Various Artists

Broadway Divas

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Unfortunately containing the vastly overused "D" word in its title, RCA Victor's Broadway Divas, one of a series of releases to commemorate the label's 100th anniversary, is a compilation of recordings by musical actresses culled from RCA's vast catalog of show music. It ranges from Eartha Kitt's performance of Arthur Siegel and June Carroll's "Monotonous" from the Broadwaymusical revue New Faces of 1952 to Julia Murney's performance of Andrew Lippa's "Raise the Roof" from the off-Broadway musical The Wild Party, which ran at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2000. But that spread of nearly 48 years is deceptive; actually, the Kitt recording is the only one that dates from before 1963. Four of the tracks come from the 1960s, two from the '70s, two from the '80s, and five from the '90s. The present-day orientation is further dramatized when you note the absence from the list of anything by Gwen Verdon or Chita Rivera, even though they made cast recordings for RCA, and the presence of a ringer like Sarah Jessica Parker, who has had some Broadway musical experience but hardly ranks with some of the other names here and no doubt is included only because of the television clout of her non-musical television series Sex and the City. This, then, is not the definitive collection of theater songstresses, even though there are some wonderful performances. The late Madeline Kahn, ably handling the tongue twister "Getting Married Today" (one of five titles by Stephen Sondheim), provides one of them, and another comes from Barbara Harris' "What Did I Have That I Don't Have?" from the original cast album of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Just think of the set as a sampler rather than a history, and you'll have a good time with it.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 4:14 Spotify
Flora the Red Menace, musical
2 3:29 Amazon
3 3:02 Amazon
Sunday in the Park with George, musical play
4 4:50
Jennie, musical
5 3:14 Amazon
Company, musical
6 2:49 Amazon
New Faces of 1952, musical
7 3:44 Amazon
Once Upon a Mattress, musical
4:19 Amazon
Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville, musical play
9 5:03 Amazon
The Wild Party, musical play
10 3:12 Amazon
Company, musical
11 4:17 Amazon
Ragtime, musical play
12 3:47 Amazon
Follies, musical play
13 4:17
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, musical
14 4:23 Amazon
Gypsy, musical
15 3:03
blue highlight denotes track pick