With the help of such singer-actresses as Nell Carter, Estelle Parsons, Chita Rivera, and Jo Sullivan, producer Ben Bagley presents an album of obscure Leonard Bernstein songs that were cut from such successful Broadway musicals as Wonderful Town or featured in such unsuccessful shows as 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Especially interesting are two songs written for the much revised Candide, "Ringaroundarosie," cut from all productions, and "We Are Women," which was used in a London production. Carter makes "Bright and Black" (from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue) and the 1944 song "It's Got to Be Bad to Be Good" her own, and Rivera is outstanding on "Big Stuff" and "The Story of My Life," cut from Fancy Free and Wonderful Town, respectively. The collection demonstrates that, like many composers, Bernstein wrote much worthy music that was eliminated from his shows or lost in shows that failed for other-than-musical reasons.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann