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2013 Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records Year In Review

 by Andy Propst on 12/27/2013 to News
In his final guest blog of 2013 for sh-k-boom.com, we asked Andy Propst to take a look back at our year in music. In case you missed any of these titles over the year, we're offering a 15% discount on 2 or more CDs through December 31 at 11:59pm EST. Enjoy our 2013 YEAR IN REVIEW below, then use code HOLIDAY13 at checkout! 

The spectrum of music that you'll find on Ghostlight Records' releases from 2013 is pretty remarkable. Overall, the company's 11 releases (plus one single) cover about a century's worth of songwriting, surveying some of Broadway's top shows to innovative works that have premiered off-Broadway. There's something for everyone in the mix here.

Probably the most high-profile of the recordings is the cast album for the Tony Award-winning revival of Pippin. The disc preserves not only Matthew James Thomas' winning turn in the title role, but also Patina Millers sultry (and Tony-winning) work as the "Leading Player." The disc's myriad other attractions include Andrea Martin leading a monster sing-along of "No Time at All" and a bevy of music that wasn't recorded when this perennial favorite was first produced back in the 1970s.

Ghostlight Records also released the new cast recording of Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella during 2013, making sure that Laura Osnes' charming work as the title character and Santino Fontana's portrayal of her beloved prince will be around for generations who believe in musical theater fairy tales. The disc is made all the more notable because the production uses of many unfamiliar R&H tunes, such as "There's Music in You," which is delivered by Victoria Clark as the woman who makes Cinderella's wishes come true. Songs like this and others only complement the show's instantly recognizable ones, like "Ten Minutes Ago" and "In My Own Little Corner."

A third Broadway cast recording from the company in 2013 has ensured that Trey Anastasio and Amanda Kitt's Hands on a Hardbody doesn't lapse into obscurity. There's a toe-tapping ease to the score for this tuner set in Texas, and it's one of those recordings that will, most likely, inspire legions of fans, both those who saw the show and those who didn't get the chance to catch it during its all-too-brief run last spring.

There was another tuner set in the Lone Star state that has gotten a cast recording from Ghostlight in 2013. It's Giant, the sweeping saga about a family that spans several decades, and in his score for this one, Michael John LaChiusa proves up to the challenge of mimicking period styles all the while maintaining his as equally as grand as the tale itself.

One of the surprise hits of the past year, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 brings a small section of Tolstoy's War and Peace to life in an opulent and extravagantly theatrical way, and the two-disc cast recording from Ghostlight certainly captures the show's tone, all the while bringing Dave Malloy's sumptuous score right into your earbuds or home sound system.

Musically you can dart some 150 years ahead with Ghostlight's cast recording of Dogfight, a musicalization of the hit indie movie of the same title that's set during the Vietnam era that had a limited run off-Broadway in 2012. Redhot songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (who also have written A Christmas Story) fill this one with tunes that sound like they might have come from the era and yet are also contemporary.

Two more off-Broadway cast recordings that Ghostlight has released over the past year are of Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years, and the Stephen Sondheim revue Marry Me A Little. Even if you have the albums that came out when the these shows were first performed, you'll want to make sure you add these two to your collection. Not just because they contain new material, but also because of the freshness of the four performers who bring these two, two-character shows to life: Adam Kantor and Betsy Wolfe; and Jason Tam and Lauren Molina, respectively.

Ghostlight Records other releases in 2013 have included one that will be a hit among the youngest musical theater fans: Danny Abosch and DiLallo's Fancy Nancy, a delightful stage version of Jane O'Connor's ever-popular kids' books about a young girl who likes everything "just so;" and one album that will appeal to folks who are looking for the cutting edge in more adult musical fare, The Joe Iconis Rock and Roll Jamboree, a collection of Iconis' always inventive tunes.

And as Sh-K-Boom was born to preserve solo vocalists, it's only appropriate that the Ghostlight label has also released a disc from Donna Vivino, one of Broadway's "Elphabas," who's displaying an elegantly jazzy side with her debut solo album, Beautiful Dreamer; and a wonderful single that features the Sherie Rene Scott's delicate rendition of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's timeless "The Folks Who Live on the Hill," with virtuosic piano accompaniment from Bill Charlap.

Anyone who has any worries about the health of the American musical theater need only listen to a few of these 2013 Ghostlight Records discs to have their qualms put to rest.
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