Having composed the music for the songs in 16 Broadway musicals between 1947 and 1993, among them Funny Girl and Gypsy, Jule Styne is most closely associated with the musical theater. But he also had an extensive career writing songs for the movies in the decade before his Broadway run began, as annotator and producer Tommy Krasker details in his liner notes to this album; in fact, he earned ten Academy Award nominations for best song (in some cases for songs written after he left Hollywood), finally winning the award for "Three Coins in the Fountain." In a sense, Krasker takes the movie Styne back to the stage on this collection, hiring a bevy of current Broadway stars such as Audra McDonald, Sutton Foster, Rebecca Luker, and Marin Mazzie to sing and using arrangements (in some cases adapted from the film originals) that place the songs more in a nightclub than a soundstage setting. He has not attempted to be comprehensive. Several of those Oscar nominees (e.g., "I Fall in Love Too Easily," "It's a Great Feeling") are missing, and others are bunched up into a medley, and some of Styne's Top Ten hits with movie songs, such as "There Goes That Song Again," are also not included. On the other hand, Krasker has expanded his criteria to include songs that, although written while Styne was living on the West Coast, were actually independent tunes not written for or used in the movies: "Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)," "It's Been a Long, Long Time," "The Things We Did Last Summer." Leaving out some of Styne's best-known work of the period leaves room for quite a few interesting obscurities, and that's really the heart of this collection. The real gems on the set are not Brent Barrett's "Time After Time" or Leslie Uggams' "I Don't Want to Walk Without You," worthy as they may be, but rather McDonald's investigation of "10,432 Sheep" from The West Point Story, Foster's rousing rendition of "There's Nothing Rougher than Love" from It's a Great Feeling, and the Lascivious Biddies' feeling take on "The Lady Who Didn't Believe in Love" from The Powers Girl. Any of these songs is ready to take its place in a nightclub act, although the quality of Styne's more famous movie and '40s work is certainly reconfirmed.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann