Tag Archives: Songs From The Stage

ALBUM REVIEW: Songs from the Stage by Leading Ladies

Three of the most lauded leading ladies of the London stage united in friendship when they all appeared in the West End at the same time, as the friendship blossomed they decided to team up to produce an album of theatre classics.

That album Songs from the Stage, is available on 17 November 2017.

Every track means something to the singers, Amber Riley, Beverley Knight, and Cassidy Janson – some of the material chosen from shows they have appeared in or a musical they personally love. 

The problem with many theatre performer’s albums is the poor production values, however, the calibre of the singers has been recognised here, Songs From The Stage is produced by Grammy Award-winning British producer Brian Rawling, who has worked with Cher, Tina Turner and Lionel Richie. The album’s sound is rich and befitting performers of this quality, with lush arrangements and full orchestral backing.

 

Songs From The Stage track by track review:

1. One Night Only (Dreamgirls)

The musical that cemented Leading Lady Amber Riley’s reputation as a theatre star. The three singers feature on lead vocals – a short, snappy, high energy 1970s disco influenced opener to the album.

2. Seasons of Love (Rent)

For fans of musical theatre this really is a song you mess with at your peril. The vocals are a bit thin and nasal in parts and the backing vocals synthesised. The production detracts from one of the best-loved modern musical songs.

3. I’m Every Woman (The Bodyguard)

Off to a fantastic start with Britain’s Queen of Soul Beverley Knight leading the vocals, this builds into a fantastic, feel-good dancefloor-filler. Arguably the best track on the album.

4. You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman (Beautiful)

The music stays true to Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s original but Janson’s country-tinged vocals, lend it a different dimension.

5. Wind Beneath My Wings (Beaches)

This is probably the weakest track on the album. It’s neither original nor powerful, which a song covered this many times has to be to make any impact.

6. Helpless (Hamilton)

The inevitable track from Lin Manuel Miranda’s theatre juggernaut Hamilton. This is an upbeat R n B track that doesn’t deviate from the original. A good fit for the trio.

7. Memory (Cats)

The trio tackle Cats’ big tear-jerker. Pleasant, if nothing spectacular.

8. Somebody to Love (“We Will Rock You”)

Another pleasant cover with all three singers sharing the lead.

9. Falling Slowly (“Once”)

This is a beautiful song, but the voices and arrangement left me cold. It has a heavy country tinge that strips away the emotional impact of the original.

10. Love Will Stand (“Memphis”)

Knight is undoubtedly the stand-out vocalist. This allows her powerhouse voice to soar.

11. Raise The Roof (“The Wild Party”)

An odd choice, this Latin number is a bit of a filler. There are better songs out there to showcase the talent here.

12. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (“Beautiful”)

The trio harmonise on a pared-back, slowed down of Goffin and King’s spectacular classic.

13. Don’t Rain On My Parade (“Funny Girl”)

Janson delivers a true to the original, good old fashioned, roof-raising version of the Funny Girl show-stopper. There’s more than a touch of the Streisand about it.

14. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (“Meet Me in St. Louis”)

Just in time for the festive season, the album ends with Meet Me in St. Louis’ enduring Christmas classic.

The sheer quality of the vocalists, instrumentation and production elevate Songs From The Stage above its peers. The clever choice of tracks, that includes some pop and rock big-hitters that have appeared in theatre shows is clever and gives the album wider appeal. There are some show-stoppers, some interesting new arrangements and a few less successful choices, but this is a work of quality from these stars of the stage and an ideal stocking-filler for the musical theatre fan in your life.

NEWS: THREE SUPERSTARS OF THE WEST END COME TOGETHER FOR A SPECIAL ALBUM OF MUSICAL THEATRE CLASSICS

Direct from the West End comes a unique union of three celebrated queens of musical theatre: Amber Riley (Dreamgirls), Beverley Knight (The Bodyguard and Memphis), and Cassidy Janson (Beautiful). This is Leading Ladies.

The trio has announced Songs From The Stage – an album of unforgettable songs from great musicals like Hamilton, Cats, Rent, Dreamgirls, Funny Girl, The Bodyguard, Memphis, Beautiful and many more. Songs From The Stage will be released on 17 November 2017 through East West Records (Warner).

Amber, Beverley and Cassidy had become friends after seeing each other’s shows, so it was no surprise that the three performers leapt at the opportunity to do an album together. The creative journey was nothing short of a joyous and bonding experience for the ladies when they caught up to share their favourite songs and the personal stories that coloured them.

The Leading Ladies said: “We all knew we’d have so much fun making a record like this. Every track means something to us – whether it had been from a show one of us had done or from musicals we love. There were so many beautiful songs to choose from, it was near impossible to shortlist to one album. We have absolutely enjoyed singing together and hopefully, you will be able to see us together on stage soon.”

Songs From The Stage is produced by Grammy Award-winning British producer Brian Rawling, who has worked with chart-topping artists such as Cher, Tina Turner and Lionel Richie.

Songs From The Stage tracklisting

  1. One Night Only (“Dreamgirls”)
  2. Seasons of Love (“Rent”)
  3. I’m Every Woman (“The Bodyguard”)
  4. You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman (“Beautiful”)
  5. Wind Beneath My Wings (“Beaches”)
  6. Helpless (“Hamilton”)
  7. Memory (“Cats”)
  8. Somebody to Love (“We Will Rock You”)
  9. Falling Slowly (“Once”)
  10. Love Will Stand (“Memphis”)
  11. Raise The Roof (“The Wild Party”)
  12. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (“Beautiful”)
  13. Don’t Rain On My Parade (“Funny Girl”)
  14. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (“Meet Me in St. Louis”)

Each of the Leading Ladies are accomplished stars of stage, music and screen in their own right.

Amber Riley – already a globally-renowned star from her six-year stint in the hit TV musical series Glee – made her transformation into a bonafide theatre star in November last year with her West End debut. Her portrayal of Effie White in Dreamgirls earned her Olivier and What’s On Stage awards for Best Actress in a Musical this year. Amber also has a Screen Actors Guild Award for her portrayal of Mercedes Jones in Glee and has starred in stage productions of Hair and Cotton Club Parade.

Beverley Knight, Britain’s Queen of Soul, is a three-time MOBO Award-winning recording artist with platinum and gold-selling albums under her belt. Over the past four years, Beverley has locked down the West End with headlining roles in The Bodyguard, Memphis The Musical – which earned her an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in A Musical in 2015 – and Cats, playing Grizabella. Beverley made her journey back to Memphis last year to record her eighth studio album Soulsville, which went straight into the Top 10 of the album charts last summer and celebrates the sounds and legacy of the city that gave us music greats like Al Green and Aretha Franklin.

Cassidy Janson is no stranger to the West End having recently wrapped her glorious two-year stint playing Carole King in the Olivier, Tony and Grammy award-winning musical based on her life: Beautiful. The leading role also earned Cassidy a chance to duet with Carole King on stage at the legendary songsmith’s sold-out show at British Summer Time Hyde Park in 2016. Prior to that, Cassidy had played the iconic Elphaba with the original London cast of Wicked.

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD_4MBJ33AQ