There is a 10th anniversary recording of the album Stage Door Johnny: John Miller – Takes on Broadway. When I first received this recording I was unfamiliar with John Miller and the recording. I quickly fell in love with the recording because it is so unique and it is definitely an album that theatre lovers as well as those who appreciate good music will enjoy. Miller takes musical theatre songs that people are familiar with and arranges them in a way that makes the song come across in a totally new and unique way. I found myself in many instances listening to the songs many times over because I love the way that the music is arranged. Miller makes these classic songs sound fresh and new, and I immensely enjoyed listening to Stage Door Johnny.
John Miller is a Musical Coordinator for Broadway shows. He has worked on over 130 Broadway productions during the last forty years. He has worked on shows such as The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, Newsies, and Hairspray. Currently his work is represented in the shows Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, Oklahoma!, and in a few months, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. If you are unfamiliar with the role a Music Coordinator performs, Miller did an interview with Playbill a few years ago and explained it as “I work with the conductor, the composer and the orchestrator to decide who would be perfect musicians for that show. Musicians who'd work well with that conductor, musicians the composer would want for the style of music, musicians who'd bring everything the orchestrator wants out of the instruments. You're sort of the conduit for all these musical parts of the show." Miller is also a bassist and Stage Door Johnny features Miller’s bass playing and vocals.
One of the things I adored about this album was the way Miller showcases how versatile musical theatre songs can be. What Miller does on this album is take music that everyone is familiar with such as “I Won’t Grow Up” from Peter Pan and turn the music into something that feels fresh and new. This is one album that is a welcome addition to my music collection as I found the music relaxing and a refreshing take on the songs I am so familiar with. One of the highlights on the album is “I Cain’t Say No” from Oklahoma! This song has a jazzy feel to it with the bass and piano, and I very much enjoy this particular arrangement. Another highlight of the album is “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” from My Fair Lady. The sound delivered by this song is reminiscent of the music stylings of James Taylor. I found the song delightful and it is probably my favorite on the album. Another song that I found unique and also find myself listening to frequently is “Old Man River” from Showboat. The beginning has a very classical feel with a violin playing and then it evolves into a more up-tempo song. I found the arrangement of the song unexpected and I enjoy it tremendously. On a whole, I honestly adored the songs and music on this album. The 10th anniversary recording of the album Stage Door Johnny: John Miller – Takes on Broadway is a delightful album in which Miller spices up classic Broadway songs.
Stage Door Johnny: John Miller – Takes on Broadway is available for purchase through digital and streaming platforms, in addition the CD is available for purchase at JohnMillerBass.com.
Kelli Curtin is founding editor and writer for theatresensation.com. She has maintained a love of the performing arts since a very early age and she is excited to share her passion about theatre and the Arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on Twitter, Facebook and on Instagram.