You have roughly a fortnight left to catch the Broadway debut of “Violet” the musical starring Sutton Foster(it goes dark on August 10th), but I understand your dilemma if you don’t reside near the New York City area. I did manage to experience “Violet” in early May of this year, shortly after it opened, and it’s just a 20-mile journey to midtown Manhattan for me. But I get it! Work schedules, getting baby-sitters, my children’s various activities—it’s far more difficult for me to get to a show at 48, then it was at 28. Well, fear not, musical lovers…PS Classics has arrived to save the day. The incredible 2-disc recording of this Tony-nominated, 90-minute, intermission free gem is a no-brainer for fans. For not only does it include the full slate of musical numbers from the show…but also most of the dialogue from it as well! It’s a fantastic gift for the theatre-crazed crowd. I’ve listened to it in full a number of times since purchasing it last month, and it truly is the next best thing to being there.
Be sure to visit my full synopsis and review of the musical itself, in either my May or Theatre archives. In short, “Violet” is the story of a young woman who journeys by bus from North Carolina to Oklahoma in 1964, to be healed by a renowned televangelist. A smart, cynical, yet somewhat naive girl, Violet has been “cursed” with a prominent facial scar from a childhood accident. Her odyssey becomes a plunge into love, maturity and questions of faith, as she forces herself to believe she can be “cured”, and befriends two traveling soldiers who may be heading to combat in Vietnam. Along the way, there are opportunities for romantic encounters with both. Monty is a young, white military corporal that fancies himself a Romeo, and Flick is a slightly older African-American sergeant. The three of them play poker, and learn some valuable lessons from each other, all culminating with Violet’s meeting with the preacher who she wishes to rid her of her “affliction”.
There are 35 total tracks on this gorgeous and faithful recording, that capture all the glorious moments, big and small, from this atypical, yet rousing performance. Its style mixture of country, gospel and the blues is homey and infectious. Favorite numbers include “On My Way”, “All to Pieces”, and “Lonely Stranger” on disc 1, as well as the awesome “Raise Me Up” and the touching “That’s What I Could Do” on disc 2. The Tony-nominated Sutton Foster as Violet and Joshua Henry as Flick beautifully recreate their Broadway performances. Colin Donnell as Monty and Alexander Gemignani as Violet’s Father are two other exceptional members of a large and marvelously capable cast. Not willing and/or able to plunk down a hundred dollars or more for a ticket for this Broadway offering? How about 15 to 20 bucks for this musical recording that manages to capture just about all of its glory? It’s honestly a slam-dunk win for all involved. PS Classics has carried out an outstanding service for the theatre community and its supporters. This recording rates a 9.