Original Studio Cast
RAVES FOR SUNDOWN! 'I found the biggest surprise of the year, theatrical recording-wise at least, while listening to the recently released recording of Sundown while Stairmastering at Harlem's New York Sports Club. Although not the best place to listen to a musical about the 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the fact that it's country music-inspired score cut through the hip-hop blaring overhead and completely captivated me should speak volumes to the strength of the score and it's performers. 'Written by composer Peter Link (King of Hearts, Salvation) and lyricist Larry Rosler (who, with Joe Bravaco, also wrote the book), the show is more tuneful and emotionally resonant than many shows to hit the Great White Way in recent memory. 'The show has seen a few productions already (the Lyric Stage in Irving, Texas, and Virginia's Barter, as well as a staged reading at New York's York Theatre Company), and the recording is a studio cast recording featuring Broadway actors Steve Blanchard (currently the Beast in Beauty and the Beast) as Doc Holliday, Judy McLane (currently Tanya in Mamma Mia!) as his lady love Kate Fisher, and Patrick Ryan Sullivan as Wyatt Earp. 'The show manages what other Western shows tried and almost achieved (such as Johnny Guitar) or flat-out failed miserably at (such as Urban Cowboy) and that is, to tell a tuneful tale set in the mythic west that consists of three-dimensional characters that have a reason to sing - and do so with more than passable songs to boot! (Indeed, the sensual pick-up number 'One More Drink' sung by Joe Lutton and Judy McLane perfectly captures the spirit and playfulness that was missing from Urban Cowboy.) 'Musically, Sundown recalls a harder edged Big River, thanks to rollicking character numbers like 'Fly In The Ointment' and 'Politickin',' which stand side by side with beautiful ballads like 'Bridges' (beautifully performed by Judy McLane) and the title song (a plaintive 'end of the trail' number sung by Doc Holliday). While the CD is hampered at times by arrangements featuring far-too-obviously synthesized instruments, the material in general and the performers in particular make for an incredibly strong and highly listenable album.' - JONATHAN FRANK, SOUND ADVICE@ TALKING BROADWAY "Sundown takes it's audience back to the Wild West as it retells the story of the Doc Holliday and the Tombstone showdown between Holliday, the Earps and the Clantons. This musical (here heard in a studio recording) approaches it's subject with a musical earnestness that can't help but affect the listeners. "Peter Link has written a score that mixes to beautiful effect country-western strains with a pop sensibility and even soaring melodic lines reminiscent of opera. Larry Rosler provides lyrics that rhyme cleverly and illustrate character succinctly. The book for the piece comes from Joe Bravaco and Larry Rosler and can only be truly commented on by audiences who have seen the piece in it's two productions, at Lyric Stage in Texas and the Barter Theatre in Virginia. "What listeners will comment on is the richness and effectiveness of the score.. From the moment strings and synthesizers sound in the elegiac opening number, 'Arizona Morning', Sundown transports the listener back some 120 years and to the plains and vastness of an unconquered west. "In 'Fly in the Ointment', Link creates an intricately ominous number for the Clantons, McLauries and Earps, where banjos seem to be propelling the characters to their final gunfight. In 'Politickin', Rosler creates some of his most comic lyrics as Holliday and Virgil Earp urge Wyatt to take a more gentle approach to the problems in Tombstone. 'Bridges' demonstrates the two writers at their most lyrical as Kate, Holliday's romantic interest, looks back on the journey that's brought her to Tombstone. For the show's title number, Link has written an ethereal piece that interestingly and effectively blends country western sounds with the leisurely cadences found most in New Age music. "Steve Blanchard and Judy McLane demonstrate their deftness with the demands of the score - particularly in their bittersweet ballad late in the second act,Another Time. 'Sundown has grown richer with each subsequent listen. I eagerly anticipate having the chance to encounter the musical on stage." - ANDY PROPST, AMERICAN THEATRE WEB "In my column of December 13, when there were 12 days to Christmas, I made suggestions on what you could give friends and relatives as gifts. Well, those were the good old days. More time has passed and -- let me guess -- you STILL haven't finished your holiday shopping. So here are a few more suggestions. Do you like to give CDs? There's the cast album to Sundown, composer Peter Link's new musical. Isn't it wonderful that more than 35 years after his Salvation debuted Off-Broadway, Link is still at it? What's more, after that early rock musical, he showed us that he's got range by writing show music in a classic vein (such as King of Hearts) and now, with librettists Joe Bravaco and Larry Rosler (who did the lyrics, too) he's written a genuine western. "My buddy Melinda Newman at Billboard tells me that the music that I came to know as 'country and western' is now simply called 'country' -- but what do you call this country musical in a western setting? Darned good, that's what. The three collaborators have musicalized the 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral where the Earps, the Clantons, the McLaurys, and Doc Holliday shot a peck of bullets at each other. It's quite a testosterone-filled score; it takes seven tracks before you hear a woman's voice (the always welcome Judy McLane). Just as that '50s TV series sang that Wyatt Earp was 'brave, courageous, and bold,' so is this score." - PETER FILICIA.THEATREMANIA STEVE BLANCHARD (Doc Holliday) stars as the Beast in Broadway's Beauty and the Beast. During a brief respite from the role, which he has played for several years, he starred as Johnny in the off-Broadway musical Johnny Guitar opposite his Sundown co-star, Judy McLane. Other Broadway credits include Lancelot in Camelot, Fred in A Christmas Carol, and the second guy on the right in The Three Musketeers. National tours include Camelot with Robert Goulet, Milos in A Funny Thing...with Mickey Rooney and the Phantom in Ken Hill's Phantom of the Opera. On television he has been seen in Ed, Third Watch, Law and Order, Sunset Beat, Police Story, Another World, One Life to Live,Guiding Light, and Rapmaster Ronnie for HBO. JUDY MCLANE (Kate Fisher) is currently appearing on Broadway in Mamma Mia as Tanya. She recently received critical acclaim for her performance as Vienna in the musical Johnny Guitar , receiving a Drama Desk Award Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical and Drama League Honor for Distinguished Performance in the Theater. This same year she received a Helen Hayes Nomination for Best Actress in a musical for her role of Phyllis in Follies at the Signature Theater in DC. Broadway shows include Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Aspects of Love and Chess (cast album, and "Chess in Concert" at Carnegie Hall). National and international tours include Into the Woods (Baker's Wife), Big (Mrs.Baskin), Joseph... (Narrator, co-starring with Donny Osmond). Regional: the title role in Victor/Victoria, Eva Peron in Evita, Aldonza in Man of La Mancha, Nancy in Oliver!, Luisa in Nine, Florence in Chess, Lily in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Paper Mill Playhouse, Pittsburgh CLO), The World Goes 'Round (Cape Playhouse), Kate in Kiss me Kate (Westchester Broadway Theater), Rebecca in Rags (AMT of San Jose), Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar (Sacramento Civic Light Opera), Grizabella in Cats, and Millie in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Muny, St. Louis). Judy frequently performs as a soloist with symphony orchestras. Some of these include the Bolshoi Orchestra in Moscow, the National Orchestra of Lyon, France, National Symphony of Canada, and orchestras in St.Louis, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Baltimore. On television she played Darla on "Another World." In addition to the CD of Sundown, she can be heard on the recording of Johnny Guitar. PETER LINK (composer) won the Drama Desk Award as composer of the musical Salvation, and his scores for Joseph Papp's Much Ado About Nothing and Neil Simon's The Good Doctor earned him back-to-back Tony Award nominations. His musical concert The River received TOR awards for Best Musical and Peter received Best Director and Best Composer/Lyricist awards. As Composer-in-Residence at the New York Shakespeare Festival, he scored several shows. His Broadway credits include Ulysses in Nightgown, starring Zero Mostel; Lysistrata, starring Melina Mercouri; The Mighty Gents, starring Morgan Freeman; and King of Hearts, recently seen in a revised version at Goodspeed Opera House with Gabe Barre directing. Peter composed for, produced, and directed the long running Jenny Burton Experience. His songs have been recorded by Johnny Mathis, Dionne Warwick, Peggy Lee, and even Mae West. Ronnie Dyson's recording of Peter's 'If You Let Me Make Love to You (Then Why Can't I Touch You)' from Salvation became a Billboard #1 hit, earning Peter a gold record and selling over two million copies. The composer recently recorded a double CD titled Thru Me: The Songs of Peter Link, and orchestrated and produced the CD for the musical Africa Plumbridge and artist Julia Wade's sacred CD, Upon The Mountain, a fusion of classical, folk and original pop songs.