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4.4 out of 5 stars
Eric Woolfson's - Poe:  The World Premiere Performance [DVD]
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 May 2012
This showcase is clearly a labour of love and all those involved are clearly talented professionals. The individual musical numbers are strong and very well delivered. However the book and script simply do not work and the eclectic range of musical styles results in a hodgepodge which never coheres into a lucid or effective whole. Add to this the liberties taken with the Poe/Griswold relationship, and the ludicrously over-the-top way in which the larter is represented in the final section of the show, and the ultimate result is really a bit of a mess. With a more developed book and script it may stand a chance of commercial success as many of the numbers are strong and memorable - but not in the form we have here. Steve Balsamo is in tremendous form however, and the supporting cast (including Griswold who unfortunately is clearly doing as director Wilmot required) are also excellent. The costumes and "set" are good too considering this is simply a showcase production. However enthusiasm and talent do not make a commercially successful show and - considering the cost of staging a West End musical musical - Poe needs considerably more work done on it before there is any attempt to launch this potential Titanic. That said, the DVD is fine, considering the source but don't expect wonderful definition or high quality audio. It is what it is. Still - despite my reservations - there is much more talent contained in this piece than you will see in many London shows - it's just that it needs more work if it stands a chance of succeeding.
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on 4 October 2012
I have been a fan of Steve Balsamo for almost 20 years and first heard his voice on the Royal Variety Performance and was amazed the way he sang Gethsemane but this is the best I've ever heard him sing the marriage of Eric Woolfson's songs and his music with Steve Balsamo's voice is just phenomenal, especially the songs Somewhere in the Audience and Wings of Eagles but the final song is called Immortal and that is just so beautiful, powerful and emotionally driven to an amazing end note. The recording was at Abbey Road Studios in 2003 but sadly this was only a showcase and not an actual fully fledged musical production but non the less it was very well staged and has an excellent concept. It would be amazing if it was in the West End but Eric Woolfson is sadly no longer with us which is a great shame. His music from The Alan Parsons Project to Poe The Musical is simply amazing if your a fan of The Alan Parsons Project or of musicals in general you will absolutely love this. The musical is based on the life and horror stories of Edgar Allen Poe. It has a dark gothic feel to it with the costumes and lighting but has some moments of humor I highly recommend it.
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on 14 August 2010
Wasn't sure if I would like this as I am not a big fan of musicals but wanted to add to my collection of Eric Woolfson/Alan Parsons music. I should not have hesitated this is brilliant! have watched several times with enjoyment increasing each time and also now listening to the CD of the music. The songs are brilliantly written and performed love particularly Wings of Eagles and immortal. Particularly impressed with vocal of Steve Balsamo in the lead role, can't get enough of his music now and have bought his solo album and a couple by his band The Storys. ( gutted to discover they did their farewell performance earlier this year!) Such a shame this musical has not been performed in Englsh as would love to see it live. highly recommended!
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on 2 October 2009
From the start, the dark , low light setting on stage prepared you for what was a dark mysterious tale. Much like one of Poe's own story's, his own life was wrapped in drama, emotion and Intrigue.
The Dark & Dramatic atmosphere gave a sense of anticipation.
I have to say here Steve Balsamo shows an amazing ability to project the intensity of someone who is ravaged by addiction & sorrow. An outstanding performance from him, as good as I've seen by any one. Worthy of an award for that alone.
The whole Poe musical was incredible. It is a testimony to Woolfson's own imagination and his enjoyment of Poe's work.

I may have read Poe's works when i was 16, but this was by far a more enjoyable experience.

The DVD is a must for your collection.

Eric Woolfson's translation brings it to a level that is worthy of any West -End performance.
Outstanding Vocals & Lyrics, both naturally born gifts from the cradle.
,A partnership of brilliance. Balsamo & Woolfson were destined to meet !
He has encased Edgar Allen Poe in music forever.

For all those involved i wish much success & recognition for an outstanding show..
Bridget Pestell xEric Woolfson's - Poe: The World Premiere Performance [DVD]Poe - More Tales of Mystery and ImaginationStorysTown Beyond the Trees
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on 11 December 2009
This musical is wonderful. Woolfson creates a perfect atmosphera in the lengendaries Abbey Road studios. But the most brilliant part of Poe is without any kind of doubt the undescriptable voice of Steve Balsamo. I can't understand why Steve is not a star in Broadway yet. His performance of the song "Inmortal" is one of the best I ever heard: powerful, misterious, epic, passionate... It seems that Woolfson would have written this song expressly for Steve.
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on 27 May 2010
Big talent of Mr Eric Woolfson. Very good interpretation of Steve Balsamo. A true guarantee of pure quality for this dvd.
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on 22 June 2010
I have been a fan of Mr woolfson's work since i first heard the original 'tales of mystery and imagination', his music for this dvd is absolutely outstanding and for me, probably his best work to date,added to that we have edgar allan poe played by Mr Steve Balsamo of whom Woolfson said 'AT LAST I HAVE FOUND MY VOICE' praise indeed,and here he is absolutely incredible,intensley emotional, a phenomenal voice, i cannot put into words just how talented this man is. watch and weep and enjoy...you will replay 'immortal' time and time again,and to all those 'musical stars' out there,watch this and see how it should be done !
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on 23 July 2011
I have been a fan of EW's music with the Alan Parson's Project for decades. By pure chance Steve Balsamo and his guitarist Rob Thomson from the now sadly defunct Sorys were staying with me in Gibraltar when Rob noticed my collection of Project music. This resulted in me actually attending the Abbey Road performance and I can honestly say it blew me away. The location, the music, meeting the man-the late great EW-himself, and Steve's amazing vocal work remains one of my life's highlights. The song writing contains all the hallmarks of the Projects work so is top notch. Additionally, Immortal is a song for a musical. Now I am not a fan of that genre but believe me this dark brooding showcase for Balsamo's incredible vocal range would move even the tone deaf. Having recently watched and listened to it once again I felt inspired to put my thoughts down in writing. Buy it-you will not regret it!
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on 4 October 2009
First off, let me say I'm not generally a fan of musicals. I am, however, a huge fan of Eric's work both with and without Alan Parsons (verging on the obsessive). I've had the POE CD since it's release, and recently bought the expanded version and this DVD.

It's beautiful. The staging is simple, but effective. The costumes are elegant. The whole feel is brooding, dark and gothic...just as you would expect.

The cast are excellent...Steve Balsamo portrays the lead so well....and what a voice.

And as for the music...... everything you could want and more. The reprise of Somewhere In The Audience leading into Immortal had me in tears. It really is THAT powerful.

Let's not forget that this is just the showcase. I should imagine that the full stage production would have even more of an impact. It's such a shame that Eric's musicals are performed so rarely here in UK....they deserve to be seen and heard.
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