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Occupation: Theatre reviewer
Profile: Theatre reviewer.
Broadcaster - host of FRONT ROW CENTRE heard every Sunday morning from 9 to 10 am and every Saturday morning from 8 to 9 am on PROUD-FM.

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Studio Recordings vs. Live Recordings
 Oct 10 2020, 02:07:05 AM

In addttion to the issues of sound already mentioned, there is the concern of shaping the recorded performance to communicate for the ear alone what is conveyed on stage visually.  Goddard Lieberson at Columbia records was a master at this.  He would adjust tempos to create more aural excitement or expand on an emotional moment.


He also knew how to judiciously edit a song to make it a single stand-alone number for the record. A live recording does not allow for

Protagonist and Antagonist duets
 Sep 24 2020, 02:19:40 AM

"Man and Woman" from the movie RED GARTERS

"An Old fashioned wedding" from ANNIE GET YOUR GUN

"You're a Liar" from WILDCAT

"What can you do with a Man?" from THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE

"You can Have him" from MISS LIBERTY (2 girls fighting over a man)


Showtunes that evoke nostalgia and maybe a little regret?
 Sep 24 2020, 02:14:17 AM

"Our Children" from RAGTIME

What contemporary plays include a young male character, around the ages of 12-18?
 Sep 24 2020, 02:06:27 AM

SIDE MAN. The leading character/narrator is in his teens in the main part of the play and adult by the end.


What Was The Worst Musical You Saw
 Apr 11 2020, 01:57:06 AM

Now I rather liked URINETOWN, and THE BANDS VISIT and PASSION.  I did not like SUNSET BLVD. The performance I atttended in Toronto starred Diahann Carroll who appeared bored and uninterested in giving any kind of star performance.

The classic film is still a favorite, but Lloyd Webber used too much of the film dialogue as recitative and brought nothing new or innovative to the stage adaptation. According to an article in SHOW MUSIC magazine he chose to recycle a number of trunk so

Show Boat revival?
 Apr 11 2020, 12:47:49 AM

The operetta elements of SHOW BOAT put off younger audiences who do not understand the genre, although they seem to respond to ALW's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. 

When the revival of SHOW BOAT opened in Toronto, one of the school board trustees in North York was extremely vocal about her opposition to it. She refused to attend  the show and instead galvanized her supporters to try to barricade the theater opening night. They failed. Their numbers were too small to make any kind

 Jun 11 2017, 09:47:03 PM

qolbinau said: "The song works fine in context - it's a kind of momentary detour while people take their seats and get ready for the show to start. To actually put a showcase on it at the Tony Awards was always incredibly misguided. </i>

Not really..the score of DOLLY is so well known even minor songs like "Elegance" and "It Only  takes a Moment"  would have seemed old hat. Here was a chance for a song that only a few people kno

2016 TONY BRODCAST ... Can you help?
 Jun 10 2017, 07:44:35 PM

Every year back to 1990 I recorded the Tony Broadcast on VHS and later transferred the tapes to record able DVD's.  Last year for some reason when I went to record the CBS broadcast of the 2106 Tonys my recorder kept shutting down giving an error message that the program could not be recorded! (Now many movies on TCM also do that.) No problem I had the whole Tony show saved on my PVR. Then last fall our cable company had an outage and all recorded programs were lost across the provin

Is Sunday in the Park the best musical ever?
 Dec 12 2016, 01:03:27 AM

SUNDAY is very nearly the best original musical I have ever see. What was surprising to me at the time was the number of Broadway critics who despised it. Frank Rick at the NY Times gave it a glowing and thoughtful review.  Other critics either missed the point or did not have the patience to examine it.  But the video of the original Broadway production is there to verify what magical production the original was. Also, guests on my radio program are asked to select and play 5 of th

Thoughts on Passion?
 Dec 12 2016, 12:40:59 AM

For me the score is one of the most beautiful of all Sondheim's.... more openly emotional and I would love just another lush chamber opera of this type from him. I LOVED it when I first saw it, and very much enjoy the Broadway cast album, though I regret all the trims made to fit it on once CD. PS Classics got it right with a 2 CD edition of the off Broadway revival and First Night did a more sensible compression to one disc for the original London Production. The PBS TV version is a wond

10 Best Movie Adaptations of Musicals
 Dec 12 2016, 12:13:27 AM

Some movie adaptations are faithful to the point of not so much preserving the stage show but embalming it. Many Warner film versions of Broadway musicals and plays go to this extreme..The BAD SEED, & MY FAIR LADY are examples...both enjoyable as transcriptions of what was seen on stage. CAMELOT, FINIAN'S RAINBOW & HELLO DOLLY  are bloated and cannot justify their lengths.

Some film versions make alterations, cuts and the resulting film is better than or at least as go

Did anyone see American Idiot/ Spring Awakeing?
 Aug 7 2016, 12:40:48 PM

Saw both.  Sam AMERICAN IDIOT the week before the Tony awards (I was seeing all the nominees.) I am not a fan of Green Day or that5 genre of music in particular. The story of a bunch of drug-addicted youths and their anger at the disappointments of their lives was uninviting. Also the music was too much of the same thing...that style of music is really only good for expressing anger.  There was some imaginative staging and enough scenes  of one character on stage in his underwe

Riedel on Hamilton $995 premium tickets
 Apr 24 2016, 10:29:00 PM

Back when THE PRODUCERS instituted premium seating with the same argument ("Why shoudl scalpers make all the profit from our hit show?" i thought of something like a Broadway E-bay where buyers could bid on a pair of the best seats in the house with an auction closing 24 hours prior to the performance. Really hot shows could offer several pairs until demand diminishes. The theatre goers would then set ceiling prices. Not theatre owners. 

Can Lin Miranda write in other musical styles?
 Apr 24 2016, 10:01:24 PM

He is currently Broadway's hottest composer with a fan base that would be the envy of many rock stars.  So far he has done two shows in the Rap/Hip-Hop style (I must confess I do not understand the distinction between the two,) I greatly admire his dedication to craft, obsessively rewriting every quatrain to make it as close to perfection as possible.

That said, I wonder if he could write Jazz, or traditional-style musical comedy styles  or even something operatic or in a

What book/movie would make a great musical?
 Apr 24 2016, 09:46:31 PM

A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD - just saw the movie again (the book is better) and think it could make a wonderful chamber piece in the style of PASSION.


Have Broadway actors ever returned to a role after leaving?
 Apr 18 2016, 06:43:03 PM

Mandy Patinkin returned to the cast of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE in August 1985 for the final few months of the run leading up to the taping for the PBS American Playhouse series.

 Feb 2 2016, 03:28:18 AM

<i>Is the radio show podcast or online radio only?</i>


It is carried by Toronto Gay/Lesbian radio station PROUD FM and the on-air feed is carried on the website ( There is no podcast as yet but as soon as teh music rights can be sortede out theer will be an archive of previous programs.


FLAHOOLEY is  gem. See my review on Yma Sumac's songs can be skipped over as they are not in English and have nothing to

Overtures/Musicals 1950-70 (Lil Abner)
 Feb 1 2016, 04:52:12 PM

In the late 1950s Columbia records issued an Lp called CURTAIN GOING UP with Lehman Engle conducting 10 Broadway Overtures.  It is out on CD with 2 bonus tracks:


This album was unique in that it used the original scores. The KISS ME KATE OVERTURE had not been recorded at all at that time. Both the Broadway cast album (Columbia) and the stereo remake (Capitol) used the Entr'acte to lead into "Another Op'nin' Another Show."  Also the original albums of BLOOMER GIRL, ON THE TOWN, and CALL ME MADAM did not include overtures. (Deccas CALL ME MADAM album with Merman had no Overture, just 12 songs.Victor's cast album with Dinah Shore had an Overture but it was not the one used in the theatre, which is the one on this album.) The Engle Overture for BELLS ARE  RINGING ends with Long Before I Knew You  while the overture on Columbias cast album ends with The Partys Over.

Another CD of Jule Styne Overtures is available on the JAY label including the Overture from HIGH BUTTON SHOES not included in the OCR.


Encores LADY BE GOOD recording gets release date and track listing
 Sep 16 2015, 04:07:53 AM

I just listened to the 2 tracks linked above. I always enjoyed the Nonesuch album and when it came out I thought it was the best of the Gershwin show series they had done up until that point. we had a very successful production of LADY BE GOOD at the Shaw Festival (in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario) in the summer of 1994 that was delightfully effervescent.  I liked the Nonesuch recording because it seemed to capture the energy of a 1920s musical comedy.

My introduction to the score (

On The Town
 Feb 10 2015, 03:07:27 AM
Sad to say ON THE TOWN has never been a big audience show. Even the original production, though financially successful at462 performances, had a short run for a big musical that got mostly positive notices (1 pan from John Chapman..he later apologized for it saying he must have been in a bad mood the night he saw it.) True, it faced tough competition in its day (OKLAHOMA!, SONG OF NORWAY, BLOOMER GIRL and CAROUSEL) but none of the revivals have proven to be strong box office draws.
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