Aviva's Broadway Collection

So you know where I'm coming from. And so I can show off.

American Cast Albums:

International Cast Albums:

** = 2 versions
*** = 3 versions
**** = 4 versions etc.

I include movie soundtracks if they were from movies based on stage productions, or, more recently, they were movie musicals that have since been turned into stage musicals (e.g., Mary Poppins). Film soundtracks that didn't consist of theatrical songs (e.g., collections of disparate rock songs, a la Footloose) are in their own section. Also, I include albums of disparate songs if the songs are mostly or all from Broadway composers. Thus, Simply Sondheim and You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile qualify, but Happy Songs does not.

Note: All titles are assumed to be the first version of that show unless otherwise noted.

= 982 + 281 = 1263

Spoken Word and Comedy Cast Recordings

Movie/TV/Animation/Performance/Cirque du Soleil Soundtracks:


Not Sure Yet (haven't listened and the booklets are no help):

I also have a shitload of rock, world music, jazz, classical, and other CDs. I'd quantify "shitload," but who the hell feels like it?

Collection FAQ

How long have you been collecting?

I've been seriously collecting for about half my life, though I scaled down my collecting zeal when I got back into the Beatles and my Beatles fantasy novel back in 2009. I had a few shows before that (all standards--Fiddler, Music Man, etc.), but it's safe to say my collection has exploded within the last three decades. Damn this obsession--but if you're reading this FAQ, you can sympathize, I'm sure.

The irony of it all is that I collect to listen, not to make money, but my source (see below) has had so much rare stuff that I’m afraid to open several of the discs because they've become collectible for their own sakes. At least House of Flowers got reissued so I could have my CD and listen to it too.

Have you actually listened to everything you own?

I'm working on it. Lately I've picked up a ton and haven't had a chance to listen to most of them.

Where did you get all these rare discs?

Well, there was this little independent record store in Denver that I’d been going to literally since we moved here in 1973. (She opened in 1972.) Karen, the owner, recently closed her storefront and had a huge sale to get rid of existing inventory—25% off everything—so I spent over $500 in three separate trips, in the process discovering that she had some REALLY RARE DISCS. (She specializes in showtunes and soundtracks.) Some of this stuff has apparently been sitting around in their original longboxes for decades.

She used to have a little warehouse location where I would go to paw through her stuff, but I stopped going in 2002 after I was laid off and my mother's Alzheimer's was becoming a huge problem. I don't know if she still has her warehouse or even if she's still alive.

I also have gotten a bunch from the late lamented Colony Records in Times Square. I was there three times in four years and spent more than $1000.

I also get lucky at used CD stores occasionally. I was in the Wherehouse in Boulder in 2001-2002. My aim was to get a 220 CD spinner. I ended up with no CD spinner but about $200 in used discs--many of which were actually not used at all but were being sold as used, and many of which were things I’d never heard of or thought weren’t even on CD, like the OLC of Calamity Jane, a tribute to Harold Prince recorded in Germany, and the Japanese production of Scarlett. (Not to mention the OBCs of Peter Pan, Ain’t Misbehavin’, and Oklahoma [the latter for my parents].) I picked up a bunch of the Ben Bagley titles, still in shrinkwrap, for $5, which should make you collectors just die, hee hee! I’d also gotten Superman and a few other oddities from them in the past. In general they are a good source of musicals both used and new. [ARGH! They CLOSED! CRAP!] I scammed Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall for $8 at Cheapo Discs in Denver; I think they'd die if they found out it runs for at least $180. Heh! [ARGH! They CLOSED! CRAP CRAP!]

I occasionally find stuff at thrift stores. That's where I got Ipi-Tombi and the Ute Lemper discs. I once discovered a large set of those old Time-Life cassettes, but since I had everything on disc I didn't buy them. I've done OK with LPs, having picked up Saturday's Warrior, a UN musical, a 1971 musical done in a Colorado high school (I actually know the location of another copy of this thing, which must have had maybe 100 discs pressed), and a copy of Funny Girl with what I thought was a Playbill inside but what turned out to be a couple of programs for the 1960-something touring cast when it came to Denver. I hate pawing through thrift shop albums, since they tend to be ragged, dirty, and lacking sleeves, but sometimes providence puts them right up front. The trouble with thrift shop albums is that you always have to check them for health. Unless something is extremely rare, I never buy anything that lacks a sleeve. (How anyone could store an LP in its jacket without the sleeve is beyond me, but a ton of people did.) I once carelessly got an obscure live recording of Hair at an ARC without checking it, only to discover when I got home that someone had hated the "Sodomy" song so much that not only did they black out the name on the jacket (wish I'd noticed that), they actually blacked out and X'ed out the song on the LP. At least it was only a buck.

I've had a little luck at garage sales, but generally if I find anything it's recent stuff. Lately I've taken to buying albums with jackets in good shape; I have an idea for a wall mural.

A tip for you CD hunters: It can be useful to go to independent or used CD stores in odd neighborhoods where show music is not likely to be popular. In general, support independent retailers; chains are mostly loathsome! Not to mention all but useless when it comes to show tunes… though I did find Carnival in the bargain bin at Sam Goody's for $2. (Of course, they're gone too, though that's no great loss.) Barnes & Noble has probably the best selection of show music among all the chains, if that's all you can travel to.

Then, of course, there's eBay. I've picked up probably 200 discs that way--geez!

Can I buy Disc X from you?

Nope. I keep everything, even the junk. I’m just posting this list to make you jealous. Nyah!

Do you trade?

Only if I know you. I find myself reluctant to make copies of CDs for anyone but friends.

Do you have any bootlegs?

I wish, but no.

Do you have any videos?

I have a bunch on both video and DVD. I don't have anything that isn't commercially available, either--no recordings of TV shows or anything fun like that.

Are there any show CDs you don’t want?

Well, I don't have many of the CRs for the composers or shows I dislike—ALW, B&S, etc.—though now that I've broken 1,000, I'm starting to get everything I can. I have only a small number of cabaret discs; ditto for plain old singer discs and "special" versions of shows (e.g., My Fair Lady in jazz). I try to avoid discs made up of original songs from different musicals, since I often have most or all of the musicals from which those songs were taken, but if they’re cheap and interesting I might get them. Operetta bores me to death, but I'll probably get the Romberg etc. disks for completeness. I am NOT fond of "1001 Strings" versions of songs; I avoid those like the plague unless they have something unusually interesting about them, or I make a mistake! And, I'm avoiding generic "composer" discs (Gershwin, Berlin, Porter, etc.), as they tend to contain only the hits, and sung by non-musical-theatre people at that.

Are you looking for anything in particular?

If it’s not up there, I want it. My personal Holy Grails of desperately wanted musicals are the London cast recordings of Sweeney Todd and On the Twentieth Century, which were <sigh> never recorded. I’d also like Elliot Ness in Cleveland and Busker Alley/Stage Door Charley, if such things ever show up. (The compilation Believe! has one or two songs from the latter. I have been assured, though, that Elliot Ness in Cleveland is 100% thoroughly gone. However! Because I volunteer at the National Theatre Conservatory library/Denver Center, I have access to their archives, which includes the script and some recorded material from the show. So I can't own or copy it but I can look at it.) I REALLY wish they'd rerelease, or create new studio recordings of, stuff like Where's Charley, DuBarry Was a Lady, and other older shows, especially those of Kern, Rodgers and Hart, and Porter. And I glom onto foreign recordings whenever possible. I know, for example, that there are a bunch of Israeli and Australian musicals out there. I have a couple but nowhere near as many as there are.

Let me know your opinion of this page. Also any corrections or additions.


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