Click here to return to the main site.

Music Review

Cover Image

Session Girls
(Original Concert Cast Recording)
Live at Feinstein’s/54 Below


Music: Mia Moravis
Lyrics: Mia Moravis
Performed by: Lauren Worsham, Jill Abramovitz, Oyoyo Joi and Brian Charles Rooney
Label: Broadway Records
Release Date: 28 September 2018

September has been a bumper month for releases, hence why I’m only just getting round to reviewing them in mid-October. And as usual, Broadway Records leads the way with a whole selection of recordings. The first one I’ve been listening to is one I’ve been waiting for for a while, as it combines two of my favourite sub-genres - new cast recordings, and anything Live at Feinstein’s/54 Below, in one package Session Girls - Original Concert Cast Recording - Live At Feinstein’s/54 Below.

Session Girls gives us the inside scoop on music producer Joli Nye (Lauren Worsham, A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder), bawdy backup vocalist Cocoa (Jill Abramovitz, Fiddler On The Roof), classical cellist Mariana (Oyoyo Joi, The Book Of Mormon), and their trials and tribulations as they navigate the music world, their love lives, and unanticipated change.

The subplot covers a harrowing major label/recording studio merger, helmed by Terrence Rand (Brian Charles Rooney, The Threepenny Opera), who is smitten in a most gentlemanly way with his new producer, Joli and, by happenstance, in the uncomfortable position of calming his anxious theatre producer pal, Mitchie Karabakis (Robbie Rozelle, in a cameo performance). Max Beft (Ryan Andes, Big Fish; Sweeney Todd) is a studio engineer, enthralled with Cocoa, much to the chagrin of his fiancée Maya (Megan McGinnis, Daddy Long Legs; Les Misérables) and her cousin, Celia Webb (Lisa O’Hare, A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder), an executive at the studio. Amidst all this, cellist Rouald Finckel (Bart Shatto, War Paint; Les Misérables), fiancé to Mariana, is hoping for marriage, but Mariana isn’t ready, and has business plans with Delivery Guy (Jeff Hiller, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; Nightcap). Cocoa’s Nashville musician cousin, Lucinda (Emily Padgett, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory), arrives with unbridled—and sometimes unwelcome—enthusiasm.

Session Girls is the creation of Mia Moravis, and Mia opens the recording with introductions and a little about the story. This is one of those CDs that’s best listened to with the liner notes in front of you (excellent as always by Robbie Rozelle) to help you follow the story. There’s several really great songs on this recording. ‘I Got A Key’ sung by the lovely Emily Padgett is a clear favourite, and a song that wouldn’t be out of place on any Billboard Country Top 100. It really is a beautiful, simple song, with a superb orchestration. In the same vein is ‘I Dreamt Of You’ which is a beautiful, again simple, ballad, performed so well. I also loved 'The Empty Chair', which is a catchy feelings song, and fits well in the show. As is always with a one-shot live recording, there are a few flubs on the recording, and some takes (such as the backing vocals in 'The Empty Chair’) that needed another shot.

The more bouncy, company numbers are also good (I particularly found ‘At Least We’ve Got Us’ memorable and a bit of an ear worm) and the comedy numbers shine - especially ‘If You Want To Make Dough On A Show’ which is a clever song, well performed.

My main criticism of the recording would be that the libretto in between the songs is at best functional, and at worst detracts from the music it supports. This, along with the abrupt ending on some numbers, and the brave non-prepared modulation in some others, needs to be addressed, and then I’m sure the show will have life on the stage. I enjoyed listening very much.


Ian Gude

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.

Digital album
Digital album