Fewer Broadway Exhibits Open Grammy Album Prize To London, Off Broadway – .

The theater industry’s shortened season by the pandemic appears to have opened the Grammy playing field for cast albums, with only two of the six just announced nominees for the 2021 awards representing the normally dominant Broadway.

The two Broadway cast albums featured in today’s nominations for Best Musical Theater Album are David Byrne’s American Utopia on Broadway and Jagged Little Pill, the musical made up of Alanis Morissette songs. Two cast albums from London were nominated (Amélie, The Prince of Egypt), as well as two from Off Broadway (Little Shop of Horrors, Soft Power).

Last year, all five nominees in that category were Broadway productions (Hadestown won), while the previous year four of the five nominees were from Broadway, with TV’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert filling the category (Broadway’s The Band’s Visit won). The past few years have shown a similar pro-Broadway pattern.

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A number of highly anticipated 2020 Broadway musicals were either postponed due to the Covid-19 shutdown last March or had not yet recorded Broadway cast albums. These include Caroline, Or Change with Sharon D. Clarke, Company with Patti LuPone, the Princess Di musical Diana, Mrs. Doubtfire, Six and the revival of the West Side Story. Both Caroline, Or Change and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical have already cast albums from previous London productions (a Broadway Tina album is not in the works), and both Sing Street and Girl From The North Country have recorded Broadway 2020 cast albums , but haven’t published yet. (A 2018 London cast recording of North Country, the musical based on Bob Dylan songs, is available.)

Of course, playing What If about the Grammy rating of unrecorded or unreleased cast albums is a breeze, even for musicals that had their wares revealed on stage before the pandemic (West Side Story and Girl From The North Country) at least would undoubtedly have been in a Grammy dispute).

The speculation is clouded even more by the fact that so many of this year’s non-Broadway Grammy nominees are more than worthy of the competition. Amélie was the top-rated of the two London productions, while Soft Power’s Off Broadway production at the Public Theater received mixed reviews overall, but received positive reviews for the Jeanine Tesori score. The West Side Theater’s Little Shop of Horrors, starring Jonathan Groff and Tammy Blanchard, won universal raves.

David Byrne’s “American Utopia”
Matthew Murphy

So, here’s another fool’s job: I’d put David Byrne’s American Utopia, Jagged Little Pill, and Little Shop of Horrors in the last three mishaps with the unstoppable former talking head burning the house down or taking it to the river. Win.

The Grammys ceremony will take place live on CBS on Sunday January 31st. The host is Trevor Noah.

Here are the nominees for this year’s best music theater album:

Audrey Brisson, Chris Jared, Caolan McCarthy, and Jez Unwin, principal soloists; Michael Fentiman, Sean Patrick Flahaven, Barnaby Race, and Nathan Tysen, producers; Nathan Tysen, copywriter; Daniel Messe, composer & lyricist (Original London Cast)
David Byrne, soloist; David Byrne, producer (David Byrne, composer and lyricist) (original cast)
Jagged little pill
Kathryn Gallagher, Celia Rose Gooding, Lauren Patten, and Elizabeth Stanley, principal soloists; Neal Avron, Pete Ganbarg, Michael Parker, Craig Rosen, Tom Kitt, Craig Rosen and Vivek J. Tiwary, producers (Glen Ballard and Alanis Morissette, copywriters) (Original Broadway Cast)
Tammy Blanchard, Jonathan Groff, and Tom Alan Robbins, soloists; Will Van Dyke, Michael Mayer, Alan Menken and Frank Wolf, producers (Alan Menken, composer; Howard Ashman, lyricist) (The New Off-Broadway Cast)
Christine Allado, Luke Brady, Alexia Khadime and Liam Tamne, main soloists; Dominick Amendum & Stephen Schwartz, producers; Stephen Schwartz, composer & lyricist (original cast)
Francis Jue, Austin Ku, Alyse Alan Louis, and Conrad Ricamora, principal soloists; Matt Stine, producer; David Henry Hwang, copywriter; Jeanine Tesori, composer & lyricist (original cast)

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