Harry on Broadway Act 1: A Closer Listen...
I had heard snippets of the new THE PAJAMA GAME Broadway production (including the wonderful Tony night performance -- congrats on winning Best Revival and Best Choreography!) but never the entire cast recording from beginning to end.
I must admit I was a wee bit skeptical since I have grown attached to the original Broadway cast recording, watching Doris Day in the movie, or recollecting the glory days of my performance as Gladys in the Queen's Musical Theatre production. Could this new recording come close?
Overture ... hmmm ... yes, very good ... (although I did miss Hines's song at the top of the show) ... Can't Waste Time ... yes, very good ... "A New Town Is A Blue Town" ... very Harry Connick, Jr. (not as powerful as John Raitt, but a lot sexier!). And about 30 seconds into "I'm Not At All In Love" I'm singing along at the top of my lungs (while driving, so I'm getting a lot of looks). I'm hooked. I love it! This cast recording is awesome!
Specifically, it does a great job of making the show sound fresh, yet still retaining the style of the original. And Kelli O'Hara sounds just like Babe should -- tough 'n' tender. I really enjoy the fresh swinging arrangements of the group numbers (eg. "Once a Year Day") and I really enjoyed the new "Hernando's Hideaway" arrangement where Harry comes in swinging and singing and playing the pi-ano.
As a recording it really rocks! I wonder how it works with the story (could Sid really play like that?). I didn't see this production so I can't comment. I also really enjoy having the bonus tracks of cut Adler/Ross songs ("The World Around Me", "The Three of Us") I especially like the "Hey There Reprise/If You Win You Lose" duet between Babe and Sid.
After I sang and danced through THE PAJAMA GAME CD (all while driving of course...) I put on the other CD which is a recording of Harry and Kelli singing the very laid back jazzy songs from the musical THOU SHALT NOT. This is the Harry Connick, Jr. I'm used to. Suddenly I get the urge to kick back, drink a glass of wine and read a good book (but I'm driving, remember?).
All in all, a fabulous CD set! Now if I can just remember where I put my old character shoes...