Two cabaret singers of distinction, Joanne O’Brien and Lee Lessack, get together for an album of songs spanning more than 60 years of Broadway musicals. Songs have been selected from shows that run the gamut from those grand, standing-room only ones such as South Pacific and The King & I by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, which dominated the musical stage, to more recent efforts especially by the prolific and successful Andrew Lloyd Webber. The album’s coda is a 15-minute orgy of songs from six of his musicals. There is a nice balance between duets and solo performances. The two get together on songs such as “Some Enchanted Evening,” the magnificent “Tonight,” and, of course, “Just in Love.” Lessack and O’Brien are accomplished, tried and true cabaret singers. Thus, they have a feel for the dramatic and a fine sense for the lyrics, giving meaning to each word, which is critical when performing songs from a musical, a stage play done to music. With her operatically trained, powerful voice, it would have been easy for O’Brien to overwhelm the music…and Lessack. But she sings with appropriate restraint, allowing the listener to appreciate both the story of each lyric and the way she expresses it. O’Brien also can swing and scat, as she demonstrates on “Nice Work if You Can Get It.” Lessack is not only an active cabaret singer, but also is the force behind the LML label. The sole accompaniment is the piano of John Boswell, who meritoriously carries out his duties. This is a fine album of those celebrated songs that are the staples of Broadway musical blockbusters.
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