Title - 'Harry On Broadway Act 1' (Columbia)
Artist - Harry Connick, Jr.
Just got the CD of the 'Pajama Game' revival for review from my Editor ... and so here I am! Again, TPG holds a very special place in my heart: it was the first musical I ever did, when I was thirteen. Overall, I'm impressed by the CD. Harry Connick, Jr. does extremely well on the ballads, although he seems just a tad awkward on some of the up-tempo numbers. The big revelation to me is Kelli O'Hara as Babe. I was skeptical when I heard she was cast, because I only really knew her from The Light in the Piazza. She has such a lovely head voice, but I'd never heard her chest voice, so I wasn't sure she'd be a great Babe. Well, she acquits herself very nicely, at least on CD. Lots of resonance and plenty of character, especially on one of my all-time favorite numbers, "I'm Not At All in Love." Michael McKean is a bit amorphous as Hinesy. McKean is a very talented guy, and an absolute stitch in Christopher Guest's movies (Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind, and my favorite, Best in Show), but his performance on CD is a bit bland. I haven't seen the revival, so I don't know if something got lost in the translation from stage to disc. A final note on the packaging. As you might be aware, the recording company packaged the Pajama Game CD with a studio recording of Connick's dreadful flop Thou Shalt Not featuring Connick and Kelli O'Hara. Connick is a major recording star, and no doubt his economic power drove this decision. But I resent having to buy both together, since I already have Connick's self-published original cast album. Connick/Columbia is basically forcing you to buy a CD that very few people will ever listen to. I'm sorry, but it's a total vanity ploy. That aside, TPG is truly wonderful!