A NEW HOLIDAY FAMILY CD
FROM THE LATE STAN BERENSTAIN
4-TIME EMMY WINNER JAMIE BROZA and
7-TIME EMMY WINNER ELLIOT LAWRENCE
"This production should become a Christmas classic!" School Library Journal, November, 2006
Good Mood Records presents the musical version of the deeply loved book -- ‘The Berenstain Bears Save Christmas’. The story takes the listener to Bear Country, where everyone has gone Christmas-crazy — fighting for the last toy on the shelf and jamming the roadways with honking cars. Into this melee walks Rip-Off Ralph, who caters to everyone’s weakness by exhorting them, in a theatrical soft-shoe, to “join the diamond stick pin group and get filthy rich in one fell swoop!” As the Bears fall for his Holiday Sweepstakes scheme and cover their homes with “enough Christmas lights to blot out the stars,” they hope to prove that “nothing can succeed as well as wretched excess.” Watching the Bears on his scanner machine and not liking what he sees, Santa Bear declares he’ll cancel Christmas. But Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and the cubs save the day with simplicity, acts of kindness and warmhearted hospitality.
It is hard to find anyone who is not familiar with the “Berenstain Bears.” The Berenstain’s currently have three million books in print. The music on ‘The Berenstain Bears Save Christmas: The Musical’ comprises the score to a live musical theatre production that premiered in Omaha in 2005. Writing the book and lyrics for the stage version of ‘The Berenstain Bears Save Christmas: The Musical’ was the last theatrical project undertaken by Stan Berenstain, who, from his youth, loved the theatre, becoming an avid fan of shows from the “Golden Age” of Broadway. Stan’s ‘Berenstain Bears’ co-author and wife, Jan Berenstain, and artist son, Mike Berenstain, collaborated with him on the musical’s book.
The father and son team of Elliot Lawrence and Jamie Broza have created a musical score that is at once hip and edgy and at the same time cozy and holiday comfortable. In the tradition of Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Leonard Bernstein, their collaboration with the Berenstains has turned out a musical score that is perfectly in tune with the nuance of Broadway. From the blues-tinged slinkiness of Rip-Off Ralph’s opening soliloquy to the broad lyricism of Mama Bear’s heartwarming “Christmas of Old” children will listen to this dramatic work glued to their imaginations.
This CD features a fantastic cast of singers!
Elliot Lawrence (composer,Papa Bear) has been Music Director of the Tony Awards show since its television inception. He served as conductor and orchestrator for a host of fondly remembered original Broadway productions, among them 'Bye Bye Birdie,' ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’ (winning a unique Tony Award for music direction), 'The Apple Tree,' ‘Golden Rainbow,' 'Here's Love,’ 'Golden Boy,’ and 'Sugar.' He is the recipient of seven Emmy Awards for as many shows, including ‘The Kennedy Center Honors,’ for which he has been Music Director for the past 13 years.
Jamie Broza's (composer, Rip-Off Ralph) compositions and arrangements have been honored with four Emmy Awards and a Clio Award. The first two CDs he released as a solo children’s artist have been warmly received. ‘Bad Mood Mom and Other Good Mood Songs,’ winner of a Parents’ Choice Gold award, also made Parents' Choice's list of the top 25 children's CDs in the last 25 years. His follow-up CD, ‘My Daddy Is Scratchy’ also won a Parents' Choice award, as well as a NAPPA Gold award.
Nora York (Mama Bear and Sister Bear) was called an "ingenious, radical, extravagant talent" by The New Yorker. Her fall 2006 215 Records release ‘What I Want,’ (produced by Jamie Broza) has already been acclaimed as "A little Sting, a bit of Joni Mitchell and a whole lot of wonderful" by Jazz Times and "stunning … impressive, impassioned tunes." in Jazziz. York won a New York State Council on the Arts Composers Commission and teaches at New York University.
Kurt Yahjian's (Santa Bear) first professional gig was as Amahl in the 1964 Hallmark Hall of Fame production of ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’ on NBC. Since then he has performed and or recorded with such artists as Patti Austin, Carly Simon, Ray Charles, Dion, Ronnie Spector, Patti LaBelle, John and Yoko, Tony Bennett, David Byrne and the Talking Heads. He played the role of the high priest Annas both in the original Broadway production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and in the Universal film version directed by Norman Jewison.
Margaret Dorn (Mrs. Santa) is an award sinning singer, composer, arranger and producer. She has sung with many artists including Celine Dion, Better Midler, Jennifer Lopez, Lionel Ritchie and Barry Manilow. She is currently producing the fifth CD of her a cappela group 'The Accidentals.’
Kevin Osborne (Brother Bear) has toured, performed and recorded with such artists as David Bowie, 10,000 Maniacs, The Rascals, Billy Joel, Bobby McFerrin, Bon Jovi, Carly Simon, Aretha Franklin and many more. Kevin has appeared on Broadway as an original cast member of the hit show ‘Movin' Out,’ singing, playing his horn, and whistling the unforgettable theme from ‘The Stranger.’