Lysistrata Jones Original Broadway Cast Recording
For all of the theatergoers who became avid fans of this fizzy tuner during its run, the disc is sure to be a welcome addition to music collections, and for others, this contemporary retelling of Aristophanes' play is filled with welcome surprises, both musically and lyrically.
At the center of the recording -- as with the production -- is Patti Murin's enormously charismatic and sure-voiced turn as the heroine, Lysistrata Jones, a transfer student to Athens University, who organizes a sex strike against her basketball-playing boyfriend (and his teammates) to try to break the school's decades-long losing streak.
In her vocals, Murin manages to combine a kind of innocent dizziness with a sly wisdom that makes the character completely adorable. And when it comes time for her to bring down the first act curtain with the anthem "Where Am I Now?," she delivers the song with strength and urgency -- along with a sense of sadness -- that makes the number enormously effective.
Alongside Murin is another powerhouse vocalist, Liz Mikel, who plays Hetaira, a madam to whom Lysistrata and her pals turn for help. Mikel's smokey voice makes Flinn's R&B-style numbers sizzle, particularly "I Don't Think So," in which Hetaira advises the girls on how to act the tease.
The CD also captures the unique combination of goofiness and smoothness that Josh Segarra brings to the role of Mick, the team captain and Lysistrata's boyfriend, particularly in the Latin-fueled "Lay Low" (in which Flinn seems to be paying tribute to Ricky Martin's hit "Livin' La Vida Loca"). Fine vocal turns also come from two supporting players: Laquet Sharnell, particularly in her sassy and spicy delivery of "Don't Judge a Book," and Jason Tam, whose sweetly earnest delivery of the inspirational "Hold On" is utterly beguiling.
In addition to the full-color booklet (wittily conceived as a school yearbook with photos, synopsis, lyrics and notes from the creatives, as well as snarky "penned-in" comments), the disc comes with a special bonus track: Tony Award winner Jennifer Holliday's gospel-infused cover of "Hold On," which electrifyingly pulses with the singer's signature style.