One of the joys of looking up things on iTunes is what else you find on the way. I was checking on the 2007 revival of Company, trying to decide whether I wanted the whole thing* (I already have Raul Esparza’s version of “Marry Me a Little,” which tends to go into heavy rotation on my playlists), when I discovered The Actor’s Fund of America Benefit Recording of Hair.
Raul Esparza singing “Hair.” Adam Pascal (the original Roger from Rent) singing “I’ve Got Life.” Norm Lewis (who sang Porgy in the celebrated revival of Porgy and Bess, opposite the incandescent Audra MacDonald**) singing “The Flesh Failures/Let the Sunshine In.” Harvey Fierstein (!) singing “Air.” And Jennifer Hudson singing “Easy to Be Hard.”
I’m in love.
* The question not being “Is this a good album?” but “Do I really need another version of Company?” I already have the albums from two different casts of Sweeney Todd, three of Follies, and portions of two different Into the Woods and likewise of Sunday In The Park With George. And that’s after purging a lot of my soundtracks. Not to mention the original cast album of A Little Night Music. And individual tracks from over half a dozen other Stephen Sondheim shows, ranging from “Comedy Tonight” from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum to “Bounce” from Bounce (aka Road Show aka Wise Guys) — my favorite being “The Advantages of Floating in the Sea” from Pacific Overtures. (I have no tracks from Saturday Night, or Passion.) Yes, I do like Sondheim — why do you ask?
**It really is difficult to find enough superlatives for Audra MacDonald.