Anyone Can Whistle first complete recording... the 23-year wait is over

Craig Glenday, Chair of The Stephen Sondheim Society, is treated to listen of the soon-to-be-released recording of Anyone Can Whistle made more than 20 years ago with Julia McKenzie, Maria Friedman and John Barrowman... and is blown away by it

Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurent's troubled 1963 political satire Anyone Can Whistle famously flopped on Broadway, closing just eight days after its opening night. A cast recording was made - with stars Angela Lansbury (in her first Broadway musical role) and Lee Remick, among others - but the show effectively disappeared off the musical-theatre radar, despite some delightful songs that have found their way into the cabaret repertoire. This year, however, a "lost" recording made more than 20 years ago of the entire show is due to be published in December 2020, and a recording featuring the cream of the UK theatre scene, no less: Julia McKenzie, Maria Friedman and John Barrowman.

The recording - a passion project spearheaded John Yap, founder of JAY Records - was made in 1997 at Abbey Road Studios with a full 42-piece orchestra (National Symphony Orchestra) and chorus of more than 35 West End featured artists. Sondheim himself worked on the preparations for the recording, and Laurents even provided the narration. For years, its release has been speculated, rumours have circulated but this past weekend, in anticipation of its impending release on 3 December this year - miracle