Release date: 2004.
Type: Broadway musical.
The Best of Broadway - The American Musical.
A companion to the fabulous PBS series, the 21-song, The Best of "Broadway: The American Musical" provides about as good a single-disc compilation as anyone could hope for. What sets it apart from so many other "best of Broadway" collections is its breadth--because it had access to a variety of record-label vaults it doesn't have to try to disguise gaps by using revivals or solo recordings. Here you get all the authentic stuff, including: Paul Robeson singing "Ol' Man River" from the first modern American musical, Show Boat; Ethel Merman singing "You're the Top"; the title song from Oklahoma!; Julie Andrews singing "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady; West Side Story's "America"; Betty Buckley singing "Memory" from Cats; Hairspray's "Good Morning Baltimore"; and "Defying Gravity" from Wicked, the newest show discussed in the PBS series. And it's hard to argue with the songwriters represented: Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Frank Loesser, Lerner and Loewe, Leonard Bernstein, Bock and Harnick, Kander and Ebb, Stephen Sondheim, and Andrew Lloyd Webber, among others. Obviously, no single-disc compilation could ever please everyone (did we really need two ALW songs?), but as a sampler intended for people who watched the series and want to hear more of the Great White Way, The Best of "Broadway: The American Musical" can't be topped.