Top 10: Broadway's Best Cast Albums Ever

BY Winston Gieseke

January 24 2012 4:00 AM ET

WEST SIDE STORY COVER X560 | ADVOCATE.COM5. Street Scene (Original Broadway Cast) (1947)


While I’ll admit that my love for this show may have something to do with the fact that as a 10-year-old, I appeared as one of the children in a production mounted at Illinois Wesleyan University (which also featured future pros Dawn Upshaw and Alison LaPlaca), this so-called “American opera” won Kurt Weill the first ever Tony Award for Best Original Score. Depicting the goings-on at an east side Manhattan tenement during a sweltering summer, the score, comprised of operatic arias, jazz numbers, and bluesy dance sequences, is beautifully haunting with lyrics by Langston Hughes that expertly bring out the eccentricities of the various characters’ personalities. And even though this is not a complete recording of the show — there’s a really fun sextet about the joys of ice cream that evidently didn’t fit on the LP — the performances have never been equaled, even on subsequent recordings.

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