Odds and ends

Promises, Promises Broadway revival cast recording: It’s like bubble gum for the ears! Ok, not the best metaphor, but gosh, this is one darn enjoyable cast recording. Surprising, as I wasn’t expecting much. Sean Hayes has a delightful singing voice, and Jonathon Tunick’s orchestrations sound crisp and bright. I love that they kept the “vocal minority,” which peppers the score with that cool retro vibe. Though, as lovely as Kristin Chenoweth sounds here (and she does sound lovely), I can’t shake Betty Buckley’s powerful vocals out of my head from the out-of-print 1969 London Cast Recording — a version I’ve been listening to for a few years.

The Addams Family cast recording: On the flip side, what a disappointment we have here. This recording is leaden, overproduced and ill-conceived. Funny, because I enjoyed the pre-Broadway tryout of the show. Maybe without all the in-your-face star power and fancy sets, the weaknesses of the material really shine through? Or, it might also be that Bebe Neuwirth, whom I’ve loved for years, sounds horrendous here. You could drive a truck through her vibrato. And Nathan Lane is essentially sleep-walking through the role, relying 100% on his well-worn shtick.

Sutton Foster to star in a revival of Anything Goes: Foster is Broadway’s darling (one of the only few left, actually), and I’m sure she’ll be fine as that sassy chanteuse Reno Sweeney. True to form, theatre message boards are already lambasting the casting news, declaring how wrong she is for the part and citing Ethel Merman (who originated the role) and Patti LuPone (who revived it in 1987 with great success) as her untouchable predecessors. I bet if the internet were around in 1986, these theatre queens would have been even more vitriolic with the casting of LuPone, who was then primarily known for her balls-of-steel roles (i.e., Evita.) Though, the news that Kathleen Marshall will be directing this revival puts me right to sleep. (FYI: Foster will be christening Chicago’s new Broadway Playhouse theatre with her one woman show in September. More info here.)

iPhone OS 4.0: The download for this upgrade was slower than the CTA on a Sunday. I let it go overnight, and woke up to find it still processing. It’s finally done, and I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. I can now put my apps in folders? Why? I mean, the whole point of the iPhone’s interface is its flat design and navigation. Is there something I’m missing?

Red Line fire: Speaking of the CTA, what the hell with this fire Sunday afternoon? Apparently it was caused by flammable lubricant that’s sprayed all over the under workings of the train, which was ignited by a spark. You see sparks fly from the el trains all the time — the fact that they coat the wheels with flammable liquid mystifies and terrifies me. Not to mention that they apparently sent another train through the flames, thinking the fire was out. Is the city trying to kill us? And the reason CTA is citing for all this insanity? Lack of funding. Oh shut the hell up, CTA, and take care of your passengers.

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