Hey, Mr. Producer! We're talking to you, sir—why are some classic cast albums not available to stream digitally? Those smart enough to have held onto their physical copies can enjoy Elaine Stritch dryly wondering "Why Do the Wrong People Travel" whenever they like, but for the rest of us, we have to make do with YouTube videos at best.
From rights issues to shuttered record labels to the fact that one of the albums on this list was recorded and then never even released, here are 16 albums featuring some of theatre's biggest names that should have a wider audience. (Note: Some albums are available only on certain platforms, so don't be too sure the cast album you want isn't available somewhere!)
16 Cast Albums That Aren't Available to Stream—But Should Be
Sail Away (1961 Original Broadway Cast)
Elaine Stritch singing the work of Noël Coward—we’re in! Stritch starred as cruise director Mimi Paragon in Sail Away and had the chance to deliver the Coward gem “Why Do the Wrong People Travel?”
Subways Are for Sleeping (1961 Original Broadway Cast)
Subways Are for Sleeping preserves the Tony-winning performance of Phyllis Newman, who played an apartment squatter who avoids her landlord by always answering her door in a towel. This prompts Orson Bean, a potential love interest, to eventually sing "I Just Can't Wait (to See You With Clothes On)." Not to mention some great Comden-Green-Styne songs, including “Comes Once in a Lifetime.”
High Spirits (1964 Original Broadway Cast)
Tammy Grimes was never in better voice than in this sparkling musical adaptation of Blithe Spirit, during which she performed several bouncy Hugh Martin and Timothy Gray songs (“Home Sweet Heaven” a particular delight) alongside Beatrice Lillie, Edward Woodward, and Louise Troy.
Promises, Promises (1968 Original Broadway/1969 London Cast)
Jill O’Hara and Betty Buckley belting out Burt Bacharach’s “Knowing When to Leave.” Need we say more?
Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope (1972 Original Broadway Cast)
Micki Grant and Vinnette Carroll’s Tony-nominated Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, a radical and irreverent protest cycle, laid bare the political issues facing the African-American community using gospel, jazz, soul, calypso, and rock to raise voices for change. Grant, who penned the book and score, was also part of the ensemble cast.
The Magic Show (1974 Original Broadway Cast)
Devised by Stephen Schwartz, director-choreographer Grover Dale, and book writer Bob Randall, the story concerns the world of a magician, played by illusionist Doug Henning. Notable in the company were Anita Morris (Nine), David Ogden Stiers (M*A*S*H) and Robert LuPone (A Chorus Line). David Letterman's bandleader, Paul Shaffer, played keyboards for the original cast, and plays on the recording.
The Wiz (1975 Original Broadway Cast)
One of the top-selling cast recordings of all time, The Wiz—featuring Stephanie Mills, Dee Dee Bridgewater, André De Shields, and Mabel King—was certified Gold February 23, 1990.
The Baker’s Wife (1976 Original Cast Recording)
This recording marked Patti LuPone’s first original cast recording, and she is in tremendous voice! Just listen to the way she belts out “Meadowlark,” “Where Is the Warmth?,” and more.
In Trousers (1979 Original Cast Recording)
Chip Zien, who would go on to play psychiatrist Mendel in March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, plays Marvin in this first part of the William Finn trilogy. The cast also boasts multiple Tony nominees Alison Fraser and Mary Testa.
A Doll’s Life (1982 Original Broadway Cast)
This Comden and Green sequel to A Doll’s House may have been short-lived, but it still spawned a cast album preserving the performances of original stars Betsy Joslyn, George Hearn, and Peter Gallagher.
Starmites (1989 Original Broadway Cast)
Liz Larsen battles forces that threaten Earth's solar system in this sci-fi rock musical with such songs as "Superhero Girl," "Hard to Be a Diva," "Afraid of the Dark," "The Cruelty Stomp," and "The Dance of Spousal Arousal."
Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993 Original Broadway Cast)
This epic John Kander-Fred Ebb-Terrence McNally musical won Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book, Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, plus Tonys for all three leads: Chita Rivera, Brent Carver, and Anthony Crivello.
Elegies (2003 Original Cast Recording)
A cast of Broadway heavyweights is featured on this collection of William Finn rarities, including Tony winners Betty Buckley, Michael Rupert, and Christian Borle, plus Tony nominee Carolee Carmello and Keith Byron Kirk.
Lestat (2006 Original Broadway Cast—recorded but never released)
Inspired by Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles novels, Lestat marked the first theatrical score from the legendary songwriting team of composer Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin. Hugh Panaro starred in the title role, with Tony nominee Carolee Carmello as Gabrielle.
The Pirate Queen (2007 Original Broadway Cast)
It’s all about the belt! Tony winner Stephanie J. Block brings her stentorian tones to a score by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon fame.