Broadway's Best at Pops

WGBH Boston Video
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  December 10, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
This DVD represents some of the best of public broadcasting and a bit of the worst. It would be hard to ruin such a rich collection of showstopping numbers performed by Broadway stars with the Boston Pops over the past 35 years, numbers they did, or even originated, on Broadway: Ethel Merman selling “There’s No Business like Show Business,” Ray Bolger’s toe-tapping sing-along “Once in Love with Amy,” Ben Vereen’s tribute to Bert Wheeler, Pearl Bailey’s irresistible “Hello, Dolly!” under the legendary baton of Arthur Fiedler. There’s Carol Channing growling/purring “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” and Kristin Chenowith not only hitting all the notes but also getting all the jokes in Leonard Bernstein’s “Glitter and Be Gay.” The line-up is remarkable: Sammy Davis Jr., Joel Grey, John and Bonnie Raitt, Bea Arthur, Bernadette Peters, Gregory Hines, Tyne Daly, Audra McDonald, under Harry Ellis Dickson or John Williams or Keith Lockhart. And the great Barbara Cook, singing almost the most moving version you’ve ever heard of Stephen Sondheim’s “Losing My Mind.” “Almost” because the decision to insert an interview with Cook in the middle of this performance so she can explain how she improved her interpretation nearly wrecks it. Too many folks at PBS think talking heads are more important than singing voices. Still, anyone who loves show music, Broadway stars, and the Boston Pops will be grateful for this treasure trove.
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