Composers Largely Left Out Of Grammy Noms As Broadway Cast Albums Feature Reworked Oldies

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The Grammys took a fairly expansive sweep with this morning’s nominations for Best Musical Theater Album, The Motown sound, Rodgers & Hammerstein, the folk-rock music of Anaïs Mitchell, the reworked radio hits of Moulin Rouge! and Imogen Heap’s Harry Potter musical suites were all represented.

But four of the five nominations did not include composers, since the music was not original to the cast albums. In the case of several, the musical numbers consist largely of oldies, some reworked for contemporary settings. Anaïs Mitchell’s previous concept album for Hadestown was already Grammy-nominated upon its release in 2010.

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The nominees:

  • Ain’t Too Proud: The Life And Times Of The Temptations is a rousing recreation of the Motown sound, focusing largely, but not exclusively, on the title group’s hits. Nominated were original cast members Saint Aubyn, Derrick Baskin, James Harkness, Jawan M. Jackson, Jeremy Pope and Ephraim Sykes and producer Scott M. Riesett;

  • Like the movie that inspired it, Moulin Rouge! The Musical is a wide-ranging grab bag of famous songs, usually stitched together as medleys on various themes. In a love-themed number, for example, the cast sings bits and pieces of songs including “All You Need is Love,” “I Was Made for Loving You,” “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” “It Ain’t Me Babe” and “I Will Always Love You,” to name a relative few. Nominated are original cast members Danny Burstein, Tam Mutu, Sahr Ngaujah, Karen Olivo and Aaron Tveit, and producers Justin Levine, Baz Luhrmann, Matt Stine and Alex Timbers. Luhrmann was nominated back in 2001 for Best Compilation Soundtrack album for the movie version;

  • Director Daniel Fish’s radical reworking of the classic musical Oklahoma! might seem wholly original – the famous Dream Ballet is a Hendrix-like blast – but not original in the Grammy sense. This Oklahoma! largely features stripped-down, heartfelt versions of the familiar tunes. Nominated were cast members Damon Daunno, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Ali Stroker, Mary Testa and Patrick Vaill, along with producers Daniel Kluger and Dean Sharenow;

  • Anaïs Mitchell’s Hadestown, winner of this year’s Best Musical Tony, might be the one to beat. The gorgeous songs will be new to most, though Mitchell devotees have been humming along since her folky concept album in 2010. Nominated were original cast members Reeve Carney, André De Shields, Amber Gray, Eva Noblezada and Patrick Page, along with producers Mara Isaacs, David Lai, Anaïs Mitchell and Todd Sickafoose;

  • The sole composer eligible for a Grammy is Imogen Heap, for her “Four Contemporary Suites” that make up The Music of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Written, composed, performed and recorded by Heap, the album features music heard in the stage production. Heap is nominated as both composer and producer.

The Grammy Awards are set for January 26, 2020.

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