Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: Album Reviews

Sony Masterworks has released the 2012 Encores! concert revival cast recording of the 1949 musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to very positive reviews. The creative team is Anita Loos and Joseph Fields (book), David Ives (book adaptation), Leo Robin (lyrics), Jule Styne (music), Don Walker (orchestration), Hugh Martin (vocal arrangement), Trude Rittman (dance arrangement) and Rob Berman (music direction). The cast includes Stephen R. Buntrock (Josephus Gage), Megan Hilty (Lorelei Lee), Aaron Lazar (Henry Spofford), Deborah Rush (Mrs. Spofford), and Rachel York (Dorothy Shaw).

Eric Henrickson (Detroit News): I’m going to put on my theater geek hat today to plug a dynamite CD I got this week, the new Encores! cast recording of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. It stars Megan Hilty. … Her “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” is a classic, and she’s just charming on “A Little Girl from Little Rock.” But this isn’t just the Megan Hilty show. She’s surrounded by strong voices, most notably Rachel York. … Lots of others get their chance to shine, too. Aaron Lazar gives a romantic “Just a Kiss Apart” … and Stephen R. Buntrock mines laughs out of the innuendo of “I’m A’Tingle, I’m A’Glow” even without the visuals. I didn’t realize just how much instrumental music there is in the show, and the CD has a bunch (if not all). … Gentleman Prefer Blondes is one of those great shows that’s long overdue for a reprise on Broadway, which is the Encores! series’ mission, after all.

Andy Propst (Theater Mania): Megan Hilty stepped into the heels of the quintessential flapper Lorelei Lee with consummate style. In the process, she makes this iconic role and the show’s signature songs her own. Not only do Hilty’s renditions … have a terrific combination of gentle Southern charm, subtly conniving shrewdness, and delicately communicated dimness, they are also both followed – on separate tracks – by the encore verses of the songs. It’s a small detail, but one which allows listeners to hear how the actress builds a number, and then tops it. Fortunately, the CD also has other considerable charms and assets to recommend it, including … a bountiful amount of the show’s dance music. … Conductor Rob Berman’s fine work with the orchestra and the ensemble results in a sound that’s both brash and sparkling. He has also contributed a fine essay about songwriter Hugh Martin’s vocal arrangements for this and other shows as part of the handsome book that accompanies this remarkably satisfying recording.

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