La Cage Orchestrator Jason Carr Will Sweeten "NoŽl and Cole" Disc; Track Listing Announced
By Kenneth Jones
Orchestrator Jason Carr, Tony Award nominee for the Broadway revivals of Sunday in the Park With George and La Cage aux Folles (2010), has joined the creative team for PS Classics' upcoming "Noël and Cole" disc, featuring the songs of kindred spirits Noël Coward and Cole Porter.
As previously reported, the album of songs arranged and music-directed by David Loud, is loosely based on an earlier version that Loud premiered in November 2011 at Merkin Concert Hall. Cast and orchestra will assemble in a New York studio on Dec. 7 to complete recording; PS Classics has announced a Jan. 29, 2013, release date.
The album will feature six Broadway and PS Classics veterans: Sara Jean Ford (Finian's Rainbow, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, A Little Night Music, The Phantom of the Opera and PS Classics' recent Sweet Little Devil), Elizabeth Stanley (of the Encores! Merrily We Roll Along concert, Million Dollar Quartet, Cry-Baby), Barbara Walsh (Falsettos, Big, Company), Philip Chaffin (PS Classics co-founder, whose first solo disc, "Where Do I Go From You?," launched the label), Euan Morton (Sondheim on Sondheim, Taboo) and Matthew Scott (Sondheim on Sondheim and PS Classics' upcoming Jerome Kern album, "The Land Where the Good Songs Go").
PS Classics co-founder and album producer Tommy Krasker (who was just nominated for two Grammy Awards for PS Classics' cast albums of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess and Follies) told Playbill.com, "Albums are always evolving — this evolution was wild. David and I originally thought the album was going to be just piano and voice — which is how David had previously presented it — with just an occasional orchestral color here and there. David's piano arrangements were so full, we didn't think we'd want much more. But we did an initial four-hour session in November, and the vocal performances were so dynamic, we realized piano alone didn't do them justice. You hear Elizabeth on 'Make It Another Old-Fashioned' or Philip on 'Begin the Beguine' or Barb on 'Sail Away,' and suddenly you wanted an orchestra to soar the way they did.
"I immediately thought of Jason, because he can do rich and romantic but he can also do that Broadway razzmatazz, and he's such a pleasure to work with. And not only was he free, but he knew and loved all the material. So now it's a much richer album than we originally envisioned, and I couldn't be more pleased."
The newly announced track listing is:
1. Another Openin', Another Show/ Why Must the Show Go On?
The composer-lyricists were contemporaries who had much in common, despite their separate heritage (Porter was American, Coward the Brit, of course). Loud — the respected Broadway music director, arranger and conductor — previously told Playbill.com, "I was interested in looking at the similarities and contrasts in the two men's work. They lived and wrote at roughly the same time, on opposite sides of the Atlantic, and both appeared to revel in the sophisticated glow of high society while producing heartbreaking songs that have stood the test of time. I found that by alternating the songs of the two writers, a conversation between the two started to appear. So over the course of the recording, we hear — through song — the two men's ruminations on alcohol, sex, home life, the theatre, and, of course, love and loss."
Krasker told Playbill.com, "Both of David's projects, the Kern revue Land Where the Good Songs Go, which we just recorded, and now Noël and Cole, are the kind of thing we want to be doing more of here: wonderful, personal arrangements and interpretations of the classics."
Broadway and Off-Broadway cast recording have earned PS Classics a lot of attention, but, Krasker reflected, "solo discs and songbooks have been part of our label's mission from the very start — and they're part of what, I think, really define us as a label."
Porter's Broadway musicals include Kiss Me, Kate; Let's Face It!; Anything Goes; Fifty Million Frenchmen; Silk Stockings; Du Barry Was a Lady; Leave It To Me!; Jubilee; Gay Divorce; The New Yorkers; Red, Hot and Blue; Paris and more.
Coward's revues, operettas, plays and musicals include Sail Away; Private Lives; Bitter Sweet; Tonight at 8:30; This Year of Grace; Present Laughter; The Girl Who Came to Supper; Hay Fever; Design for Living and more.
PS Classics will release two discs on Dec. 11: the Jerome Kern revue The Land Where the Good Songs Go (read Playbill's earlier story about PS Classics' commitment to Kern here), and Anthony Rapp's one-man show Without You (read the earlier Playbill story here).
PS Classics has launched its annual holiday sale at psclassics.com; 25 percent of the profits from both albums — as well as all albums sold during the holiday sale — will be donated to the Red Cross, to assist the victims of Hurricane Sandy. PS Classics albums (and many more theatre recordings) are also available at PlaybillStore.com.
Founded in 2000 by Tommy Krasker & Philip Chaffin, and an eight-time Grammy nominee (for its cast albums of Follies, Porgy and Bess, Assassins, Nine: The Musical, Grey Gardens, Company, A Little Night Music and Sondheim on Sondheim), PS Classics celebrates the heritage of Broadway and American popular song through award-winning cast recordings; solo albums by such artists as Maureen McGovern, Victoria Clark, Steven Pasquale, Liz Callaway and Christine Andreas; and restorations of long-lost musicals, including Sweet Bye and Bye, Strike Up the Band 1930 and Kitty's Kisses. Recent releases include the 2012 Encores! concert cast recording of Merrily We Roll Along and its acclaimed studio cast recording of George Gershwin's earliest surviving score, Sweet Little Devil.
Rebecca Luker's solo disc of Jerome Kern songs, "I Got Love," is due out on Jan. 29, 2013.
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