#MusicalTube: Top 10 Broadway Recording Studio Videos
If you love Broadway, you love your Broadway cast recordings. They let you imagine the show before and after you see it for yourself. They keep the show alive long after the curtain has come down. Cast recordings are a valuable piece of Broadway’s cultural identity and it takes a lot of work to get them recorded. This week, we go inside the recording studio and take a look at just what was going on when the stars recorded some of my favorite recent cast albums. These are the top 10 behind-the-scenes recording studio videos.
1. “It All Fades Away” from The Bridges of Madison County
This is absolutely my number one favorite video to watch. While I’m not an overall super-fan of this show, if this song comes on when my iPod is on shuffle, I have to listen to it all the way through. The song has a stunning build and watching Steven put all his emotion into it, even in the recording studio, is thrilling. He gives a real performance so that listeners at home can try to imagine how this number would affect them in the theatre. (NYC, keep an eye out for Steven in The Robber Bridegroom at Roundabout’s Laura Pels theatre this February!)
2. “96,000” from In the Heights
There are a couple of reasons I love this video. Of course, we all love the music and we all love Lin-Manuel Miranda. But there’s something really special about seeing all of these incredibly talented people in a show that launched some of their careers. Robin De Jesus, Chris Jackson, Joshua Henry, Karen Olivo, Andrea Burns and more all had careers before this show, but being in In the Heights made them viral superstars to the Broadway fan community. You can see that there’s a real sense of love between the cast members in this video. They truly enjoy their job and the music they are singing. Also, don’t miss the glimpse of Hamilton music director Alex Lacamoire! He and Lin-Manuel Miranda have worked together on many projects!
3. Recording the Something Rotten Cast Album
This video not only gives you a taste of nearly every song from the show, but it also gives you interviews with the cast and producing team. The friendships in this cast are pretty hilarious, but my favorite part is the fact that Brad Oscar does his choreography as he records. It’s like the musical is so engrained in his body that he can’t help but dance when he sings those words.
4. “You’ve Got a Friend” from Beautiful
Carole King’s music is beautiful by itself, and this song can easily touch hearts on its own. But the style and setup of this video make a recording session into a music video. The actors express their own feelings on the song at the beginning of the video. From there, the video follows them through the recording studio and intersperses clips of the actors having a good time with sequences of their singing.
5. “Candy Store” from Heathers
This is a kickass girl power anthem, so the video is actually kind of funny to watch. The women in it can sing their parts so easily that they look almost bored. They’re in character, but without the choreography and eye-popping costumes, the song doesn’t have the same impact. It’s actually more fun to listen to without the video but there are some fun little character moments to find here.
6. Recording the Hunchback of Notre Dame Cast Album
Watch this. Just watch it. This show really should have come to Broadway right away instead of stopping at the regional level. I got chills from the very start of this short video. There’s an all-star cast and I can’t wait to pre-order my copy of the CD. This studio cast recording comes out on January 22nd, so don’t miss out!
7. “The Ladies who Lunch” from Company
I’ve always loved this video because it’s a real, hard look at the side of recordings that we don’t often see. Studio recording is very difficult and requires a lot of patience from actors, directors, writers, and sound engineers. That’s a lot of people to keep patient for a long day! In this video, the incredible, late Elaine Stritch explains what it was like to record her iconic anthem from Company under the supervision of Stephen Sondheim himself.
8. Recording the Drowsy Chaperone Cast Album
With Danny Burstein back on Broadway in a leading man role, it would be hard not to include this video. Within the cast interviews and glimpses of Sutton Foster, this video also contains footage of Mr. Burstein being totally silly. That is, of course, appropriate considering his character. This show is a pet favorite of many people, not least of which the people who wrote it as a stag party gag gift. Everyone involved in this musical has decades of fame and talent behind them, but what stands out the most is the amount of fun they’re having!
9. “Some Kinda Time” from Dogfight
This one is a special treat because it features two men who are currently performing in shows right here in New York City. Josh Segarra is portraying Emilio Estefan in On Your Feet, and if you caught the livestream performance of Daddy Long Legs last month, you might recognize Adam Halpin! The video itself is a great glimpse into the recording studio for a group number. This is not easy music and the boys are very focused. In the show, they were having a good old time while they sang this, dancing on chairs and jumping all over each other. It’s just a testament to their talent that they were able to do all that while singing such intense harmonies.
10. Recording the Legally Blonde Cast Album
If you wanted to see Christian Borle with his pre-Shakespeare biceps, this is your chance! I love this cast recording because we get to see all those prissy sorority girls letting loose and having some casual fun. Richard H Blake shows us that he’s not anywhere close to as much of a jerk as his character would have us believe. This is another Broadway cast that seems to truly get along well both onstage and behind the scenes.
BONUS: Laura Bell Bundy
Did you know that Laura Bell Bundy has a country music career in addition to her Broadway success? Check out this great video to her song “Giddy on Up.” It features the charming Brian Patrick Murphy (who toured in Legally Blonde and now is a trainer at Broadway’s “actor gym,” Mark Fisher Fitness) as Laura Bell Bundy’s bad boy cowboy.
What are your favorite recording studio videos?
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