Entertainment :: Music

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - Encores’ Cast Recording

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Wednesday Sep 12, 2012
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Megan Hilty is riding the wave of popularity in 2012. The blonde actress has several voiceover and movie projects in the can (including the upcoming feature, "Dorothy of Oz"), and continues her live performing. However, her biggest current projects are her sassy performances in the "smash" NBC hit, "Smash" (which is primed for its second season to start in 2013), and her performance in the new release of Sony Masterworks’ recording of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."

Originally the 1949 musical that launched the career of Carol Channing, this recording of the Jule Styne / Leo Robin musical is the "Encores!" production that ran earlier this year at New York’s City Center. With Hilty in the Channing role of Lorelei Lee (which starred Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film version), and Broadway bombshell Rachel York as Lee’s sidekick, Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell in the film), the shallow plot of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" follows the exploits of two Follies girls both in Paris and stateside in their pursuit of merriment, frivolity, and "male admirers" (read "sugar daddies"). Its Prohibition era themes (drinking without being arrested), and desire for the better things in life (regardless of how it is acquired) make "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" an entertaining, albeit non-intellectual, evening’s romp.

Hilty gives a competent Monroe impression on the well-known tune, "A Little Girl From Little Rock," but she saves it up for the classic hit, "Diamond’s Are a Girl’s Best Friend," bringing her own voice to the adopted anthem of the material girl. York is a surprise joy on the recording, knowing how to keep the party going with her versions of "It’s High Time" and "Keeping Cool with Coolidge." The gentlemen hold their own against the high-powered femmes, with both Clarke Thorell (in "Bye Bye Baby" and the title track) and Simon Jones (delightful in "It’s Delightful Down in Chile") providing the objects of Hilty’s pursuit.

Hilty’s name is obviously the draw here, as the show’s transparent story merely provides opportunities for the woman to wine, dine, and shine for her television followers.

"Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"
New York City Center "Encores!" Cast
CD and Digital formats
Sony Masterworks

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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