Web Analytics
Times Theater Fans on Their Favorite Musical Cast Albums | Press "Enter" to skip to content

Times Theater Fans on Their Favorite Musical Cast Albums

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  


Under normal circumstances cast albums are used by musical theater fans to experience shows that are no longer running, playing too far away or prohibitively expensive. But with live theater currently on hiatus, these recordings are now one of the few ways that musicals remain accessible.

Recently, The Times’s co-chief theater critics, Ben Brantley and Jesse Green, each chose the 10 albums they’re grateful to have during this time of isolation. Readers reacted with suggestions of their own. Here are but a few lightly edited responses:

“Guys and Dolls”! Seriously! And “The Music Man”! I don’t know what you would take out, but you have to include these two just for the joy if nothing else. PAULA

Neither of you two listed “Candide”? Sure, the book is a mess, but that doesn’t play a role in the cast album (or albums as there is no definitive compilation and so several different selections to choose from). My favorite is {John} Mauceri’s with City Opera. A more gorgeous score and wittier lyrics cannot be found in all of theater. And sue me, but I prefer it to “West Side Story.” GARY

Whatever happened to “The Sound of Music”? If you are to be marooned, why not some of the happiest songs? It’s your choice whether it’s the Broadway cast album (Mary Martin) or the movie soundtrack (Julie Andrews). JIM

Seriously? A desert island list is exactly THE top 10 must-have and ONLY list — the ones that you listen to on repeat forever, not the weird obscure ones to show us that you’re a show critic! “Hamilton”: of course!! “West Side Story”: definitely! But not to include “Fiddler,” “Evita,” “Oliver,” “A Chorus Line,” “Sound of Music” and “Les Mis”? DR TEL

“Porgy and Bess.” The only recording I now have is from the 1959 film, but the music is still glorious, especially those numbers by Sportin’ Life, sung by Cab Calloway. JONATHAN

“Hair,” a great album from a great musical that reset the stage for many to come. JOEC

Personally, I would switch out “My Fair Lady” for “Camelot.” Julie Andrews shines always. MAYA

So happy to see “She Loves Me” on the list. My favorite show. Succeeds at making the ordinary sublime. MARK

I agree with many of these choices, especially “Gypsy,” “Chicago,” “The Threepenny Opera,” “The Most Happy Fella,” and “Hamilton” among others, but I could not do without “Parade,” one of the best musical scores ever. CHIRPER

“Funny Girl” is my favorite Broadway Cast Album. The movie soundtrack is excellent too. Barbra Streisand at her best. Great songs. IWC

I have to add my Sondheim favorite: “Assassins.” A look at those left out of the American dream. Both recordings, Off Broadway (1991) and Broadway (2004), have their strengths; in fact, I combine the two to create one complete version of the show. However, if I had to choose, I would take the earlier version. MADISON MINIONS

No love for “Assassins”? I do like “Passion,” but “Assassins” I think just beats it out. And then nothing for “A Little Night Music” either? “Pacific Overtures” also has some gems, if not continuous greatness on its cast album. The show itself doesn’t seem very good, but the cast album is brilliant. M. CALLAHAN

“Side by Side by Sondheim,” the original cast album, is a fantastic collection of well-ordered songs that stands up well on its own. Don’t even think about leaving “Follies” or “A Little Night Music,” or “Company” on the shelf, but “Side by Side” is also a fantastic listen that allows you to appreciate the full-strength songs on their own. Certainly get intimate with “Sweeney Todd” too. The original cast recording will take you to places that the two-dimensional Tim Burton movie never could. ROBERTO

Only a casual fan, but we have found that “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Book of Mormon” go really well with jigsaw puzzles. MARMAC

No “Book of Mormon”? I’m out. KATHY B

Thrilled to see “Hamilton” included on this list, but I also urge music lovers to check out Lin-Manuel Miranda’s very first Broadway show, “In the Heights.” As you might expect, the cast album features addicting salsa and rap numbers, yet it also offers so much more. ANN SCHWAB

I think “Come From Away” is what everyone needs to hear right now — uplift in the midst of crisis. KEVIN L.

“A Chorus Line” is my all time favorite and the one I still go back to when in need of a good emotional and physical lift. BRAZILIANHEAT

I just asked my smart speaker to play the original cast album from “Camelot.” I would listen to Broadway cast albums with my mother. Brings me back to happier times. NYCRN

This gay Jew would be lost without “Funny Girl” and “Cabaret.” SANSACRO

And for those of us who would miss our dysfunctional families … “Fun Home”! SCOTT


  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *