Sunday, April 13, 2014

Album Review: THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDING)


It’s here, ladies and gentleman: Jason Robert Brown’s return to Broadway. And it just so happens that he’s provided us with the most intensely romantic score since Adam Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza.

There’s a difference here, though. While Piazza gently floated on the wind with a classical sensibility infused with piano, strings, and harp that touched us in the heart, The Bridges of Madison County has a musical approach that’s more muscular… it virtually punches us in the gut. It reflects a type of love unlike the innocence of Fabrizio and Clara, two na├»ve young people from two different worlds. The romance between Francesca Johnson and Robert Kincaid is one of forbidden love, a deep and complex affair that oozes with palpable danger and sexuality. And Jason Robert Brown’s work reflects that in a way that few other composers today could achieve. If Brown hadn’t written the brilliant score for Parade, I’d say Bridges is his most significant contribution to musical theatre to date.