Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Something Wicked This Way Comes...In The Mail

Something Wicked This Way Comes...In The Mail

It's not unusual for American collectors of original cast recordings to buy London versions of their favorite shows. But have you ever purchased a cast recording in another language?

If you're a regular reader, you know by now how much I enjoy -- OK, love -- the Broadway musical Wicked. I saw the original production on the Great White Way just two days after it opened and have since seen it at the Gershwin Theatre at least another three times. I've seen its sitdown incarnation in Chicago another four or five times (with another viewing coming there in April), as well as the North American tour in both Chicago (prior to the city's sitdown) and Minneapolis.

Last year, I even went so far as to travel to London, Stuttgart and Tokyo to see the first three international stagings of the show. And I already have my tickets to see Wicked when it finally touches down in Melbourne, Australia in July.

I've already worn out two of my original cast CDs and am now on my third. So when I learned that the German cast would come out with their own recording, how could I resist? A couple months ago, I ordered my copy from the German-language version of Amazon, and once I had translated everything from German into English (courtesy of this site -- the same one I used to maneuver through the German ticketing site to get my front-row seats for Wicked - Die Hexen Von Oz), I was all set.

Over the weekend, I began to wonder if I'd ever actually receive the CD. But then when I arrived home last evening, I had a real thrill. There it was in its plain brown Amazon.de wrapping.

Without missing a beat, I immediately put the disc on, feeling a bit like a little kid at Christmas. When I listened to the absolutely breathtaking vocals from its two stars, Willemijn Verkaik (Elphaba) and Lucy Scherer (Galinda), I found myself soaring yet again. To see what I mean, click on the site and tell me if you're not impressed when listening to "Heißgeliebt" ("Popular") or "Frei und schwerelos" ("Defying Gravity").

What do I care if I don't exactly remember the German I learned in high school? With this CD, I just might learn it all over again.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Related Stories:
Wicked - Die Hexen Von Oz (The SOB Revisit) (December 2, 2007)
Some Of The Names May Have Been Changed To Protest Das Wicked (November 15, 2007)

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At 12 February, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

Hey Steve,
As you know, I have the cast recordings of "Hair" and "Fiddler on the Roof" in Hebrew. After I saw a production of "Fiddler" in Israel, with Topol, I looked for the cast recording but I couldn't find one. A few years later, after a Google search, I found that I could get it, and "Hair," from Footlight Records in New York.

While I can't make out everything, I find that I'm remembering more and more of my sadly fading Hebrew with each listen. I've noticed at least one change on the "Fiddler" recording from the English. Instead of "If I Were A Rich Man," Tevye sings "If I Were a Rothschild."

It's very cool to listen to foreign cast CDs, especially if you're a little bit familiar with the language and you know the songs really well in English. So I know how much fun you're having reliving that memorable performance.

At 12 February, 2008, Blogger Chris Caggiano said...

Steve, dear, as you know I have a bit of a disease when it comes to cast albums, and I am FASCINATED by foreign cast albums. I have over 150. I love hearing familiar songs with strange, foreign words. My favorite is Little Shop of Horrors in Icelandic, followed closely by Promises Promises in Italian.

In my class at the Conservatory, I play a little game with my students. I block out the name of the show and ask them to determine which show it is just by looking at the logo. The point is that shows didn't really start to have consistent brand identities until the 80s, when the look and feel of shows became more important than the content. Older shows are harder to determine because older foreign productions only licensed the content. But as shows became more about spectacle, it became more important that spin-off productions were consistent with the mother ship.

At 13 February, 2008, Blogger SarahB said...

I'm going to stage an intervention!

At 13 February, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Egads. It's such a predictable and trite show.

At 13 February, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Well, Anonymous, I happened to love the show. I grew up on "The Wizard Of Oz" and loved how Wicked cleverly twisted that iconic show inside out.

Your trite is someone else's treasure. Thank goodness we all have options to enjoy the shows we want, right?


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