The Sunday Giveaway: A Stocking Full of Broadway CDs

We’ve got showtunes galore in this Sunday’s giveaway!  One lucky winner is going to get a quintet of great CDs including . . .

Bonnie and Clyde
How To Succeed with Nick Jonas
Lysistrata Jones
– Laura Osnes: Live at the Café Carlyle
Jekyll and Hyde (2012 Concept Recording)

What do you have to do to win?


Man, I love me some cast recordings.  Don’t you?

What’s your favorite?  Tell me (and the rest of my readers) what Original Cast Recording you can’t live without.  You know, the one you’d take on a deserted island if you could only take one.

Mine?  Maybe it’s all the movie buzz that’s going on, but right now I’d say that Complete Symphonic Recording of Les Miz, I mentioned the other day.

Now, I told you mine, you tell me yours . . .


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below!  Click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)



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  • Randi says:

    Once is my favorite of all time! Listen to it daily on the way to and from work!

  • Becca P says:

    I am currently unable to turn off Triassic Parq. I think it would actually HELP me survive on a deserted island.

  • Natalie says:

    I could listen to Next to Normal all day. (A close second, though not original, would be the revival of Godspell).

  • The OBC album of “A Chorus Line” there is nothing, to me, quite so inspirational. Good day, bad day, no other music so makes me want to take on the world.

  • Jim says:

    It’s funny. I find the cast recordings I listen to most change. Alternately they’ve been LES MIZ, ADDAMS FAMILY, DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, LEGALLY BLONDE, HELLO DOLLY!, and HAIRSPRAY. My very favorite, though, would have to be JANE EYRE. I just love that story, and the music brings it to life perfectly in Bronte’s voice.

  • Liam says:

    I can’t live without Caroline, or Change. The score is so brilliantly moving, and the last 20 minutes or so makes me cry every time I hear it. It is not as well known as some of the others, but it is so magnificent.

  • Max Schwager says:

    My favorite as a cast recording is the new Follies recording because I feel like it captures the entire show and all the performances better than any other recording I have ever heard of a book musical.

  • Andrew Lippa’s “The Wild Party.” As a playwright, it reminds me that all great writing borrows from somewhere, but that doesn’t mean it cheapens your work.

  • Donald says:

    Based on the amount of time it spends in the CD player, I would say the Original Broadway cast of “Sweeney Todd” is the one cast album I revisit the most often and it might fit my mood under the circumstances of being stuck on a deserted island and couldn’t see live theater again. If I was in a happier mood, I might be inclined to say the Original Off-Broadway cast of “The Fantasticks.”

  • Bruce says:

    The original Ragtime CD is my all time favorite! I love the music and the storyline of Coalhouse Walker Jr inspires to me to make it against all odds. And specifically when Sarah is trying to reach the President- her only motivation is helping her man and she pays with her life.

    Next to Normal is a close second but sometimes it mirrors my own family a bit too much.

  • Tom G says:

    CHESS is still my all time favorite. The production may have flaws, but the score shines!

  • Dean Roth says:

    Going all the way back to one of my first — Kismet with Alfred Drake and Doretta Morrow. But you have to make sure to find the Broadway Cast recording rather than the movie soundtrack, which is awful.

  • Roger Gindi says:

    The 1973 Stephen Sondheim “Scrabble” album. A fun collection!

  • Karen Kreoll says:

    Tough call but right now I’m kind of stuck on Company.

  • Two very old ones that are classics, real jewels: “Hello Dolly, ” by Jerry Herman and Michael Stwart, and “I Am Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road,” by Nancy Ford and Gretchen Cryer. The first one, a vibrant, wonderful hymn to life. Perfect adaptation of an enchanting Thornton Wilder story. A sample of what a good musical should have: A compelling story, powerful lyrics and a vibrant score. One of the songs, “Before the Parade Passes By,” is a better antidepressant than Prozac. The other one, “I Am Getting…,” also a showcase that how an intimate, small musical can be bigger than the most spectacular production. One of the songs, “Old Friends”, priceless. The show opened in the 70’s at the Public Theater.

  • Sandy Jameson says:

    I’d have to say RENT. Though i don’t listen to it all the time, it’s always my go-to. When I was interviewing for teaching jobs, I’d always listen to RENT on my way to the interview. It always pumped me up and allowed me to let off some steam and nerves 🙂

  • Cash says:

    “Candide.” People I knew as an undergrad (before the Hal Prince reboot) kept talking about how much they wanted to do it and how frustrated they were that the rights weren’t available. The only documentation I could find (this was before the Internet) was the summary in Burns-Mantle. Then I found the original cast album in a record store in suburban Houston. On vinyl because that was all there was back then. I still have it. And now that I have a turntable again, I still listen to it. The overture raises my energy. Barbara Cook still makes me laugh. “Make Our Garden Grow” always makes me feel better.

  • Kinard Montgomery says:

    The OBC recording of Ain’t Misbehavin’ still has a soft in my heart. Growing up as a child of a single working parent, I spent many hours after school in the local library babysitting my younger sister. The “Musicals” section became my second home and after listening to various musicals, Ain’t Misbehavin’ is the one recording I remember vividly. I can still remember every musical phrasing, high and low notes, and ad lib of the recording and sing along as if I were up on stage with Nell Carter, André DeShields, Armelia McQueen, Ken Page, and Charlayne Woodard. They became my extended family of sorts, and just like family, I lived through their joyous times full of laughter and their painful heartache.
    The powerful emotions sung in ‘Mean to Me’ and ‘Black and Blue’ still gets me to shed a tear or two even today. This is why I am picking Ain’t Misbehavin’ as my OBC recording I just could not do without.

  • LoriO says:

    Couldn’t live without the original London recording of Les Miz and my very old, battered vinyl of the original cast of Jesus Christ Superstar.

  • Kyle Abraham says:

    Original Broadway Cast Recording of Company

  • judy gentile says:

    Ken, we are of like minds, Les Miz ’tis – for all the obvious reasons, hope there’s wifi on that desert island!

  • Lisa B. says:

    The ones I listen to most #5. Chess – recording with Elaine Page and Jonathan Price, #4. Jesus Christ Superstar – original Broadway Production, #3 Dance of the Vampires in German (Tanz der Vampyres) with Steve Barton – I don’t have a clue what they are saying, but it is beautiful, #2. Evita with Mandy and Patty and #1 is the complete symphonic Les Miz. Seriously.

  • Allison says:

    This is a hard choice but I could never live without my Godspell cast recording. Even after seeing it 4 times, I have to replay the songs over and over (especially now that the show is closed).

  • Michael H says:

    the original broadway cast of MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG. It has hopes, dreams, innocence and always reminds me that when they are closing those doors saying go always have something that only you can do and say..and yes i miss that opening in later versions..

  • Wendy Wallach says:

    Old fashioned I know but for me it would be “Fiddler on the Roof”

  • Brandon Martin says:

    Does the demo recording of Feeling Electric count? I love some of the old songs and seeing how the show progressed over time…for those who don’t know, Feeling Electric was the original Next to Normal.

  • Stephanie says:

    Cabaret: The New Broadway Cast Recording!

  • RJ says:

    This might sound crazy…but I am obsessed with the recently released recording of CARRIE! I listen to it almost every day!

  • Although I’ve got loads and loads of cast recordings, my all time favorite is still the original cast of “Two Gentlemen of Verona”, back from the 1970s. Always brings me up.

  • Andy Gordanier says:

    Toughie but would have to say the original Broadway cast album of Jesus Christ Superstar with Ben Vereen as Judas. Saw that production and can remember almost every detail.

  • Miguel Pérez says:

    I absolutely LOVE the OBC album of Book of Mormon! I saw it when I last went to NYC and lmso (laugh my sombrero off, yes I´m mexican) all the way from the first note till the curtain went down! Now, everytime I listen to the album I laugh all over again! It just makes my day!

  • Emily says:

    It’s not even my favorite recording of the show, but the original Phantom of the Opera soundtrack was the one that changed my life, and to this day it never fails to give me chills!

  • Megan S says:

    The WICKED Original Cast Recording is one of my favorites!

  • Luci Jo says:

    Absolutely the OBC of “Merrily We Roll Along” The music is so full and wonderful. Exceptional in so many ways. (plus a cast that is superb)

  • Daniel says:

    I’m going to start with some background. I used to be quite involved in the non-professional theatre scene in Melbourne, but after I decided to go back to university, I kind of turned my back on that, and didn’t do any performing (or even see many shows) for about 10 years. Then one day, I read an article about the upcoming release of a cast album for a little Off-Broadway production called [title of show].

    Since then, I haven’t turned back; I’ve started seeing shows again and have even been making some of my own for Fringe festivals.

    So because it holds such an important place in my life, it’d have to be the OCR for [title of show]

  • Billy Recce says:

    William Finn is my idol! Anything by him I get addicted to, but I would have to say that Falsettos id my favorite. I can listen to it any time and not get bored. At the moment however, I’ve been listening a lot to Triassic Parq!

  • Bryan Austermann says:

    I definitely would have to go with Wicked. Simply because it’s my favorite forever and ever.

    But other close seconds are the Godspell revival, Next to Normal, [title of show], Drowsy Chaperone, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Catch Me if You Can, and soooo many others.

    What can I say? ALL I listen to are OCRs. I LOVE THEM.

    Hard to choose.

  • Rebecca says:

    I love Lysistrata Jones. It gets me through tough days at pharmacy school.

  • JEB says:

    AIDA Starring Heather Headley! No Explanation Needed! It’s Brilliant And The Last Scene When They’re Buried In The Tomb! Ah!

  • Aaron Deitsch says:

    Without a doubt, the album I cannot live without is Spring Awakening. It has amazing music for any and every mood/emotion. If I’m angry, I could blast Totally Fucked and Bitch of Living. If I am sad, I could listen to Whispering and Blue Wind over and over. If I am in a particularly deep mood, it would be Mirror Blue Night. There are not many albums that can do for me what Spring Awakening does. Plus, it was my first Broadway show, so it brings back great memories.

  • Matthew says:

    I never get tired of “The Fantasticks”! I’ve been in the show twice, and I have the cassette(!) playing in my car right now!!

  • Brenda Chapman says:

    As a H.S. Drama teacher, my favorite show is the one that is in production now. That said, I’ve always loved the music from Pippin. And, at the risk of being accused of Pandering, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, listening to Godspell!

  • Caitlin C says:

    I love the recordings of my fave shows that we’re gone too soon … CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, BONNIE AND CLYDE, and LEAP OF FAITH most recently – and of course GODSPELL! Can’t get enough of Hunter Parrish’s “Save the People!”

  • A long time ago, back when WNEW-FM was a “progressive” radio station, it played “Superstar” from Jesus Christ Superstar from the original concept recording. I bought it and was ridiculed by my friends who said, “You’re never going to go around singing those songs” (Wrong!) But, since it was not technically a cast recording, I offer “Spring Awakening”, where I fell in love with the music, and knew the lyrics, before ever seeing the show.

    • Loved preogressive WNEW-FM…the days of Vince Skelsa, Scott Muni, Alison Steele, Jonathan Schwartz, Pete Fornatele, the list of great jocks that launched some landmark music is remarkable and historical. Thanks for the reference, great musical memories. Remember “White Bird” by “It’s a Beautiful Day?” ahh…don’t get me started!

  • Brent kocher says:

    I love the short run on Broadway musical Wonderland!!

  • For me, it would be Ethel Merman’s GYPSY! I would walk a mile for that overture. Musical theatre at it’s best, for my money.

    • Xak says:

      Michael Jones: Re: “Gypsy”

      Agreed. Five miles even. STILL the best overture EVER and the first time a musician got to stand up and received a spotlight, the first trumpet, and you know exactly where I mean… After Styne gives us hints of “Small World,” and the other two slower songs, he’s only softened us up for the kill… And I can tell if that overture is the original or not from two different places. It was the never the same with the lesser arrangements done for the Lansbury and the Tyne Daly, where the trumpet just shrieks. The most authentic since the original had to be the Bernadette Peters, with orchestra conducted by Marvin Laird. I sat in the 4th row right behind Arthur Laurents during one of the final previews and all it took for him to take pen in hand and write a note was for Peters to either move, open her mouth, or sing. She could easily seem him writing away on a large yellow pad and she looked PISSED! During intermission, Sondheim arrived out front looking like he was in his pajamas, camouflaged by an open overcoat, unkempt and frantic like something was going DOWN backstage. We were all so curious. Later, I found out that Peters was missing performances and in the Times, a reporter had whispered to her main competition for the Tony Award, Marisa Winokur-Ryder (“Hairspray”), ‘to win a Tony, all ya gotta do is show up at every performance…’ and I guess he was right!

  • Karen Lewis says:

    When I was a young girl my grandmother took me to see Angela Lansbury in Mame. It was magical. My memories of the sights and sounds of the city and how grown up it made me feel to be out on town with her remains one of my fondest memories. She gave me the record for my birthday and it is a cherished possession.

  • MJ Perez says:

    Nothing brings back my childhood like listening to the “In the Heights” cast recording… Such a well done show !!!

  • Melissa N. says:

    My all time favorite is the Original London Cast Recording of LES MIS, but a close second is the Original Broady Cast Recording of MISS SAIGON. I also absolutely love the AMERICAN IDIOT recording since it combines my love of theatre and my love of Green Day.

  • Dan Rich says:

    I suppose I would have to say Chess, but it’s a toss up between the original concept album and the Danish cast album from 2002. The Danish cast has a more complete soundtrack but the concept album is the one I know the best. After all, Chess is the show that got be back on stage at a community theater in NJ after not doing any shows for nearly 10 years!

  • Joyce Joseph says:

    “Man of LaMancha”. Not sure if I’d take the original with Richard Kiley (saw that when I was very young), or the more recent version with Brian Stokes Mitchell, my favorite male Broadway star (saw that one too!).

  • Do I really have to pick just one? It’s a toss up between Parade (Kennedy Center version, not Donmar Warehouse) and Aida.

  • Sam says:

    That’s easy, it’s the original cast recording of the original Weat Side Story. I asked for it for my 9th birthday. What else would a little boy in South Carolina ask for but show tunes? I didn’t get it. Instead my parents gave me a shotgun. I think that’s when they realized I was never going to be like the other boys. Years later my husband surprised me with it for my 45th birthday, along with tickets to the latest revival. It’s the present I most cherish.

  • Marc Schwartz says:

    “OLIVER!” The original broadway cast album – the lp was housed in a gatefold jacket…to me, it is the most truthful and lifelike recording recorded at the time. it was actually recorded in LA ahead of the broadway premiere…which is why it contains Michael Goodman as Dodger and not Davy Jones. RCA did a monumental recording job for the time.

  • Scott says:

    I would have to say three of them. “Follies” Revival, “Sunset Blvd–Broadway” & Original “Dream Girls”.

    Though when I am in a Foul Mood–“Addams Family” tends to make me smile again.

  • bert f says:

    I cannot live without my original cast recordings from Once to Hairspray, from Next to Normal to Shrek and there is A New Brain, Sweeney Todd, Zombie Prom, all the wonderful Forbidden Broadway, and too many others to mention, but right now the go to cast recording (even though I have definitely aged out of it) is Rent.

  • says:

    SWEENEY TODD -original cast recording. The first time i heard it I was in tears listening to those orchestrations, especially the beautiful music counterbalanced by the eerie lyrics….incredible then and now.

  • Laurie Bloom says:

    I love the original cast album to NINE. The music is haunting and beautiful and it includes Germans at the Spa which of course was cut from both the revival and movie. Anita Morris is one of my favorite broadway actresses of all time! There is just no one else like her and I never get tired of hearing her sing Call From The Vatican!

    • Xak says:

      Laurie Bloom: Re: “NINE”

      I don’t even know if you guys ever come and look at this list again, but gottta say how rare it is to find someone who enjoys my all time favorite musical “NINE.” That was the first time I openly bawled and couldn’t even get up I was so moved. The flock of white doves that flew over the heads of the audience from the rear of the balcony to land on the white tiled set is the most incredibly simple ‘special effect’ I’d ever seen. It’s an odd choice though to bring to a deserted island. The score is so enmeshed in the performance, even when I listen to the double CD they finally released, it’s a little hard to cozy up to.

      The revival had the nerve to say it was the ‘complete’ score yet did, in fact, do away with the hugely entertaining “Germans At The Spa” and substituted a conference table for the REAL gondolas in “The Grand Canal” sequence (11 minutes PLUS on that double CD, thank you very much). Yet, real water on the stage of the intimate Eugene O’Neill impressed many. And YES, OH YES, our gorgeous Anita Morris–who left us when she was only 50–tears my heart up whenever I hear “Simple” OR “Call From The Vatican” (which ironically dropped its tempo to far, far slower on the albums than was done in performance). “…Vatican” was the number they had decided would represent the show on the Tony Awards telecast that year, but the CBS censors said Anita Morris’s costume was too revealing! They went with the obvious alternative “Be Italian” instead. The very few people I’ve met to also claim it as their favorite musical end up eyeing me like they can’t believe it either. I remember the critics considered it… ‘cold’. But I sure don’t remember it that way.

  • Stephen Marmon says:

    Camelot! The original with Julie Andrews, Richard Burton and Robert Goulet. The first Broadway show I ever saw and the most magical moment you can imagine. When Burton looked out and the words “Don’t let it be forget, that for one briefing moment, it was known as Camelot,” filled the theater, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

    • Solange De Santis says:

      At last, someone mentioned “Camelot.” It was the *second* Broadway show I ever saw and I was eight. The mixture of joy and sorrow in that show struck deeply into my heart and I still love the score.

      However, Stephen Marmon, I know you meant to write “for one brief shining moment,” not “one briefing moment,” as that makes it seem as if Burton was playing the President, not the king. 🙂

  • Sarah P. says:

    Sooo soo many, but they include the ocr’s of Next to Normal, Wicked, Phantom, Les Miz, Evita, Superstar, Rent, and (Lincoln Ctr revival) Carousel, for starters. 🙂 Oh, my top #1 would probably have to be Miss Saigon, though!! I could listen to that forever…and was proud to get my cd liner signed by Ms. Lea Salonga herself.

  • brian says:

    I would have to say the original cast recording of forbidden Broadway alive and kicking because gerard came back with the punch he said he would.

  • John P. says:

    I love the original cast recording of Annie. It was the first real musical I ever saw, in London in 1978. I still just love the music.

  • Dan rodriguez says:

    Soundtrack to the movie ZERO PATIENCE, a musical about AIDS. Great music, funny, witty lyrics, very pop/rock.

  • Scott says:

    DREAMGIRLS for me!
    (and what makes me so proud are the musicals that I have been fortunate enough to be involved with–that have made the list on many of those who posted)

  • Amanda says:

    There are SO many that I can’t even begin to pick JUST one. But I truly love the “Bright Lights Big City” recording. It’s got some great catchy tunes – plenty of upbeat ones (some fun, some manic and crazy), some good slower ones (haunting, sad, thoughtful) – ones that make me love the city and love being creative. The performers are all top-quality (I mean, Patrick Wilson and Jesse L. Martin as Jamie and Tad are awesome, plus I love Sherie Rene Scott, Gavin Creel, Eden Espinosa, Celia Keenan-Bolger, etc.) Great album. Love me some Paul Scott Goodman!

  • Erin says:

    Mine would be the OBC of Les Mis–although I’ve acquired a few other versions over the years, this is the one I grew up with!

  • Ruth says:

    Such a very hard choice, but ever since my daughter was old enough to see Rent, we’ve listened to the Broadway recording (and sung along until we know every word) in the car every day!! So many others we love too (West Side Story, London’s Les Miz, Into the Woods, and more).

  • Tonyc says:

    Spring Awakening.

  • Cara says:

    Wicked! Whenever I’m feeling down I turn up the volume, open up my car windows, close my eyes and LEAP! I feel like I’m flying!

  • Lauren says:

    “In the Heights.” It never fails to get me energized and appreciating words like treasure. How many pieces of art tempt your awe of language itself? The other one at the top of my list is the 2009 revival of “Hair.” So rich and so much fun.

  • Ed from CT says:

    I can give you 3 favorites:
    Spring Awakening- Great Duncan Sheik music with Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff and John Gallagher, Jr.
    Wow- what a wonderful wake-up call this was for musical theater!
    2- The Who’s Tommy. Produced by George Martin. The Who. George Martin. Nothing further needs to be said.
    3- Next to Normal- Alice Ripley was sensational and this heartfelt musical really rocked.
    Bonus- American Idiot- similar comment to what was said about Chess. The production may not have been perfect but the show sure rocked the house!

  • Ladybug says:

    Ragtime & Once On This Island

  • Rebecca says:

    I LOVE the In The Heights OBCR… It makes me laugh, it makes me cry. I don’t think I could live without it on a desert island!

  • Anna says:

    I would probably pick Into the Woods because it was one of the first OBCs my voice teacher ever had me listen to, so it has a lot of good memories attached for me. And there is no possibility of ever tiring of Sondheim, particularly when sung by such amazing talents as Bernadette Peters and Chip Zien.

  • Iyvon says:

    I can’t live without the “In the Heights” OBC Soundtrack. I feel so energized and pumped listening to the sounds and beats of my neighborhood! Lin Manuel got the feeling and spirit of The Heights to a tee and although I live in Boston, I always remember home once it comes on in my iTunes! Clearly, anything that reminds me you of home and happiness has to be the one CD you take with you on a deserted island. 🙂

  • Jen Sandler says:

    Most definitely the OBC of Gypsy!

  • Tony P says:

    The OBC recording of Dreamgirls is top of the heap for me, but the full, two disc Ragtime is a close second!

  • John says:

    Les Miserables, the 10th anniversary concert at Royal Albert Hall. The first time I saw that concert on PBS, I was 14. It was at that moment I decided to switch from clarinet to theatre. I was amazed by the show and decided I wanted to be a part of it.

  • Rebecca says:

    It’s not an OBC, but the Actor’s Fund of America Benefit Recording of HAIR is amazingly perfect. If you’re being technical about the question, then the OBC of LAST FIVE YEARS is my choice. I’d die to see Norbert and Sherie in a show together again.

  • Paul Argentini says:

    All too young to remember what made all this possible. It put the hole in the Broadway musical dam. If you want to find a chunk of charcoal in your throat, the original cast of SHOWBOAT with Paul Robeson singing “Ole Man River.”

  • Anna-Claire says:

    Raul Esparza in the 2007 Company revival. Greatest performance I’ve ever seen, and it brings me right back to that moment every time. It’s a miracle I’ve never crashed my car listening to it. Yet.

  • Hilary Davis says:

    I have to start by saying that for all my favorites, I have memorized them so i wouldn’t even NEED the cd. Besides that, it is a tie: Rent and Next to Normal

    LOVE them

  • Dan Liebman says:

    Fiorello. My parents had many of the classics — Finian’s Rainbow, South Pacific, My Fair Lady, The King and I, among others. But Fiorello was the first LP I bought with my own money — at E.J. Korvette’s in New York. The moment I got home I played it. And played it. Now it’s the CD I listen to, and it brings back all the excitement of the first time I listened to this beautiful, funny — brilliant recording.

  • Rick Reynolds says:

    “Funny Girl” – especially for the songs left out of the film, such as “Cornet Man,” “The Music That Makes Me Dance,” and “Who Are You Now?” Beautiful. Just beautiful.

  • Jen Adame says:

    EVITA – Original American Broadway recording with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin…listened to it when in labor with my first kiddo….she’s now in college in NYC for theatre and I love that story!!

  • Ed B says:

    Elaine Paige as Piaf – my all time favorite!

  • Wayne Paul says:

    Easy: Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris.

    Recent Zipper Theatre or original version!

  • Mark S. says:

    It’s a toss-up between two Sondheim shows: the Original Broadway Casts of Company or Merrily We Roll Along. Since the latter has that amazing overture, today, Merrily is the winner.

  • David Topchik says:

    #1 is easy: Gypsy (Merman, the better recording, great orchestra, or Lansbury, more nuanced but lousy orchestra)

    But the there is an long list with reasons for each all over the map.
    Follies OBC
    Oklahoma (’79 revival or Movie Soundtrack)
    A Little Night Music (OBC)
    And I do love the Brent Barrett Rebecca Luker recording of Brigadoon
    Pal Joey (52 Studio Recording or 95 Encores)
    My Fair Lady (my mother says the first words I spoke as an infant were “The rain in spain…”)
    Company (OBC or the “London” cast with Larry Kert vocals dropped in)


    The album I would have would be THE DROWSY CHAPERONE. It is an album that can make you laugh, smile and shed a tear within a short period of time. The whole concept shows that Broadway is still clever and vibrant with ideas that can warm everyone’s heart.

  • Lisa says:

    Grey Gardens.Period. End of story.

  • Kurt Daw says:

    I feel so completely old-school, but I cannot live without my Candide with Barbara Cook, about whom I still obsess. Great record! Practically the only thing I still listen to on vinyl.

  • Emily says:

    How to succeed w/ Daniel Radcliffe

  • Sabrina says:

    Such a hard question! The one that I return to again and again is High Fidelity. It wasn’t the best show, but it definitely didn’t skimp in variety. Plus, I love me some Will Chase!

  • This is a tough one.

    I considered Les Miz, Original London Cast…but I’ve heard it so many times that I can pretty much just play it in my head.

    I’ll go with The Secret Garden, OBC

  • Alex says:

    The concept album of The Blue Flower is my favorite!!

  • Karen Campbell says:

    It’s so hard to pick a favorite – moods and seasons change and favorite recordings change accordingly.
    I could listen to Patrick Wilson’s voice all day so BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY and THE FULL MONTY are high on the list. ROCK OF AGES and THE WEDDING SINGER are pure, singalong-ish fun – – and I’m looking forward to the cast recording of GIANT…incredible orchestrations and amazing voices.

  • PCH says:

    Call me old-fashioned, but mine is the original London cast recording of My Fair Lady (Julie Andrews, Rex Harrison, et al).

  • Carl says:

    This is a delayed comment because I meant to mention it months ago when you were talking about musicals that are in the country and western genre — but I think it can do double duty for my desert island exile:
    “Pump Boys and Dinettes.”

  • Rick says:

    actually making conscious choices, i might be able to narrow it down to five, or maybe even three, but beyond that, it would have to be eeny-meeny-miny-mo, which brings us to…

    NINE, the 1982 original

  • Sam says:

    Mine is definitely a toss up between “Spring Awakening” and “Spamalot”. I suppose those are for two very different moods!
    Love your blog!

  • Cheryl Dzubak says:

    My all time favorite is Phantom of the Opera. It sends chills up me every time I hear it. The songs are beautiful and memorable. It will stand the test of time plus the show continues to run!

  • “My Fair Lady”. I adored this show since my mother bought the record (yeah, I’m old), and my father took me to see it on Broadway. I played it so much it wore deep grooves in the vinyl, and to this day, I can sing every song with lyrics and picture the musical in my mind. Now I realize the brilliance of the orchestral arrangements and lyrics, and have cultivated a deep respect for Lerner and Loewe, those two geniuses of collaborative musical theater!

  • Katie says:

    Gasp!!!! Oh what to choose,what to choose….I’d say that mine would have to be….(drum roll)… Wicked!Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth singing ‘For Good’ gives me chills every. Single. Time.<3333

  • Matt Mezzacappa says:

    Also complete symphonic recording of Les Mis. I used to listen to it endlessly at age 7, reading the libretto and performing obscure sections like the Faulchevent for my 2nd grade class on top of a desk (with teacher’s consent, of course)

  • Howard says:

    “Jersey Boys” wins it hands down. I remember the music well from 50 years ago, and to relive those great days again every day is way more than I could have anticipated. Runner up: “Gypsy” with Tyne Daly.

  • Grace Toy says:

    I can’t live without THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA!

  • Leslie says:

    TABOO, the Boy George Musical- it was SO much more,
    I’d love to see it revived- but only with the Original Broadway Cast- they were pure magic!!

  • Erin G. says:

    According to “Most Played” icon on my iTunes: PASSING STRANGE. Man, I love that show.

  • Lizzie Ocker says:

    Not to sound like super kiss up, but I would definitely brig the Godspell soundtrack with me. I love it with all my heart!!

  • Nick V says:

    Sonhiems’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Nothing tops Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou!

  • Cheryl S. says:

    Pippin – still one of my favorite shows. Heard it might be coming back to Broadway! That would be exciting!!

  • Nicole S says:

    The Last Five Years

  • Yosi Merves says:

    I think I have to go with The Wedding Singer just because I like many of the songs from that show.

  • Terri Finch says:

    A Chorus Line has been and always will be my go to cd. It’s the show that got me hooked on theater.

  • Abby says:

    I am in love with the original cast recording of Spring Awakening. Theater Latte Da, the Minnesota theater for which I work, partnered with the University of Minnesota Dept of Theatre Arts and Dance, to produce a local production. It was my favorite Theater Latte Da production and every time I hear the cast recording, I think of the talented group that made it so fabulous!

  • Emily Herschbein says:

    1989 London Cast of Miss Saigon. It’s just perfect.

  • Claire says:

    The original Chess concept album is my favorite!

  • Dean Ackerman says:

    I would have to say that my all time favorite original cast recording is Ain’t Misbehavin’ because I believe that of all of the many original cast recordings I have heard (and I listen to this stuff a lot!) it is the best representation of the actual show. Also the fact that the cast, to me was absolutely flawless and to have the opportunity to hear Nell Carter’s incomparable vocals is, was and will always be a treat!!

  • Ralph Scarpato says:

    The double cast-album of the London Production of “Man of La Mancha”. It’s (almost) the complete play and Joan Diener perfects the role (Aldonza/Dulcinea)she created on Broadway.

  • It’s gotta be Superbia by Jonathan Larson…. because the original cast recording doesn’t exist [yet]! I’ve been itching to listen to the soundtrack in its entirety ever since I talked to someone about it who heard him perform it.

  • Andy Monroe says:

    The one I always go back to over and over after all this time is the original cast recording of COMPANY. It never gets old.

  • janis says:

    Oh my gosh, I love them all.

    In no order, I was just telling someone about Bernadette Peters making me cry when she sang the music of “Annie Get Your Gun.” I love “Godspell” from the revival and when I directed it years ago. Love “Annie” and “Will Rogers Follies” that I walk to most mornings, and “Oklahoma” that also gets me going. Loved the stage version of “Sound of Music” which I am now watching on TV.
    Loved “Rent” that I saw in the premiere performance. Love “Gypsy” and “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and “Hairspray.” Fell in love to “Phantom of the Opera.” Loved “Wicked” and saw “Jesus Christ, Superstar” with a friend named J.C. who bought me a ‘JC Superstar’ necklace.

    The moment I click post, I will think of others and the music of every one etches the theme of a wonderful story permanently in my heart. Show music is the best. It makes me laugh, and cry, and DANCE.

  • Susan Holdren says:

    It is a toss up between Godspell, Pump Boys and Dinettes and They’re Playing Our Song – love all three!!

  • Elizabeth H says:

    Rent and Wicked were my gateway drugs into the world of theater and are still my go-to recordings on a bad day. I’ve had many new favorites since then, but these two are old friends I can’t live without!

  • Matt says:

    My favourite has to be the WICKED soundtrack. No one can beat the superstar powers of KChen and Idina Menzel together on one CD! Plus it is easy to sing-a-long to as I have done on many occasions during long car trips (and slightly awkwardly on train trips 😛 )!

  • The original “Sunset Boulevard” album.
    I especially love to speak the dialogue bits.
    What a fun recording, brilliantly performed, especially by Ms. Lupone!

  • Matt Bell says:

    My favourite has to be the WICKED soundtrack. Absolutely no one can beat the superstar powers of KChen and Idina Menzel together on one CD! Plus it is easy to sing-a-long to as I have done on many occasions during long car trips (and slightly awkwardly on train trips 😛 )!

  • Must have “Kismet” on that desert island. An underrated musical based on classical dances by Borodin, it starred the late, great baritone, Alfred Drake, soprano Doretta Morrow and a really young Richard Kiley. Each selection is exquisite, the melodies soar and the rich orchestrations complement an extraordinary lush varied score. Was too young to see the show, but the OBC makes you feel like you were there thanks to fabulous sound engineering and superb performances. Wonderful nuances and undertones to this recording, can’t be without it!

  • Emma B says:

    I’m torn between Ragtime and Carousel — I think it’s those beautiful orchestrations in both of them!

  • Andrea says:

    I cannot live without the cast recording of the first show I ever saw in Broadway: Crazy For You. It’s got comedy, love, catchy tunes, dance breaks, it’s got everything! It’s Gershwin for God’s sake! :). I could never be without it.

  • Barb Seaton says:

    OBC of Barnum with Jim Dale–I wore out the cassette tape I had and am now on my second CD!

    • Xak says:

      Barb Seaton: RE: “Barnum” with Jim Dale…

      Please see very detailed comment I made to someone else who also chose “Barnum”–but who hadn’t even seen the show–on 12/24 below… It’ll bring it all back, and yes, I had to get another CD as well. Fastest show on earth!

  • Denise says:

    I would go with Sunday in the Park with George, OBC.

  • Michael says:

    A Chorus Line was the first big musical I saw at our local Equity Dinner Theater and it changed my life forever. I was already singing and dancing and doing shows in school, but I didn’t realize people did that for a living. It made the business seem real to me,and I said “I CAN DO THAT!” just like Mike in the show. IT changed the path of my life. I still know all the words when I put it on 28 years later, and I go right back there to that night in a darkened theater where I found “me”

  • Brian P says:

    OCR of Sweeney Todd – so rich and still discovering things on this recording

  • John S. says:

    How could I pick just one???

    OK, I would have to go with the original cast recording of THE MOST HAPPY FELLA, for it’s glorious score, the great performances, and the heartwarming story which ALWAYS makes me cry!

  • Anthony says:

    An almost impossible question. It changes all the time.

    Carrie is amazing.

    Currently, however, it is probably Now. Here. This.

    I would love to have Dogfight as a possibility, however.

  • Ellen Joy Letostak says:

    Hands down, for me it has to be Candide!

  • Rebecca Bruckenstein says:

    I have to say that show tunes probably make up at least half of all the music I listen too. My ipod is so full of showtunes most people can’t pick up without saying “really another showtune” but I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way and I love adding to my collection but I have to say my all time favorite is both the OBC recording of “Hair” as well as the revival Broadway cast. I mean this show just brings so much emotion and I love singing along. I was luck enough to see the revival on broadway with my mom and grandma and got to dance on stage after which also bought so many great memories. It’s a show that both older generations and younger generations can bond over as the world though a very very different place still brings up this common bond. So I have to say this is my favorite recording and I can never stop singing along.












  • Jeff Walsh says:

    Next to Normal.

  • Marguerite
    book by Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Jonathan Kent, lyrics by Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer, and music by Michel Legrand in the OCR as debuted in London. Beautiful work.

  • Luke Haynes says:

    Certainly the way to go is a blend of all sorts of soundtracks. Even though my current obsession is the new Chaplin Cast Recording, the one that I always find myself listening to is Jason Robert Brown’s Parade.

  • Paula says:

    The one Broadway album I would take with me would be
    South Pacific. The music, lyrics, and story are
    classics. Either the original or the revival album
    would be great.

  • Todd Dawson says:

    For me, it would have to be Avenue Q. There’s nothing quite so much fun out there. I guess it’s technically off-Broadway, but who’s counting, right?

    • Xak says:

      Todd Dawson: Re: “Avenue Q.”

      Remember that “Avenue Q.” has done a few things to break molds. And one of them was holding it’s head high and moving to off-Broadway AFTER it’s Broadway run at the Golden Theatre (The only big hit to play that cute little house since “The Gin Game” in the 70s). It DID WIN Best Musical, Book AND SCORE against a heavy hitter like “Wicked” (also up that year, “The Boy From Oz”). so YES, it does count, and deservedly so.

  • Alex Bernstein says:

    So many to choose from, but I would have to say Big River.

  • Ronald Kustina says:

    I will forever be in love with the original cast recording of West Side Story with Carol Lawrence and Larry Kert because it was my first show at age ten in 1957. I saw the pre broadway tryout in Philadelphia and was amazed that so many people walked out at intermission because of its so-called controversial content. The critic of the Bulletin panned it and when I met Mr. Sondheim this year he just laughed. What a show to start my love of Broadway.

  • KENI FINE says:

    All time, and the one I’ve listened to the most over the years, would be GOSPEL AT COLONUS.
    Many other greats mentioned, including the OBC of Chorus Line, which had a profound impact on me when I saw it. More recent fave, I loved the Lincoln Center South Pacific revival CD (and show).

  • EllenFD says:

    If I could take only one album, it would be the 1998 Trevor Nunn-Royal National Theatre recording of OKLAHOMA!–all those classic songs plus Hugh Jackman! And if I could cheat a bit, I’d take it on vinyl so I could also slip into the album cover the original B’way cast album of FOLLIES. Yes, it’s incomplete, but no one could ever top the woefully unheralded portrayal of Benjamin Stone by John McMartin.

  • Rachael says:

    If I could only pick one…it’d have to be Into the Woods–the original Broadway Cast. It’s one of my all time favorites and every track on that album is a winner.

  • Tim R. says:

    There’s so many. It’s almost impossible to pick jus one. Next to Normal, Godspell, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Into the Woods, bare, The Wedding Singer, Spring Awakening, Grey Gardens… but if I had to pick just one… Lippa’s The Wild Party.

  • apc says:

    i’m skewing new here, but currently, bring it on is in heavy rotation on my ipod.

  • Andrew says:

    Original Broadway Cast Recording of Avenue Q.

  • Jacob R says:

    I can’t live without my Book of Mormon cast recording, but Billy Elliot comes in a close second.

  • Eric says:

    Les Mis, the original 1985 London Cast recording is still THE one that for me.

  • I’ve got a few original recordings I can’t stop listening to, Bonnie and Clyde being one of them, Newsies another. I would say my favorite album however is the original “Scarlet Pimpernel” recording…Douglass Sills, Terrence Mann, Christine Andreas, and a really young Gilles Chiasson! It’s a show that really shouldn’t have closed or been rewritten. It is still one of the best Broadway productions I have ever seen and the music is INCREDIBLE!

  • Carlie says:

    Literally unhealthy obsessed with the Bonnie & Clyde OBC. It is perfect and Jeremy and Laura’s voices are magic on it. Definitely a show that went way too soon.

  • Avital says:

    OBC of Sweeney Todd, hands down. Len Cariou is a God.

  • WC says:

    The Light in the Piazza, Company, Caroline or Change, Evita; all Original Broadway Cast Recordings. But if I can only pick one recording, I have to admit that it might be Priscilla Queen of the Desert OBC!

  • Jason says:

    So many good prizes to be had this week!

    My Favorite Cast recording (how can I choose just one?!) will have to be from my favorite Broadway show of all time…CHICAGO!!! It’s one of the longest running shows for a reason! 😉

  • Elena Muslar says:

    Once on this Island! Ironically, on a deserted island, I couldn’t live with out it! =)

  • Andy says:

    My favorite for 50 years- OBC of Irma la Douce or the OBC of Sweeney Todd.

  • Clair Sedore says:

    My favourite recording is of the U.K. production of the musical version of “Gone With the Wind,” now a collector’s item, with Harve Presnell as Rhett and June Ritchie as Scarlett (Theatre Royal Drury Lane, 1972).
    Unfortunately a try at Broadway with an American cast started and ended in Los Angeles, and it never reached New York. And if I had a second choice, it would be the U.K. production of Robert and Elizabeth with June Bronhill and Keith Michel (Lyric Theatre 1964), again, unfortunately a collector’s item. Both can be found on EBay, and perhaps Amazon.

  • Jeff Fisher says:

    It has to be “Summer of ’42”. It pains me that more people don’t know this show.a close second is “Grey Gardens”. Both are exquisitly beautiful pieces.

  • Kathleen says:

    My all time original cast recording is the London version of HONK!. If taling USA, then I choose ALTAR BOYZ, albeit that it is yours Ken and Off-Broadway. As for my faVORITE OBC, I would choose THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL as that show was the show that changed my life. WIthout seeing that show, I would not have seen the otehr two shows I menetioned or any other show outside my hometown over the last 15 years.

  • Trey K. Blackburn says:

    It’s a tough choice, but I’m going to have to say A New Brain. I’ve been falling in love with William Finn’s music over the past year, and I just can’t get those songs out of my head!

  • Sue says:

    CATS, paws down.



    P.S. Merry Christmas Ken and all the staff at DTE!

  • Stephen says:

    I agree with Elena – “Once On This Island.” It was one of the first CDs I remember buying for myself and is still one of the most perfect scores there is. Plus, if I was stranded on a desert island, “Mama Will Provide” would give me some hope of survival. 🙂

    • Xak says:

      Stephen: Re: “Once On This Island”

      And don’t forget, and if you are not familiar with this, you MUST get it, the one song cut from the show that appears on one of the ‘Lost In Boston’ series that came out on the Varese Sarabande label: “Come Down From The Tree.” Some things I can never understand and one is several of those ‘cut songs’ and “Come Down From The Tree” is what would have made “Once On This Island” one of my favorite shows. Off the top of my head, the only other true injustices of the theatre is doing away with Cole Porter’s “Let’s Make It A Night” from “Silk Stockings.” It would have been the best number in the rather tepid score.

  • Jessica says:

    I have many shows that I love, but only one can justly call itself my favorite. The trifecta of triple-named talents of the theatre: “The Last Five Years.” I have listened to the recording so many times, but every time I listen, I find some new lyric to marvel over in a new light, one more musical phrase that sends shivers down my spine, yet another favorite moment to cherish.

  • Stewart E says:

    WEST SIDE STORY. Why? Cause every song is FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!

  • Madison D. says:

    Spring Awakening iTunes session live from SoHo! It’s so relaxing and chillingly beautiful. I love the Legally Blonde OBC recording too. I love putting on “So Much Better” or “Legally Blonde Remix” in my car with my friends all the time. And there are few things I love more than the OBC recording of The Drowsy Chaperone.

  • Andrew Joy says:

    Tired and true, I have to go with Big River.

  • Dave says:

    What a great contest idea! I’m making a list of other people’s recommendations and heading off to the local library to give them a listen. Lots of great ideas here.

    My contribution would be THE PAJAMA GAME – the 2006 remake starring Harry Connick Jr.

    Honorable mention to BARNUM (although I’ve never actually seen it performed).

    • Xak says:

      Am not sure this will work or not, but this is intended for the person who enjoyed the score for “Barnum.”

      I DID see “Barnum” performed. About five times (once with Tony Orlando). Had just gotten married and lived in NY and that first year all my wife and I wanted to do was scrape together the $30–each!–to run from one sensational musical to another, the same four or so shows, and whenever anyone came to visit us, we’d TAKE them to “Barnum,” “Sugar Babies” “Woman Of The Year” and “42nd Street which were all playing at the same time. (The last two were the first to charge $35 bucks for top price).

      “Barnum” was the fastest show on earth. Like someone mentioned below about “Sweet Charity,” one just couldn’t get tired of watching it. It was Joe Layton (who famously took over for so many other shows after directors walked out)directing and finally getting the chance to put his STAMP on something. Conductor Peter Howard and the band were a constantly moving team of players in the ensemble. Marching, moving, it was simply incredible. I remember they got a special dispensation from EQUITY to allow some of the spectacular finale (“Join The Circus”) to be recorded by cast members and played back during the nubmer because Layton had everyone ALL OVER THE THEATRE and, I think it was 19 cast members, actors couldn’t sound cohesive enough for it to work. This included the trapeze performers singing in mid-air. It was one of the first shows that starts before it starts, out in the lobby and on the sidewalk even where ‘side shows’ came out to lure in ‘customers’… Thank God they had the St. James, a perfect jewel box of a theatre that HAD a decently sized lobby. As you know that score has only two or three ballads, tops. The rest of it was all FAST ACTION, FAST talking, FAST dancing, just FAST, FAST, FAST! And every moment there was somewhere to look. You never heard a child yawn at “Barnum.” We held our breath after the intermission because we knew that girl was going to enter from Stage Left, throw her baton HIGH into the air, do a double somersault, and then CATCH IT with the hand BEHIND HER BACK! at the start of “Come Follow The Band.” And she NAILED it every time.

      To me, “Barnum” ranked right up there with the best musicals and was highly underrated in a season of FUN (only to lose with the other FUN shows to the more dramatic ‘drama’ of the year, “Evita” I think.) Now that’s not to say that “Evita” wasn’t… ‘fun’…. but you gotta know what I mean–and I think you do.

  • Stephanie Ross says:

    Currently it’s Once, with Memphis and Encores’ recent recording of Merrily We Roll Along following close behind.

  • Michael Reed says:

    It’s cliche for a young person, but Spring Awakening! Such a good cast and music. I mean, the Godspell Revival recording is pretty awesome too. 🙂

  • Chris says:

    While I have many favourites for many reasons, if I have to choose only one, it comes down to “The Music Man”, for the same primarily sentimental reasons it always tops my list of favourite musicals:

    It was the first musical I saw live onstage. (Dad had a co-worker whose daughter was a Pick-A-Little Lady in high school.)

    It was the first movie musical I remember seeing (at the drive-in, no less!)

    And most of all, Dad was a lifelong barbershop singer, and got to be in the show twice. I’ve MDd it twice, and also got to be in the show, as a member of the school board quartet. Dad was too ill to travel and see the show at the time, but I remember how proud I was to be in the audience watching him onstage, and I knew then the pride he surely felt watching me onstage.

    And if nothing else, the greatest key change in the history of musical theatre is in “Wells Fargo Wagon” (when the quartet sings “the D.A.R. have sent a cannon for the court house square” and ring that chord – it gives me gooseflesh every time I hear it, although part of that may be the anticipation of young Winthrop bursting through the crowd and singing up a storm. Gets me every time.)

  • Ilene says:

    Wow! That’s a hard one! There have been so many obsessions over the years! I literally wore out the record (yes, I said RECORD) of Evita when it first came out … Carousel was my first favorite (when I was very young – my parents listened to the RECORD) … Wicked and My One and Only have permanent spots on my ipod, as does, OF COURSE, the recent revival of GODSPELL! Hmmm…. like Ken, Les Mis (my favorite musical of all time) would be my ORIGINAL Broadway Cast soundtrack on my desert island, but, if I could only choose one, and it could be a REVIVAL …. “STOP THE WORLD, I WANNA GET OFF” (the Sammy Davis Jr. one, not the Anthony Newly one). I had it on RECORD, then lost the record when I moved many years ago, and had to hunt down another RECORD at a collectors store (since, as far as I know, they never put it on CD).

  • Ed says:

    When I look back I realiize that I’ve gone through periods where I’ve worn out certain cast recordings. I’ve been through my Chorus Line period, my Dreamgirls period, and my On the 20th Century period. Right now I can’t imagine being without In the Heights.Besides being this incredible blend of musical styles, the book (which I conjure up whenever I listen) is reminiscent of another classic book show, Fiddler. The parales are amazing

  • John says:

    The OBC of Sunday in the Park with George. There is always something new to discover when listening to it.

  • Mary says:

    AIDA (Elton John & Tim Rice)
    & GODSPELL – these are the 2 that I listen to all the time ….

  • Josh says:

    I love RAGTIME, the new cast recording of GODSPELL, WICKED, NEWSIES. LOL, quite a few. Although iTunes told me that my most-played song is from WONDERLAND. 🙂

  • David says:

    Evita . . . classic story of a strong woman who made a difference in people’s lives . . . will be sad to see it close on Broadway next month.

  • Jenna Papke says:

    There are several Sondheim albums that I’d hate to be parted from, but I have to go with the original cast of Follies. I get something new from it every time I listen.

  • Matthew says:

    I love my German cast recording of La Cage, but can always listen to CRAZY FOR YOU over and over . . .

  • Elisa says:

    The original cast recording of Mamma Mia! It was the first Broadway show I saw as a child and it was what drew me in to the wonderful world of theatre. I’ve seen the show many, many times since & every time I listen to the recording I can close my eyes and relive the dances and moments so vividly in my imagination. Although I can admit it’s not the best album of all time, the sentimentality is so great that I couldn’t live without it!

  • Elliot says:

    I would have to go with the OBCR of Ragtime. Ahrens and Flaherty are my favorite score writing team, and the vocals on it cannot be beaten.

  • Tait says:

    RENT never seems to get old. But WICKED, NEXT TO NORMAL, and LES MIZ are right up there.

  • jim oher says:

    sweet charity – the best score by cy coleman
    essential top rate lyrics by dorothy field and the one and only gwen verdon plus helen gallagher and john mcmartin. it was the most innovative fast paced and entertaining show around – as kerr said – things just flew by and went intermission came – one could not belive over an hour had gone by — and one can see the filmmaker in fosse all over the exuberant show – it put old make to shame – the old nonsense but charity was different – also the roller coaster ride of emotions j0y – laughter and sadness – was un paralleled – will never forget it – saw it four times – not an easy fete for an underage kid from chicago

  • Sara Jayne says:

    I’m on a Spring Awakening kick right now. But the goldie-oldie is always, always Les Mis.

  • Anthony Damico says:

    I somehow got a copy of the original cast recording of “CARRIE” and not a week goes by without me listening to it at least once. I would be lost without this recording. HAPPY HOLIDAYS !!!!!!

  • Robb J. says:

    I would have to say Candide. It is not a perfect cast recording, but the overture is probably my second favorite piece of music

    But to be fair I am only really a fan of a few other tracks, so Iguess I should rule that one out

    At the moment I have Now. Here. This on repeat. IT is astounding, but it is too soon to annoint it.

    From opening notes to the finale, I will have to go with Sweeney Todd

  • Jonathon says:

    “Passing Strange.” I love the show itself because the score really rocks, the story is told in an unusual but intriguing way, and the plot, about a songwriter coming to grips with life, really strikes home for me. But what pushes the OCR over the top is that it was recorded like a rock concert in front of a live audience; you can really feel the energy of the audience heightening the performances.

  • Geri W says:

    The cast album I could never live without is I Can Get It For You Wholesale. The score and lyrics are so alive and full of Jewish themes, I love all of the songs. Plus it marked Barbra Streisand’s brilliant entrance to Broadway in a show that lasted. I would do anything to see that musical if it was recorded live.

  • David Neal says:

    If I were stranded on a desert island, it would have to be the OBC recording of WORKING. Not only because I qould miss out on all the ups and downs of working for a living, but because it would constantly remind me of the fantastic show, the recent updated version at 59E59, and my regular inventory hunting at Colony (where I finally found Working after months of scouring and waiting and discovering other goodies…oh, now I’m sad thanks to their demise).

  • Ellen Orchid says:

    What a list of shows nd what an outpouring of soulful observations. Very touching.
    My absolute favorite is an oldie but goodie that I didn’t see mentioned but I’m sure many folks would enjoy it; it’s called “City of Angels”. Dee Hoty, Gregg Edelman, and James Naughton on Broadway. Great show, hilarious story. I just love the David Zippel lyics and the great music, especially “Lost and Found” and “What You Don’t Know About Women”. I use it as a vocal warm-up. But there are so many great, great inspiring shows mentioned above and I am going to get some of those other cast albums that I’m not so familiar with.
    Merry Xmas to Ken and his blog that has entertained me all year and to his staffers. Thank you for doing this. I feel like this is my community.

  • Lisa Peterson says:

    I have always loved the sublime 1985 Leonard Bernstein conducts West Side Story, the Deutsche Grammophone recording, double CD. The amazing cast includes Kiri Te Kanawa singing Maria; Jose Carreras singing Tony, Tatiana Troyanos as Anita, Kurt Ollmann as Riff and the great Marilyn Horne singing “Somewhere”. You will lose yourself in it. I couldn’t live on that desert island without it.

  • Daniel Z says:

    It all depends on the mood, but I’ve come back to the most recent Follies revival quite a bit. Jan Maxwell is stunning and is stony yet vulnerable all at the same time! For a lighter perspective, I always head to a track with Susan Blackwell from [Title of Show]. Doesn’t matter which one!

  • Ed says:

    my favorite cast recording is ‘They’re Playing Our Song’ I can listen to Fallin, and the title song over and over again. I wish they would do a revival.

  • Ana Roberts says:

    It’s like making me choose a favorite child. Except if that child is Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, then it can sit in the corner and think about how it managed to offend theatre nerds, rock nerds and comic-book nerds in one flailing production.

    Since the world was not blessed/cursed to have legitimate cast recording of How to Succeed with Darren Criss for that blip earlier this year, I suppose either Wicked or Rent would have to be my faithful stand-ins.

  • Travis says:

    Bare cast recording is something I could never live without.

  • Stephanie says:

    Impossible to limit it to just one, so I’ll share the current contents of my CD changer; as an L.A. driver, one of life’s great pleasures is singing/bopping along to cast recordings, esp. driving up the coast (or even in regular traffic-that’s why I’m smiling, not honking!)
    ~ANYTHING GOES revival
    ~SOUTH PACIFIC revival
    ~MUSEUM TOUR: The Musical
    The last two are by moi, adapted from my own short plays.
    Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Happy New Year to Ken and my fellow blog readers!

  • wes rusch says:

    I luv spring awakening
    I even bought the german cast
    I just luv the show
    I had stage seats the last time I saw it

  • Mark G. says:

    Two forgotten 60’s Walter Marks musicals:
    – Golden Rainbow with Steve and Edie
    – Bajour with Chita and Hershel Bernardi
    These recordings are pure Broadway fun… They capture the excitement of the live performances. The music is catchy and infectious…
    Followed by:
    – The Apple Tree
    – On A Clear Day….
    Both with the magnificent Barbara Harris and wonderful scores.

  • Kirsten Kilburn says:

    Is There Life After High School.

  • I don’t think I could live without “Once on this Island.” A beautiful, simple story where love always conquers evil. Not to mention, it would sound great on a deserted island… 😉

  • Xak says:

    I tried this once but never heard back, but couldn’t hesitate to throw in my two cents and say, even though Ken says the ONE cast album above all others to have on a deserted island (assuming said island has a CD player) and he says…. “LES MIZ?” (and not even the cast album at that!) Sure, I know it’s popular, but who on earth wants to spend the rest of eternity with a show that’s very first lines are: “Look DOWN, Look DOWN, you’re standing in your GRAVE….???” I’d want something a lot happier than that. Even though their shows are usually kind of downers, I’d rather be in the company of Kander & Ebb, in particular the ORIGINAL (not the 1997 revival)cast album of “CHICAGO” with Gwen, Chita, Jerry and the rest. It’s only a band I know, but Ralph Burns–only the best arranger in the business–knew how to make it sound like a full orchestra. My favorite musical of all time is, once again, the ORIGINAL (not that revival with Banderas) of “NINE.” But as even those devoted to it already know, you take that score out of the performance and it just sits there in a corner. When they finally got the ENTIRE THING onto the double album it deserved, it’s more miraculous, but for the desert island bit, gimme that razzle dazzle if it has to be permanent.

    (Honorable mentions go to “Gypsy,” “Mack & Mabel” and “A Chorus Line.”)


  • Alan L. says:

    It has to be “SOUTH PACIFIC” OCR — it has a beautiful set of lyrics, and the island of many dreams:

    “”Most people live on a lonely island,
    Lost in the middle of a foggy sea.
    Most people long for another island,
    One where they know they will like to be.

    Bali Ha’i may call you,
    Any night, any day,
    In your heart, you’ll hear it call you:
    “Come away…Come away.”

    Bali Ha’i will whisper
    On the wind of the sea:
    “Here am I, your special island!
    Come to me, come to me!””

    And to quote another great song (although not from a musical) is Simon and Garfunkel’s:
    “”I have my books
    And my poetry to protect me;
    I am shielded in my armor,
    Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
    I touch no one and no one touches me.
    I am a rock,
    I am an island.

    And a rock feels no pain;
    And an island never cries.””

    Everyone’s mind lives on an island… that’s the beauty of mankind. To dream, to imagine, to….

  • Michael DiGaetano says:

    City of Angels, not Broadway, but original London West End production.

  • Barbara Laronde says:

    Fire up the Way Back machine! Can’t stop lovin’ “Rent” – double disc set in my car, on my phone, at my office, in my hub’s car…. well, you get the idea. I wrote a letter of thanks on behalf of my rock-n-roll Program Director boss after he had seen one of the earliest shows, not appreciating what he was saying. Was intrigued and saw the show with Adam Pascal shortly after, and returned 14 times. Its message resonates today. Everywhere.

  • For me it’s one track.
    Barbra Streisand’s The Concert Album, Disc 1, Track 4 “i’m still here/everybody says don’t/don’t rain on my parade”
    Just one modulated stab chord between Everybody Says Don’t into Don’t Rain on My Parade, and I feel like I can take over the world.

  • Elan K. says:

    The West Side Story Original Cast Recording…with the New York Philharmonic performing “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story” as the last track!! Pure gold.

  • Bob Anderson says:

    Presently Miss Saigon, the 1994 Revival of Damn Yankees and La Cage. It changes each month.

  • Sarah says:

    Tie between Book Of Mormon or Dirty Rotten Scoundrels!

  • Billy-Christopher Maupin says:

    Cheating a bit, I know, but the JEKYLL AND HYDE 2-disc concept recording with Anthony Warlow, Carolee Carmello, and Linda Eder. #heaven

  • Danny says:

    At the moment, I gotta say, I’m way into the Original Broadway cast of “Bat Boy: The Musical.”

    “Comfort and Joy” is quite honestly my favorite Act I Finale of all time, followed closely by the Act I finale of Urinetown.

    And then “Children, Children.” Nuff said.

  • ken marion says:

    It has to be the 2011 Godspell cast. Where else can you get Lindsay Mendez singing Bless the Lord and Telly, and Nick (you can feel the bouncing) and Celisse and Wallace. The marvelous music and the cast jell truly come through on this recording. I do actually listen every day.

  • James says:

    West Side Story. Simple as that.

  • Caroline M says:

    THE WIZ. Especially if i was deserted on an island, it’d seem like the perfect soundtrack to keep my excitement and hopes high.

  • Alexis says:

    It’s hard to say as I have a lot of Broadway in my iTunes. However, if I had to pick, it would be Phantom. It’s the first Broadway show I ever saw and it is still my favorite.

  • Right now I’m really stuck on Jane Eyre. It’s so beautiful it always puts a smile on my face.

  • Brian says:

    What would be the original Broadway Album that would be my favorite (only one, really)? In my opinion, it would have to be the 1998 original Broadway cast of Footloose. When you are out on a deserted island, you know things will be rough, so you need something that will prevent you from going completely insane like Robert Cuccioli in ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ during the transformation scene. Songs like “Let’s Hear it for the Boy” sung by Catherine Cox (yes, from X Factor), would just put me in a better mood than almost anything, and it also has its share of ballads such as “Heaven Help Me” and “Can You Find It In Your Heart”, that could be used for any other situations that calls for it. Music is a mood changer for the better, and I think ‘Footloose (the musical)’ is one of the best least-known albums I know.

  • Owen says:

    I would say my favorite cast recording is a tie between Wicked, Annie and Merry Poppins because they all have some nice smoth parts that almost bring tears and then they jump up with extremely up beat dance songs.

  • ECP says:

    The original cast recording of “Company.” A keeper. Some listening moments still generate the unexpected electricity that surged through the audience when I saw it three times back then, starting with a preview performance. Even some of the sterling cast materalize during numbers.

  • Chris Luner says:

    The Original Broadway Cast recording of Ragtime the Musical. A truly incredible cast from top to bottom and an amazing production filled with incredible music. Truly moving – gives me chills every time I listen to it.

  • Anthony Porter says:

    I know it’s a Broadway flop (of historic proportions) but I love to listen to “Whoop Up!” I particularly love the added tracks of the shows songs recorded by then popular artists. Jose Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney singing Flattery is a classic. But my guiltiest pleasure is listening to Charles Boyer sing “Nobody Throw Those Bull.”

  • Allen L. says:

    So many musicals, so little time. There are many that I can pick, but I’d say one of the greatest is… Gypsy. Doesn’t matter if it’s Ethel Merman, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters, or Patti LuPone, Gypsy is truly one of the best musical theatre scores ever.

  • Karen says:

    As a child I was honored to go to the tour production of “I do, I do” with the amazing Mary Martin and Robert Preston- that experience has stayed with me for over 50 years! I love the recording! Even though neither was known as great singers, watching them onstage you accepted that! I also love listening to “On the Twentieth Century” with the incomparable Madeline Kahn!!! Then if I went to a current recording that I have it would have to be hands down “Death Takes A Holiday”! Even though I did not see the production as I listen to the recording I can picture it all!

  • WOW! So many replies on this one.

    My hands-down, always-has-been, always-will-be, favoritest soundtrack is RENT. I’ve only seen the stage version once on Broadway (in 2002), but I’ve listened to this recording thousands of times.

    Oh, and I’m an out of towner, so this is a Sunday giveaway I could actually win. (hint, hint). ;o)

    Tim Gonzalez-Wiler
    Casting Manager, Teatro ZinZanni
    Seattle, WA

  • Andrew Beck says:

    The OBC of Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella kept me entertained for years with its rich and varied score.The solos, duets, trios–there are hints of Loesser in LaChuisa’s score of “Giant”

  • Tricia Ostermann says:

    Almost 20 years ago (gasp!) my high school boyfriend gave me the OBC of Les Mis after I had surgery, so that I would be “less miserable”. 🙂 I’ve loved that cast recording ever since. And after seeing the movie I was reminded just how brilliant that score is.
    But I’d also have to add the OBC of Once to that list, since I’ve pretty much listened to it on repeat this year.

  • Danny Kapinos says:

    The OBCR of Company. That score! Those singers! And, of course, the incomparable Stritchy.

  • Gladys says:

    If I had to choose just one, it would be Once, but I grew up listening to Into the Woods.

  • Fran Clairmont says:

    Wow – picking one favorite Cast Recording is very, very, very hard. Not because there are so many Recordings, but because there are so many great ones.

    I think the best recordings are the ones that let you relive the show over and over in your mind. The score and singing simply takes you back to that story and once again you are seating in the theater watching the magic of Broadway.

    So for that reason, I have to say the original “Miss Saigon” particulary the song that the Engineer sings “The American Dream”. The show was funny and sad, topical and relevent and offered Americans the chance to examine how we must look to the rest of the world at a time when we weren’t at our best. One of the greatest shows, and one of the greatest soundtracks. Certainly one of many, but a really great one…..and my favorite.

  • John Adam says:

    Merrily We Roll Along, Now Is The Time For ALl Good Men,The Grass Harp,She Loves Me.
    I love Follies more than any other musical I have seen. Saw the Original Cast 24 times at the Winter Garden. Unfortunately the OCA is a travesty. The Paper Mill Playhouse recording is pretty darn good becaue they deigned to keep Bolero D’Amore in which no other recording has included. The new recording with Bernadette Peters doesn’t have it and it wasn’t in the show. I liked the new production (saw it in D.C.) with several reservations (Linda Lavin mis-directed and that French woman who walked through it.) Bernadette sings the (almost) best version of Losing My Mind (sorry B, no one can top Dorothy Collins!) but I thought ultimately Bernadette was mis-cast as Sally.

  • Becca K says:

    I’d have to say I love the recording to Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Or maybe Next to Normal. I could listen to both over and over again for eternity on a desert island.

  • Michael Hallinan says:

    It easily is the recording they made of the 25th anniversary concert of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at the Royal Albert Hall. It’s practically the entire show and features some of the best voices assembled!

  • Angela says:

    My first thought was “Once on This Island”. It’s not my favorite musical of all time, but that cast recording is awesome.

  • Robert Zimmers says:

    Yes Ken, I love me some cast recordings too. Being able to take only one recording would be easier to pick than if I could take several. The only choice for me would be between Les Miz and Phantom of the Opera. At first I thought I would take Les Miz because along with the emotion it stirs, there is also humor. However, Phamtom of the Opera wins out because it is longer. I would want to take the 1987 Original Broadway cast recording.

  • Shannon D. says:

    I know most people will say “RENT” … and yes, I would have said that too, considering I listened to it a GAZILLIAN TIMES for many many years…
    The OCR to “Chaplin” is simply AMAZING!
    I can not get enough of that music (and the show)!!!
    I have it playing on a loop in my car for my commute to and from work EVERYDAY!
    It’s so bad that even when I stop to get gas, that I PAUSE it so I don’t miss a note! 😮
    I even just start randomly singing the songs when I wake up or in the shower, or just throughout the day! 🙂
    *** And plus, I just LOVED Bonnie & Clyde and of course the music, and do not own the cd, sooooo….. 🙂

  • Michael DiPietro says:

    Ken, this really isn’t a fair question…”your all time favorite cast recording”, come on, I really don’t see how most lovers of musical theatre could really just pick one…However, I thought I might have been able to come up with my top 10 (in no ranking order) for ya, but after reading all of the other postings, I give up…There are so many gems that might have slipped my mind and the diverse selection from before my time to the present only leads me to think that the heart of American Story telling still beats stronger than ever or I am just destined to always be a true theatre queen…mjd

  • Zoe says:

    Well I love everything broadway, but I’d have to say my new obsession- Jekyll & Hyde (:

  • ann says:

    I love IN TROUSERS. I often feel it is William Finn who got me through my first years in NYC. His melodies and rhythms made me feel like someone was reading my mind.

  • Mary Jane Schaefer says:

    “Oliver!” No, “My Fair Lady.” No, “Oliver!”

  • John Adams says:

    It has to be Show Boat a classic that is timeless with music that is always current.



  • Andrea Jill says:

    I had the extreme pleasure of accompanying and coaching the very talented Sarah Rice, the original Johanna in Sweeney Todd, in several productions and workshops at Arizona State University’s Lyric Opera Theatre, prior to her very successful move to NYC. After watching “Have A Little Priest” on the Tony Awards, I immediately bought the album. I will never forget the first time I listened to it; in my music studio, on new, soft blue carpeting, on my stomach, while eating up the incredible lyrics. After the finale, I put it on again……..and again. Husband Harry and I subsequently had Sweeney Todd parties, introducing this masterpiece to our friends. Fast forward to 2 magical nights in a row seeing Sweeney Todd LIVE on Broadway, 8th row center, greeted backstage by Sarah, being introduced backstage to Len Cariou, and lo and behold, SONDHEIM himself! (Don’t have enough time to comment on all that followed.) I am a composer/music director/pianist who rejoices in being a part of live productions of musicals. My musical, “Babe: An Olympian Musical”,about the greatest woman athlete Babe Didrikson, was recently produced by the Theatre Artists Studio in Phoenix, AZ. For more info, Google Andrea Jill Higgins or playwright Carolyn Gage.

  • Carey says:

    Just one?!?! I’d have to say Ragtime.

  • Brian Jones says:

    It’s gotta be the original Sweeney Todd for me. Nothing like listening to the complex harmonies, soaring melodies, catch-you-off-guard rhythms, and eye-poping dissonance all wrapped up in a baked little pastry stuffed with the remains of Londoners! It’s my go-to recording when I need my broadway fix!

  • JEFFERY says:

    The original cast recording of EVITA starring Patti LuPone and Mandy Patankin, among so many other formidable players. It’s by turns ballsy and operatic, gritty and pure. There is not an unnecessary word or note in the entire book/score. A confection of perfection.

  • mine would be avenue q

  • Michael Stevens says:

    Godspell original vinyl

  • Deborah says:

    Next to Normal, hands down.

  • I’d have to say the Matilda Original Cast Recording. New musical, but kind of brilliant and really resonates with the way I’ve been feeling as someone who is about to graduate from college (see: When I Grow Up). Can’t wait to see it on Broadway!

  • I’m with you on symphonic recordings– but my pick is West Side Story with Jose Carreras and Kiri Te Kanawa. It’s a delight to have opera stars singing a Bernstein score that deserves to be sung at the highest level possible. As a bonus, there was a TV special about the making of the CD which was wonderful as well.

  • Diane says:

    Like many who commented, I cannot just take one recording to that desert island. The original cast recording of The Mystery of Edwin Drood with the brilliant Betty Buckley–this is the show that really started my Broadway obsession. Another would be The Secret Garden–Rebecca Luker & Mandy Patankin, such gorgeous vocals. The Broadway cast recording of Chess–that show has always just stuck with me. Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel (the show that changed the direction of my life would take) & The Civil War–I am a Wildhorn music lover & the vocals of Linda Eder & Douglas Sills are more than amazing. And Jane Eyre–such a beautiful story brought to life with James Barbour’s & Marla Schaffel’s vocals. So those are my Desert Island Top “7”. There are so many more, but we’d be here all day & night–just love me those Broadway show tunes!

  • Lynn Manuell says:

    OK..mine is a bit esoteric but is the original London cast recording (you just said original cast recording so I am hoping that being that it was the original London cast does not disqualify me) of MAN OF LA MANCHA with Joan Diener and Keith Michell. It has not only all of the songs but the majority of the show on it. It has never been released as a cd or mp3 so I feel like I am on a desert island since I so seldom turn on the stereo and listen to all 4 sides. If it has to be New York..then the original company of The Mystery of Edwin Drood featuring the divine voices of Cleo Laine, George Rose, Betty Buckley, Howard McGillan, Patti Coenhouer, John Herrera, Jana Schnieder, Joe Grifasi and while you can detect this Rob Marshall who was the dance captain…oh,yeah…I worked there!

  • Matt Bell says:

    No question . . . The Addams Family! I can listen to that one over and over again and still find the motivation to snap my fingers every time!

  • Vor ungefähr 2 Jahren ist in der amerikanischen etwas ungewöhnliches passiert.

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