Friday, June 3, 2011


I previously posted my reviews and thoughts on recordings by members of the original Broadway cast of The Secret Garden (Alison Fraser and Rebecca Luker) and now I'd like to comment on Howard McGillin's solo recording, Where Time Stands Still.  Now while McGillin wasn't in the original cast of The Secret Garden, he did replace Mandy Patinkin in the role of Archibald, the male lead and Uncle of the young female lead Mary and played the part for about half of the Broadway run.  McGillin has received two Tony Nominations (for The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Anything Goes) and holds the record for the longest running Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera having performed that part over 2,500 times.  He is currently co-starring in the Off Broadway revue of Cy Coleman music entitled The Best is Yet To Come which I will be seeing next week.

McGillin's recording is in the traditional adult contemporary style with lush orchestrations and the cd includes many American standards as well as several show tunes.  He has a strong, clear tenor voice that is romantic and lush and he has nice control as well, being able to let his voice soar as well as sing in a whisper.  This is a very romantic cd that I think you will like a lot.  

Some comments on some of the tracks on this recording:

The first track is a paring of "My Romance" from Jumbo and the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein song "The Folks Who Live on the Hill" which perfectly ties into the "time" theme that is present throughout this recording.   Another beautiful pairing comes with the two Sondheim songs "Not While I'm Around" and "Good Thing Going" from Sweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along respectively, that McGillin delivers in a touching way.  Irving Berlin's "Isn't This a Lovely Day?" from the film Top Hat has a great arrangement that starts with a solo piano that blossoms into a full out jazz fest with McGillin having a swinging time with the lyrics.

The Indigo Girls' "Power of Two" is a more current song then the previous tracks and McGillin delivers the upbeat song in an arrangement that includes him providing backup vocals as well and the end result is pretty special.  "Why Did I Choose You?"  from the flop musical The Yearling is also nicely delivered in a touching way.  He expertly pairs two Andrew Lloyd Webber songs that work so perfectly together, "Music of the Night" from Phantom and "Unexpected Song" from Song and Dance.  The Rodgers and Hart song "I'll Tell the Man in the Street" from I Married An Angel is given the full romantic and lush treatment with an arrangement that swells and is in perfect harmony to McGillin's soaring vocals.  McGillin's version of "I Have Dreamed" is a quiet and direct version of the romantic ballad from The King and I.

"Time" is a fairly unknown song from the musical Was, which is based on the novel of the same name.  McGillin was involved in an early demo recording of the score of that show, which has been produced but hasn't made it to a New York engagement just yet.  There are some beautiful songs in that score and this is one of them, so it is nice to see McGillin including it on this recording.  James Taylor's "The Secret of Life" obviously has no ties to musical theatre and though McGillin does a nice job with the material, the arrangement isn't quite up to the standard of the rest of the songs on this cd.  However, McGillin does have a great time with the swinging, upbeat arrangement for "Lucky To Be Me" from On The Town.  This is followed by a beautifully quiet take on the Henry Mancini/Leslie Bricusse movie song "Two For the Road" and the cd concludes with a touching version of  Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Where Time Stands Still" that includes a beautiful arrangement with a violin focus.

If you like romantic themed recordings with lush orchestrations definitely check this cd out.

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