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Sweet Smell of Success (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
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Sweet Smell of Success (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

23 April 2002 | Format: MP3

£7.99 (VAT included if applicable)
Also available in CD Format
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Format: Audio CD
"Sweet Smell of Success" was possibly too dark, too cynical, or too adult for typical Broadway musical fare. A faithful adaptation of the 1957 movie - the musical provided a Tony award winning performance in John Lithgow as gossip columnist, J.J. Hunsecker; while not a most versatile of singers (he's more in the style of Rex Harrison) - he does manage, even on cd to produce a creation of Machiavellian intensity in his manipulation of press agent Sidney Falcone (played by Brian D'Arcy James)and in his disturbing love for his sister (played by Kelli O'Hara).
As a musical Marvin Hamlisch's music evokes a 1950's New York, of smokey jazzy clubs, of a city of frenetic energy and never quite hidden violence and danger; while Craig Carnelia's lyrics manage some quite deft character exploration in Lithgow's 'For Susan' and D'Arcy James's 'At The Fountain'.
I guess the best summation would be a fascinating faliure of a show made strong by expertly characterised performances by its leading players.
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Format: Audio CD
I had great difficulty obtaining a copy of the Broadway Show CD 'Sweet Smell of Success', having recently seen a superb student production of it at Arts Educational School in London, so was delighted when a copy turned up on Amazon. It is a great recording, enhanced by having a fuller orchestra.
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Format: Audio CD
I was really excited to get my first copy of Sweet Smell of Success - I never had the chance to see the show, because of it's sadly short run. I say first - I don't know where it ended I bought it again! That's what it's worth!!!
This recording is both bright, catchy (although at times is as dull as "A Chorus Line" - Hamlisch's better known work). The ensemble work is tight - if a little boring, and John Lithgow manages a hearty musical performance. But it's main strength lies in the Ballads... Dallas and Susan's "Don't know where you leave off", and Dallas'"I Cannot Hear the City" will keep you on replay for hours. There are plenty of up-tempo's to excite you too, and Willian.d Brohn's orchestrations(also Miss Saigon, Witches of Eastwick, Crazy for you) are worth the price alone!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x924d1ce4) out of 5 stars 28 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9263287c) out of 5 stars Lack of focus mars an otherwise great score 14 Jun. 2002
By Kris Joseph - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The much-maligned Hamlisch-Guare-Carnelia musical will close on June 15, but thankfully the Original Cast Recording will remain behind to remind us of the missed potential of Sweet Smell of Success.
In the cast recording, the creative team of Marvin Hamlisch (music), Craig Carnelia (lyrics) and John Guare (book) have presented a dark and gritty (if somewhat inconsistent) representation of 1952 Manhattan, bolstered to great extent by the fabulous orchestrations created by William David Brohn. The score's lighter moments pulse with riffs crooned on woodwinds, punctuated by blats from the brass section; its slower jazz numbers evoke smoky lounges. The first few tracks will grab listeners with their energy, but they set a tone for the rest of the recording that is difficult to maintain and does not appear consistently again until the CD's final few tracks.
The story of Sweet Smell of Success, despite its trumpeting of John Lithgow as JJ Hunsecker, is really about a press agent named Sidney Falcone (Brian D'Arcy James). Sidney's only client is a backwater jazz club, and the boss has told him that unless he gets the club plugged in JJ's column, he's out of work. Desperate to find new clients, Sidney offers his services to Dallas (Jack Noseworthy) - a nobody of a jazz pianist - and Susan (Kelli O'Hara), a young beauty and aspiring actress who is at the club to see Dallas, her lover. Neither of them bite.
We soon learn that Susan is JJ Hunsecker's (John Lithgow) sister, and that she lives in fear that JJ will discover her relationship with Dallas and condemn it because he's a nobody. So when Hunsecker shows up at the club looking for her, Susan insists that Sidney is her acting class partner and Dallas slips away.
As a result of this ploy, and playing the part of an over-protective sibling, Hunsecker takes an interest in Sidney. He fixes Sidney up with a new wardrobe and gets him a bunch of clients, but after a few weeks, Hunsecker's true motives are exposed: he wants Sidney to keep an eye on his sister and report on everything. A terrible rock-and-hard-place scenario is set up when Susan asks Sidney to get Dallas a plug in Hunsecker's column; soon afterwards, Hunsecker begins to suspect that Susan is seeing someone who is cutting her off from his view and control, and he demands that Sidney discover the man's identity and break up the relationship.
Sidney eventually lets it slip to Susan that he's been asked by JJ to watch her. The two of them hatch a plot to help hide the relationship from Hunsecker, but this proves impossible. Furious at being duped by Sidney, Hunsecker blackballs him and he loses all his clients. The desperate acts that follow form a pawn game where all the major players want to be the chess master... but ultimately, somebody has to be the sacrificial playing piece.
The musical is based upon dark subject matter and should therefore be quite dark in tone. For the most part, this is true: the music is gritty with the heavy influence of dirty 50s jazz. However, the flow of the main story is interrupted by the insertion of "production numbers" that one assumes were meant to help lighten the tone of the production. "The Column", "Welcome To The Night" and "Dirt" are three examples of songs that stand fabulously on their own but do not fit well within the greater context of the musical. The chorus of the show forms a Greek chorus, whispering directives at Sidney and ushering him towards his fate; this chorus is used to great darkening effect in some numbers ("Break It Up" comes immediately to mind), but the dance arrangements in the three aforementioned numbers make the listener question what overall emotional effect the show is trying to achieve. The latter half of the recording (after "Dirt") is much more consistent as the plot barrels towards its climax and conclusion. Individually, the majority of the songs shine, but as a whole the score just doesn't seem to gel.
While the recording is catchy and listenable, I noted several allusions to other musicals. In part due to tone and setting, and in part due to the involvement of Brian D'Arcy James, I was reminded at several times of Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party. The rhythms and quiet intensity of Stacey Logan's only song, "Rita's Tune", echoed Sondheim's "I'm Still Here" from Follies (Rita is Sidney's girlfriend; another pawn in the Great Game). Finally, "Dirt" brings immediately to mind the big hit from Hamlisch's other Big Musical, A Chorus Line - "One".
The weakest areas of the score appear to be the slower numbers, which tend to be inefficient in terms of propelling the story. Most outstanding in this regard are "I Cannot Hear The City" and a duet between Susan and Dallas called "Don't Know Where You Leave Off".
Despite misgivings about tone and consistency, however, there is more than enough to like about this cast recording. William David Brohn's orchestrations are filthily rich, and those same production numbers that give the recording an inconsistent tone provide rewarding aural experiences in listen after listen. I wouldn't label Sweet Smell of Success as a must-have recording, but if the sounds of old-school, dirty, film-noir jazz appeal to you, you may want to add it to your collection.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x926328d0) out of 5 stars i wouldn't write home 11 Aug. 2002
By Katie - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I wasn't expecting too much out of "The Sweet Smell of Success" given its general success and singing abilities of John Lithgow. Overall, I do enjoy the jazz feel of the score, and the cast boasts some amazing stars like Brian D'Arcy James, who gives an incredible performance. There are a few memorable songs, like "Don't Know Where You Leave Off", but the show is not as entertaining as some of the other hits of the year, like
"Urinetown", or the lesser-known "The Last Five Years". On the whole, I'd say only purchase this show if you are a huge fan of marvin hamlisch or if you're an intensely dedicated musical theatre collector.
HASH(0x92632d08) out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant from beginning to end!! 18 Feb. 2016
By J. Ernest Green - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The score to "Sweet Smell of Success" is truly wonderful and in many ways it is Marvin Hamlisch's masterpiece. Very few composers are able to create music that immediately puts you into the story. He did it with "A Chorus Line" and here with "Sweet Smell of Success". Marvin's gift for writing beautiful and unforgettable melodies is here in songs like "At the Fountain", and "Don't Know Where You Leave Off" (listen especially to the point toward the end where Susan and Dallas sing together!!). "I Cannot Hear the City" is the quintessential image of New York after the clubs close down - one of Marvin's most beautiful songs ever. I listen to this recording often and it is so musically rich that I still find new things in it!

The performers are wonderful as well. John Lithgow, Brian D'Arcy James, Kelli O'Hara all give performances that are sublime! I am a musician and have conducted this score and I think it is one of the greatest musical scores of the last century and for me Five Stars is not enough!!

In short, I love this show and I think you will too!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x925d30f0) out of 5 stars SWEET SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS 30 July 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Yes, this is a very good Broadway recording of a show that has comedy, thriller, and romance twisted into one. All of the songs are sung well, and sound crisp and energetic as the live performance onstage.The Highlights of the CD are definately Brian D'Arcy James & John Lithgow. Though John Lithgow doesn't have a very strong voice, he makes up for it in the quick-witted humor and laid-back New Yorker character that he plays. Brian D'Arcy James has a very unique and powerful singing voice that will soften your heart and almost cause you to get chill bumps at the incredible "At the Fountain" & "At the Fountain (Reprise)". Other favorite tunes of mine include the fast-paced opener "The Column", "Welcome to the Night", "For Susan", "One Track Mind", and "Break it up". Overall, a very classy and enjoyable recording. If you are a Broadway fanatic, this CD is a must.
HASH(0x92632e64) out of 5 stars Good CD....Good Singers....But This is One Show....You Need To See In Person ....In the Theatre 23 Feb. 2013
By LuLu's Review - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This CD is produced and recorded well...but personally.....I enjoyed the music more when being in the theatre watching it. This show's music does not translate as well as it should on a CD recording. The singers are fabulous....and the show produced on B'way with the one and only John Lithow ...was fantastic ....and he won a Tony Award for his performance. I highly recommend this CD if you have seen the is a wonderful remembrance. But, if you have never seen the show...I don't think this CD recording will satisfy your music palate.
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