Posted on December 17, 2008 at 1:21 pm
I’m all set to return to regular blogging after this insane year, but the season calls for a special entry: The JRB Holiday Gift List! (Of course you don’t really need this list, since you’ve already done all your holiday shopping. Right?)
The true JRB fanatic wouldn’t want to live without these fantastic bits of memorabilia, so hunt that person down and show him or her how much you care.
The best possible gift would be tickets to 13, currently finishing out its run at the Jacobs Theatre on Broadway! There are lots of great discount offers available, such as this one at BroadwayBox.com. You’ve only got until January 4 to see the most sensational cast and band (under OR over 18) in New York, so come now and worry about the economy later!
If you can’t handle tickets to 13, you can still give the gift of 13 in a variety of ways!
For example: the amazing Original Cast Recording on Ghostlight Records! I’m so proud of this album, and you can see why in this video, which captures the cast and band recording the show and having the time of their lives. (Also, lots of sexy footage of Kurt Deutsch with his shirt off.) (Okay, not really.)
Perhaps you needed a charming, funny, hardcover stocking-stuffer for the teen reader in your life? 13: The Novel, written by myself and Dan Elish, might be the perfect solution! According to Kirkus Reviews, “this tale of middle-school peer culture is handled especially well,” and who am I to argue with Kirkus? Pick up a copy right here!
Or there’s 13 swag! Yes, that’s right, all that crap you can get at the back of the theater is also available on the Internet! Get the fabulous 13 baseball shirt, the awesome 13 Yearbook Souvenir Program, or the chic 13 wristband set! Go to 13themusicalstore.com and see for yourself.
Some of you are saying, “Yeah, yeah, whatever with 13, you exploiter of child labor. We want the hardcore JRB stuff!”
The coolest JRB gift of the year is a somewhat risky proposition, because I can’t guarantee you’ll get it by Christmas. Tickety Tock, the picture book version of “The Schmuel Song,” illustrated by the amazing Mary GrandPré, is officially out in the world and it is beautiful and moving and fabulous and I love it to death. But according to the booksellers, it’s not really out until December 30. So the deal is, you can pre-order it on Amazon, and they’ll ship it to you as soon as it’s in stock, which may be tomorrow or it may not be. Or you can loiter around your local bookstores and just keep pestering the salespeople until the book shows up. But no matter how long you have to wait, I promise it’s worth it. Seriously: check it out!
And, finally, the most unexpected Jason Robert Brown gift of 2008: if you’re having a polyglot moment, I highly recommend brushing up your German with a little Die letzten 5 Jahre – das Musical, the original cast recording from the German premiere of The Last Five Years in Wuppertal in 2006. The CD was just released and the singers (Patrick Stanke and Charlotte Heinke) are phenomenal, even if I have no idea what they’re saying. It’s a really skillful and beautiful translation by Wolfgang Adenberg, and the musicians are top-notch. So add some Teuton to your life! You haven’t lived until you’ve heard “Shiksa Goddess” in German. The best price I found for it in the US was at AllMusicImport.com, but you can also find it at CD Universe, and of course if you’re in Europe, it’s on all of the European Amazon sites as well as every record store with any taste at all.
And now, my gift to you, my lovely readers: the always astonishing Julia Murney (captured by some tiny Walkman) singing “The Flagmaker, 1775” with a full orchestra in Australia in 2003 as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The quality of the recording? Terrible. The quality of the singing? Sublime.
from Songs for a New World (1995)
Music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Julia Murney: vocal
The Adelaide Art Orchestra (JRB, conductor)
Roger Butterley: electric guitar
Randy Landau: electric bass
Georgia Stitt: piano
Recorded by some crazed showtune queen with a crappy tape recorder, Adelaide Festival Hall, Adelaide, South Australia, 6/16/03
Have a wonderful holiday and an amazing New Year, and I’ll be back soon with more news and essays!