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Lady Day Posted on July, 15 2014
deep song
"It would have been enough," wrote New York Magazine in the first review of our Original Broadway Cast Recording of LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL, "to record for history Audra McDonald’s profane, repellent, hilarious, heartbreaking (and Tony-winning) inhabitation of Billie Holiday. But this 85-minute, two-disc live rendition of the event -- from preshow cocktail music to closing ovations -- in many ways improves on the stage experience, as everything extraneous to the central performance melts into audience hum. In a great season for cast recordings, this is surely the greatest". Entertainment Weekly echoed, "It’s the performance everyone’s been talking about: six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald's latest star turn, playing troubled blues singer Billie Holiday in the final months of her life. It’s a fully transportative experience for the audience, whose reactions help create the illusion carried by McDonald’s performance. To reflect that experience, LADY DAY was recorded live during performances of the show in late May. The two-disc set offers an immersive translation of the show, a feat not reflected in several of this season’s recent cast albums." LADY DAY hits stores today; don't miss it!

Lady Day Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2014
Lady Day
If you haven't yet seen Audra McDonald's mesmerizing, Tony-nominated performance as Billie Holiday in the Broadway production of LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL, then you've missed out on what New York Magazine called "one of the greatest performances I ever hope to see" and what the Huffington Post hailed as "stunning and heartbreaking... the performance of her career." In case you won't be able to get into NYC before the show concludes its limited run, or in case you've already enjoyed "the best 90 minutes you'll ever witness" (NY1) and want to experience it all again, we'll be at Circle in the Square this week, recording the full show live. The street date for our Original Broadway Cast Recording of LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL is July 15, but as always, folks who order directly from us will receive their discs first. Not to be missed!

Violet Posted on Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Won't they be surprised?
We committed to recording VIOLET a week before the show even started previews -- that's how bowled over we were by the final runthrough -- and happily, weeks later, once the show opened, it turned out the critics and awards committees shared our enthusiasm. VIOLET was an absolute pleasure to record -- the cast was in great voice and full of high spirits -- and we finished post-production ahead of schedule. Our two-disc Original Broadway Cast Recording of VIOLET hits stores on June 3 (it's hard to move up a retail release date, even when you find yourself ahead of schedule), but it will be available at iTunes, along with a full digital booklet, on May 20. Also, as a nice surprise to our web customers, we're beginning to ship today from our website, a full four weeks ahead of street date. Some of our customers have been ordering direct from us since our very first release; we're always happy when we can ship out our web orders nice and early. And while you're waiting for your order to arrive, we've posted no less than ten soundclips. Enjoy!


Fun Home Posted on Monday, March 10, 2014
come to the Fun Home ... instore
Our Original Cast Recording of FUN HOME soared to #2 on the Billboard Top Cast Album chart in its first week of release, by far our best first week ever for an off-Broadway show. This coming Thursday, March 13th, at 6 PM, authors Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron will be joined by the entire original cast -- Griffin Birney, Michael Cerveris, Roberta Colindrez, Noah Hinsdale, Judy Kuhn, Sydney Lucas, Beth Malone, Joel Perez and Alexandra Socha -- at a CD performance and signing at the Barnes & Noble at 86th & Lexington. As noted, the full cast will be performing as well as signing. FUN HOME was a joyous experience for all involved (and at Playbill last week, Steven Suskin called it “the best musical on the New York stage of 2013 — far outclassing the competition — and is thus far the best musical of the 2013-14 season. The cast recording presents Fun Home in all its brilliance -- treat yourself to the CD, now.”); join us as we celebrate its release this Thursday.


Violet Posted on Friday, March 28, 2014
bus stop
We saw the final run-through of VIOLET at Roundabout Theatre Company's rehearsal space last Wednesday: no set, no costumes, no orchestra -- just cast and script and score, and it was glorious. We remembered loving the show when it first played off-Broadway, but we couldn't imagine -- as we sat there, deeply moved, last Wednesday -- that it would ever see a finer cast than the one assembled here, headed by Sutton Foster, Colin Donnell, Alex Gemignani and Josh Henry. A lot of Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley's score was cut from the original recording, and they've written quite a bit of new material to boot, so there were lots of musical surprises as well, and we came away with the resolution to preserve VIOLET in its full glory. We'll be going into the studio a week from Monday to record a two-disc set. Street date is June 3, but as always, we'll be shipping two weeks ahead of street date to those who pre-order here!


Fun Home Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014
the next few weeks...
Our new cast recordings of FUN HOME and YANK! hit stores on February 25 (we had to bump them back a week, as the winter weather wreaked havoc with our printer’s schedule), but we’ll start shipping orders from our website this Tuesday, the 11th. In the meantime, over the next few days, we’ll be adding sound clips for both albums, so folks can sample and, should they desire, purchase. We’re enormously excited about both releases and how true they are to our mission of great theater music, brilliantly performed and beautifully sung.

SLD Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014
the last few weeks...
Two of our esteemed colleagues in the press – Steven Suskin at Playbill.com and Rob Lester at Talkin’ Broadway – weighed in recently with their “best of” lists, and three of our 2013 releases were singled out by both: Rebecca Luker’s I GOT LOVE (Songs of Jerome Kern), our two-disc cast recording of PASSION, and Philip Chaffin’s SOMETHIN’ REAL SPECIAL (The Songs of Dorothy Fields).

With regard to the latter album, just as it felt wonderful having customers and critics rediscover Kern at the start of 2013, it’s been just as gratifying seeing them rediscover Fields through the holiday season. The Toronto Star raved, “Here’s a blue-chip collection… Philip Chaffin has one of those warm, sophisticated voices that call to mind the finer products of Kentucky’s distilleries. Match him up with the dry, witty, bitters-flavored lyrics of the masterful Dorothy Fields, shake with a 23-piece orchestra and you’ve got a cocktail to cherish.” Both the Huffington Post and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer called the album “long overdue” and agreed that Philip was, in the words of the latter publication, “the singer for the job.” And Show Business tagged the album “a bullseye… Chaffin’s gorgeous, soaring baritone will make you hear these old songs in a fresh and thrilling new way.”

SLD Posted on Friday, November 22, 2013
welcome to our house on Maple Avenue
We saw FUN HOME at The Public Theater on the afternoon of November 3rd; afterwards, we ran into composer Jeanine Tesori in the lobby and said something gushy and pushy like "We want to record this." It's exactly the kind of beautifully scored, compellingly written, openly emotional piece to which we most respond, and although it's our first time working with Jeanine, we've worked many times with four of its stars -- Michael Cerveris, Judy Kuhn, Beth Malone and Alexandra Socha -- and look forward to doing so again, in the recording studio next Monday. If you haven't yet seen FUN HOME, which The New York Times hailed as "a beautiful heartbreaker of a musical," you can read more and pre-order here.

SLD Posted on Friday, November 22, 2013
"the Chaffin charm"
PS Classics co-founder Philip Chaffin's Dorothy Fields tribute, SOMETHIN' REAL SPECIAL, streeted just ten days ago, but it's already received a slew of great reviews. At Talkin' Broadway, Rob Lester cheered, "SOMETHIN' REAL SPECIAL radiates. Nothing can turn off the Chaffin charm. It's intrinsic and entrenched. And hooray for that. Chaffin, with unspoiled zeal and a feel for a romantic lyric, comes across as a true believer in true love." Former Playbill.com editor Ken Jones, in an expansive piece at his website, found Philip "rich, warm and varied," singling out “I’ll Buy You a Star,” “You’re a Lovable Lunatic,” "Sweet Charity” and "the compelling melding of Harold Arlen’s 'Let Me Look at You' and Kern’s 'The Way You Look Tonight.'” (At USA Today, Elysa Gardner singled out the latter track as one of her picks of the week.) And current Playbill.com reviewer Steven Suskin hailed the album as "an all-around delight. Dorothy Fields is a perfect match for Chaffin; his strong-but-flavorful voice does full justice to the music while serving up the songs with the twinkle-in-the-eye that Dorothy must have had when she sat writing them."

SLD Posted on Tuesday, November 19, 2013
My Soldier
We begin recording the off-Broadway cast album of the Zellnik brothers' YANK! this coming Thursday, but yesterday we were in the rehearsal room getting our first taste of the brand-new Jonathan Tunick charts, and as you can imagine, they are exquisite. We are so excited to (finally!) record this wonderful, funny and moving show on disc; if you don't know YANK!, or haven't yet placed your pre-order, you can do so here.

SLD Posted on Friday, September 20, 2013
four quick items
1. We've begun accepting preorders for our original cast recording of Scott Frankel and Michael Korie's FAR FROM HEAVEN. 2. We've begun accepting preorders for Philip Chaffin's latest solo disc, SOMETHIN' REAL SPECIAL (The Songs of Dorothy Fields). 3. We've posted an interview that producer Tommy Krasker did for The Sondheim Review, about the making of the PASSION CD. 4. We now have a limited number of autographed PASSION CD's for sale.


SLD Posted on Friday, September 13, 2013
Dorothy Fields Forever
From Tommy Krasker: "We've spoken for many years about Philip doing a solo album devoted to the work of one songwriter, but it took us almost a decade to find the right fit. At one point, we thought Kern, then we thought Mercer -- that actually ended up becoming his Southern album -- but then we both thought of Dorothy Fields, and it seemed both unexpected and very, very appealing. We poured through several hundred songs, and little by little, whittled them down to sixteen, a combination of standards and some lesser-known -- and in a few cases, previously unrecorded -- gems. Some of our favorite orchestrators -- including Jonathan Tunick, Doug Besterman, Jason Carr and John Baxindine -- came on board to join us, as did conductor James Moore, with whom we so enjoyed working on Follies. We started recording last April and finish tracking today: the album is entitled Philip Chaffin: SOMETHIN' REAL SPECIAL (The Songs of Dorothy Fields), from an unpublished song by Fields and Harold Arlen, and we look forward to sharing it with you in early November. You can read more, see a track listing, and pre-order here."


SLD Posted on Friday, September 13, 2013
Help wanted
Robert Edridge-Waks, who’s been our Editorial Coordinator these past four years, is leaving to devote more time to his writing career. So, help wanted: someone who writes well; who knows the difference between "their" and "there" and "they’re"; who knows why you capitalize "is" in a song title but not "in." Someone with a keen editorial eye, an agreeable disposition, a passion for fact-checking, and an understanding that God is in the details. You’ll be working on a project-by-project basis: attending sessions, writing product descriptions and press releases, and prepping and supervising all our CD booklets. If you are interested and qualified, please send an email, with an attached bio, to info@psclassics.com. Note: this is a part-time position, financial details to be discussed.


SLD Posted on Friday, July 26, 2013
a couple of regular guys
We saw David and Joe Zellnik's YANK! at the York Theatre back in 2010, during its critically acclaimed, twice-extended, sold-out run. It was a gay love story set during World War II, and it was remarkable and moving: the kind of show audiences returned to multiple times. Following the off-Broadway run, the Zellniks continued to refine the work, and when we met with them this past spring, Yank! was an even better show, with three terrific new songs. We committed to recording it, but warned that -- with monies already set aside for Passion and Tom Sawyer -- we could only fund half of the production costs. The Zellniks have started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the remaining monies. Yank! is a wonderful work, and an important work, and we hope you'll help us preserve it on disc. Click here to contribute, and you might just be able to take home Yank! for Christmas.


SLD Posted on Wednesday, July 24, 2013
when I think of Tom...
Sometime in the early '80s, after he'd successfully launched his first Broadway musical Nine, Maury Yeston became fascinated with creating a quintessentially American ballet score, and seized upon The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as his inspiration. The creation of the score came swiftly, but it wasn't until providence introduced him to the remarkable choreographer William Whitener, decades later, that he finally pursued a production. TOM SAWYER: A BALLET IN THREE ACTS was premiered by the Kansas City Ballet in the fall of 2011, to huge critical and popular acclaim, and this past spring, the score was preserved in a two-disc set by the seventy-piece San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. It's a must-own not only for those who love Yeston, but for those who love great American music; soundclips will be up next week, but in the meantime, you can read more and pre-order here.


Posted on Friday, March 15, 2013
they hear drums, we hear music
We saw the matinee of PASSION last Sunday at Classic Stage Company, and within moments of the show ending, before the audience had fully filed out of the theatre, we'd decided to record it. (Thanks, by the way, to the many impassioned customers who've written us the last several weeks, urging us to attend.) As you've probably heard, the production is just that damn good. We're going into the studio on May 13th to record an expansive two-disc set, and we're aiming to start shipping from our website on June 18th, two weeks ahead of street date. Pre-order now!


Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013
a date with Judy
We've been hoping to work with the wonderful Judy Kuhn since we started PS Classics, but the right opportunity never came along. Last year, she came to us after some hugely successful dates at Feinstein’s, to see if we wanted to help her preserve the evening on disc. We wanted to – but all our monies at that point were tied up with Follies and Porgy. So Judy, God bless her, started a Kickstarter campaign, and her fans, God bless them, really came through. And by the time Judy had almost reached her goal and was ready to go into the studio, we were able to jump back on board and help her bring the album to fruition. We’re thrilled to be releasing Judy’s latest solo album, ALL THIS HAPPINESS, on June 4th; you can read more and pre-order here.


Posted on Friday, February 22, 2013
...but she's only a dream
We recently posted a new About Us column, hinting at some upcoming projects. The first of these, which we’re thrilled to announce, is LAURA OSNES SINGS MAURY YESTON. Laura performed her evening of Yeston at 54 Below in November; we were overwhelmed, as was Maury, and once she opens in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, we’ll be taking her and her band into the studio to preserve the evening on disc. (Maury has even reached into his trunk this past month to allow her to premiere a few Yeston gems that weren’t in the concert; it is, after all, the first solo disc of Yeston songs, done with Maury’s cooperation, input and blessing.) You can read more and preorder here.


Posted on Monday, February 4, 2013
a rave for Rebecca
Yesterday at Playbill.com, Steven Suskin weighed in on Rebecca Luker’s I GOT LOVE (Songs of Jerome Kern), and it was the kind of rave that only comes – as the opening track puts it – once in a blue moon. He called it “one of those CDs you can listen to over and over again … the perfect combination of composer and singer. You’ll want to listen to it repeatedly, immediately.” And although Steven rightly focused most of his attention on the extraordinary Ms. Luker, we were enormously pleased about this quick shout-out: “Let us also note that while this collection was assembled for a nightclub act, it sounds so much better because PS Classics took it into the studio.” When we first heard Rebecca’s show, and sat down with her to discuss a possible recording, we all agreed that the best way to preserve this particular show would be in the studio, with the repertoire and arrangements properly enhanced, and the material and performances allowed all the shadings and nuances they deserved. Steven concluded, “Maybe if we buy lots of copies of I GOT LOVE, Rebecca and her pals at PS Classics will take a second foray into the still treasure-laden Kern songbook.” Even if you’re not a customer who typically buys our solo discs, we hope you’ll check this one out: we feel that Rebecca’s performances -- like the Kern songbook they celebrate – are a treasure.


Posted on Friday, February 1, 2013
Noël and Cole
Our new recording of NOEL AND COLE, which starts shipping February 12, features Philip Chaffin, Matthew Scott and Elizabeth Stanley taking on Porter, while Sara Jean Ford, Euan Morton and Barbara Walsh make the case for Coward. Track by track, arranger David Loud and orchestrator Jason Carr eschew the standard arrangements you’ve heard a zillion times, and go for something far more creative and distinctive. And as interpreted by this wonderful cast, it’s like hearing two dozen great songs again for the first time. We’re very proud of NOEL AND COLE, so we’re doing something a little novel for its release – we’re offering variant front and back covers, so customers ordering from our website can choose Cole on the front and Noel on the back, or Noel on the front and Cole on the back. You can hear soundclips, check out the covers, and pre-order here. In addition to the U.S. and Canada, we're now accepting orders from Europe, Australia and Japan, and hope to add more regions in the coming months.


Posted on Monday, November 26, 2012
holiday sale and other news
A quick note to let folks know that our holiday sale has officially begun. This year, all CDs (except the current year's crop) are marked down, most to $14.95. And we've begun shipping our two new releases: Anthony Rapp's WITHOUT YOU and the Jerome Kern revue THE LAND WHERE THE GOOD SONGS GO. Between now and the end of the holiday season, 25% of all sales will be donated to the Red Cross, to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy.


Posted on Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Sandy
Hurricane Sandy ravaged our area last week. Our hearts go out to all those who suffered unimaginable damage, and have been facing the challenge of recovering and rebuilding without heat, power or resources. A number of the artists with whom we've been working have been dealing with Sandy's aftermath, and as a result, we're pushing back our two November releases, the Jerome Kern revue THE LAND WHERE THE GOOD SONGS GO and Anthony Rapp's one-man show WITHOUT YOU, by two weeks. Shipping will begin here at PS Classics on November 26th, the same day we begin our annual holiday sale. In the meantime, track listings and soundclips are up for both albums. 25% of our profits from these albums (as well as all discs sold during our holiday sale) will be donated to the Red Cross, to assist -- in our own small way -- the victims of Hurricane Sandy.


Posted on Monday, November 5, 2012
make it another old fashioned
Last summer, as we were preparing to record David Loud's Jerome Kern revue, David mentioned another evening he was working on: one that showcased and paired, in unexpected ways, the songs of Noël Coward and Cole Porter. The show existed only on paper, but we approached some of the performers with whom we've most enjoyed working -- Sara Jean Ford, Elizabeth Stanley, Barbara Walsh, Euan Morton and Matthew Scott -- and suggested David complete his work with them in mind. NOËL AND COLE starts recording this month, and we're aiming for a January 29th release. As with Rebecca Luker's upcoming disc, we're not yet taking preorders (CCNow, the company that's handled our credit card transactions the last 12 years, is closing its doors, so we're having to make new arrangements), but we'll be alerting folks on our e-blast list just as soon as preorders begin.


SLD Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012
stay old fashioned with me
Rebecca Luker performed an evening of Jerome Kern at 54 Below in July, and as with MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG earlier this year, we heard it and went, "This has to be recorded." Talk about a singer and a songwriter who are perfectly matched; hearing Rebecca's voice soar on standards like "The Song Is You," "The Folks Who Live on the Hill" and "Why Was I Born?" -- not to mention the lesser-known "Not You," "Saturday Night" and "I Got Love" -- was simply thrilling. We're recording it on November 7th and 8th, and aiming for a January 29th release; you can read more here. We should be starting preorders in the next three weeks; we'll be alerting folks on our e-blast list at that time. If you're not on our e-blast list, you can join it here.



Posted on Friday, September 21, 2012
no insults and all morals
In 2004, music director David Loud took over 30 Jerome Kern songs and arranged them, exquisitely, into a theatrical evening that charted the course of three couples: how they meet, fall in love, and face life's challenges. It was originally produced in D.C., then arrived in New York City at Merkin Concert Hall in November 2010, where we heard it and were entranced. It starred some of our favorite performers -- all of them PS Classics "alumni" -- and we've been trying since then to fund a recording. This summer, the final monies came in, and we'll be recording a two-disc set next week. You can read more, check out the songlist, and pre-order here!



Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012
no day but today
We're in the studio today, in London, recording Anthony Rapp's moving and memorable one-man show WITHOUT YOU, direct from its sold-out engagement at the Menier Chocolate Factory. In a five-star review, the London Times called it “transfixing in its truthfulness, an honest portrait of grief and growing up,” while Time Out London said Rapp offered "as moving and muscular performances of musical theatre as you’ll see on any stage this year.” You can read more and preorder here.



Posted on Friday, September 14, 2012
New/Old Christine
None of us here can remember why we didn't release THE CARLYLE SET, Christine Andreas's follow-up to our own HERE'S TO THE LADIES, but we keep thinking she must have been under contract to another label at the time. But that glorious album, first released in 2003, is now without a home, so we've snagged it and are proud to be re-releasing it. If you didn't grab it then, check it out now, hear a few soundclips, and make a purchase. We've marked it down to a special $14.95 pre-order price, and for the time being, we've marked down HERE'S TO THE LADIES as well.



Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012
I'm younger than that now
Last week, USA Today named our 2012 Encores! cast recording of MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG as "pick of the week," and we were furthered delighted to learn that, in its first week of release, it hit #1 on the Billboard Top Cast Album chart. MERRILY seems to have struck a nerve with both critics and customers, and we couldn't be more thrilled. Steven Suskin at Playbill.com raved, “While the original Broadway cast album sounds great, this new recording sounds better. The whole thing practically leaps off the disc.” Rob Lester at Talkin’ Broadway proclaimed it “rich and radiant and rewarding, renewing one's love affair with the show” and praised its “magnificent sound and production,” while TheaterMania’s Andy Propst declared, “It's tough not to fall in love with this superlatively produced disc from the moment that one hears Tunick's revised overture.” Midwest Records’ Chris Spector called it “another sure-fire winner for the musical theater fan from PS Classics,” and Joe Stead at Style Chicago noted that "while I will continue to cherish the other cast albums, including the 1981 Broadway original, this one is revolutionary in many ways," as no other recording of the show “will give you the full scope or better appreciation of this masterpiece than PS Classics’ latest labor of love assuredly does.”



Posted on Monday, July 9, 2012
iTunes upDate
We received a few emails from FOLLIES customers, disappointed that the digital booklet didn't include the lyrics. We take those comments seriously, so we're pleased to say that the iTunes digital booklet for MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG will include the full lyrics.



Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2012
the movers and the shapers
Our new two-disc cast recording of the Encores! production of MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG starts shipping from our website today. The cast and creators had such a wonderful time making the album (we think that comes through on the CD itself) that they’ll be reuniting once more, at a CD signing on Tuesday, July 10th at 4 PM at the Barnes & Noble at 150 E. 86th St in Manhattan. Composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim and orchestrator Jonathan Tunick will be joined by stars Celia Keenan-Bolger, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Adam Grupper, Elizabeth Stanley and Betsy Wolfe. (Colin Donnell, alas, will be out of town.) Hope to see you there!



Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2012
leave it to Jayne
The Metropolitan Museum of Art recently asked if they could include "Broadway Baby" on a compilation CD they were doing, of songs from musicals set in New York City. We of course said yes, but we also felt the track might be more appropriate on a compilation disc as a Hattie solo, without Solange and the Whitmans mysteriously returning at the end. So the wonderful Jayne Houdyshell went back into the studio last month and recorded a new ending, and as a gift to our customers, we thought we'd make the solo track available here. You can download it on the FOLLIES page, just beneath the full track listing.



Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012
both the Gishes think it's delicious
We were afraid our vintage restoration of Gershwin and DeSylva's SWEET LITTLE DEVIL, sandwiched between two double-disc sets (PORGY AND BESS and our upcoming MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG), might slip through the cracks, but happily, in the two weeks since release, it's received a flood of positive notices, probably the best we've had for any vintage album since KITTY'S KISSES. Andy Propst at Theatermania called it "a stunning studio recording, a buoyant joy," while Rob Lester at Talkin' Broadway hailed it as "a bright, bouncy, sprightly, spiffy, springy delight." At Style Chicago, Joe Stead found it "as close to heaven as the recorded musical theatre canon will allow," Midwest Record's Chris Spector proclaimed it "a lost Broadway classic...a tasty addition to any Broadway collection," while Joseph Lang, at Jersey Jazz, described it as "a bagatelle that will delight those who enjoy taking trips back to simpler days." Since 2009, we've been trying to do more of these studio cast albums of vintage shows, but as we've noted, we can only afford to do them if they sell. So if you haven't yet picked up SWEET LITTLE DEVIL, feel free to peruse the soundclips, and if you like what you hear, pick up a copy! You wouldn't believe the vintage restoration we're hoping to do next...



Posted on Tuesday, June 5, 2012
listen to that
Soundclips are now up for our new cast recording of Sondheim and Furth's MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG. Following the recording dates in early April, Celia Keenan-Bolger tweeted to her fellow cast members, “Remember when we had one of the best theatrical experiences ever and then it got recorded?” We think that enthusiasm -- shared by the cast, orchestra and all those in the recording studio those two days-- comes across on this album: affection not only for the experience, but for the piece itself, revised so brilliantly over the years by Sondheim and Furth and now fully orchestrated (from scratch) by Jonathan Tunick. Also up on the MERRILY page: an excerpt from a note by Mr. Tunick (from the CD booklet), in which he discusses his decision to reorchestrate the entire score, rather than just scoring the new numbers. MERRILY hits stores on July 10th, but order here, and we'll begin shipping on or before June 26th.



Posted on Monday, April 22, 2012
where did you go, George?
Track listings and soundclips are now up for both PORGY AND BESS and SWEET LITTLE DEVIL. The two CDs offer a wonderful opportunity to hear "early" Gershwin (from 1924, just before he achieved acclaim and celebrity for Rhapsody in Blue) and then hear where he went in just eleven short years -- and the soundclips give a nice little taste of that. (PORGY has 32 tracks, so make sure you scroll all the way down to hear all the clips.) Both CDs are on schedule for a May 8th web-release, two weeks prior to street date.



Posted on Sunday, March 25, 2012
see the pretty countryside
Stephen Sondheim and George Furth spent nearly twenty years perfecting MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG: not so much a rewrite as a transformation. Last year, original orchestrator Jonathan Tunick scored the new songs, and then went ahead and rescored the entire work, giving it a consistency and clarity he felt it deserved. Encores! performed it in February, and we were blown away. Talk about something that needed to be preserved on disc -- so we'll be doing just that on April 9 and 10, in a two-disc set. Preorder now!



Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012
hello, George
We're recording the New Broadway Cast Recording of PORGY AND BESS this coming Monday and Tuesday. As long as we're recording George Gershwin's final Broadway score, it seemed sort of fitting that we restore and record one of his earliest scores as well: in fact, his earliest surviving score. SWEET LITTLE DEVIL dates from 1924, George wrote it with his then-regular lyricist Buddy DeSylva, and it's a delight. We have the original orchestrations from the post-Broadway tour (by Robert Russell Bennett), and we're recording it with a cast headed by Bethe Austin, Danny Burstein, Philip Chaffin, Sara Jean Ford, Jason Graae, Rebecca Luker and Sally Wilfert. Sam Davis is conducting, and David Loud did the vocal arrangements. Preorder now!



Posted on Saturday, February 25, 2012
I understan' now, I got Porgy
As we reported yesterday, we'll be recording the New Broadway Cast Recording of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess on March 26th and 27th. Street date is May 22nd, but we'll begin shipping here at PS Classics on May 8th, two weeks ahead of street date, and we're offering the two-disc set at a special reduced price. Pre-order now!

Our e-commerce site, CCNow, was glitching yesterday, and we were delayed setting up pre-orders. Everything's working properly again now, so we're feeling relieved, and festive, so to that end: a free Porgy disc to the first person to identify the source of the song lyric quoted in the title above. Write us at info@psclassics.com.



Posted on Friday, December 9, 2011
Hi
(from The Good Wife, original air date 02.10.2010) OK, we keep swearing this will be our last column for 2011, but we keep having these little updates. Our New Broadway Cast Recording of FOLLIES enjoyed the best first-week sales of any Sondheim cast album since the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Passion back in 1994. We just wanted to thank all our loyal and passionate customers for embracing it the way they have. FOLLIES pretty much doubled our initial sales projections, and its strength surprised our retailers as well: some have already run low on product. So as we're busy filling reorders, some key retailers may be shy on product for about a week around Christmas. Rest assured, if product does go out of stock, it'll be back in stock soon; and in the meantime, we'll always have a stash here at PS Classics should customers prefer to order directly from us. Thanks to all for your continued patronage, and we'll see you back here in 2012.



Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Blood on the Tracks
(from Medium, original air date 12.03.2010) We're aware that there's a glitch with the iTunes download of FOLLIES: we gather Disc One Track 9 is giving you Disc Two Track 9 instead. We delivered the tracks correctly (our esteemed Editorial Coordinator Robert Edridge-Waks sweated blood checking and double-checking), so somewhere en route to iTunes, something went awry. iTunes is working to address the problem, and our understanding is that as soon as it's fixed, customers who purchased the full album at iTunes will be able to go back and get the missing track ("Rain on the Roof") for free. We will keep you posted, we promise!



Posted on Friday, November 25, 2011
One to Go
(from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, original air date 01.15.2009) This is probably our final column for 2011; we're taking a much-needed vacation starting December 10th. So a couple of quick announcements.

We posted a new About Us column. We're currently running our annual holiday sale, with 95% of our catalog marked down to $14.95. And although FOLLIES isn't marked down to $14.95, we are leaving it at the special $14.95 price for the time being.

Speaking of FOLLIES, we started shipping our new two-disc set a week ago Tuesday, and customers have been showering us with emails, some calling it "the definitive FOLLIES album," "the first recording to capture all of the magic that is FOLLIES," "the recording we have been waiting for for 40 years," "a FOLLIES worthy of the score and play," "incredible," "pure brilliance," and "a dream come true."  If you haven't yet ordered, grab it while it's on sale, and feel free to pick up some additional CD's for just $14.95. Like last year, half the profits from our sale will be donated to The Trevor Project, the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.



Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011
You're Welcome
Congratulations to Jason Adams of Pensacola, FL, the winner of our "identify some of Tommy's favorite TV episodes" contest, which (happily) got way more entries than we anticipated. A lot of readers got two or three right, but Jason came through with a staggering five out of six (that would be "The Gift," Buffy the Vampire Slayer, original air date 05.22.2001; "Two Weddings," Cold Case, 02.28.2010; "To Whom It May Concern," Gilmore Girls, 01.30.2007; ; "The Girl Who Waited," Doctor Who, 09.10.2011; and "A Pretty Good Day," Judging Amy, 11.19.2002), missing only "Celebration" (Knots Landing, 02.10.1983). On its way to Jason: a complimentary FOLLIES disc. By the end of the day tomorrow, FOLLIES will also be on its way to all those who pre-ordered here. You're Welcome (another of Tommy's favorite episodes; from Angel, original air date 02.04.2004-- but sorry, we're done with contests for the year).



Posted on Tuesday, November 8, 2011
The Gift
We don't begin shipping FOLLIES until a week from today, but the number of pre-orders has already exceeded that of any album in our catalog. We're gratified that fans are as excited about the album as we are -- but we also recognize that times are tight, so we wanted to offer one more opportunity for someone to get a free FOLLIES disc before we start shipping in seven days. Here goes. The titles of the latest six notes on this page -- including this one -- are titles of six of Tommy's favorite TV episodes. Write us at info@psclassics.com, identify the shows and the original air dates (e.g., "The Gift," Joan of Arcadia, original air date: 5/14/04 -- which, by the way, is not a correct answer), and the first person to get all six right -- or whoever comes the closest to identifying all six -- wins a free FOLLIES set. Couple hints: they're all one-hour shows, and the earliest dates back to 1983.



Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2011
To Whom It May Concern
A note from Tommy Krasker: Thanks to the nearly one hundred people who made submissions in our recent "guess-the-FOLLIES-track-listing" contest, and congratulations to the winner, Bradley Calise of Wentzville, MO. Final track listing now posted on the FOLLIES page. (The track list alone, of course, doesn't tell you all you might want to know; for example, the track called "You came; you're really here..." runs a full three minutes and fifty-four seconds -- you'll have to purchase the CD to find out everything that's on it!) Also posted, eight sound clips, one with a particularly fun surprise: a lyric Steve Sondheim re-wrote the day of the recording, between the second and third takes of that particular song. ("I finally figured out the right word after forty years," he was heard to comment.) In addition, a brief note from me, direct from the CD booklet, about this new recording edition. My goal was to truly capture the FOLLIES experience on disc, and I hope the resulting New Broadway Cast Recording does justice not only to FOLLIES the score but to FOLLIES that "brilliant show, extraordinarily intelligent, wonderfully entertaining [with] both a stunning direct appeal and rare complexity of feeling and structure," as Jack Kroll described it in 1971. As a reminder, we start shipping from PS Classics on November 15th, two weeks ahead of street date. Order now!



Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Two Weddings
Last year, we invited customers to guess the track listing for LA CAGE AUX FOLLES; we thought we'd do the same this year with FOLLIES. We've promised an "expansive" recording, and indeed, all the songs are there, plus dance music, some dialogue lead-ins, some scenes, some speeches -- you may think you've heard FOLLIES on disc, but trust us: not like this. We're still determining exactly where we'll be putting the ID's, but it looks like it will be a 33- or 34-track set. A free FOLLIES CD to the person who comes closest to guessing the correct track listing; write us at info@psclassics.com, and put FOLLIES TRACK LISTING in the subject line. A couple of hints. The Montage (i.e., "Rain on the Roof" et al) is currently ID'ed as three separate tracks, and there are no "bonus tracks" or "cut songs." And needless to say, for dialogue tracks, you don't need to guess the right track "name" -- just let us know what scene you think we're including (e.g., Track 23: the scene with Ben and Phyllis before "Could I Leave You?"). We'll be unveiling the final track listing, with soundclips, a week from today!



Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011
The Girl Who Waited
Maury Yeston's DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY concerns a young woman named Grazia Lamberti, who's been waiting all her life for that one true love to appear; she finds him in the guise of Prince Nikolai Sirki, and the resulting love story is set to some of the most gorgeous and haunting songs written for the musical theatre in the last decade or two. You can listen to soundclips now by clicking here. And then, for heaven's sake, if you haven't pre-ordered the CD yet, what are you waiting for? It's a new score by Maury Yeston; it doesn't get better than that! We'll begin shipping September 27th.



Posted on Monday, September 12, 2011
Celebration
An intern who worked for us in 2003 wrote recently, amused by two of our recent releases, both live albums, as he recalled our once saying that we don't like live albums. We're pretty sure that's not what we said; we probably noted instead we only consider releasing live albums a) if they're really, really, really well-recorded, and b) if there's a reason to do them live: if there's something about the evening -- the story-telling, the response, the rapport between singer and audience, the intimacy (or conversely, the high spirits), the fluidity -- that would be difficult to duplicate in a studio setting. Such was the case with Kate Baldwin's SHE LOVES HIM (Live at Feinstein's) and Liz & Ann Hampton Callaway's BOOM! (Live at Birdland). Both benefitted from being preserved live, and happily, both have received lavish praise from critics and customers. Elysa Gardner at USA Today named BOOM! her pick of the month, and fellow critics chimed in enthusiastically: the Detroit News called it "one of those great CDs I never knew I wanted but I'm glad I now have in my collection. GRADE: A," while the New Orleans Performing Arts Examiner advised readers, "It has all the highs of the 60's and early 70's that one can do legally (and it's great stuff too). So take a toke off BOOM! It's got one hit after another and the best thing is that you'll never come down while listening to it."

Of SHE LOVES HIM, Kate Baldwin's salute to Sheldon Harnick (on which the master lyricist joins her for several tracks), Next Magazine called it "superb," Theatermania praised its "beauty and aplomb," while Edge Magazine went into song-by-song detail: "She stuns with 'Will He Like Me,' 'You’re Going Far,' and 'I Couldn’t Be With Anyone but You,' all ballads that sweep you off your feet with her honeyed tones, buttery belt, and appealing sincerity. Her blending of 'Sabbath Prayer' with 'Far From the Home I Love' is breathless enough, but finishing it off with the exultant 'Matchmaker' whips the drama into a frenzy that will sweep you right up with it." And Steven Suskin at Playbill.com noted, "Baldwin is the soprano who warmed Broadway's cold heart when she played Sharon, the lass from Glocca Morra, in the 2009 revival of Finian's Rainbow. She was just as grandish at Feinstein's; imagine what Baldwin can do with 'Will He Like Me?' or 'When Did I Fall in Love?' and you'll get a good idea of how the evening went. You needn't imagine it; PS Classics has brought the act to CD." Kate and Sheldon will be celebrating the CD release with a performance and signing at the Barnes & Noble at 150 E. 86th St. in Manhattan this Thursday, September 15th, at 5 PM.



Posted on Thursday, September 1, 2011
A Pretty Good Day
With all the destruction Irene brought to our region last weekend, and all the ongoing clean-up, it seems almost inappropriate or somehow callous to note the nice things that happened while -- well, while we were waiting for the lights to come back on. NPR ran a story on SWEET BYE AND BYE a week ago (which you can access here) and we learned on Tuesday that, as a result, sales tripled from the previous week, meaning a lot of new folks took the opportunity to sample this forgotten show, which is a very good thing. And the same day, we learned that three of our albums were among the 10 Best-Selling Cast Albums at amazon.com: A MINISTER'S WIFE at #5, FOLLIES at #6, and DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY at #8. We promised this year to really limit our albums to projects we cared deeply about: to do them for us, and hope our customer base followed. We're enormously grateful to see folks responding. Continued thanks to all our customers for their kind and loyal support.



Posted on Monday, August 22, 2011
one more souvenir of bliss
The "bliss" in question is James Goldman & Stephen Sondheim's FOLLIES, one of the truly legendary works of the American musical theatre. The "souvenir" in question is our two-disc New Broadway Cast Recording of the Kennedy Center production, directed by Eric Schaeffer with choreography by Warren Carlyle and music direction by James Moore, currently in previews at Broadway’s Marquis Theatre. With a 28–piece orchestra, FOLLIES features a cast of 41 and stars Bernadette Peters, Jan Maxwell, Danny Burstein, Ron Raines and Elaine Paige. We'll be recording October 3rd and 4th, unveiling the album in stores on November 29th, but shipping from our website two weeks prior to that. And from now till street date, you can purchase the double-disc here for just $14.95, a savings of more than 35% off list price. Pre-order now!



Posted on Friday, August 12, 2011
time for a holiday
No, no, we're not going on holiday -- we usually wait till winter to do that. The title refers to the fact that last Monday, we had the honor and the fun (and trust us, recording dates aren't typically fun, but this one was) of recording two-time Tony Award-winner Maury Yeston's newest musical, DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY, which The New York Times hailed as “one lush, soaring number after another ... a gorgeously sung, melody-rich score.” And indeed it is, as one might expect from Mr. Yeston, one memorable tune after another -- and spectacularly performed by a cast headed by Kevin Earley, Jill Paice, Michael Siberry, Rebecca Luker, Simon Jones and Matt Cavenaugh. Street date is October 11th, but we'll start shipping on September 27th.



Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011
candor
Last week's passing of former First Lady Betty Ford (no, not pictured left -- don't be rude) reminded us of the virtues of candor; she was a great lady who was never afraid to speak her mind. Over the past few months, we've been touting SWEET BYE AND BYE as "perhaps the greatest lost score in the musical theatre canon," and we've received some ribbing for that. It's not the kind of statement you're supposed to make, at least in print. Nonetheless, we think it's true, and although it's a bold assertion, it's our opinion, and we're sticking to it.

What we can state as fact, however, is that we've never done a recording where, prior to street date, we've received so many complimentary notes. Several of the actors involved with SWEET BYE AND BYE wrote us shortly after receiving their advance copies to tell us how much they loved the album; musicians, too. Folks in the business, and customers who preordered at our website. And given that the album doesn't even street till tomorrow, we can't think of another occasion when we've already gotten so many reviews this early on; we're thrilled that interest seems high.

At Style Chicago, Joe Stead found it "an absolutely delicious and memorable score ... sublimely melodic and frequently hilarious, as good as musical comedy preservation and resuscitation gets. " Edge Magazine's J. Peter Bergman found it a worthy reminder of "how good Vernon Duke was at writing songs for Broadway. Its 26 tracks are filled with hauntingly lovely tunes" -- and although Bergman doubted our assertion that it was perhaps the great lost score, he admitted it was "wonderful to have years of wondering brought to a stereophonic conclusion." Chris Spector at Midwest Records, on the other hand, did agree with our estimation of the score, hailing that it "takes you back to the time [when] writers really had something to say. This was a flop? Unthinkable. Follow the adventures of Solomon Bundy through time and enjoy a treat that’s not a forbidden fruit but one that was out of reach for far too long. Top shelf all the way."



Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Rosie Larsen
The title of this column won't mean anything to folks who haven't been watching The Killing on AMC. We have been, and have found it equal parts engrossing and frustrating, but thought that the last three episodes were particularly good -- and that the season cliff-hanger was smashing. But yesterday we were having lunch, and surfing the web, and everywhere you looked were folks complaining that they were "cheated" that the plot didn't get resolved by season's end -- and they'll "never trust" the show again -- and blah, blah, blah -- and even the usually reliable Ken Tucker at Entertainment Weekly did a write-up that missed the mark on so many levels that you wanted to upchuck. We were flabbergasted that folks didn't expect the season to end on a cliff-hanger; I mean, these days, half the network sitcoms end on cliff-hangers.

Well, as you can tell, and if you didn't know already, we get passionate about TV. (Well, let's say Tommy gets passionate -- he's writing this particular column.) And maybe that's a nice segue to our new About Us column, which has a lot to say a lot about how TV makes us think, inspires us and shapes our work. So check it out, if you'd like, and in the meantime, what else is new about us? Well, STRIKE UP THE BAND 1930 and THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN hit stores today, SWEET BYE AND BYE and BOOM! ship from here next week, and we're in the studio Sunday recording A MINISTER'S WIFE. A busy time, and a gratifying one!



Posted on Friday, June 10, 2011
in affairs of the heart, how Kate was great
We've already announced our upcoming recording of Kate Baldwin's SHE LOVES HIM, in which Kate -- following her triumphant debut album LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS -- takes on the work of another songwriter she ardently adores: here, the wonderful Sheldon Harnick, who joins her for a half-dozen numbers. But now we have a special offer to share with customers: an invitation not only to purchase the CD, but to come see Kate and Sheldon perform at Feinstein's at the Regency in a special show on July 14th, and to stay after for a VIP champagne toast and meet-and-greet. You can check out the offer in detail here.



Posted on Wednesday, June 8, 2011
an orgy of Georgie Shaw
A quick note to announce that we'll be recording the original off-Broadway cast album of Lincoln Center Theater's production of A MINISTER'S WIFE, by Joshua Schmidt (which whom we had the privilege of collaborating on ADDING MACHINE: THE MUSICAL), Jan Levy Tranen and Austin Pendleton. We'll be taking the cast, as directed by Michael Halberstam, into the studio at the end of the month, and we're aiming for a late August release. You can read more here and preorder here.



Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011
"it would only cluck"
As promised, we're now accepting preorders for Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman's "novel symphony for actors and orchestra," THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN, starring John Lithgow, Kathy Bates, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Mandy Moore, James Naughton and Martin Short. Preorders continue for STRIKE UP THE BAND 1930, our studio cast album of SWEET BYE AND BYE, and the Callaway sisters' BOOM! TRUMPET OF THE SWAN and STRIKE UP THE BAND 1930 will ship on June 7th, SWEET BYE AND BYE and BOOM! on June 28th -- both sets two weeks ahead of street date.



Posted on Tuesday, May 10, 2011
"a chicken wouldn't do"
We first had the pleasure of working with composer Jason Robert Brown in 1997. Soon after we started PS Classics in 2000, we found ourselves collaborating again, this time on Lauren Kennedy's debut album -- and from there, we crossed paths regularly, on Jessica Molaskey's MAKE BELIEVE, John Bucchino's IT'S ONLY LIFE, and Kate Pazakis's UNZIPPED, among others. Last winter, Jason called and asked if we'd be interested in a studio recording of THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN, his extraordinary collaboration with playwright Marsha Norman adapted from E. B. White’s timeless children’s novel. We of course said yes (at its world premiere performance in November of 2008, The Washington Post lauded the piece as a “lushly scored work” that will “send you home with a helpless, contented smile on your face”), and within no time, Jason had assembled Christopher Michael Venditti, a fantastic young trumpeter fresh out of Juilliard , a group of L.A.'s best session musicians, and an all-star cast including John Lithgow, Kathy Bates, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Mandy Moore, James Naughton and Martin Short. THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN is subtitled "a novel symphony for actors and musicians," and children and adults alike will delight in this story of Louis, the young swan born without a voice who, with the help of his courageous father and a loyal boy named Sam, finds fame, fortune and true love in the big world. Street date is June 21st, and we'll be beginning preorders later this week.



Posted on Sunday, May 8, 2011
family
Last Tuesday, on a particularly awful business day (the kind of day when the bad news just keeps on comin'), Tommy was heard to exclaim, "I hate the world, Tillie," a quote (or slight misquote, as it turns out) from Paul Zindel's Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. A few days later, we were saddened to learn that the actress who had first uttered that phrase, the amazing Sada Thompson, had passed away at age 83. We lost a lot of great people in the arts last week, but for those kinds of subjective reasons that sometime defy explanation, Ms. Thompson's passing proved particularly upsetting. We never saw her performance in Marigolds, or her Tony Award-winning quadruple turn in Twigs (of which Walter Kerr wrote that she "does not simply give a stunning performance -- she gives four of them"), and her only long-running television role, her Emmy-winning portrayal of matriarch Kate Lawrence in ABC's Family, was so softened and muted after the first full season that it ultimately gave her little opportunity to shine. But if you want to see an inkling of the force that was Sada Thompson, check out this clip from the pilot of Family, as mesmerizing now as it was in 1976, then check out this equally affecting one from later in the same episode.



Posted on Friday, April 29, 2011
Did you think you'd get a prince?
On this particular day when William and Kate have exchanged vows, perhaps it's fitting that we announce a pairing of our own: not of British royalty, but of Broadway royalty. Kate Baldwin will unveil her second solo disc on PS Classics this summer with the release of SHE LOVES HIM: Kate Baldwin Sings Sheldon Harnick, which we recorded live at Feinstein’s in March. The album is dedicated to the songs of Sheldon Harnick and includes not only favorites from his biggest hits -- Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me and Fiorello! -- but rarely-heard songs from his early Off-Broadway career, film scores and unproduced musicals. Harnick even joins Baldwin on several selections, making it very much a "royal pairing." (Harnick, of course, has been a member of the Broadway elite for decades now; Kate is not only a 2010 Tony Award-nominee for her starring role in Finian’s Rainbow, but it is perhaps worth noting that her character's lineage in that particular show is of such quality stock that, in the words of Yip Harburg and Fred Saidy, "her whole family tree for generations consists of nothing but ancestors.") Look for SHE LOVES HIM in early July.



Posted on Thursday, April 28, 2011
save le grand boom boom for me
Sisters and Tony Award-nominated actresses Liz Callaway and Ann Hampton Callaway have delighted and enthralled crowds with BOOM!, their hit concert celebrating the soundtrack of their childhood with unforgettable songs from the 1960s and '70s. Now, they're bringing their hit show – in which, The New York Times raved, the sisters “lift these songs to expressive heights rarely attained by any singer” – to Birdland, and we'll be there, recording equipment in hand, to preserve their live performance on disc. BOOM! is a joyous, exultant evening – sometimes zany, often moving, always surprising – that features tunes made famous by Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Barbra Streisand, Jimmy Webb, Stevie Wonder and others, such as “A Case of You,” “Yesterday,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Always Something There to Remind Me” and “Blowin' in the Wind.” BOOM! brims with a warmth, joy and love that will transport listeners back to a time when the songs on the radio were the soundtrack of life; we're aiming for an early summer release, but you can already pre-order now.



Posted on Friday, April 22, 2011
to be alive in such an age
When we brought out our studio cast recording of KITTY'S KISSES in late 2009, we mentioned that we needed to sell 2500 units to fund our next in-house restoration: SWEET BYE AND BYE, by Vernon Duke (pictured) and Ogden Nash. Well, we didn't hit 2500, but with a little help from our friends, we're delighted to announce that this summer, we'll be unveiling a studio cast recording of SWEET BYE AND BYE -- conducted by Eric Stern, with a cast featuring Danny Burstein, Philip Chaffin, Sara Jean Ford, Telly Leung, Michele Ragusa, Graham Rowat, Jim Stanek and, in the leading role originated by Dolores Gray, Marin Mazzie. A futuristic farce sending up big business, telecommunications, self-help groups and even the traditions of courtship and matrimony, at heart SWEET BYE AND BYE is a simple love story with some of the most beautiful ballads Broadway had ever heard. Duke and Nash's score was pretty much decimated during its pre-Broadway tryout in 1946 (a tumultuous month filled with cast replacements, nervous breakdowns, and backstage violence), but producer Tommy Krasker, our editorial coordinator Robert Edridge-Waks, and orchestrator Jason Carr have been working feverishly to restore SWEET BYE AND BYE to its original glory -- for indeed it is a glorious accomplishment. Look for it in late June!



Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011
In Godiva We Trust
In 1930, George and Ira Gershwin scored a Broadway hit with their landmark STRIKE UP THE BAND, a satire of war profiteering and jingoism about a chocolate magnate named Horace J. Fletcher who finances a war against the Swiss; sixty years later, producer Tommy Krasker restored the work, and began to record it, under the auspices of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts, with a cast featuring Brent Barrett, Rebecca Luker, Don Chastain, Jason Graae, and Beth Fowler, among others. That recording was never completed or released (only an early version of STRIKE UP THE BAND, a very different score heard during the show's ill-fated pre-Broadway tryout in 1927, was issued on disc, by our friends at Nonesuch Records), but this past winter, with the support of Michael Strunsky, Robert Kimball and Michael Owen -- President, Artistic Advisor and Archivist, respectively, of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts -- and Betty Auman, of the Music Division of the Library of Congress, we got back to work, and completed the world premiere recording of the 1930 Broadway score of STRIKE UP THE BAND, which PS Classics will be unveiling on June 21st. STRIKE UP THE BAND also marks our 100th album, and we can't think of a better way to celebrate. Here's a recording 20 years in the making, of a landmark musical from over 80 years ago. Let the drums roll out...



Posted on Tuesday, February 8, 2011
"Okay, kid, this is where it gets complicated."
We're back, rested and refreshed, from our annual winter vacation -- having consumed about two dozen current films, ten episodes of Relic Radio (www.relicradio.com -- check it out), and Season 5 of "Doctor Who" -- and gearing up for our spring and summer releases. And although we're not ready to announce anything yet, we're looking at a set of CD's as exciting, unexpected and unconventional as any in our ten-year history. The oldest music is from twenty years ago, the newest from sixty years ago. (Huh?) The furthest project is happening 3000 miles away, the closest is taking place 6000 miles away. (What?) Well, we warned you it was complicated -- don't blink, or you might miss something.

Meanwhile, we're in a festive, belated-new-year, early-valentine mood, so a free CD (of your choice) to the first customer to correctly identify the title of this column.



Posted on Thursday, December 2, 2010
grateful
Thanks to all who've called or emailed to congratulate us on our two Grammy nominations, for A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC and SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM in the category of Best Musical Show Album. The Grammy nominations are always wildly unpredictable, and we had no idea which -- if any -- of our 2010 releases might receive nods. But NIGHT MUSIC and SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM were among our most challenging and rewarding albums this year, so it's extremely gratifying that the Recording Academy chose to recognize them. Congratulations, too, to our nominated colleagues at other labels: Billie Joe Armstrong at Reprise, for American Idiot; Robert Sher at Knitting Factory, for Fela!; and David Caddick & David Lai at Masterworks Broadway, for Promises, Promises. We're honored to be in such good company.



Posted on Monday, November 30, 2010
Song of the Desert Island List
Our final Desert Island list, submitted by Tony Berman of Marina del Rey, CA. Tony's list focuses more on our cast recordings than our previous lists did, so it seems a nice way to round out the series. Check out his list here, and thanks again to all who submitted!



Posted on Friday, November 26, 2010
"reflected glory all around"
It's infrequent that we devote a full disc to a single new theatre composer; LOVE ON A SUMMER AFTERNOON: Songs of Sam Davis marks our first since Georgia Stitt's THIS ORDINARY THURSDAY back in 2007. It's also rare that we reprint full reviews here, but the first one we saw for Sam's album -- from Rob Lester at Talkin' Broadway -- so captured the very qualities that drew us to Sam's work, and why we felt his songs would prove so winning and effective on a full-length disc, that we decided to offer it in its entirety. You can read the review here, and if intrigued, purchase the CD here.



Posted on Monday, November 15, 2010
Tommy's favorite couplets
Tommy has long maintained that his three favorite musical theatre couplets are Ogden Nash's "One way to be very wealthy/Is to be very, very, very rich" -- plus two by Comden & Green: "Sue, Sue, Sue, I love you, honey/Sue, Sue, Sue, give me your money" and "Why am I even considering this?/Is it the two hundred thousand dollars?" Since these all have to do with money, we thought it would segue nicely into our announcement that we've begun our annual holiday sale, with 95% of our catalog marked down to $14.95 from now through the end of the year. This year, half our profits will be donated to The Trevor Project, the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

On a related note, last year, when we released our restoration of the 1926 musical comedy KITTY'S KISSES, we mentioned that we needed to sell 2500 units to fund recording of our next vintage restoration, Vernon Duke and Ogden Nash's forgotten Sweet Bye and Bye. Sold to date on KITTY'S KISSES: 1042 units. So as you're purchasing holiday gifts, don't forget to throw in a KITTY'S KISSES as a gift for friends or family.

We appreciate your business.



Posted on Saturday, November 6, 2010
Fancy or not a stitch / Which is better?
In 2004, Steven Suskin at Playbill.com wrote of our just-released Original Broadway Cast Recording of ASSASSINS, "Does this new [CD of] Assassins supplant the worthy original? My answer, on consideration, is a definite 'yes.'” In 2006, of our London Cast Recording of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, he predicted, "I already foresee the Evans–Russell Sunday becoming my Sunday of choice, and I am glad to pass on an unqualified recommendation for this CD." And last weekend, in critiquing our new LA CAGE AUX FOLLES disc, he summarized, "Watching the Chocolate Factory production at the Longacre, and listening to the new CD from PS Classics, I must say that I wholeheartedly prefer virtually everything about it [to the original]."

Which is not to say that Mr. Suskin loves everything we do here at PS Classics -- in fact, some of his most critical reviews have been saved for some of our favorite releases -- or that we ourselves would posture our new Broadway cast recording is "better" than the original. (As Tommy notes in his recent interview, the last thing we're thinking about when we take on a revival is competing with -- or heaven knows, supplanting -- the original.) We're just pleased that someone who loves the new, Tony Award-winning Broadway revival feels we captured its emotional heart and brassy spirit on disc.

And happily, Suskin's colleagues have agreed. At Next Magazine, David Hurst cheered, "Beautifully produced, this new recording holds its own—and then some!" Rob Lester at Talkin' Broadway observed, "PS Classics has given us a sparklingly and solidly produced cast album with another of their generous booklets." And at Theatermania, Andy Propst raved, "This immaculately produced disc not only preserves Douglas Hodge's Tony Award-winning performance as Albin/Zaza and Kelsey Grammer's Tony-nominated turn as Georges, but it also captures the show's bountiful heart and humor. The affection that the two characters [display] for one another is entirely palpable on the recording."



Posted on Monday, November 1, 2010
tin, tin tin...
...as in Desiree's "He's a tin soldier -- arms, legs, brain -- tin, tin, tin!"

Ten years ago today, on November 1, 2000, we released our first album, Philip's evocation of the big-band era, WHERE DO I GO FROM YOU? At that time, we had no plans to become an ongoing record label, but well -- shit happens. It's been a rewarding, at time maddening, and frequently exhilarating ten years, and we wanted to take a moment to thank our loyal customers, some of whom have been buying directly from us here at psclassics.com since that very first CD.

We posted a new About Us column recently, laying out -- with equally parts jocularity and concern -- some of the challenges we're facing, but more important, noting how we'll be outlaying our profits from now through the end of the year. FYI, if you'd like to help us aid the worthy cause we're supporting, we'll begin our holiday mark-down sale early this year: two weeks from today.

And on a lighter note, the traditional gift for a ten-year anniversary is tin. The modern gift is diamond jewelry. Far be it from us to be sticklers for tradition, so feel free to send diamonds.



Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Desert Island List Goes Home
Thanks to the nearly 100 people who submitted "Desert Island" lists. As promised, we put 'em in a hat and picked two. This one from Len Fenice, of Missouri City, TX.

And congratulations to Josh Garstka of Brookline, MA, for being the first to identify the titles of these recent columns as an homage to the classic Thin Man series. Josh requested a copy of LIFE BEGINS AT 8:40 as his prize, which we were delighted to provide!

Stephen Sondheim
Posted on Monday, October 25, 2010

pipes of steele
The Metropolitan Room in NYC has played host to any number of our artists -- from Maureen McGovern and Liz Callaway to Jason Danieley and Philip Chaffin; in March of 2009, they held their first "Metro Star" talent competition, and offered the winner, Anne Steele, a week-long engagement. Although Anne's repertoire veers towards pop and rock -- from Cat Stevens and Freddie Mercury to Britney Spears and Pink -- we were so taken with her talent, her instincts, and her joie de vivre that we offered her a recording. The result, STRINGS ATTACHED, beautifully arranged for string instruments by musical director Kenny Davidsen, is currently on sale at our website, and hits stores on November 2nd. The night before release, Anne will be headlining at Joe's Pub in NYC at 7:30 PM; the day after release, on November 3rd, Anne will be singing and signing at the Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Center at 6 PM. Join Anne on a wonderful and diverse musical journey.




Posted on Saturday, October 2, 2010
Shadow of the Desert Island List

When we started our "15 tracks you'd bring to a desert island" list, we weren't expecting customers to chime in, but chime in they did.  Click here to see a list from long-time customer Andy, who requested that his last name remain anonymous.

We're intending to publish two more Desert Island lists before our ten-year anniversary hits on November 1, 2010, so if you'd like folks to know your 15 favorite PS Classics tracks, send them to info@psclassics.com before October 10th.  We'll put 'em in a hat, and pick two to publish.

Meanwhile, a free PS Classics CD (of your choice) to the first person who, given the titles of the last three Desert Island posts (this one, the one from September 6th, and the one from August 7th), can tell us what the next Desert Island post will be titled.  Write us at info@psclassics.com.





Stephen Sondheim
Posted on Monday, September 27, 2010
we've got God
Our Original Broadway Cast Recording of SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM was released four weeks ago, and the critics have been cheering ever since. At USA Today, Elysa Gardner titled her review, "Something Appealing, Something Enthralling," and cheered, "From its stars — the affable, robust Tom Wopat; the relentlessly charming Vanessa Williams and the peerless Barbara Cook — to its supple-voiced, expertly-used supporting players, the ensemble captures the piercing wit and the dizzying peaks of joy and heartache in these intricate but highly approachable treasures." At Theatermania, Andy Propst noted, "There's been a lot of Stephen Sondheim's music offered up this year as he celebrates his 80th birthday, but the most lasting gift could very well turn out to be the original cast recording of SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM. Transferred to disc with care and taste by producer Tommy Krasker, it's a little like the songwriter has pulled up a chair to have a one-on-one conversation with you."

Steven Suskin at Playbill found called the performances “exceptional” and Sondheim’s commentary “endlessly fascinating,” while Rob Lester at Talkin' Broadway hailed the album as "illuminating and entertaining." From down under, Jim Murphy in the Melbourne Age gave it five stars, raving, "These two CD's encapsulate an enthralling show, with 37 songs displaying Sondheim's genius interwoven with his revealing commentary." In the Philadephia Inquirer, Jonathan Takiff gave it an "A", praising the "vocal firepower" of the three stars and the "entertaining narration by the subject himself," while Chris Spector at Midwest Records deemed it “must listening for any true show music fan, as something like this will never come this way again.”




Posted on Monday, September 6, 2010
Another Desert Island List
Allan Stein, our Marketing & Project Manager, offered his own Desert Island list. Click here to view his choices.

 


Posted on Monday, August 23, 2010
making tracks
As we work feverishly to put the finishing touches on our New Broadway Cast Recording of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, we've finalized the track list. Congratulations to Chris Grum of Sugar Land, TX, R.J. Lowe of Vienna, WV, and Brandon T Miller of Harrisburg, PA, for coming closest to guessing the final track list. And thanks to all who entered our "guess the LA CAGE track list" contest (we had nearly 150 entries), and thanks for the enthusiastic and excited notes that often accompanied those entries. You can view the final track list, hear soundclips, and preorder here.
   


Posted on Monday, August 9, 2010
Love on a Summer Afternoon
We first worked with conductor Sam Davis a decade ago, when he joined us for some concerts celebrating Philip's first CD. But we really only began to focus on his gifts as a composer in the last few years: first when he co-authored two of the tracks on Georgia Stitt's THIS ORDINARY THURSDAY, then when he supplied the title track to Rebecca Luker's GREENWICH TIME. We asked Sam if he'd send along some other songs he'd written, and by the time we were on the third tune, we knew we had the makings of a beautiful album. Sam composes in many styles, but in particular, there's a romantic yet rueful quality to much of his work that especially attracted us. The other thing that struck us is how many of his songs were written to be sung by men. With the prevailing wisdom that musical theatre is a "diva's" medium, we thought it would be fun to do an album with all men: 15 or 17 great male Broadway singers. We're looking to release LOVE ON A SUMMER AFTERNOON on November 2nd; you can read more about it, and more about Sam, and even preorder here.

 
 


Posted on Sunday, August 8, 2010
21 Going on 22
Whenever we announce a new cast album, there's immediate speculation about the track list. As we've noted before, we have to set up new CDs in retail three months prior to street date, usually before we've even set foot in the studio, so what goes out to retail is a 'mock' track list -- often drawn from the show's Playbill. The final track list evolves over time. We can't tell you right now whether LA CAGE AUX FOLLES -- spectacularly preserved on disc by Kelsey Grammer, Douglas Hodge and company last week -- will end up being 21 or 22 tracks. (It depends if we give one short item its own ID.) But what we can say is that we've retained a lot of the encores, playoffs and reprises that are so much a part of the show, and that we've done our darndest to capture that marvelous 'bird's eye' view of the club that exists in the theatre. We think fans of the show -- and fans of the production -- will be pleased. We'll be announcing the final track list in two weeks. In the meantime, a free LA CAGE album to the person who comes closest to guessing the correct track list; write us at info@psclassics.com, and put LA CAGE TRACK LISTING in the subject line.


 


Posted on Saturday, August 7, 2010
After the Desert Island List
Robbie Rozelle, who's been assisting us since 2003, read our July 4th column and chimed in with his own "Desert Island" list. Click here to view his choices.

 


Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2010
L. Gardner
We were reminded this past week of an episode of Newhart called "Hi, Society"; the main plot involves Dick escorting Stephanie to a posh party in New York City, where she instructs him that whenever he's at a loss for words, to "throw your head back in a playful manner and laugh knowingly" (advice that's come in handy here at PS Classics, by the way). But the subplot -- the relevant plot here -- concerns one L. Gardner, a guest at the inn who checks in while everyone's asleep, and the ongoing efforts of Joanna, George and Larry to determine if L. Gardner is a man or a woman. Only the two Darryls have actually seen L. Gardner, and of course, they're mute. When one of the Darryls mimes that L. Gardner is a woman, and the other mimes that L. Gardner is a man, Larry is left to conclude that L. Gardner must be (wait for it) "a swing dancer from the road company of the lilting Jerry Herman musical La Cage aux Folles."

We were reminded of this episode this past week because we will, to our delight, be recording the new Broadway cast album of the lilting Jerry Herman musical LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, starring Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge, and winner of three 2010 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Actor in a Musical.  Look for a late September release, or preorder your copy here, and receive it two weeks ahead of street date!



Posted on Monday, July 12, 2010
The Boys of Summer
The Broadway Boys -- a collection of the hottest tenor voices currently working on the New York Stage -- released their debut disc, LULLABY OF BROADWAY, on PS Classics on June 8th, and it instantly shot to #6 at iTunes. The group's distinctive way of infusing elements of pop, gospel, funk and jazz into traditional Broadway repertoire (creating an evening that has been called "A Symphony of Sound") has been so graciously welcomed by customers and applauded by critics (at Theatermania this week, Andy Propst called it a "vibrant disc where standards like 'The Impossible Dream' (Man of La Mancha) and John Lennon's 'Imagine' are reinvigorated to extraordinary effect with gloriously complex, ear-pleasing harmonies") that we've already begun work on a follow-up disc, a holiday album to be released in late Fall.

But in the meantime, if you haven't yet picked up LULLABY OF BROADWAY, you can sample clips and purchase the full CD here, or choose your favorites to purchase over at iTunes. Most popular tracks at iTunes: "Defying Gravity" and "Lullaby of Broadway," although we here have a special fondness for "Feelin' Good," "I Don't Care Much," "Mama, A Rainbow" and "Shadowland." It's 14 splendid tracks, and you can't go wrong with any.



Posted on Sunday, July 4, 2010
on a desert island with thee
With over ninety CD's in our catalog now, we realize it's gotten harder for newcomers to our site to browse through our product, in search of what they might like best. So over the next few weeks, we're going to be asking folks on our staff to suggest 15 "desert island" tracks from our catalog -- i.e., stranded on a desert island, these are the tracks they'd most want on their iPod, or iPhone, or iWhatever.

We started with PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker, but since he doesn't actually own an iPod or iPhone, the whole concept baffled him, and he chose instead to list fifteen tracks that, over the years, he's found himself listening to repeatedly: not just once or twice, but repeatedly. We gave him just three minutes to list them, so that he wouldn't have time to think about a "balanced" program, or whom he might be omitting.

Click here for his choices, alphabetically, with iTunes links, in case you want to listen along.

 


Stephen Sondheim



Posted on Tuesday, June 1, 2010
ten years
That's how long we've been in business now, since the release of (A&R Director) Philip Chaffin's WHERE DO I GO FROM YOU? (designed as a one-off, with no thought of actually becoming an ongoing label) back in November of 2000. It's also how long (Executive Producer) Tommy Krasker has had the honor of working with Stephen Sondheim, since he produced the cast recordings of Saturday Night and Sweeney Todd: Live at the New York Philharmonic back in the spring of 2000. (It's also a key plot point in the Friends episode entitled "The One With Joey's Big Break" -- "she's been dead for ten years" -- but that's not really relevant here.) So it seems fitting that during this anniversary year, PS Classics should have the opportunity to celebrate Sondheim's legacy with the two-disc original Broadway cast recording of SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM, which we'll be recording this coming Sunday and Monday and which you can preorder here now and receive the week of August 9th, a full three weeks ahead of street date.

With our ten-year anniversary upon us, we've also taken this opportunity to engage designer Mark Bakalor to create a new PS Classics website: one that will make it a little easier for customers to maneuver among our 90 CD's, search our catalog (e.g., "What CDs are Rebecca Luker on?"), check out What's New, and find product best-suited to their particular tastes.

 



Michael Kuchwara

Posted on Sunday, May 23, 2010
Michael Kuchwara (1947-2010)
“When you're young, your whole life is first times: first date, first prom, first time you fall in love. And then one day you look up and your life is full of last times.” – Karen MacKenzie, Knots Landing

The first time I met Mike Kuchwara was in 1987, when the AP assigned him to write up a production of Lady, Be Good! I helped revive. We became fast friends. In those days before caller ID, when he would call me and I'd answer the phone, he'd announce himself as "AP Theatre Desk," and I'd respond excitedly "Kuch!" A call from Mike was always a treat. At some point, Mike and I discovered we were both fans of Knots Landing, which only strengthened our bond. When Mike learned that I was obsessed with TV ratings, he started faxing me the weekly TV ratings every Tuesday afternoon, hot off the AP presses. Those continued to arrive every Tuesday until a week before he died. When Philip and I started PS Classics, we made sure Mike got a courtesy copy of all our CD's, but that didn't stop him from visiting our website every time we had a new release and purchasing additional copies as gifts for friends; his sweetness and generosity were boundless.

The last time I saw Mike Kuchwara was at the recording session for The Story of My Life. He was writing a story about the value of recording cast albums of short-lived shows, but he was also there as a fan -- not just of the show, but much more to the point, of theatre in general. Mike loved theatre; during the 23 years I knew him, his enthusiasm never waned. He was tireless. And just as he was rarely unkind when he penned a negative review -- he could be critical, but so rare in this business, never gratuitously unkind -- he was a gentleman in real life. A good man, a dear friend. Loyal and thoughtful and caring. Philip and I will miss him dearly.

-- Tommy Krasker

 

Posted on Tuesday, May 4, 2010
things, just things
The 2010 Tony Award nominations came out this morning, and both FINIAN'S RAINBOW and A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC received nominations as Best Musical Revival. Special congratulations to Finian's Kate Baldwin and Christopher Fitzgerald, and to Memphis's Montego Glover, who scored acting nominations; all three -- along with Philip Chaffin, Rebecca Luker, Brad Oscar, Faith Prince, Graham Rowat and Jessica Stone -- star on our upcoming disc of Harold Arlen, Ira Gershwin and Yip Harburg's LIFE BEGINS AT 8:40, which hits stores on June 8th. LIFE BEGINS -- 18 tracks, plus a 32-page full-color booklet complete with essay, lyrics, and period photos -- is in the final stages of post-production, but already promises to be as lavish, engaging and just plain fun as we hoped it would be; we'll begin shipping two weeks ahead of street date, on May 25th, and you're welcome to preorder now.

 

Posted on Sunday, April 11, 2010
that woman who mooned Atlanta
Occasionally, when a celebrity dies, we're tempted to print a brief remembrance. But we recognize that others could honor their legacy far more eloquently than we could, so we let the moment pass, unacknowledged. But for Dixie Carter, who passed away yesterday, we'll make an exception. During the final season of Designing Women, when the show was on its last legs, Ms. Carter noted that the cast was doing the best they could, but "if it's not on the page, it's not on the stage." The truth is that, even when the show was in its prime, the best Designing Women scripts -- head-and-shoulders above most TV fare -- wouldn't have been nearly as memorable without Ms. Carter's sharply-etched characterization and delivery. "In the end, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about you," Julia Sugarbaker advised her sister near the end of one Emmy-nominated episode. "In the end, all that really matter is what was true, and truly felt." What's "true" is that Ms. Carter brought us hours of viewing pleasure, and left us with decades of memories and quotes. And for that, we want to thank you (Ray Don)...

 


Posted on Friday, March 5, 2010
spring fever
In one of our About Us columns a year or two back, we hinted that we were at work on two vintage musicals. KITTY'S KISSES was one, which upon its release last fall prompted the most reviews of any cast album in five years, with raves from Playbill to Theatermania, from D.C. to Cleveland to Houston to San Francisco, from London to Australia. The second vintage musical is the 1934 Harold Arlen/Ira Gershwin/Yip Harburg revue LIFE BEGINS AT 8:40, which the Library of Congress will be presenting in concert on March 22, and which we will then be taking into a New York studio the following week to preserve on disc, with a 24-piece orchestra and a cast headed by Kate Baldwin, Philip Chaffin, Christopher Fitzgerald, Montego Glover, Rebecca Luker, Brad Oscar, Faith Prince, Graham Rowat and Jessica Stone. Aaron Gandy is the conductor, the score includes both the familiar and the forgotten, and we're aiming for a summer release.

 


Posted on Friday, January 29, 2010
in the castle of the King of the Belgians
This is usually our “quiet” time of year – that brief hiatus between our fall and spring releases. But late in 2009, two shows opened that we knew we wanted in our catalogue, so we’ve been spending our winter months readying cast albums of two classic musicals: FINIAN’S RAINBOW, which we’ve written up a few times here, and the new Broadway production of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Angela Lansbury and Alexander Hanson. For those unfamiliar with Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s “heady, civilized, sophisticated and enchanting” (The New York Times) “perfect romantic comedy musical” (The New Yorker), it’s one of the true glories of the American stage, and its felicities are everywhere apparent in this new production. A co-production with our colleagues at Nonesuch Records, we’re looking to a late winter release.

 


Posted on Monday, January 24, 2010
Woody's comin'
We were saddened – like so many theatre fans – by the closing of FINIAN’S RAINBOW last weekend, but we’re delighted that this glorious production will live on (aurally, at least) in our New Broadway Cast Recording, due in stores February 2nd. Our offices are currently closed for two weeks (as they’d put it in Glocca Morra, we’re “on holiday”), so we won’t be doing our usual early websales for FINIAN’S. Best way to get it : via Amazon, who typically begin shipping the Friday before street date. Or, if you’re in the New York area on February 1st, one day prior to release, the principal cast of FINIAN’S RAINBOW will be performing and signing CD’s at the Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Center at 5 PM – so you can be the first in your neighborhood to get a FINIAN’S album, and get it signed.

 


Posted on December 6, 2009
so sugar candish, so ginger beer
The classic American musical FINIAN’S RAINBOW returned to Broadway on October 29, 2009, to rave reviews. The New York Times predicted “permanent sunshine” for this “thoroughly winning and joyous” production; Variety hailed it as an “infectious charmer, with one of Broadway’s consistently melodious scores”; while the critic for The Wall Street Journal stated simply, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more musically satisfying show.” Featuring some of the wittiest, most heartfelt and memorable songs ever written for the stage (including “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?” “Old Devil Moon,” and “Look to the Rainbow”), Burton Lane and Yip Harburg’s score – rendered here by a cast of 30 and a full orchestra -- remains one of Broadway’s finest. The acclaimed cast includes Broadway stars Jim Norton, Cheyenne Jackson and Christopher Fitzgerald, plus our own Kate Baldwin in a star-making turn. Tomorrow we’ll have the honor and pleasure of preserving this musical theatre treasure on disc, and come February 2nd, PS Classics’ New Broadway Cast Recording will hit stores and “carry you away on a cloud of melody, magic and make-you-swoon performances” (New York Daily News).

 


Posted on November 2, 2009
"magic occurs"
A few years ago, in our About Us column, we spoke about how hard it is to determine which CD’s will “catch on”: how we always choose projects for artistic reasons, but that sometimes projects take on a life of their own that carries them beyond what we could have foreseen at the time. Georgia Stitt came to us in the summer of 2008 with an early mix of her ALPHABET CITY CYCLE, and we told her how much we loved the cycle, and adored the singer – although we didn’t know who she was. Her name, Georgia told us, was Kate Baldwin, and although we should have known her name from her many Broadway and regional credits (including a She Loves Me at Williamstown that still has people talking), well, sometimes we’re a little behind the times. But we thought Kate was a phenomenal talent, so after Georgia’s song-cycle was successfully launched, we spoke with Kate about doing a solo album. We announced the upcoming disc last spring – a celebration of songs penned by Burton Lane and Yip Harburg, both separately and together – and the album hit stores on October 20th.

Nine days later, Kate opened in Finian’s Rainbow on Broadway, and the following morning, she was the toast of New York, with some of the most rapturous reviews we’ve read. The New York Times noted, “Ms. Baldwin has appeared on Broadway before and has a solid list of regional and Off Broadway credits. But never has she made the bewitching impression she does here. Magic occurs whenever Ms. Baldwin has a chance to sing.” The Wall Street Journal called her “the real deal,” Variety hailed her “revelation,” and Entertainment Weekly proclaimed her “a gem.” The Associated Press found her “radiant,” while NY1 cheered, “The true gold in this show is Kate Baldwin. An engaging actress with a bent for comedy and a glorious set of pipes, she is divine!

You can hear Kate in action by picking up a copy of LET’S SEE WHAT HAPPENS, as she takes on fifteen tunes by Lane & Harburg with breathtaking assurance, creativity, and elan. Equally at home with the tender ease of “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?” as she is with the swinging drive of “Come Back to Me,” Kate mines the rich lyrics of the smoldering “Paris Is a Lonely Town,” exudes romance and wit in “How About You?” and brings down the house with the raucous “I Don’t Think I’ll End It All Today.” We couldn’t be more proud of this album, and we’re delighted for Kate that her recent Broadway triumph will no doubt entice even more customers to discover her on disc. (FYI, in addition to being a glorious talent, Kate's one of the nicest people in the business.)

 


Posted on October 24, 2009
all about Steve
As we noted back in a column in the fall of 2007 (“solid performers”), there are some albums that – through a combination of great reviews and terrific word-of-mouth – just keep selling month after month, defying all sales trends. Steve Pasquale’s SOMETHIN’ LIKE LOVE streeted in mid-April, and now, six months later, customers continue to find it, and critics continue to rave. Cabaret Scenes praised it as “one of the best discoveries to come around in a long time,” while Next Magazine tagged it “an instant winner ... a treasure trove of American Songbook standards that Pasquale croons with style, substance and sex appeal.” The Connecticut Post found it “a beautiful collection” that “went into immediate heavy-rotation with Frank and Ella and feels right at home there,” while The New York Times hailed Steve as “a polished jazz crooner in the Chet Baker mold." At Sirius Radio, Jonathan Schwartz voted it “the CD of the year.” Join Steve as he takes on a dozen romantic jazz-tinged tunes. The songs are already classics; the album promises to become one as well.

 


Posted on October 15, 2009
kiss me once, then kiss me twice
The first review of our new cast album of KITTY’S KISSES came out on Tuesday, in a column by Midwest Records’ Chris Spector, and it showered praise not only on the finished product, but on the impulse behind the CD (as well as the style and sound). We thought we’d reprint it here:

“Oops, I’m getting old. I remember when record companies made records because some records just had to be made. Such is the case with PS Classics’ forgotten musicals series and their newest entry: a studio revival of a 1926 summer musical that was a hit in its time but is now completely forgotten. Rounding up a studio cast of label stalwarts, producer Tommy Krasker clearly grew up on the records of Goddard Lieberson. Sounding every bit like a classic 1950s Columbia Records soundtrack (with today’s technology behind it), this set merits the Midwest Record highly-coveted jaw-dropping 4 ‘goddamn’s. If you aren’t a Broadway fan and can’t wrap your head around an hour of whimsy and top-shelf vocal performances, such is your loss. Someone put TARP money to good use and give this record company a blank check to make more records that need to be made. Everyone involved should take a deep bow.”

One quick clarification: the marvelous artists involved aren’t exactly “label stalwarts” (although we do work with them every chance we get!), but they are most assuredly some of the best performers in the business: Kate Baldwin, Andréa Burns, Danny Burstein, Victoria Clark, Christopher Fitzgerald, Malcolm Gets, Rebecca Luker, Sally Wilfert and Jim Stanek, among others. If you haven’t had the chance yet to pick up KITTY’S KISSES and luxuriate in a bit of Twenties foolishness and fun, you can do so by clicking here.

 


Posted on October 14, 2009
I fancy the face(book) I face
We’ve taken the plunge and created a PS Classics Facebook page. So if you’re interested in joining, hearing where artists are performing in your area, and finding out about new releases first, you can become a fan by clicking here.

 


Posted on September 1, 2009
the days grow short
Maxwell Anderson had it right: the days do grow short when you reach September. As we work to ready five (!) CD’s for fall release, there barely seem to be enough hours in the day. But we’re right on track to make October 20th street dates for four of these albums: stunning new solo discs by Liz Callaway, Rebecca Luker and Kate Baldwin – and our star-studded studio cast recording of the 1926 musical KITTY’S KISSES. All four are now available for pre-order at Amazon; or you can wait till street date to download them at iTunes. Or, if you’re the kind of person who likes to get CD’s early – and appreciates a good deal – and likes to support small business – you can check back here on October 6th, when we’ll not only begin selling and shipping all four albums, but offering some terrific discounts. We typically send out an E-blast when CD’s go on sale, to alert our regular online customers to early websales and great deals; if you’re not already on our E-mail list, and want to be, you can sign up here. Our fall releases promise to be among the best in our catalogue; you won’t want to miss them!

 


Posted on August 26, 2009
four men and a funeral
It’s probably not “news” at this point that THE STORY OF MY LIFE, starring Will Chase and Malcolm Gets, didn’t sustain a lengthy Broadway run. In a column further down this page, though, we note that the announcement of our planned recording elicited more grateful E-mails than any show in recent memory. Equally gratifying: since the album release, reviews have been coming in regularly, and they’ve been glowing. At USA Today, Elysa Gardner singled out “People Carry On” as one of her “tracks of the week,” and hailed the show as “this year's most underappreciated Broadway musical, an unabashed, irresistible tearjerker.” (At Film Score Monthly, Cary Wong also lamented that the show proved “one of the sadder casualties of the season.”) Theatermania’s Andy Propst also applauded “People Carry On” (“a heartfelt musical meditation on grief”) and found STORYa chamber musical worth revisiting.” At Talkin’ Broadway, Rob Lester called it a “small show” that makes “a big impact”; he praised the show’s “integrity and beauty,” the lyrics (“literate and full of detail”) and music (“appropriately intense and always rich in emotion”), although his favorite track was the “touching and beautifully written ‘Mrs. Remington,’ one of the strongest and most touching theatre story-songs of recent years.” All the way down-under, Jim Murphy in the Melbourne Age found all the songs “quite exceptional in their felicity.”

Meanwhile, maybe not since our simultaneous releases of MY LIFE WITH ALBERTINE and ZANNA, DON’T! have we been working at the same time on two more startlingly different musicals than THE STORY OF MY LIFE and our upcoming November release, GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL!, which we recorded back in April. A two-man musical starring Christopher Fitzgerald and Jeremy Shamos, GUTENBERG played off-Broadway in 2007. The New York Times called it “a smashing success,” the Associated Press hailed it as “hysterically funny,” and, well, it only took us two years to assemble cast and authors in the recording studio. A spoof of passionate musical theatre writers, GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL! casts Christopher and Jeremy as two desperate and bravely untalented songwriters performing a backers' audition for their new musical about the inventor of the printing press. With an unending supply of enthusiasm, the two authors sing all the songs and play all the parts in their crass historical epic. GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL! was nominated for the 2007 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical and the 2007 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical, and its authors were nominated for the 2007 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical. Now, at long last, we’ve preserved it on this Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording, due in stores November 3rd.

 


Posted on August 23, 2009
Kitty's Kisses
One of our goals, when we formed PS Classics, was to restore and record a vintage musical every few years. But the costs are so high, and the customer base so small (passionate, but small), that that schedule quickly proved impossible. But we keep trying! Our last vintage restoration was FINE AND DANDY, back in 2004. This fall we’ll be unveiling a real rarity: the world premiere recording of the 1926 “bright new summer musical delight” KITTY’S KISSES. We wanted to do something quintessentially Twenties, and something obscure – because of course, there are dozens upon dozens of wonderful shows from that era that are totally forgotten. KITTY’S KISSES features music by Con Conrad, who took home the first Academy Award for Best Song (“The Continental” in 1934), and lyrics by Gus Kahn, whose standards include “It Had to Be You,” “I'll See You in My Dreams,” and “Makin' Whoopee!” The book was co-authored by the great Otto Harbach (Roberta, Desert Song, and No, No, Nanette!). How did we happen upon KITTY’S KISSES? Well, you’ll have to buy the CD when it hits stores on October 20th (earlier at PS Classics.com, naturally) and check out the liner notes for the answer. But it’s a heady bouquet of sweet ballads and rollicking rhythm tunes, and very Twenties! Sam Davis is conducting, and an amazing cast has signed on to join us, including (so far) Kate Baldwin, Andrea Burns, Danny Burstein, Victoria Clark, Christopher Fitzgerald and Rebecca Luker.

 


Posted on August 14, 2009
Greenwich Time
Our last solo album with the wonderful Rebecca Luker was back in 2004, with LEAVING HOME, although she’s since offered indelible performances on such albums as JULE STYNE IN HOLLYWOOD and DEAR EDWINA. Now, in her first solo disc in five years, Rebecca gives voice to the work of bold new songwriters while honoring a generation of musical theatre giants – including Jule Styne, John Kander and Maury Yeston – with some of their most deeply personal dramatic ballads. GREENWICH TIME celebrates the anticipation, joy, and wonderment of love, and Rebecca’s shimmering, soaring soprano embraces every note. Coming to PS Classics October 20th.

 


Posted on August 11, 2009
she didn't unzip one zipper
We’ve fallen behind in updating our News page – more frequent updates to come, we promise! Our splashpage has been trumpeting one new release for weeks, but we haven’t had a chance to announce it here: the debut disc from downtown diva, Kate Pazakis, UNZIPPED: LIVE AT THE ZIPPER. Selections range from “Hand in My Pocket” to “Stay With Me” to Carole King’s classic “So Far Away,” and as a special bonus, Tony Award-winning songwriter Jason Robert Brown came aboard as composer and arranger, penning a new song, “Clarissa’s Last Stand,” especially for Kate. Theatermania called Kate’s live show “stunning and eye-opening,” and hailed Kate as a “natural, gifted entertainer with a great set of pipes!” She’ll be celebrating this new release with a performance and CD signing at the Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Center on Wednesday, August 19th at 6:00 P.M.

 


Posted on June 19, 2009
Lizzie's Comin' Home
Liz Callaway and her music director Alex Rybeck were in our offices this past Monday, finalizing the repertoire for her upcoming solo disc, which we’ll be releasing this October. Liz and Tommy “grew up” in the business together – Liz was making her Broadway debut in Merrily We Roll Along around the time Tommy got his first New York job as rehearsal pianist on Nine: The Musical – but they never worked together until Liz joined us on The Maury Yeston Songbook. And they both enjoyed the experience so much that they decided to collaborate again, this time on a solo disc for Liz. When we began work on the album last fall, we leaked to the press that the album would include “a mix of classic theatre songs, pop songs, and some newer material” – i.e., we didn’t want to give too much away. (It's Liz’s first solo disc in eight years, after all, and the anticipation’s part of the fun.) But suffice to say that the repertoire is both varied and (as one would expect from Liz) carefully chosen, that the tracks we’ve recorded to date are knockouts, and that we think Liz’s fans – and beyond that, music fans, period – will be ecstatic. It’s Liz at her very best – and perhaps we don’t need to say any more than that!

 



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