The high-octane mix of dance hits from the disco era and beyond that have been stirred together for the American version of Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical comes to disc marvelously on this 22-track cast recording.
The album doesn't only preserve the dynamic work of the show's Broadway cast, namely principals Nick Adams, Tony Sheldon and Will Swenson, but also of Stephen "Spud" Murphy and Charlie Hull, who have created the orchestrations for the production, which are a grand blend of pulsating pop beats and Broadway razzamatazz.
Whether it's the shrewd revisions and dance bridges that have been added to The Weather Girls' hit "It's Raining Men" or the way in which Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff" has been reconceived to support the show's story, Murphy and Hull's work helps make the songs sound as if they might have been written not just as chart-climbers, but also for use in the theater. Indeed, both the Communards' "Don't Leave Me This Way" and Alicia Bridges' "I Love the Nightlife" begin in disconcertingly nontraditional ways before segueing into versions that sound more like the tunes that most listeners will know by heart.
Given that as the CD's producers, Murphy and Frank Filipetti, have worked to ensure that these songs replicate the theatergoing experience, it's curious that the disc has rearranged the running order of the show. For instance, Swenson's fine interpretation the Burt Bacharach hit "I Say A Little Prayer" comes much earlier in the production than it does on disc. Ultimately, though, the ordering of the tracks (and the absence of a couple of songs heard in the show) are small quibbles.
Moreover, this effervescent album is accompanied by a booklet with just enough full-color photographs to help remind theatergoers of the visual splash that is so much a part of this tuneful theatrical dance-party.