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4.5 out of 5 stars18
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 14 May 2011
A lovely, fresh sounding recording with great production. There has obviously been a great deal of thought about the interpretation and delivery of the songs. The intonations and inflections by the vocalists really brings the songs to life. The new songs sit nicely alongside the original score and it was definitely the right decision to open up the story by adding extra songs and music, resulting in a more rounded production. Overall it feels like a proper musical rather than a kids' show. Undoubtedly there will be comparison with Judy Garland's performance. On the recording, Danielle Hope succeeds in recreating the character and to be honest, makes Somewhere Over the Rainbow her own, there are no ghosts of Garland haunting her version. The campy 'We're outta the Woods' still manages to raise a smile, the addition of 'Bring me the Broomstick' and 'Wonders of the World' for Michael Crawford help with the overall balance of the CD.A deliciously vampy Red Shoes Blues will satisfy all the lip-synching drag-queens for a while to come. A great package. Well worth it.
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on 18 August 2011
As so many other people around the world, I have been a fan of the 1939 MGM movie since childhood. When it became known that Andrew Lloyd Webber will be producing a brand new stage show with the score from the movie, I was eagerly curious to see what he will do with the material so many love and cherish. Clearly, there were plenty of positive hints that something good awaits us over the rainbow: Danielle Hope's first singing appearances proved that the public has made a sound choice of their Dorothy; the casting of Michael Crawford in the title role meant that he will bring his own renowned theatrical talent once again to the stage after a lengthy pause and last but not least, the inclusion of Tim Rice, with whom ALW has had some of his biggest theatrical hits pointed out that the new material brought to the show will be written with care and industry.

This cast recording includes all of the songs of the show currently playing at London Palladium. After listening to it, I can happily report that it is the very best thing next to live performance.

The orchestra plays the score assuredly and the orchestrations make it sound lush and fresh on the CD. A special reference must be made to the new songs penned by ALW and Tim Rice. Not only did they manage to produce a handful of catchy songs for the spots where a musical number was lacking in the movie (the Wizard, Professor Marvel nor the Wicked Witch had nothing to sing onscreen), but also it seems they decided to do it in a way to supplement rather than overshadow the original score. Hence the whole piece became tighter for the medium of theatre and the story reached a stage of notable fullness. The new songs include 'Nobody understands me' (a melodic introduction to the gloomy Kansas life), 'The wonders of the world' (Professor Marvel's lively lecture to Dorothy); 'Bring me the broomstick' (Michael Crawford's belting act I ending), 'Red shoes blues' (an absolute gem; sung by the Wicked Witch of the West, boasting Tim Rice's magical lyrics) and 'Already home' (a tuneful ballad sung by Glinda the Good Witch of the South and the entire cast; as good as the best songs written by the Lloyd Webber-Rice duo).

The members of the main and supportive cast all give and playful performances. Danielle Hope's debut as Dorothy shows her big potential, as she creates the role without fearing Judy Garland's omnipresent shadow. Her rendition of 'Over the rainbow' is proof to that. Michael Crawford has no less than four roles to play (professor Marvel, Emerald City Doorman, Emerald City Tour Guide and The Wizard himself), yet on the CD we only get to hear two of them (The Wizard and Professor Marvel). It is good to note his voice hasn't aged and he is still capable to bring out a variety of emotions. The Wicked Witch is played by Hannah Waddingham, who gets an enormous kick out of playing this feisty part. Ms. Waddingham has been one of the most talented West End's young leading ladies for years and her strong voice booms during her big number 'Red Shoes Blues'. All three of Dorothy's Oz friends (played by Paul Keating, Edward Baker-Duly and David Ganly) show a considerable comic talent and are very convincing in their roles of The Scarecrow, The Tin Man and The Cowardly Lion. Emily Tierney's Glinda the Good Witch has the angelic voice that glitters during her cues.

The CD slipcase is neatly designed, with lot of production pictures. More of the latter is also featured in the accompanying booklet, together with notes from ALW and the libretto.
This CD therefore comes across as a fine cast recording of a production that is deservingly the current hot ticket in the West End. A must have for Oz fans.
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on 28 May 2011
I love it - even the new songs, which although possibly not up to the standard of the originals (but then what could be?) are still very enjoyable and are certainly a fitting addition to the score.
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on 12 June 2011
I think it's a great CD, I completely enjoyed the new songs as well as old ones. Danielle Hope performs her stuff with confidence and great enthusiasm. She doesn't try to imitate J. Garlend and it's a correct approach. All cast is amaizingly good. Michael Crawford as The Wizard and Professor Marvel establishes his star status once more, his voice is powerful and limber at the same time. In some pieces we can discern the Phantom's notes in his singing. A.-L- Webber's orchestration is rich and beautiful. Old songs return as to our childhood and grant us a pure joy and good feelings- and it's wonderfully, isn't it?
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A joy. The original Arlen/Harburg score has additional numbers by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice - including songs especially created for the Wizard and Witches, good and bad. They have remained true to the spirit of the loved classic (which, one suspects, meant both reining themselves in a bit - especially Tim Rice with his lyrics). The result is a most happy blend of the familiar and the new.

Clearly there was much on stage to enthral (prompting hopes of an eventual DVD). In the meantime this hour long recording contains much that pleases. A great cast is headed by Michael Crawford (as ever, making impact) and Danielle Hope as an appealing Dorothy. The result delights - tuneful, full of sequences wistful, exuberant, and decidedly spooky.

Handsomely packaged, with a finely illustrated booklet containing all the songs and linking dialogue.

Recommended to all who fancy a good wallow, an evocative reminder of childhood, times of innocence.
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on 28 May 2012
I went to see the Wizard of Oz West End production at the London Paladium. Really enjoyed the production. So I ordered the Cd. Its like being back in the theatre listening to all the songs. They have cut out some of the talking, so it is not the full west end production, but you get all the great songs and can follow Dorothy's Journey through merry old land of OZ. Great buy for all those musical fans. If you like the Wizard of oz film, you will love this CD.
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on 26 July 2011
The 2011 London Palladium production was probably the most impressive stage production I have ever seen. This CD provides an excellent memory of the show with all the musical items. For those who haven't seen the show it is a welcome change from the Judy Garland soundtrack from the iconic film and it includes the new songs written for the stage show by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
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on 28 March 2015
I know that those who don't approve of ALW won't approve of this CD but I honestly love it! The Wizard of Oz has got a face-lift through new orchestral arrangements and they are not bad at all. I also love the additional songs ALW has composed. In the original musical the witch for example has nothing to sing but here she has a GREAT number! I can honestly recommend this CD if you are not hopelessly conservative.
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on 12 September 2011
Great vocals and orchestral arrangements from Andrew Lloyd Webber's brand new show at the world famous London Palladium. Michael Crawford is excellent as the wizard of oz not to mention the strong and powerful vocals and characterisation from the entire cast. Shame I'm not keen on the actual production.
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on 24 June 2014
Brought as a gift perfect packaging ,great looking outer case really eye catching come with digital picture book and even better if you went to watch musical transforms you back onstage also an experience if you didn't the music is fantastic.
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