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You can never accuse Broadway Records of resting on their laurels. They continue to announce new release after new release at a rate that is pretty extraordinary. So much so, I’m having a hard time keeping up, so apologies to all for keeping you waiting. There is also no accusing them of ‘same old’ releases - their latest album is certainly different. And extremely worthy.
Like You Like It is the award-winning musical based on the Bard's As You Like It, set at a mall in the 1980s. With music by Daniel S. Acquisto and words by Sammy Buck, the studio cast “RADcording” features Alison Luff (Les Miserables, Matilda, Wicked National Tour), Derek Klena (Anastasia, Diner, Dogfight), Patti Murin (Lysistrata Jones, Xanadu), Robin De Jesús (In the Heights, Wicked), Nick Cearley (“The Skivvies,” Pageant), Bonnie Milligan (Kinky Boots National Tour), Kate Rockwell (Rock of Ages, Bring It On), Sam Underwood (Fox's “The Following,” Showtime’s “Dexter”) and Lesli Margherita (Dames at Sea, Matilda), with a special bonus track performed by Laura Osnes (Cinderella, Bonnie & Clyde) and Nathan Johnson (Like You Like It at The Gallery Players).
The album is produced by Michael Croiter of Yellow Sound Lab with music direction by Beth Falcone and casting by Robin Carus.
All the world's a mall in Like You Like It, a totally awesome blend of As You Like It and the John Hughes movies of the 1980s. Winner of Best Musical at the 2009 NY Innovative Theatre Awards for the critically-lauded Gallery Players production, and a festival favourite in the inaugural New York Musical Festival (NYMF), Like You Like It has been performed extensively in regional theaters, international festivals, colleges and high schools, and will soon be published by Playscripts, Inc.
From the off, without reading the booklet, I thought that the cast recording sounded like Grease meets The Breakfast Club, so it was strange (and re-assuring) to see Buck mention this later in his liner notes. This really does feel like the '80s version of Grease in sound and style, and grabbed me from the first number. Following the story was tricky without the booklet, but once I’d read the great inlay it all became a lot clearer, and was a great 2nd listen.
Talent is great all round, but I especially enjoyed the unmistakable voice of Robin De Jesu, as well as the great vocals from Derek Klena as Orlando and Alison Luff as Rosalind. Their voices work very well together, as well as carrying their solo work admirably. I loved ‘It Could Totally Happen’ which is your typical moment-in-time number, but Klena’s ‘Be With Me’ was my stand out number. I also enjoyed the bonus tracks, where it was great to here Laura Osnes and Nathan Johnson sing ‘All Of The Above’ which was originally the final duet in the show.
The sound of the recording is first rate, and whilst much of the backing is keyboards, it sounds mighty fine. A really enjoyable, fresh and new cast album.