Upcoming releases, plus a thorough wishlist…

Winter’s on the wing and the weather has been turning magical and resplendent. But with such resplendence comes the sweet poison of pollen. Flowers, grasses, trees. You name it. It’s floating out there. And making evil of me. I know many of you must be suffering as I am. Well, thankfully I’m not as bad I have been thanks to ongoing allergy immunotherapy, lots of pharmaceutical assistance and my neti pot.

Enough about my woes… There are treasures to be had this spring in the guise of DVD and CD product.

On April 29, DRG is releasing two: the CD premiere of the 1967 musical Illya, Darling, a vehicle for Melina Mercouri based on her blockbuster success Never on Sunday. While not a spectacular score by any means, it has some interesting items, most especially “Bouzouki Nights,” the show’s Grecian-flavored overture. Also coming out on that day is the CD reissue of the Merm’s Happy Hunting, which is considerably less exciting, but still, it’s good to have it out there. Also, Sh-K-Boom will be releasing the cast recording of William Finn’s Make Me a Song.

No word on when the Gypsy cast album will be recorded and released, but the South Pacific cast recording was made yesterday and will be released on May 27. (Kelli O’Hara, who has missed performances for the first time in her career according to Playbill.com, is suffering from a severe cold and will record her tracks at a later date). The same day we also get the original Broadway cast recording of A Catered Affair.

It’s nice to hear that DRG is still bringing out the cast recordings. Apparently many of the titles are now only available via Arkiv. I know they’re officially licensed with reprinted liner notes and all, but I feel somewhat cheated getting a CD-R of an original CD. For my money, give me an official remastered issue. There are still many older cast albums on LP that have been left on the shelves and in used music stores that should come to CD. Of the New York entries there’s The Consul, Cry for Us All, Anya, A Time for Singing, Donnybrook!, Doonesbury, Maggie Flynn, The Threepenny Opera (’76 revival), the NYCO Regina, and the off-Broadway The Cradle Will Rock. There are a lot of original London cast albums that have never been issued on CD: Carnival, The Most Happy Fella, The Music Man (the budget CD issue doesn’t count, it’s missing 7 or 8 tracks), Camelot, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, I Do! I Do!, Man of La Mancha, 1776, Once Upon a Mattress, Do Re Mi, Promises Promises, and Hello Dolly!. As has been the case, copyright laws in Britain expire after 50 years, sending recordings into the public domain. Look for some of these recordings to be released when that occurs.

And inevitably, those albums previously available on CD that are now out of print: Darling of the Day, Little Me (OBC, OLC & NBC), Sugar Babies, 110 in the Shade (OBC), Woman of the Year, Wish You Were Here, Me and Juliet, Wildcat, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, High Spirits (OBC & OLC), Sugar, Tenderloin, Black & Blue, Mr. Wonderful, Take Me Along, Minnie’s Boys, High Button Shoes, Sophisticated Ladies, Hello Dolly! (with Pearl Bailey), Two on the Aisle, Henry Sweet Henry, Milk and Honey, Prettybelle, Do Re Mi, Zorba (OBC), Mr. President, and One Touch of Venus/Lute Song. The original London cast albums of She Loves Me, Flower Drum Song, Forum, Where’s Charley?, Cabaret (with Judi Dench as Sally Bowles), Passion Flower Hotel, Company (the OBC with Larry Kert dubbing over Dean Jones), Anne of Green Gables and Charlie Girl; all of the latter were either part of the long-defunct Sony West End series, a London counterpart to the Sony Broadway series of the early 90s or the West End Angel Series. Also, The Good Companions, Little Mary Sunshine (with our beloved Patricia Routledge in the title role), A Little Night Music (OLC & RNT w. Judi Dench), City of Angels, The Card, 70 Girls 70, Anything Goes (with Elaine Paige) and the Donmar Company revival.

We have quite the minimal market, so it makes sense why many titles haven’t yet been released, or have been deleted from their respective catalogues. Most of the major labels don’t go in for a cast album unless it’s one of the major shows. It’s up to Ghostlight/Sh-K-Boom, PS Classics and Nonesuch to pick up the slack and integrity. I didn’t even bother going into the studio cast albums because there are way too many to be taken into consideration. Anything I missed? Anything you want to see out there? Discuss.