Various Artists

On Your Toes [1983 Broadway Cast]

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The 1983 Broadway revival of Rodgers & Hart's 1936 musical On Your Toes successfully went against a trend of turning revivals into what some people called "revisicals" by rewriting the books and interpolating songs into the scores. On the contrary, this On Your Toes used the original book, written by Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, and George Abbott, and Abbott, the original director was, at age 95, directing the show again. Similarly, the music, in the hands of two restoration experts, conductor John Mauceri and "coordinator of music materials" John McGlinn, hewed closely to the original performances, as original orchestrator Hans Spialek, at age 89, supervised the work and was present in the recording studio. So, this is a faithful recording of the music of On Your Toes, which is a good thing, since there was no recording of the original cast (1936 was about seven years before cast recordings started to become common), and previous attempts to record the score were either incomplete (the 1952 studio cast album on Columbia Records) or somewhat revisionist (the 1954 Broadway revival cast album on Decca). Unfortunately, faithfulness is not the only consideration in recording a musical score. There is also the cast to consider, and the 1954 cast was more distinctive than the 1983 one, particularly Elaine Stritch (who was given an interpolated Rodgers & Hart standard, "You Took Advantage of Me," to go with her character's two duets, a number of course not present here), who had it all over Dina Merrill in the supporting role of Peggy Porterfield. In the leads, Lara Teeter and Christine Andreas do a good, but unremarkable job. The really impressive element of this version is all the instrumental music. On Your Toes has a lot of it, given its story of vaudeville versus the ballet, and "La Princesse Zenobia Ballet" is given a rare recording here, to go with the big closing ballet, "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue." [In this expanded reissue of the 1983 release, there is even more instrumental music, with tracks given extended edits, and there is one added track, "Quiet Night (Reprise)."]

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