July 19--The musical that won this year's Tony Award for best revival won't be coming to town until the fall of 2014, but the new Broadway cast album is out. If director Diane Paulus' circus-infused production is as impressive as many say (circus stagings by San Francisco's own Gypsy Snider), you might want to wait for it to get here -- or head to New York while it's still playing. A very early work by Stephen Schwartz ("Godspell," "Wicked"), with a book by Roger O. Hirson, the popular 1972 musical about a son of the emperor Charlemagne sounds mired in and imitative of the Broadway of its time. The score and lyrics inhabit the world of "Hair"-derivative bubbly pop-rock of that era, though often with the jazz-matazz edge associated with original director Bob Fosse. Musical director Charlie Alterman's ensemble handles the score well. The cast delivers strong renderings of the familiar generic songs, anchored by the impressive voices of Patina Miller's jazzy Leading Player, Terrence Mann's robust Charles, Charlotte d'Amboise's vampish Fastrada and Rachel Bay Jones' country-sweet Catherine on a lilting "Kind of Woman." But the overall effect is merely one of cloying hippie-lite sincerity.
NEW BROADWAY CAST RECORDING
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