For the Present(s)
By: Michael Portantiere
November 2006

Well, I haven't yet gotten my hands on Bette Midler's Cool Yule CD, but a few other holiday-themed recordings that have crossed my desk are sure to please TheaterMania readers.   

Broadway's Susan Egan, best known for having originated the role of Belle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, has a dandy new CD of holiday music titled Winter Tracks. It offers standards such as "Silent Night," "I'll Be Home for Christmas," and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," plus newer entries like Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens' "All Those Christmas Clichés" and the Stephen Schwartz-Alan Menken ballad "Cold Enough to Snow," the latter presented in a country-tinged arrangement. Also included are the Hanukah song "We Are Lights" and Cyndi Lauper's "New Year's Baby." (As of this writing, Egan is extremely pregnant.) One of the most delightful selections is "The Turkey and the Stuffing," written by Christopher McGovern, the album's musical director and co-producer. Egan sings in a pretty, youthful soprano that's perfect for this type of music, while McGovern's arrangements and orchestrations are creative but not aggressively avant-garde or fussy.