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Memory and Mayhem - Live at 54 Below


Artist: Norbert Leo Butz
Broadway Records and 54 Below
RRP: £13.99
Available 15 January 2013

2013 is looking like a great release year for those of us interested in all things theatrical. One of the early collection of gems looks to be Broadway Records selection of concerts recorded by musical theatre stars at 54 Below in New York. 54 Below is on 54th Street in New York, steps from Times Square, in the heart of theatreland, and combines the best of cabaret with the best of dining. I've not sampled their fayre, but if they are as good as the CD releases, it's certainly somewhere to visit on my next trip.

The first of the releases is by Broadway star Norbert Leo Butz, and is a recording of his concert Memory and Mayhem, recorded last year [2012].

Butz shot to fame as Adam Pascal's replacement in Rent back in 1996, and has since starred in Thou Shalt Not and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which earned him a Tony award, and more recently in Catch Me If You Can, which won him his second Tony. He is currently working on the new Andrew Lippa musical Big Fish.

The recording is a wonderful capture of the show, and puts you right there in the best seat. The song selections are wonderfully eclectic - don't expect an hour of show tunes, or the great american songbook here. From the moment he opens with 'Home' (by Marc Broussard) you know you are in for something different. His version of 'The Waking' is perfection, as is 'Killing The Blues'. It's always good to hear some Jason Robert Brown, and he features a cut song from The Last Five Years 'I Could Be In Love With Someone Like You', but that's as showy as it gets. Lauren Kennedy joins him for 'Poison and Wine', and he also features numbers from performers as diverse as Alicia Keys and Tom Waits.

If this is the shape of Broadway Records for 2013, I like it. I like it a lot.


Ian Gude

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Memory & Mayhem: Live at 54 Below - Norbert Leo Butz
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