Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Broadway Cast Recordings, Soundtracks, or Audio Books?

Before embarking on a three-day drive to California several years ago, a friend said, "And you're bringing some audio books?"


"You don't get audio books?" she said with astonishment. "I always get them when I drive."

Then it occurred to me. In a way, I do listen to audio books. But we don't call them audio books. We call them Original Broadway Cast Recordings (not soundtracks). It works the same. You pop it in, then follow the plot through the songs. Better than an audio book, you don't get tired after one listening because, well, it's music. Music is much more repeatable than a traditional audio book.

This works particularly well with contemporary recordings. Older recordings tend to cut out all dialogue, so you're only getting songs. Contemporary recordings, however, include introductory dialogue as needed to give songs context. There may be a need to read some liner notes to get clarification, but overall, it makes for a very entertaining listen!

Some of my favorite Broadway Audio Books, shows I first discovered on album:

Triumph of Love: I love following the twists and turns on the recording, which is almost the complete show.
Jane Eyre: This is a great score to get lost in, and it's easy to follow the plot on the album.
Dreamgirls (Concert Cast): This is pretty much the whole show in concert.
Marie Christine: I still have vivid memories of the first time I followed this story on disc; it was riveting.
Bernarda Alba: Not exactly an uplifting show, but it makes for an intriguing listen.
Ragtime: So much music is there, you can easily follow what's happening in the plot.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Because the recordings are two discs, you can easily following all the horrific details of the plot.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Okay, so I first saw this one on Broadway, but the album is a delightful document of the twists and turns of the plot.

the Broadway Mouth
June 10, 2009

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