Various Artists

My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs

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Like its predecessor, My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies, this album chronicles a New York concert featuring major Broadway performers singing show tunes and is the audio companion to a PBS television special. Julie Andrews returns as hostess, as do several of the singers from the first concert: Bebe Neuwirth, Linda Eder, and Marin Mazzie. In some cases, these are performers who are devoting their Monday night off from shows in which they are currently appearing (Mazzie in Kiss Me, Kate, Heather Headley in Aida, Rebecca Luker in The Music Man). The song list is a combination of songs closely associated with veteran performers (Robert Goulet doing "If Ever I Would Leave You," Michael Crawford doing "The Music of the Night") and, more interestingly, one-time performances of relatively obscure theater songs in new arrangements (Headley doing "He Touched Me" from the flop Drat the Cat, Chita Rivera bringing in a ringer, Kander and Ebb's "How Lucky Can You Get?" from the movie Funny Lady, both songs associated with Barbra Streisand when they are remembered at all). But the moment that brings down the house and will bring a tear to the eye of any fan of musical theater comes when Julie Andrews, following her much-publicized problems with throat surgery, manages a few bars of "The Rain in Spain." It's the highlight of an album that, like the earlier one, features some wonderful performances.

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