Entertainment :: Music

Chaplin - Original Broadway Cast Recording

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Friday Jan 11, 2013
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It is always a pleasant surprise when a bio-musical is written that is engaging and keeps the audience concerned with the characters. It is even more refreshing when the recording of the score maintains that attraction."Chaplin: The Musical," is one of those musicals.

My first impulse when initially listening to the Broadway Cast Recording of this new musical, which unfortunately closed at the Barrymore on January 6th, was "who composed this score, with its stimulating melodies, spread out among all the principal performers?" Christopher Curtis, a newcomer to the Broadway world, has created a timeless story about the famous movie actor, Charlie Chaplin (1889 - 1977), who rose to stardom, only to be exiled later in his life for his "supposed" communist sympathies. But Curtis’ work is more than assisted by the strong collaborative team put in place to see the 24-character show to New York. From co-bookwriter Thomas Meehan ("Annie") to director Warren Carlyle ("Hugh Jackman - Back on Broadway"), the creative team has amassed a highly, talented cast, led by Rob McClure as Chaplin, Christiane Noll as Hannah Chaplin, Jenn Colella as columnist Hedda Hopper and Erin Mackey as Chaplin’s fourth (and final) wife, Oona O’Neill.

Curtis’ score strikes an effective balance between large ensemble numbers ("Just Another Day in Hollywood," "Life Can Be Like The Movies") and heartfelt solo moments for the principal performers including Noll ("Look At All The People"), Mackey ("What Only Love Can See"), and of course, McClure ("If I Left London," "Where Are All the People?" and a spot-on replication of Chaplin’s 1972 Honorable Oscar speech). Other recording highlights feature Michael McCormick’s hilarious take as film director Mack Sennett in "Sennett’s Song," and Colella’s Hedda Hopper putting Chaplin under the political microscope in "All Falls Down."

"Chaplin: The Musical," should easily join shows like "Fiddler on the Roof" and "The Most Happy Fella" as regional vehicles for a strong male musical frontman.

"Chaplin: The Musical"
Original Broadway Cast Recording
CD and digital formats
Masterworks Broadway

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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