Album helps give Goodman's project a theatrical boost

The power of the cast album is proved by “Bright Lights, Big City,” a tuner reborn after appearing on disc.

When Paul Scott Goodman’s show played at New York Theater Workshop in 1999, it was dismissed by critics and seemed destined to disappear forever. It had a spirit, however, that attracted Kurt Deutsch, president of Sh-K-Boom Records. He approached Goodman about making an album of “Bright Lights,” though not of the show that had just been produced.

“It felt a little overdone,” Deutsch says, so he encouraged Goodman to “rework the piece completely.” New characters were added, songs were cut, and the show was tightened from two acts to 75 minutes.

Released earlier this year with star thesps like Jesse L. Martin and Sherie Renee Scott (also Sh-K-Boom’s co-founder), “Bright Lights, Big City” is a concept cast album, suggesting a show that might be. It’s a method rarely used since Andrew Lloyd Webber launched the “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Evita” records without a production.

And like those two recordings, “Bright Lights” now appears destined to have a theatrical life spawned by its album. The tuner’s new version will be mounted next July at Philadelphia’s Prince Music Theater, and there are talks of a Japanese run.

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