Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Disney's Beauty And The Beast - Original Broadway Cast Recording (1994)

Music: Alan Menken
Lyrics: Howard Ashman & Tim Rice
Based on the wonderful 1991 Disney film of the same name. Seven new songs were written for the stage musical. This show ran on Broadway for 5,464 performances between 1994 and 2007, becoming Broadway's eighth-longest running production in history. While the music translates well, it's difficult to move all the animated visuals from screen to stage. Still, I'm a fan of Menken's music, so I am usually happy with any of his Disney musicals. The argument could be made that Menken single-handedly resurrected the Disney animated musical in the '80s with his music for The Little Mermaid, then continuing on with this and Aladdin, Pocahontas, etc. He's won 8 Oscars for his work, although he was snubbed for one of his better songs, Mean Green Mother from Outer Space, from Little Shop of Horrors. Recently, I've enjoyed his work in the movie Enchanted, but I may like that movie simply because it stars Amy Adams (Love ya, Amy, call me!). This musical should have been a bigger hit on Broadway than The Lion King because the songs are better, but The Lion King benefited greatly from the vision of Julie Taymor. Ah, well.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

Tracks: The best songs also appear in the movie, the ones added for the stage version aren't quite as good, with the exception of If I Can't Love Her. My favorites are Belle, Gaston, Be Our Guest, Something There, and Beauty And The Beast. The rest are good, not spectacular, but there aren't any I want to skip. Rumor has it that this CD was recorded before rehearsals even started for the show. I wonder if that's true - much can change during rehearsals and previews.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I saw this show on Broadway in 1998 starring Deborah (don't call me Debbie anymore) Gibson as Belle. I enjoyed the show, but the problem with going to shows based on Disney animated movies is that there are always a bunch of children there. While most parents keep their children in check, there are always a few that are allowed to run around while the parents laugh and say, "Isn't that cute?" No, it isn't.

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