The publication of The TheaterMania Guide to Musical Theater Recordings will be celebrated with two special events on Monday, February 7. From 6 to 7:30pm that evening at the Drama Book Shop (250 West 40th Street, between Seventh and Eighth avenues), Michael Portantiere -- who edited and compiled the reviews contained in the book -- will moderate a discussion on the topic "What Makes a Cast Album Great?" Scheduled to participate are composer Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Once on This Island, etc.); veteran Broadway performer Harvey Evans (West Side Story,Follies, The Scarlet Pimpernel, etc.); and record producer Kurt Deutsch (head of the labels Sh-K-Boom and Ghostlight). Also joining the panel will be three of the book's contributors: Gerard Alessandrini, creator-writer-director of Forbidden Broadway; Peter Filichia, theater critic for the Newark Star-Ledger and a regular columnist for TheaterMania.com; and David Finkle, TheaterMania's chief drama critic. The event, which will include a question and answer period, is free and open to the public but seating is limited. To RSVP, phone 212-944-0595, ext. 417 or e-mail info@dramabookshop.com, but note that early arrival is advised because seating is not guaranteed.

Later that same night, from 10 to 11:30pm, a party to mark the release of The TheaterMania Guide to Musical Theater Recordings will be held during the first part of Jim Caruso's Cast Party, the regular Monday night event at Birdland (315 West 44th Street, between Eighth and Ninth avenues). Scheduled to perform at this event are such notables as Rita Gardner, who created the role of The Girl in the original Off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks; Stephanie D'Abruzzo and Barrett Foa from the cast of the current Broadway hit Avenue Q; Christine Pedi, a mainstay of the long-running revue Forbidden Broadway; singer-impressionist Steven Brinberg in the vocal guise of Barbra Streisand and other great ladies of theater and film; Richard Kind, now starring on Broadway in The Producers; and George S. Irving, who won a Tony Award for his performance in Irene and also appeared in the original Broadway productions of such shows as Oklahoma! and Bells Are Ringing. There is a $10 food/drink minimum at Cast Party. For reservations, phone Birdland at 212-581-3080.

Published by Back Stage Books, The TheaterMania Guide to Musical Theater Recordings is a 416-page volume containing newly written reviews of more than 1,000 recordings of more than 600 musical theater scores, including original cast albums, revival and studio cast albums, and film soundtracks. Compiled and edited by Portantiere, editor in chief of TheaterMania.com, the reviews were contributed by Richard Barrios, Ken Bloom, Jeffrey Dunn, Marc Miller, Matthew Murray, David Wolf and 10 other noted writers including the aforementioned Alessandrini, Filichia, and Finkle. The book has a foreword by the legendary composer-lyricist Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly!, Mame, La Cage aux Folles, etc.), and it also contains lists of "All-Time Favorite Musicals" by such theater luminaries as Kristin Chenoweth, Douglas Sills, Barbara Cook, John Raitt, Stephen Flaherty, and the late Fred Ebb.