nederlander Theater on Broadway, an experience this writer recently had, just three days before the Tony Awards. The piece is designed to bring joy and happiness to the audience, a task at which it succeeds, and that joy is communicated not only by Brown and Green’s score, but by the album production that protects that score. Often, modern cast recordings can tend to sound contrived, thanks to an overabundance of synthesized instruments dominating the vocals, and singers whose lips are right next to the microphone, sounding like they’re singing into a toy telephone. . Anyone who yearns for the days of cast recordings like Hello, Dolly!, or the original 42nd Street (probably the best cast recording ever), when it sounded like you were listening to the performance, live, in the theater , takes a risk when they buy a new cast album. They might end up with a watered down, homogenized recording that they could play once, then relegate to a place on the shelf, in Caselogic, or in their iTunes library, never to be heard from again. The Mr. Saturday Night cast album was recorded to avoid all that gimmickry. The balance between band and actor is fair, Randy Graff and Shoshana Bean were allowed to belt, and Billy Crystal was allowed to belt. The emotional content of the songs is palpable, not recalled, allowing the listener to appreciate Broadway veterans whose work they already know, and to meet newcomers like Chasten Harmon, whose careers they will now follow. And although Yiddish scat singing is definitely more popular in the theater, where there is audience participation, it is fully represented on the album. From the opening notes of the orchestra to the closing echoes of the actors’ voices, this is a fair and proper cast recording.
And the actors’ voices are wonderfully preserved here, as is the beautiful score by Amanda Green and Jason Robert Brown, accessible and enjoyable to enjoy by anyone who loves and understands the musical. Characters come to life with Brown’s pleasant, catchy melodies and Green’s clever, heartfelt lyrics, in numbers that reflect the people in the room, as opposed to some scores where the songs sung don’t quite match the mood. people who sing them. . The score for Mr. Saturday Night is a wonderful example of writers creating character-based musical monologues, especially for Mr. Crystal who, despite singing nine Oscar opening numbers, people have it. maybe forgotten, is a pretty good singer. No one in the cast is left behind, including Jordan Gelber, Brian Gonzales and Mylinda Hull, the three “lead actors” who present a cast of characters, much like a Greek chorus, in such a diligent way that it’s actually a shame not to be able to see their herculean efforts on stage. Nonetheless, their acting talent is well documented on the album, along with the rest of the cast, in a way that makes it one of those albums that one can, indeed, play through from start to finish. (although those prone to playlists want to put Shoshana Bean’s “Maybe It Starts With Me” in their queue). The album’s particular awards reside in Randy Graff’s numbers because whenever Tony’s recipient is on Broadway, the world is a better place because songwriters have the opportunity to create specific gifts for her, which are considerable and are used to their fullest extent. in this piece.
As far as original cast recordings go, Mr. Saturday Night is an album that not only represents all of the artists involved, from creatives to performers, it represents a level of quality that once existed in cast recordings aplenty and that , while some featured Albums Today miss the mark, it’s clearly still achievable, and it’s something that goes beyond songwriting and performing. That’s what the producers of the recording bring to the project, and Brown, Lesser, Flahaven and Green have certainly done well with their casting and with Craft Recordings/Concord Theatricals, who distribute this album which is a delight, from start to finish. the end.
Mr. Saturday Night is a 2022 release on the Label Craft Recordings / Concord Theatricals. It is available on all digital platforms and on the Craft/Concord site HERE.