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Music Review

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Artists in Residence


Artists: Various
Label: Broadway Records
Release Date: 26 June 2020

The theatre world is suffering at the moment in more ways that one. Apart from the obvious lack of performing happening in theatres and studios, and the worries that the lack of income brings, there’s also the unknown of when will it all get better. Performers, by instinct, don’t like being caged - they want, and need, to perform. One positive from all of this is the number of live performances ‘from the home’ that have been happening, both here in the UK and across the world, and also the number of self-recorded music that’s emerged. The best so far in this has to be the latest release from Broadway Records.

Benefitting Actors Fund and the Dramatists Guild, two organizations doing essential work supporting theatre artists during the economic shutdown, Artists in Residence, includes new works by renowned film and Broadway favourites Alan Menken, David Zippel, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, as well as multiple award-winning theatre writers Todd Almond, Sean Barry and Jenny Giering, Carmel Dean, Andrew Gerle, Adam Gwon, Peter Mills, Ryan Scott Oliver, Eric Price and Will Reynolds, Ben Wexler, Jake Wildhorn, and David and Joseph Zellnik. All tracks are the products of collaborations and recordings done from the artists' homes.

Gerle’s inspiration for the project came the morning after Broadway’s closure: “I wanted a way to help people in the industry who I knew were going to be out of work for a long time, but also to show the world that we can continue to create art, even when separated. With everyone these days having some kind of recording device, be it a phone, a podcast mic, or a more sophisticated setup, I knew it wouldn’t be too difficult to put together from a technical standpoint. And I was sure the fantastic writers I knew would be excited to write something – I gave them the loose topic of the changes we've all experienced from the quarantine and let them take it from there.”

Van Dean, Tony and Grammy Award-winning president of Broadway Records, was quick to come on board: “The Broadway community is always so generous with their time and talent, and we are beyond grateful to all of the writers and performers taking part in this benefit album. We look forward to the Broadway fans, who are all missing the theater experience as much as we are, being able to enjoy this collection of wonderful new songs speaking directly to the challenging and unusual times we are all facing, written by top musical theatre writers and performed by top Broadway talent.”

This album is truly outstanding, and I know I use that a lot when referring to Broadway Records’ releases. Not only the performances, but also the quality of the recording itself, the booklet, and the material. The album kicks off with 'I Don’t Know About You', a song which covers a familiar experience for most of us - dreams during lockdown. I found myself relating to much of what was being sung about - especially the very funny 'What A Thought'. A particular highlight was hearing Alan Menken singing his own work 'Stay Home' - very, very cute. There are some beautiful and thoughtful songs here - perhaps no more than 'When I See You Again', and 'Time Moves On'.

So, until the world allows us all to be together, spend a little time healing to this wonderful recording. You will not regret it.


Ian Gude

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