Men In My Life
Album Produced by Christopher McGovern
Executive Producer: Bruce Yeko
Recorded and Mixed at Sound Magick, NYC
Track Production/Orchestrations/Musical Direction: Christopher McGovern
Mastering Paul Gold at DIGI-ROM
Graphics: Bob Weston at Weston Graphics
Bob Forman at DIGI-ROM
Photography: Colleen Croft, Howard Fraser, Grethe Holby
there are men in my life who could curl my toes/make me laugh, make me shy, make me thumb my nose/been a daughter, a mother, a sister, a lover, a wife to the men in my life/I've had men in my life who were barely boys/need an ear, or a year or to just make noise/been a devil, an angel, a favorite, a back-up, a hen to those men taking it under consideration/over and over I think if I was candid enough with myself I would find/there's a piece of each one that he left behind/as part of me/in the heart of me/so a thank you, a plea, and a c'est la guerre to each one and for some and for some I should say a prayer/some ignore, some adore, some want more, some I bore/great in bed, too well-bred, some misled, some saw red/electrifying, mystifying/dead or merely dying...they're part of me/in the heart of me/the men in my life
"...and what of the value of dreams in regard to our knowledge of the future? One would like to substitute the words: 'in regard to our knowledge of the past,' for in every sense a dream has its origins in the past." - The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud
to: Alex, Anthony, Bill, Conor, Doug, The Duke, Eddie, Eric, Frank, George, Howard, John, Jerome, Joe, Joseph, Larry, Mark, Mike, Raul, Ron, Ritchie, Tom, Stephen, Vinnie, Walter, Wilford... Thanks for the memories. -Alison
Christopher thanks... Bruce Yeko for letting me fly with this project; Bill Finn for his amazing contributions both on and off the page; The writers who entrusted us with their precious "kids"; One of the most gifted group of musicians I have ever worked with - their unique talents & dedication continue to inspire me...several for many years now; The folks at Wingham Hill for loaning us Sean (buy his 'Aloft' CD): Slicemeister Paul Gold, Bob Weston at Weston Grpahics and the staff at DIGI-ROM for their patience and another beautiful job; Bob Golden for the last minute sessions; Ted Sperling, Michael Starobin, Rusty Magee, Forrest Mallard, Mike Gibb, Max Preeo, David Roberts, Andrew Gans, Kenneth Jones for so much continued support; Peter Sherwood, Jiri Zizka, My folks and my pals (Bill, Julian, Kyleann et. al.) for auditioning innumerable rough mixes, and finally to Lizzie Borden for bringing me together with my partner in crime and fellow Cancerian Alison...who is the best in all worlds; passionate collaborator, brilliant artist; and a million laughs over a bottle of Pino - I am honored to be one of the "men in your life." xo-Christopher
Very Special Thanks to William Finn, Charles Liepart & Eric Schorr and David and Joseph Zellnick for allowing us to include their previously unrecorded theatre songs, respectively: The Passion of Rhoda from In Trousers, The Pill Song from America Kicks Up Its Heels, Smoke from espresso trasho, and City of Dreams/The End Comes Softly from City of Dreams.
While "Men in My Life" might not have as many selections from the shows Alison has been involved with, that is not a bad thing. It has several songs that are required listening - a master class in what it means to be a singing actress. The recording is a tribute to the men who have influenced Fraser's life, and the songs she selected for the recording are eclectic, heartfelt, romantic and right...
A beautiful version of "The Beautiful Land" from Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd begins with the melody from Peter Pan's "Neverland" which ties directly into the meaning of the song of a mother giving her child guidance. This is followed by an imaginative pairing of the Antonio Carlos Jobim song "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars" with the Bacharach/ David hit song "The Look Of Love" which is then followed by a different take on another pop classic, Elvis Costello's "Everyday I Write the Book." Alison puts her own stamp on that song as well as on the Todd Rundgren song "Parallel Lines". The recording includes another song by Alison's late husband Rusty Magee, "Wrong For Me." This is a beautiful story song about a woman in a relationship that might not be the best thing for her. Alison pours her heart out in this song. She combines four songs into a "Vice Medley" including the sultry "Smoke" and the humorous Bill Finn "Pill Song" from his musical America Kicks Up Its Heels. Another Finn song, "The Passion Of Rhoda" follows and she duets on it with William Finn himself. The recording finishes up with Alison singing a solo version of "Romantic Notions" from Romance/Romance that she sung with her fellow cast mates, including Scott Bakula, in that show. This song pairs perfectly with the final cut, the title track, that Alison co-wrote with Christopher McGovern.
On December 16, 2013, ALISON FRASER joined the 1st National Tour of Wicked in the role of Madame Morrible. Recently, on Broadway, Alison appeared as Tessie Tura in the Arthur Laurents helmed Gypsy starring Patti LuPone, and she is a nationally acclaimed performer who has appeared in concert at such venues as Carnegie Hall, The White House, Town Hall, The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, The Tisch Center for the Arts, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Wilma, The Emelin, Joe’s Pub and Symphony Space. She is a two time Tony Award nominee for The Secret Garden and Romance/Romance, a Drama Desk Award nominee for The Secret Garden, and a Carbonell Award winner for Romance/Romance. She is the first ever recipient of Philadelphia’s Barrymore Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of The Blonde in Marion Adler, Scott Wentworth and Craig Boehmler’s film noir musical Gunmetal Blues under the direction of Ziri Zizka. Her two solo CDs New York Romance and Men In My Life (Original Cast Records) have five star ratings on Amazon.com, and New York Romance was a Grammy short list finalist. She received a Best Supporting Actress Award for playing Chloe in Lips Together, Teeth Apart at the George Street Playhouse, and she returned there to play Diana in Lend Me A Tenor directed by David Saint. She reprised the role of The Blonde in Gunmetal Blues, opposite Patrick Quinn at the George Street Playhouse also directed by David Saint.
On Broadway she originated such roles as Martha in The Secret Garden, Josefine/Monica in Romance/Romance, and Dorine in Tartuffe: Born Again, and she was Helena Landless in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Recently she created the role of Ms. Darbus in the professional theatre premiere of Disney‘s High School Musical under the direction of Jeff Calhoun, and she was Tessie Tura in City Center’s production of Gypsy starring Patti LuPone directed by the legendary Arthur Laurents. Off Broadway she originated the role of Jessie opposite Nathan Lane and Marion Seldes in Terrence McNally’s Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams (Primary Stages), and was the guest star in an oak tree at the Barrow Street Theatre. She was the original Trina in William Finn’s March of the Falsettos and In Trousers (Playwrights Horizons) for which she also provided vocal orchestrations, Miss Drumgoole in Todd Rundgren and Joe Orton’s Up Against It (New York Shakespeare Festival), Uta in Charles Busch and Rusty Magee’s The Green Heart (Manhattan Theatre Club), Connie/Petula/Brenda in Beehive at the historic Village Gate, and Marion Ames in Swingtime Canteen. She was in the American premiere of the Olivier Award winning Honk! playing Ida, and was seen in the American premiere of the Australian musical Prodigal playing Celia at the York Theater.
Ms. Fraser was honored to have created the title character in world premiere of Christopher McGovern’s musical Lizzie Borden, and she appeared with cabaret great Andrea Marcovicci in Ted Sperling’s highly praised production of Lady In the Dark at The Prince Theatre in Philadelphia. She has co-starred with such luminaries as Patti LuPone, Boyd Gaines, Laura Benanti, Roger Bart, Nathan Lane, Marion Seldes, Tony Randall, Jack Klugman, Mandy Patinkin, Scott Bakula, Elaine Stritch, George Rose, Rebecca Luker, Mary Testa, Kerry Butler, Michael Rupert, Chip Zien, Brent Barrett, Steven Bogardus, Howard McGillin, Adriane Lenox and John Cameron Mitchell.
Her many recordings include, in addition to her two solo CDs, The Secret Garden, Romance/Romance, Beehive, Standup Shakespeare (featuring Three Mo’ Tenors’ Thomas Young), March of the Falsettos, Falsettos, In Trousers, Swingtime Canteen, Lizzie Borden, Quel Fromage, Our Heart Sings, Prodigal, Sweet Appreciation (featuring Rusty Magee and Lewis Black), Rebecca Luker’s Leaving Home, Jeepers Creepers, Broadway Musicals of 1951, The Broadway Musicals: Cut-Outs, and audiobooks by such authors as Eric Van Lustbader, Judith Krantz, Julie Garwood, Sandra Brown, Linda Lael Miller, Margaret Mitchell, R.L. Stine, and Jude Deveraux. She is featured on the newly released audiobook From the Ashes, a series of spiritual and political essays pertaining to the September 11th attack on America, and can be heard on the unabridged audiobook of Chris Bohjalian’s The Buffalo Soldier and the soon to be released Grand Theft Auto IV. She has also been heard on literally thousands of television and radio advertisements.
Ms. Fraser is a favorite of children everywhere because of her many appearances as flamboyant but clueless authoress Babs Caplan on the award winning Children’s Television Workshop series Between the Lions on PBS, and she has appeared on Law and Order SVU and Third Watch. Her feature films include Jack and His Friends, Spectropia, Me and Him, Mixing Nia, Frat Boy, and The Thing About My Folks playing opposite Paul Reiser and Peter Falk. She can also be seen in the Bright Eyes music video directed by John Cameron Mitchell and the recently released horror film In The Blood. She is a published journalist - her profile of the late great Anthony Newley was featured in TimeOut Magazine.
Ms. Fraser lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and Shawnee-On-The-Delaware Pennsylvania
with her son Nat, and she is the widow of the late composer and performer Rusty Magee.(www.sweetappreciation.com)
Spotlight On Alison Fraser by Nancy Rosati
Alison Fraser is best known to Broadway audiences for her Tony nominated roles of Josephine/Monica in Romance/Romance and Martha in The Secret Garden. Off Broadway audiences recognize her as the original Trina in March of the Falsettos and its prequel In Trousers, and as Uta in The Green Heart, written by Charles Busch and Alison’s husband Rusty Magee. She played the title role in the world premiere of Lizzie Borden at American Stage Company and can be heard on the original cast recording. Other recordings include several cast albums and her two solo CDs - Alison Fraser - A New York Romance and Alison Fraser - Men in My Life.
Alison and I met during the limited run of Prodigal, an original musical from Australia that had its American debut at the York Theatre. She played Celia Flannery, the mother of two sons, in this modern adaptation of the parable of the Prodigal Son.
Nancy Rosati: Where did you grow up?
Alison Fraser: Natick, Massachusetts, “Home of Champions,” most famous for being the home of Doug Flutie. It’s about 17 miles west of Boston.
NR: William Finn came from there too, didn’t he?
AF: Yes. Billy is a little bit older than I am. He was out of high school by the time I got there but he saw me in some shows because he had been involved with the theater program in our school. It was a very sophisticated program due to a guy named Jerry Dyer, who’s just a spectacular director. There are a lot of us who would say he was very influential in our lives.
My uncle was very theatrically oriented, and my mom has one of the best collections of 19th century theater books and memorabilia you’ll ever see. We grew up on theater. My mom had a crush, not on Elvis Presley, but on Edwin Booth. (laughs) She had a room filled with pictures of Edwin Booth. The first time I got to take her to The Players’ Club was really a great event for her.
NR: Did she sing also?
AF: No. My mom doesn’t sing, at least not publicly.
NR: When did you start singing?
AF: Pretty early on. I remember singing along, as loud as I possibly could, to Maurice Chevalier records in French. To this day I have a pretty damn good French accent. I got cast in a French revival of Cabaret that was done about 10 or 15 years ago. I had to audition in French. I don’t really speak French very well but my accent is excellent, thanks to Maurice Chevalier.
NR: When did you decide you wanted to do this for a career?
AF: In high school I was heavily involved with the National Forensic League, a debate club. I was the president of the Speech Club for two years and I was very involved with getting speeches together for other people and making sure speeches fit their talents. I got involved in putting Student Council shows together. My passion in high school was definitely in the theater and that’s where my Anthony Newley obsession started. You can hear about that on my New York Romance album. I talk about loving Anthony Newley and eventually running into him at an audition and (laughs) having a nervous breakdown. At the end of his life I got to be friends with my idol, and theater brought me to that, so that was a lovely thing.
I just segued naturally into theater from high school because I had been so involved with the Speech Team and the National Forensic League. I went to Carnegie Mellon for theater and then I got cast in a show that Arthur Kopit was doing with Raul Julia and I moved to New York.
NR: When you first started working in New York, did you stand there and say, “I can’t believe all of these opportunities are coming to me?”
AF: At that time I think I was a pretty cocky kid. Instead of saying that, I was probably saying, “I can’t believe I’m not doing more.” Now I’m saying “I can’t believe it.” I think that happens to kids when they come straight to New York from high school. In high school, I had a lot of power. I could say, “Let’s do Cyrano de Bergerac and I’ll play Roxanne.” It was a rude awakening coming to New York.
NR: What have you learned since then?
AF: I’ve learned a million things. I should write a book and the book would be called “What Not to Do” because I’ve made every mistake possible. I’m surprised I have survived it as well as I have. I’ve made huge mistakes.
NR: Anything you want to talk about?
AF: Well, don’t fight with producers. Don’t have really, really bright ideas in front of a lot of people. Take them into a private room and talk about your good ideas. It should be stuff that’s very, very evident, but when you’re caught up in the passion of the moment, it’s difficult to censor yourself. I think now I’m a LOT better at being tactful and not being a jerk.
NR: Not everybody learns that lesson.
AF: I’ve definitely learned it. The past few years have been about rebuilding bridges that unfortunately I might have burned, or at least singed, in my youth. I think as you get older you get a little more peaceful with your life and you get a little less cocky.
NR: I see that you like to do new projects. How do you choose them?
AF: Projects seem to choose me. When I choose a project I invariably don’t get it. If I chose projects, I’d never, ever work. The great wonderful projects that I have done have come to me. Lizzie Borden came to me in the mail. That’s my pet project and I want to do that show in New York desperately. The first Broadway show that Chris McGovern ever saw was Romance/Romance and when he was putting up a reading of Lizzie Borden he thought of me and asked the casting director to get in touch with me. I think at the time I was very busy. I believe we were in the last throes of previews of The Green Heart at Manhattan Theatre Club and I was exhausted. Chris sent me this marvelous script in the mail and I read through it. My reaction was, “If anybody else sings this stuff first, I’ll just die.” I had to do it. I attached myself to the project.
I’m really interested in originating parts where I believe that I can make the part as good as it possibly can be. I want to know that I can help to mold this character so that other people can do them, and do them well. I like to protect my characters and make sure they are so good that every great singer/actress in my vocal range is going to want to do it.
NR: Is Lizzie Borden on hold now?
AF: I’m not sure. Somebody should bring it in because it just kicks ass. It’s a perfect show and a great part that I want to do. Chris McGovern is my musical soul mate. He plays for me in my one-woman concerts. He and I have a musical shorthand together. He knows my voice backwards and forwards. He produced Men in My Life and will be producing my new album. I love him.
NR: Tell me more about The Green Heart.
AF: I still think to this day that The Green Heart is a wonderful show that did not get a good shot. It was a show that was before its time and someday somebody really smart is going to revive it and make a lot of money.
NR: I have a quote from you in which you said, “New composers are the bravest people in the world. They put their life on the line. I watched four years of work be destroyed by one man’s word and I still haven’t gotten over it.”
AF: It’s so true. I still haven’t. We all worked so hard on that show and at every reading people would say, “This is going to be huge.” At the time it was a very original idea, taking a very funny movie (A New Leaf) and making a very funny, dark musical about it. Obviously in the past few years we’ve seen huge hits made out of movies but I really feel like we got on that bandwagon very early. I put the creative team of Charles Busch and Rusty Magee together.
Rusty’s my husband and I think he’s a terrific composer. He won the Outer Critic’s Circle Award for Scapin. He does a lot of the classic adaptations for Andrei Belgrader at American Repertory Theatre and Yale Repertory Theatre. I think Ubu Rock, which was done two years in a row at American Repertory Theatre, is having a reading with John Turturro on April 22nd to drum up interest in a New York production. It’s one of the bravest, funniest musicals I’ve ever seen in my life and somebody should take a chance on that one.
The Green Heart was a real labor of love and we thought we had something very, very special. Manhattan Theatre Club was totally behind it. I believe they spent almost a million dollars on that production. Something just didn’t click. In previews things were either standing still or not improving or, in some cases, getting worse. We had a couple of casting disappointments. I think it was a better show than Mr. Brantley gave it credit for, but it’s his job to review, so who am I to second guess him? I do believe that the show deserves another shot. I think it’s very funny and has a terrific score.
NR: Tell me about your two Tony nominations.
AF: The two Tony nominations I’ve had for parts I’ve created were parts where the creators have told me, “You got the part when you walked in the door.” I do think that there are parts out there with my name on them. I think Josephine/Monica was one and I think Martha in The Secret Garden was another one. Those are the parts that really attract me.
The first time I was nominated, I was walking on air. It was like a fairy tale come true. One month I’m in a little black box theater down on West 28th Street - the Actors’ Outlet and it was so dirty we called it “The Actors’ Outhouse.” I was doing this little jewel of a show and it was one of those instances where I really clicked with the material. Within two months we were on Broadway and had a cast album. I had a new leading man because Dennis Parlato, who did it downtown, opted to do Chess instead. (even though I offered him my MG to stay!) But we were lucky enough to get the wonderful Scott Bakula and we clicked. We had a great time. On top of that there was the Tony nomination. It was a dream come true.
Of course it was more of a nightmare when we did our number for the Tony Awards ceremony. My zipper got stuck during the quick change and they literally had to rip my dress off me. If you watch a tape of it, you’ll see Scott looking offstage because I missed a few beats. I had several people tugging on my dress to get it off. It was the most terrifying moment of my entire life. It was worse than being mugged. There were all those people, I was on national television, and I was going to look like an idiot.
At least with that nomination I thought maybe there was a chance. My part was really big and it was flashy. People were liking it. I knew I never had a chance for the next one (Secret Garden). Once I heard that it was Daisy (Eagan) that I was up against I didn’t even buy a new dress. I knew.
NR: Did you get to watch her on The It Factor at all?
AF: I didn't see it, but I was on The It Factor with Daisy. I did this fun show at Arci’s, which was a celebration of Tony nominees. They requested that we do material from our Tony nominated shows so I was doing a Secret Garden thing. I had not sung “Fine White Horse” in public since the show. I told the audience, “I’m going to sing this, but I’m going to ask a little girl to come up so I can sing to her.” Of course, Daisy came up as the “little girl.” She had a martini in her hand - it was very funny. I sang “Fine White Horse” to her. Then she did a song and finally we did “Hold On” together.
The Secret Garden was such a lovely group of people. I’m still very good friends with Rebecca Luker and Peter Marinos, who’s now in The Producers, and Daisy, and John Babcock, the little boy who played Colin. He’s now a Harvard graduate and the tutor of my son. And of course, Howard McGillin, who’s in my mind the greatest leading man Broadway will ever have. His performance in Edwin Drood was beyond mind-boggling. He’s our great, great treasure, and why people aren’t writing shows for him is beyond me. He’s just brilliant.
NR: Tell me about Falsettos. That must have been a fascinating experience.
AF: It was. It was great because we didn’t know what we had. The Falsettos story starts with In Trousers. Bill Finn, Mary Testa and I were singing songs in his apartment. We decided to do a presentation for some people in the apartment, which was a mess. Mary and I spent the day cleaning it. We all pooled our pennies because we were intensely poor. We bought grapes and cheap jug white wine. We borrowed chairs from the nearby synagogue and we put together this presentation. That show eventually became In Trousers, which we did at Playwrights Horizons. The first one was directed by Billy and he also played Marvin.
To this day Bill Finn is one of my favorite singers. I am definitely going to take credit for bringing his vocal prowess out of retirement because he sang “The Passion of Rhoda” on my CD. That song is one of the cut songs from the original In Trousers. I always like to include one of Billy’s unrecorded songs on my albums so I begged him to do it. I guess he got the bug because then he did Infinite Joy down at Joe’s Pub.
Falsettos was next in the trilogy. I don’t know if he knew it was going to be a trilogy at that point. We did it upstairs at Playwrights Horizon and James Lapine came on as the director and really started to shape the Marvin story. I was horrified when he told me they were going to add a 13 year old son because at the time I was in my early 20s and I thought, “There goes my part.” He was nice enough to keep me on board so that was good.
NR: Let’s talk about Prodigal.
AF: I love Prodigal! It’s taken such an interesting journey. It could have turned into a disaster because our director was let go about three days before our first preview. The writer (Dean Bryant) and Jim Morgan, the artistic director, decided the vision was not going in a way that was compatible with their vision. They did a lot of rewriting and reblocking. We really did not know what we had until three or four days into previews. Every day major changes were going in and we were all very nervous. I think it was a tribute to the great heart of the York Theatre, which of course is one of our great treasures in New York City, because they really, really support new material in a passionate way. They’re not doing Forever Plaid every two years to make their nut. They are out there doing new material and to me, that’s the excitement of theatre - creating new material. It’s a great tribute to these brave boys who came over from Australia - Mathew Frank and Dean Bryant. They’re kids, but boy are they smart. It’s also a great tribute to the actors involved because they did not cave. The actors did not come in with a bad attitude. Every day, every single one of those actors was working their ass off to make sure that the writers got the best shot possible in New York City. As a result, we’re a very close company. We love each other and I think it shows on stage. I think it’s because of the dire circumstances that this show is what it is. It resonates more deeply because of the travails that we were put through.
NR: Is there any chance that it will be recorded?
AF: From your mouth to God’s ears. We’ll see. It would certainly be a very cheap show to do because there are only five of us and it’s just piano. I would love to record it.
NR: We have to mention Talkin’ Broadway since you’re such a good friend of the website.
AF: We love Talkin’ Broadway! You guys rock! Just the fact that there’s a whole Internet site filled with passionate theatergoers is amazing. The people on All That Chat are smart and knowledgeable. I love them.
NR: (laughing) Does that mean you don’t think we closed Seussical or did any other of those horrible things?
AF: No. I do think you have a lot of influence. To me, it’s very democratic. Because of the Internet, everybody has an opinion. I love that, and even though sometimes it’s a bad opinion of me, it’s okay. I read something on All That Chat one day about my diction and I went back and went over my stuff. If somebody couldn’t understand me, that’s bad, so I lightened up some of my diction because of that. Everybody’s opinion is valid. I love the guys on All That Chat. I love the annual party. I also have to give Talkin’ Broadway credit for getting me back into singing in concerts. When Wayman (Wong) called me to do that party a few years ago, I had never thought about doing concerts. I had such a good time at that first party that I said, “I could be doing this.” I have a nice little concert thing going now. So, thank you Wayman and Talkin’ Broadway!
NR: And now you have another CD coming out.
AF: It’s called Name Dropping. We’re just in the planning stages right now. It’s going to be fun. It will be eclectic. My CDs tend to be very personal and strange. I do believe I’ll be doing an original Billy Finn song on it, as well as some Broadway standards. I’ve had complaints that I don’t do enough Broadway stuff so I said, “Okay, fine. I’ll do something.” I might actually be singing my first Sondheim song, but I’m not sure yet.
NR: What didn’t we talk about?
AF: My son Nat is just turning 12 years old. His favorite place in the world is Las Vegas. He wants to live there. He goes there every year for winter vacation. He now has a giant poster of Las Vegas over his bed.
NR: Is he interested in doing music or theater as a career?
AF: No, I don’t think so. Early on when he was 6 years old, he came very close to getting a movie - The Stepmom. My agent gets him these incredible auditions and Nat is not a child actor. He’ll get an audition for a movie and he’ll say, “I don’t feel like it. I have gym that day.” Of course it’s usually an opportunity that we would kill for, but we’re not going to push him.
NR: What’s ahead for you?
AF: I’m going to do a lot more concerts. I’m doing Broadway By the Year: 1951 at Town Hall on May 13th. I think I’m going to get to do some King and I material. I’m looking forward to that. I want to do my one-woman show again. It’s called “The Happy, Sexy, Truthful Show” because I just wanted happy, sexy songs and truthful stories. I’m going for an audition for something today. Maybe I’ll get it. Who knows? I also do a lot of voice-overs for television and radio ads. I do books on tape. Recently I did a wonderful book on tape called The Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian. It’s unabridged and it’s for Random House. It’s definitely the best book on tape that I’ve ever done. I got to meet him. He’s also the guy who wrote Midwives and it’s an absolutely beautiful book.
NR: I know Prodigal is ending soon, but it sounds as if you’re going to be quite busy. Good luck with the audition and I’ll see you at the Talkin’ Broadway party.
While we spoke, Alison frequently referred to people in the business as “great treasures.” Looking at her body of work, and the enthusiasm and joy she brings to this career that she loves so much, I think it’s safe to say that the same words can be used to describe her.
We've heard Alison Fraser on recordings before, among them "March of the Falsettos," "Secret Garden," and "Romance, Romance," but never before have I been treated to 20 songs by Alison on one CD.
"Men in My Life" includes some standards (like "Young at Heart") sung in a way-above-standard style, as well as original works that provide Fraser with the chance to show off her vocal style, range and power.
Among my personal favorites are the opening title ("Storyteller"), "Wrong For Me," and a beautiful solo version of "Romantic Notions" from that underplayed musical, "Romance, Romance."
With the depth of feeling and range of emotion demonstrated in this performance, it is clear to see (hear?) why Alison Fraser has been repeatedly nominated for awards, recorded, and praised for her onstage work.
My only question for Alison is this: When can we expect the next CD? I hope soon (and I might suggest that a Christmas CD would be a welcome addition to the current stock of holiday music available!)
Thanks for a GREAT musical experience!
Alison Fraser's "Men In My Life" is a sexy, smart, brilliantly conceived, well-orchestrated blast of creativity. Alison brings her uniquely sultry and beautifully appealing voice, and her profound hipness to re-examine and re-interpret some old tunes and adds some new ones -- even some she wrote. This CD is remarkably intimate - and somehow blends the best of B'way, pop, and rock into a personal statement that is simply irresistible... and don't miss William Finn's idiosyncratic cut -- his international recording debut!
Alison Fraser has done a superb job in this album! The vast variety of music she has chosen makes "Men In My Life" an extra-special treat, not only for her loyal fans, but for new listeners as well. With a delightful combination of favorites, and not-so-well-known theatre songs, she sings them all as if they were her children. I have never came across such a diverse album! It is not possible for me to chose a favorite! I love the vice medley, where she sings "Smoke", "Put It On My Tab", "Show Me The Way To Go Home", and "The Pill Song". Then, she goes into "The Passion of Rhoda", a duet with Willaim Finn, from "In Trousers". I listen to the album everyday. While people at school listen to Rap, disgustingly unoriginal pop music, or punk rock, I have my headphones out, listening to Alison. Before school, and before going to bed, it is a wonderful way to start and end the day. Alison Fraser is my absolute favorite actress and singer of all time. I hope she never stops recording new and interesting albums!
Alison Fraser's follow-up album to the wonderful A NEW YORK ROMANCE is her breath-taking MEN IN MY LIFE. And what a life it is! Her eclectic choice of songs reveals a tapestry woven with passion warmth and an incredible voice. A consumate singer and actress, she takes you on a thrilling musical ride which you will not want to get off. I am addicted to this record! I can't stop listening to it! The cure can only be more Alison recordings. Pay particular attention to her Elvis Costello cover "Everyday I Write the Book" and the marvelous "Parallel Lines" (that percussion!)by Todd Rundgren. Rusty Magee's "Wrong for Me" should get constant radio play, and "The Vice Medley" will slay you - quite literally. ROMANCE/ROMANCE fans should delight in hearing Alison's solo rendition of the beautiful "Romantic Notions" - the perfect song to listen to while sipping cocktails on a verandah at sunset this summer. The title track "Men in My Life" written by Alison and her brilliant producer, Christopher McGovern, will leave you weak and begging for more from this terrific team. Hooray for Alison Fraser! And hooray for us that she continues to grace our lives with her shimmering talent.
This album is a find. Singer/actress Alison Fraser's marvelous, evocative voice brings to life a remarkable variety of songs with grace, passion, and humor - and a deft touch that makes each one special. They range from emotional and affecting ("Wrong For Me") to perversely funny ("The Pill Song") to nostalgic/romantic ("Romantic Notions") to steaming hot ("Smoke"). Her very personal rendition of Elvis Costello's "Every Day I Write the Book" leaves me with goose bumps. The "men in my life" theme that ties these diverse songs together adds an extra dimension, touching chords in the listener that make them even more personal and engaging. This album can hook you. When I first got it I temporarily put it in the slot in my car normally occupied by my navigation CD. It's still there. I'm lost more, but with Alison Fraser to listen to, who cares? This album is a treasure. Many, many stars.