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The Lady in White OCR, An Evening With Alan Jay Lerner

One of these days I'll finish my Phantom movie review, but in the meantime picked up the cast recording of The Lady In White while in New Zealand.

This cast album was recorded straight off the opening night using the Palace Theatre's recording studio. When audience and stage noises intruded (notably at the beginnings and ends of songs) were portions re-recorded but the result is nearly seamless. Because the recording is live some of the vocals are strained in part, but this is compensated by a greater intensity of emotion.

The Lady In White plays like a mix of the the musical themes of Whistle Down the Wind and the restrained chamber style of Aspects of Love, though it lacks the overt passion of both of these, as well as ALW's other best works.

Plot wise the story was interesting. I was expecting a horror/thriller, maybe because of the fact that when I visited London there was a horror stage show of the same (or similar) name playing... though I never saw it. There were suggestions of the supernatural but ultimately everything has a natural Victorian melodramatic explanation.

Also interesting in that the main character turned out to be Maria Friedman's sister - that only became obvious about half-way through the first act. I thought for a long time that her prominent billing was purely based on "star" power. (Crawford's final, boxed billing of course reflects the glorified cameo nature of his part, though he carries it off with typical flair and typical pinched vocals.) I became more engaged in the story when it twisted and "opened up" and moved away from the moors and into London (though it didn't stay there for long).

Also picked up An Evening With Alan Jay Lerner, a tribute concert for the lyricist (there are so few of these... mostly it's composers who get the nods... fitting therefore for Tim Rice to make an appearance) staged in 1987. Nothing to write home about - some good performances, some merely okay. The audience reaction to Placido Domingo's first number was fun.

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