Five Original Cast Recordings You Need to Listen To Now
| By Jade Ali
Often the natural order of things entails that you see a musical on stage, fall in love with the music and then pray desperately that it has an Original Cast Recording (OCR). Luckily, thanks to increasing demand and expectations, OCRs are becoming more and more popular, so you can listen to all your favourite soundtracks to your heart's content. Cast recordings, if available, are generally sold in theatres but also tend to be on Spotify or Apple Music, meaning you don’t have to be in the West End to enjoy your beloved musical numbers! This also opens a gateway to all the musicals you’ve not yet visited while offering a way to flip the natural trajectory and start with the OCR first.
Here are Our Picks For The Top Five Best Original Cast Recordings that you should listen to, whether you’ve seen these musicals or not!
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
You’ve heard about Jamie by now, surely? This musical all about Jamie New is critically acclaimed and loved by its vast fanbase. The story of this shiny new musical is one that’ll warm the cockles of your heart on the most blustery of British days. In keeping with that is the beautiful music that accompanies it, composed by Dan Gillespie Sells and with catchy lyrics from Tom MacRae that will have you singing along in no time. The numbers are contagious; some are tear-jerking while others will have you dancing around; six-inch stilettos optional. There’s a reason this OCR recently won the What’s On Stage Award for Original Cast Recording and that’s because it not only boasts amazing songs but also features the original Jamie, John McCrea, whose vocals are on par with his award-winning acting.
The West End production has recently undergone a cast change, which is just another excuse to go back to the Apollo Theatre and pay everyone’s favourite sixteen-year-old drag queen another visit. But let the Everybody’s Talking About Jamie Original West End Cast Recording be your commuting soundtrack until then. (It certainly brightens up dull mornings.)
Bat Out of Hell
Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell was home in the West End on and off for over two years before ultimately shutting its doors in January of this year. This smash-hit musical drew in its audience’s night after night and taught us a 'hell of a lot' about rock and roll. Even though the production has closed, its streams are still stacking up on Spotify, and quite frankly it's no surprise. The Meat Loaf musical is known for having earned itself a huge following and loyal fanbase who would no doubt do anything for this musical to return to the West End. But until that day comes, the Original Cast Recording can keep them company.
‘Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad’ is a huge ballad that you’d imagine would be hard to do it justice, but Danielle Steers and Dom Hartley-Harris make it their own. Their voices are so powerful and emotive that you just may end up preferring this version. ‘Heaven Can Wait’ is definitely a must-listen-to number. It's a solo from Christina Bennington that is out of this world, and she sings it in a higher key than it was originally intended for. Every song on this OCR is completely incredible, and whilst many of them are quite long, they tell such a great story that you’ll never find yourself bored with. And even after a seven-minute song, you’ll be disappointed it’s over.
If, however, you weren’t fortunate enough to see this rocking musical, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a listen to its soundtrack. Although be warned, the vocals are so incredible that it may leave you kicking yourself for never having seen it on stage. It comes from such a big cast, all blessed with some of the most amazing voices in the world of theatre, that you may find yourself overwhelmed by their talent.
SIX the musical began its journey at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017. Raved about by critics and viewers alike, it wasn’t surprising when the queens opened up for a stint in the West End at the Arts Theatre. Once again, it received overwhelming praise before it headed out on a UK tour. With demand so high, the six Tudor queens returned to the West End where they have now extended their run until January 2020. This show is known to be an absolute sell-out, which is why you need to book your tickets now whilst you still can. In the meanwhile, or if you’ve seen it already, then this OCR is certainly one you’ll want on repeat. It’s the historic tale of Henry VIII’s infamous six wives with a twist: this time they’re telling the story and as show-stopping popstars no less.
SIX has amazingly fun songs that you’ll definitely be dancing to, the perfect accompaniment for when getting ready for a night out. This album will have you feeling sassy and snapping your fingers as you sing along to ‘Don’t Lose Ur Head’ and then belting out the emotional ballad ‘Heart of Stone’ whilst tugging on your heartstrings. With just 9 songs, this OCR is a perfect all-rounder and offers a song for your every mood and need.
Waitress has only recently taken to the West End stage at the Adelphi Theatre and we’re very grateful, as we have had to listen to Broadway brag about it for the past three years. This heartwarming show is a musical that many of us here in the West End have grown to love through its Original Broadway Cast Recording. Thankfully, we can now hear these songs the way they were intended to be heard, live on stage and starring the incredible Kat McPhee. Many of the songs on this album are fun and quirky, but numbers like ‘She Used to Be Mine’ show off the more soulful side. Even just playing it through your earphones will have you shedding a tear or two. It’s a good idea to listen to ‘Bad Idea’ and ‘Bad Idea Reprise’ for the perfect pick-me-up afterwards!
Heathers the Musical
Heathers the Musical took the West End by storm and it even took a piece of our hearts when it left. This musical, adapted from the popular 1980s cult film, made sure that the whole of the West End was entranced and its fandom has been begging producers and cast alike for an Original West End Cast Recording from beginning to end. Even though the production has closed, the demand is still high and thankfully on 1 March, these needs were met with the release of the highly anticipated OCR.
Carrie Hope Fletcher, multiple What’s On Stage Best Actress winner and a solo recording artist (who is set to star as Fantine in the Les Miserables All-Star Staged Concert at the Gielgud this summer), played Veronica in Heathers and her powerful voice truly stands out on this album, particularly in songs ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Our Love is God’. Jamie Muscato's vocals are also very prominent and his voice alone is completely gripping when you listen to ‘Freeze Your Brain’, giving you a real sense of the story of his character JD, whether you were lucky enough to see the musical on stage or not.
There are many OCR’s that come from both the West End and Broadway but these five are ones that you need to add to your playlist immediately. The songs are unique and all tell such different but captivating stories whilst showcasing beyond-incredible vocals. It’s a great way to enjoy the theatre without actually being at the theatre or a great way to tide you over in between musicals. You're also sure to find your next favourite musical. So get streaming!
TINA: The Tina Turner Musical showcases a powerhouse cast that is quite simply in a league of its own. Adrienne Warren originated the role of Tina Turner in London's West End and she is a credit to the queen of rock and roll. Luckily, the OCR of this hit musical is on its way, with its first single ‘River Deep – Mountain High’ having already been released last month.
Affordable London theatre tickets to these top West End shows from £22!
Book Everybody's Talking About Jamie tickets from £24.
Book SIX Arts Theatre musical tickets from £22.
Book your Waitress London musical tickets from £24.
Book your Tina Turner musical tickets from £26.