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Music Review

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The Radio In My Head - Live at 54 Below


Artist: Aaron Tveit
Label: Broadway Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 10 September 2013

Broadway Records popular series of recordings Live From 54 Below continues with this latest release. 54 Below is on 54th Street in New York, steps from Times Square, in the heart of theatreland, and combines the best of cabaret with the best of dining. I am very much a fan of this series, all have been good so far, some have been outstanding.

Aaron Tveit: The Radio In My Head - Live at 54 Below is a bit of a rarity really - it's a male recording. So far, the series has been heavily biased towards the female Broadway star (and that's not a complaint at all), so it was nice to have something different.

Aaron Tveit (for those not aware) is an American theatre, television, and film actor. In 2012 Aaron shined as Enjolras in the critically acclaimed film adaptation of Les Miserables where he can be seen alongside Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe. Tveit graced the small screen starring in the original USA Network series Graceland, which premiered in June 2013.

Tveit starred on Broadway in Catch Me if You Can, in the role of Frank Abagnale Jr and also created the role of "Gabe" in the Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway musical, Next to Normal, which he developed off-Broadway at the Second Stage Theatre and debuted on Broadway. Tveit has received numerous honours for his work in theatre including the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Performance in Next to Normal and the Actors Equity Association Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Actor. Nominations included Distinguished Performance from the Drama League, Best Male Dancer from the Fred and Adele Astaire Awards, and Outstanding Featured Actor from the Outer Critics Circle Awards, all for his work in Catch Me if You Can. In addition to Wicked and Hairspray on Broadway, he starred in the national tours of Hairspray and Rent. He is featured on the cast recordings for Catch Me if You Can and Next to Normal.

I approached this recording with some trepidation. I was not a big fan of Next to Normal, and Catch Me if You Can has so far passed me by, so I didn't know quite what to expect. I needn't have worried. This recording, and the gentleman in question, are pure class. From the very first track 'I'm Alive' (ironically. from Next to Normal) through to the last, stunning standards, this recording is a joy to listen to. Tveit has a very personable demeanour - very much a necessity for a recording such as this - and his interludes are honest and natural. I can only imagine what a great evening this must have been to attend.

Broadway Records have really done themselves proud on the production and recording quality on this release too. The recording is crystal clear, and some of it is almost studio quality.

The song choices cover most of Tveit's career - from his High School West Side Story, through to his later successes on Next to Normal, Catch Me if You Can and Rent. He also includes a track by the wonderful composer Craig Carnelia - 'What You'd Call A Dream, which is my favourite track on the album. I also loved 'My Romance' (one of my favourite songs of all time) and 'I Could Be In Love With Someone Like You' by the extremely talented Jason Robert Brown.

The truth is however, there isn't a bad track on there. Another winner from Broadway Records.


Ian Gude

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