Magazine article The Sondheim Review

Rolling Along

Magazine article The Sondheim Review

Rolling Along

Article excerpt

Old friends reunite for the cast recording of Encores' Merrily

It's April 9, 2012. Orchestrator Jonathan Tunick has invited me to sit in on the first recording session for the cast album of the Encores! production of Merrily We Roll Along (Feb. 8-19, 2012). Excitement is in the air; this is the first time many of the performers have seen one another since Merrily closed almost two months earlier.

The cast and musicians have gathered at Avatar Studios in the Hell's Kitchen section of Manhattan. Today's session is in Avatar's Studio A, where many notable east albums have been recorded, including the CD for the 2011 revival of Follies. Like Follies, Merrily will be on PS Classics and produced by the label's co-founder, Tommy Krasker. Inside the control room, Krasker stands at a bright green binder holding a copy of the full score, and he follows along while Encores! music director Rob Berman conducts. As they record the opening of the show in several takes. Krasker asks to do a patch of one segment. "We're rolling along, right on [measure] 44." When the opening number is complete, the cast gets a break. Herman and the musicians record the overture, which has the fullest sound of any incarnation of Merrily to date, thanks to Tunick's new orchestrations and the 23-piece Encores! orchestra. Krasker tells engineer Bart Migal to prepare for the tuba solo. The "expressive tuba solo," Krasker adds, playfully referencing Tunick's "espressivo" marking.

Following the recording of the overture, the actors return to their respective recording rooms. Adjacent to the control room is the isolation booth for Colin Donnell (Franklin Shepard), Celia Keenan-Bolger (Mary Flynn), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Charley Kringas) and sometimes others. The rest of the cast is in a booth behind the main live room - the largest part of the studio, where Berman and the orchestra are located - which has glossy wood paneling and a high ceiling. From the point of view of the control room, the string section sits on the left side and the brass and wind players are on the right. Berman stands at the center, a few feet from the soundproof barrier between the live room and the control room. The drummer and percussionist are in an isolation booth next to the one with the majority of the east. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.