'A ROCKIN' Midsummer Night's Dream' Recording is Released 100%
Nancy Sasso Janis
I was one of the lucky theater lovers who had the chance to see the 12.14 Foundation's world premiere production of ‘A ROCKIN’ Midsummer Night's Dream’ last summer . I loved it so much that I traveled back to Newtown in order see it again during the second weekend. Now I am thrilled to report that the show’s original music by Eric Svejcar has been professionally recorded and was release last Friday.
Van Dean, producer of ‘Cinderella’ and other Broadway shows, and his record label Broadway Records have produced a 2 CD set recording of the show and it's available for purchase. Because the show ‘A ROCKIN Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was double cast, it required two CDs to memorialize the performances of the two casts. Hence, one contains the complete performance of the Moon cast, and the other is a recording of the members of the Stars cast. The set of CDs comes with a synopsis written by director Michael Unger, full lyrics, a complete cast list and plenty of great photos of both casts. The phot o booklet was designed by Mr. Dean.
I was able to pick up my boxed set last weekend at Newtown High School as the 12.14 Foundation presented their 2015 summer show, ‘Liberty Smith’ and I haven’t stopped listening since I removed the plastic wrap. Copies will also be available in the lobby of Newtown High School next weekend when Disney's ‘The Lion King, Jr.’ opens. I recommend that you try to make it to the high school to enjoy a performance of what promises to be an adorable production of the Disney classic musical so you can pick up a copy.
Copies of the CD may also be purchased through www.broadwayrecords.com. 100% of the profits from this recording will go to support the future work of the 12.14 Foundation and its NewArts program.
What I like most about listening to both of these very professional sounding recordings is that they bring back such wonderful memories of what was one of my favorite musical productions of all time. Two performances was not enough to remember all the songs that I can now enjoy whenever I am near a CD player. Some of the melodies came back immediately, while others seem new. The vast majority of the members of both original casts were not adults or professionals, but it doesn’t matter. They sound amazing in every song as they sing the lyrics of which 85% were written by Shakespeare. That they remembered all the lyrics in this often sung through musical during their performances is admirable and almost unbelievable.
The music varies in the 29 tracks that make up each CD. Some sound like parts of them could have been written during Shakespeare’s time, like when Puck and the Fairy Chorus sing “Over Hill, Over Dale.” Others have a more pop sound; “Puck’s Prologue is an example. There is the brassy ballad duet by Hippolyta and Theseus on “Four Days.” “The Course of True Love” may never run smooth, but it sounds like a smooth jazz bossa nova as Hermia and Lysander converse in song, followed by Helena’s more uptempo monologue “How Happy Some Can Be.”
Comic relief comes in the riotous “I Can Play That Too” when Broadway star Saum Eskandani as Bottom often interrupts the assignment of the roles to the band of actors. This piece is recorded with the lines that came between and it is one of my favorites.
A disco sound sneaks into Puck’s number “Merry Wanderer,” followed by Marla Mindelle as Titania belting the stormy ballad “The Forgeries of Jealousy” marked with thunder and guitar riffs. I love listening to fabulous voice of Clarke Thorell as Oberon on his solo “Fetch Me That Flower” that moves along the plot of the fairies so well and in the lyrical “I Know a Bank.” There is a beautiful lullaby for Titania entitled “Fairies Lullaby” that belongs in a music box somewhere, as well as the harpsichord laced baroque round called “Be Kind and Courteous.”
Lysander and Helena argue their way through the soaring “Run Through FIre” and I love the rock tinged “What a Dream” that Hermia sings alone. The massive “Pas de Quatre” includes all four of the Athenian lovers in a verbal “dance for four”and goes on for eight minutes.
Act two opens with Oberon’s musical monologue “Overcast the Night” and “Up and Down” reprises some signature melodies of the lovers. “Come Sit Thee Down” is a love song with the line “And kiss thy fair large ears” because Titania is addressing a man changed into a donkey. The action begins to be wrapped up neatly in the soaring rock of “Swifter Than the Wandering Moon” and the Broadway sound of “I Just Had the Strangest Dream.”
The “Philostrate” involves the official reviewing play choices for the duke and then the play within a play unfolds in the nine minute rock opera of “Pyramus and Thisbe.” While this was a great scene to watch unfold in the live performance, but listening to the funny lyrics is almost as much fun. Puck gets the honor of closing the show with the beautifully lyrical “If We Shadows Have Offended.”
I cannot credit the marvelous performances of every young member of the Moon and Stars cast, nor will I compare them. Both casts sound so polished in these wonderful CDs that were actually recorded at Carriage House Studios in Stamford. The tracks were edited and mixed by Yellow Sound Lab in New York.