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PAINT YOUR WAGON Cast  Recording Announcement
Alexandra Socha and Justin Guarini in Paint Your Wagon, photographed by Joan Marcus.

“Whoop-ti-ay,” indeed! On Friday, Masterworks Broadway will release the Encores! cast recording of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s rollicking Gold Rush musical Paint Your Wagon, and we’re happy to share two exclusive tracks from the album. Listen to Justin Guarini prove his Broadway bona fides once and for all with the soaring ballad “I Talk to the Trees,” and hear Alexandra Socha bring a scrappy sense of yearning to “How Can I Wait?”

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May 23, 2016 by New York City Center
New Brain Production Pics

The Encores! Off-Center production of A New Brain, photographed by Joan Marcus.

A New Brain was here, and now it’s gone—but the music still plays on. On Friday, PS Classics will release the Encores! Off-Center cast recording of William Finn’s unforgettable musical about heart, music, and frog-related hallucinations. We’re delighted to share three songs from the album, along with Finn’s commentary.

“I was thrilled with this production,” Finn says of the defibrillated New Brain that played City Center last June. “I don’t in any way want to disparage the original production—I actually loved it—but we did different things in this production that made it much more to my liking.” Particularly transformative was the casting of Jonathan Groff as struggling composer Gordon Schwinn. “He’s absolutely the sweetest, most generous actor I’ve ever met in my life,” says Finn. “He made the character so pleasant. And the character can be nasty—but when Jonathan says those lines, it doesn’t matter.”

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February 3, 2016 by New York City Center
Christine Ebersole in Ziegfeld Follies

Mary Testa and Christine Ebersole in the 1999 Encores! production of Ziegfeld Follies of 1936.

Today marks 80 years since the opening night of Vernon Duke and Ira Gershwin’s Ziegfeld Follies of 1936, a star-studded revue that more or less vanished after its original run. For a single weekend in March 1999, a few thousand lucky New Yorkers got to see the show in an Encores! production starring Christine Ebersole, Ruthie Henshall, Howard McGillin, Mary Testa, and Karen Ziemba. The New York Times called it “a fascinating evening of time travel,” and Ebersole would later describe the show as a “pivotal” experience, saying, “That was one of the things that got me back to New York. After performing at City Center, I realized that this was where I wanted to be. It was about four months after [Ziegfeld] that we left [Los Angeles].”

To celebrate ZF36’s eightieth anniversary—and to whet your appetite for another terrific Vernon Duke score, Cabin in the Sky —we’re pleased to present five songs from the out-of-print Encores! cast recording. We hope you’ll soon be dancing to the score!

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January 30, 2016 by New York City Center
Cynthia Nixon

Cynthia Nixon, photographed by Maarten De Boer.

Tony and Emmy Award winner Cynthia Nixon has played everyone from Jean Brodie to Eleanor Roosevelt, but the role that got away was Agnes Gooch. I’m too old now, but I always really wanted to do Gooch,” she says. “Because if she sings badly, it’s fine, you know?” If the third lead in Mame seems like an unlikely Everest, keep in mind that Nixon is obsessed with musicals. She and Sarah Jessica Parker used to sing showtunes during long nights on the set of “Sex and the City,” and these days she still listens mostly to cast recordings. For her dream Encores! show, Nixon selected The Golden Apple, Jerome Moross and John Latouche’s exquisite, brainy “opera for Broadway,” which retells the Greek myths of Helen, Paris, Ulysses, and Penelope through the lens of American folklore. Although the 1954 musical closed on Broadway after four months, it has since acquired a merry, fanatical band of admirers.

CITY CENTER: How did you discover The Golden Apple?
CYNTHIA NIXON: My mother. I was very immersed in musicals growing up—which is what Steve, the play that I’m directing at The New Group, is so much about: people who live for musicals, and live through musicals. I certainly fit into that category, and I’ve done it to my children. (laughs) I’ve also done it to my wife, who was not a musical comedy person at all before she met me. My mother steeped me in musical theater, and we used to play the Golden Apple record. Then I was lucky enough to see a production of it, which is unusual, at the York Theater [in 1978] when I was still a kid. I knew the show inside out by the time I saw it.

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November 13, 2015 by New York City Center
Lady Be Good Cast Recording

Patti Murin and Danny Gardner in the Encores! production of Lady, Be Good!, photographed by Carol Rosegg.

Encores! shows are beautifully ephemeral—they last for seven performances, and when they’re over the only things left are the binders and the memories. But every so often, one of our productions is captured in a cast recording. This Friday Ghostlight Records will release the Encores! cast recording of George & Ira Gershwin’s madcap 1924 musical Lady, Be Good!, and we’re thrilled to share two exclusive tracks from the album. Listen to real-life husband and wife Colin Donnell and Patti Murin sing the liltingly romantic ballad “So Am I,” and hear the immortal feet of Tommy Tune tapping away to a “Fascinating Rhythm.”

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September 15, 2015 by New York City Center
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