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  • RCA will release Ultimate Broadway 2, a compilation CD of 20 tracks mined from their original cast albums on May 20. But the big news is that two weeks later RCA debuts Broadway Deluxe Collectors Editions. The first to roll out of the vaults are three top 60s shows: Fiddler On the Roof, Hello, Dolly and Oliver!, among theater's most honored and enduring musicals and among the label's Grammy-winning and best-selling cast albums.

    Ultimate Broadway 2 features 20 tracks, featuring Barbara Cook singing "Losing My Mind" from Follies as featured in her Lincoln Center concert Mostly Sondheim, Sutton Foster from Thoroughly Modern Millie and brother Hunter Foster from Urinetown, Audra McDonald from Ragtime, Brian Stokes Mitchell from the current Man of La Mancha revival, Bebe Neuwirth and Ann Reining from Chicago, Natasha Richardson from Cabaret, Colm Wilkinson from Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera (which he premiered in Canada), Patrick Wilson on tracks from Oklahoma! and The Full Monty -- even Dick Cavett doing "Time Warp" from The Rocky Horror Show.

    Other highlights are the "Springtime for Hitler" production number featured in the film The Producers, and the overture from the London production of Gypsy, later on Broadway starring Angela Lansbury. The disc finale is Jerry Orbach and company, from 1980s 42nd Street, singing "Lullaby of Broadway."

    Ultimate Broadway was released in May, 1998 on RCA's sister label Arista and is still available.

    RCA's Broadway Deluxe packages hit stores June 3rd with digitally remastered CDs of two of Broadway's long-run champs: the Tony Award-winning musicals Fiddler, which opened in 1964 [and will be revived this September starring Alfred Molina], and Dolly, which opened earlier in 1964. And 1963's Tony-nominated Best Musical Oliver! [which tours later this year under the auspices of Cameron Mackintosh in a new staging by Sam Mendes, presented last year in London starring Jonathan Pryce, then Jim Dale and Robert Lindsay. Geoffrey Rush is being sought to play Fagin.]. These "collectors editions" contain numerous bonus tracks and lavish souvenir books with recently discovered recording session photos and anecdotes and insights from artists involved in the creation of the musicals.

    Fiddler (3,242 performances) won nine Tonys, has music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, was produced by Harold Prince and directed/choreographed by Jerome Robbins. Zero Mostel became the toast of Broadway as Tevye. Co-starring were Maria Karnilova as Golde and Bea Arthur as Yente, the matchmaker. Among the bonus tracks is Harnick from a 1971 concert album, performing two songs cut from the show. Trivia: future opera diva Julia Migenes debuted as Tevye's daughter Hodel, and Bette Midler later briefly played Rivka.

    Dolly (2,844 performances) won 10 Tonys [a record until The Producers] is by Jerry Herman, was produced by David Merrick and directed/choregraphed by Gower Champion. It starred Carol Channing in her career-defining role, David Burns, Charles Nelson Reilly, Jerry Dodge and Eileen Brennan. It set a sales record for original cast albums, selling more than 80,000 copies in its release week. Bonus tracks include six songs performed by three other notable Dollys, Ethel Merman, Pearl Bailey and Mary Martin [London production] with Merman [for whom Dolly was written] singing "Love, Look in My Window" and "World Take Me Back," added to the show during her run. Channing also recalls how the title song evolved and some of her experiences playing Dolly more than 5,000 times over 30 years.

    Oliver, considering its popularity amazingly had only 774 performances, is by Lionel Bart. It was co-produced by Merrick and directed by Peter Coe. Clive Revill and Georgia Brown starred with Davy Jones (of Monkees fame) as the Artful Dodger) and Barry Humphries, in his pre-Dame Edna days, as Mr. Sowerberry. It won Tonys for score, scenic design and musical direction. Bonus tracks include a live performance track from Patti LuPone, who starred in the 1986 revival and songs from the London cast recording, including Humphries performing "That's Your Funeral."


    Ellis Nassour is an international media journalist, and author of Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline, which he has adapted into a musical for the stage. Visit www.patsyclinehta.com.

    He can be reached at [email protected]

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