Thursday, September 06, 2012

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: a new recording

The only word for it is "inspired." Casting Megan Hilty in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is about as close as one can get to casting Marilyn Monroe. After all, Megan just finished season one of Smash, the TV series about the making of a Marilyn musical, and she was amazing. The cliffhanger ending notwithstanding, Megan delivered every week, whether she was singing or speaking. Anyway, in addition to playing Marilyn, now she's played one of Marilyn's iconic roles in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and the new cast recording is a wonderful bit of nostalgia. Jules Styne's music and Leo Robin's rhyme-happy lyrics are almost too much fun. With the spectacular Rachel York in the cast, as well, this can't be beat. The CD features singing and lots of dancing, even down to the tapping. It's one of the frothiest CDs I've heard in a long time, and it's clear with every number how much a labor of love this was to produce. Every actor is locked into the point, which is to tell a fun story in a fun, memorable way. Megan Hilty is a knock-out in a part that made Marilyn famous, and she brings the same breathy, almost over-pronounced style that was Marilyn's signature. This isn't a huge, chandelier-falling, housekeeper-flying musical. It's old style. Classic. Fun. That's part of its charm. Don't miss this recording -- it's a keeper.

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