Melissa Errico

One Touch of Venus

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One of the most successful shows to appear on Broadway in 1943 was Kurt Weill's One Touch of Venus, a sophisticated musical comedy about modern art, society, and sexual mores that ran for 567 performances and launched the career of Mary Martin in the title role. Following a failed 1948 film version, which lacked much of the music, and intermittent revivals in New York, London, and Edinburgh, this 2014 release is the first complete recording of the musical, and its lively humor and exceptional tunefulness make one wonder how it could have taken so long to be presented on CD. This recording, produced at Abbey Road Studios, features the charismatic Melissa Errico as Venus, Ron Raines as Whitelaw Savory, Victoria Clark as Molly Grant, Brent Barrett as Rodney Hatch, and Judy Kaye as Mrs. Kramer, and they lead a small cast of talented artists who give the show a fresh take, despite the dated aspects of the book, written by S.J. Perelman and Ogden Nash. The show's big hit, "Speak Low," is a sultry number that Errico and Barrett infuse with credible passion. The other noteworthy song, the macabre "Doctor Crippen," is a scene stealer for Raines and the chorus, and the music is reminiscent of Weill's edgy style in The Threepenny Opera. The National Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of John Owen Edwards and James Holmes, deserves special credit, because Weill's lavish score receives a warm and expressive treatment that holds the listener's attention throughout, even when the story meanders.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
One Touch of Venus
1 2:31
2 2:34
3 2:41
4 0:54
5 0:56
6 2:20
7 0:29
8 0:28
9 2:58
10 5:36
11 0:37
12 2:56
13 3:33
14 2:49
15 1:56
16 0:42
17 0:30
18 4:24
19 3:55
20 4:18
21 0:46
22 4:30
23 4:43
24 5:12
blue highlight denotes track pick