Entertainment :: Music

Now.Here.This. - Original Cast Recording

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Friday Feb 22, 2013
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The gang that brought us "[title of show]" has created their sophomore effort, the equally, uniquely titled, "Now. Here. This." Actor-writer-singers Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell and Jeff Bowen, along with their fourth collaborator, power-belter Heidi Blickenstaff, have once again joined forces with director Michael Berresse and musical director Larry Pressgrove to give us another theatrical opportunity to take a look inside of ourselves and seek out the situations in life that give us musical chances to question.

The quirky quartet are in fine voice on this new release from Ghostlight Records. The vocal arrangements (by Bowen and Pressgrove) continue to challenge the singers to create new aural textures, and the results are great. If they ever decided to take their act on the road as a band, it would be wonderful just to hear how their voices blend so well together without the navigation of a plot to dictate the set order.

Funding a cast album is not a venture for the soft-hearted, so Bowen reached out to that most loyal of investors, their fans. Through a Kickstarter campaign, the show far surpassed the necessary money to record this 17-song set. Using the backdrop of a museum visit, the four performers are given the chance to look back on pivotal moments in their past, and to examine their discoveries. Their ability to navigate strong harmonies is evident on several tunes ("What Are The Odds?" "That Makes Me Hot"), but the recording strikes stronger chords when the four sing individually. Blickenstaff is a strong musician, and her command is wonderfully featured on, "Give Me Your Attention." Bell and Bowen provide us with several looks inside the trials and tribulations of coming out in school (Bowen on "Dazzle Camouflage," and Bell on "Get Into It"). Blackwell, who has more than overcome the vocal insecurities she talked about in "[title of show]," delivers the emotional highlights of this set, as we learn about her need for over-booking in "I Rarely Schedule Nothing" and her justification of her writing talent in "Golden Palace," one of the most beautiful "speak-sung" pieces ever heard.

This cast recording stands on its own as a probing examination of the lives of four people on our planet, but it most assuredly represents millions more.

"Now. Here. This."
Original Cast Recording
CD and Digital formats
Ghostlight Records

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

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