This often overlooked winner of the 1972 Tony award for best musical received its first CD release in 2002. A celebration of love based on a Shakespearean comedy, Two Gentlemen of Verona starred Raul Julia and Clifton Davis along with a large, multiracial cast in its initial Broadway run. Their voices, while sometimes rough around the edges, are full of life and character, as are all the performances on this recording. Diane Davila brings a vivacity to her singing that's infectious and Jonelle Allen is simply wonderful. This cast members obviously enjoyed their roles. The clever lyrics by John Guare contain nods and commentary on Shakespeare and Nixon as well as blatant odes to love (and love's folly). The exuberant score by composer Galt McDermott shares a certain stylistic sense with his music from Hair, though the songs here are more tied to their book and less able to be appreciated in stand-alone form. Fortunately, the CD contains a lengthy synopsis that assists in placing the songs in the context of the story. Plus, there's enough energy and spirit here to sustain casual listening and make one long for a new stage production. More than just a "period piece," Two Gentlemen of Verona is a valentine to the joys of love and makes a welcome premiere on disc.
AllMusic Review by Neil Shurley
|Two Gentlemen of Verona, musical play|