My Favourite Broadway

The Leading Ladies

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Details At A Glance

Category Music None
Year Released 1999
Running Time 99:21 minutes
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Bill Cosel
Warner Vision
Warner Vision Australia
Starring Julie Andrews
Nell Carter
Lea Delaria
Linda Eder
Jennifer Holliday
Dee Hoty
Anna Kendrick
Judy Kuhn
Priscilla Lopez
Dorothy Loudon
Rebecca Luker
Marin Mazzie
Andrea McArdle
Audra McDonald
Liza Minnelli
Debra Monk
Robert Morse
Bebe Neuwirth
Faith Prince
Tony Roberts
Elaine Stritch
Karen Ziemba
Case ?Transparent Amaray
RPI $39.95 Music Various

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 256 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio No
16x9 Enhancement No
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles Spanish
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, during credits

Plot Synopsis

    Yes, you see it right - the bloke that does not like musicals is reviewing another Broadway musical DVD. Ever the sucker for punishment, I once again volunteered for reviewing a DVD that generally fell on deaf ears when it came up for allocation. One would hope that all this has some meaning in the overall circle of life, but right now I do wonder what that might be. Nonetheless, this was enthusiastically thrown into the DVD player for review (don't ask what I was reviewing and desperately needed a break from at the time), and approached with as much anticipation as could be mustered. Which all turned out to be much ado about nothing, as this ended up being a rather enjoyable romp through what amounts to being the greatest hits of Broadway musicals as selected and performed by the leading ladies of Broadway. Whilst perhaps not quite a gem of a DVD discovery, it certainly is a pleasing aspect of reviewing when you reluctantly volunteer for something and end up enjoying the experience.

    The music that the leading ladies of Broadway have selected for this 90 plus minute extravaganza of song, and a bit of dance, is as follows:

  1. The Beauty That Drives Men Mad from Sugar performed by Tony Roberts and Robert Morse
  2. Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag from Chicago performed by Karen Ziemba and Bebe Neuwirth
  3. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered from Pal Joey performed by Marin Mazzie
  4. Man Of La Mancha from Man Of La Mancha performed by Linda Eder
  5. Look For The Silver Lining/Tomorrow from Annie performed by Andrea McArdle
  6. And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going from Dreamgirls performed by Jennifer Holliday
  7. Nothing from A Chorus Line performed by Priscilla Lopez
  8. Everybody's Girl from Steel Pier performed by Debra Monk
  9. Ain't Misbehavin' from Ain't Misbehavin' performed by Nell Carter
  10. Mean To Me from Ain't Misbehavin' performed by Nell Carter
  11. Fifty Percent from Ballroom performed by Dorothy Loudon
  12. Some People from Gypsy performed by Liza Minnelli (after a short introduction by the lady)
  13. Love Changes Everything from Aspects Of Love performed by Audra McDonald
  14. Unexpected Song from Song and Dance performed by Marin Mazzie
  15. I Don't Know How To Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar performed by Judy Kuhn (these last three are sung concurrently and called The Lloyd Webber Love Trio)
  16. Falling In Love With Love from The Boys From Syracuse performed by Rebecca Luker (after a short introduction by Julie Andrews)
  17. Life Upon The Wicked Stage from Cabaret performed by Anna Kendricks
  18. Down With Love from Hooray For What? performed by Audra McDonald
  19. Could I Leave You? from Follies performed by Dee Hoty
  20. I Want To Be A Rockette from Kicks performed by Karen Ziemba (with the aid of The Rockettes)
  21. I Can Cook Too from On The Town performed by Lea Delaria
  22. Adelaide's Lament from Guys and Dolls performed by Faith Prince
  23. The Ladies Who Lunch from Company performed by Elaine Stritch
  24. One from A Chorus Line performed by the entire cast
    Okay, so I might not have even heard of some of the shows and so I may not be all that familiar with a lot of what was chosen for inclusion here, but the really lamentable thing is that I don't even know more than a few names here - a crying shame indeed for there are some superb voices on show. Funnily enough, the worst performance on offer here is the one that the cloth-eared American audience raved over the most - that from Jennifer Holliday. Appalling stuff and barely intelligible singing. However, get past that really low point and there is plenty to enjoy here. For me, the highlight of the show was an absolutely superb rendition of Man Of La Mancha performed by Linda Eder. I have never heard of the lady, which is an injustice I am now going to rectify as she has a wonderful voice, but the song I am reasonably familiar with. Never have I heard it performed as well as it is here and this has already been through the repeat on the DVD player quite a few times, and probably will get more than a few more. But there are so many more enjoyable moments here: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered performed by Marin Mazzie, Falling In Love With Love performed by Rebecca Luker and Life Upon The Wicked Stage performed by Anna Kendricks amongst them.

    My Favourite Broadway-The Leading Ladies is a thoroughly enjoyable programme in general and fans of Broadway musicals are in for a treat here I would suggest. Even those like me with no real interest in such things will find plenty of good music on offer, and the presentation does as good a job as possible of highlighting the general quality of the cast and their selections.

Transfer Quality


    Since this was recorded for television, the programme is naturally presented in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Filmed in Carnegie Hall in New York (not on Broadway but not far from it), there is plenty of detail of the interior of that famed establishment to be seen in this sharp and detailed transfer. Whilst there are just a few odd lapses here and there, they are quite minor and do not detract from the general excellence of the transfer. Shadow detail is naturally quite variable and is entirely dependent upon the effects of the stage lighting: at times the detail is supposed to be almost non-existent whilst at others there is enough on offer to be satisfying. The transfer is generally quite clear and does not demonstrate much in the way of grain. There are however a couple of sequences, usually from the same direction looking towards the theatre balconies, that demonstrate some degree of grain amongst other issues. There is some issue with low level noise in the same shots, which might suggest that the fault lies with the source material and not the mastering process.

    This is quite a bright and vibrant transfer, very colourful where allowed by the stage lighting. Certainly the blacks have a decent depth to them and are nice and even in tone. The colours are generally well saturated, with only the slightest hint at times of oversaturation, but nothing that I find especially distracting to the show. There is no problem with colour bleed in the transfer.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer, although there is some indication of pixelization in the background detail on a few occasions. This is mainly during the aforementioned shots of the interior balconies of the theatre - examples are around the 21:00, 53:50 and 74:00 mark - and is actually quite distracting once you have noticed it. There are a couple of rather minor instances of aliasing in the transfer, but nothing that is really disruptive. There is one instance of chroma noise in the transfer at 16:50, in the blue light backdrop to the side of the stage. There are no problems with film artefacts in the transfer.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-to-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    One of the things that often amazes me about audio transfers is the fact that they often seem to be engineered and mastered by persons who appear to have no idea of what music actually sounds like. Here we have a classic example of that point. If you have ever listened to a live string orchestra or indeed a symphony orchestra, you will have noticed that whilst the bass is a little prominent in the overall sound, it does not overpower the whole soundscape. Perhaps the sound engineers should be forced to listen to more live orchestral music in order that they understand this point, so that problems with over-prominent bass could be avoided in music such as this. Song requires support from the music, not to be overpowered by it.

    There are two soundtracks on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. I listened to the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack whilst also briefly sampling the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

    The vocals come up very well in the transfer and, apart from the Jennifer Holliday track, there are no problems understanding them. When the bass channel gets let loose, unfortunately the vocals suffer somewhat. There did not appear to be any audio sync problems with the transfer.

    The music quite naturally comes from a widely diverse collection of some of the greats, and perhaps not so greats, of the Broadway musical.

    The main problem with the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is an over-emphasis of the bass channel. This is quite noticeable in the tracks Fifty Percent, Some People and Down With Love, and in the case of the first two mentioned make them almost unlistenable. However, apart form those few misjudged tracks, there is nothing much wrong with the soundtrack at all. There is not a huge amount of activity in the rear surround channels, other than for the enthusiastic audience response, but this is not unnecessarily problematic in the overall soundtrack. In general, the bass channel gets only a moderate work and the result is a generally decently balanced soundscape that is most supportive of the songs. The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is adequate with nothing much in the way of problem, although the balance leaves a little to be desired at times as the music accompaniment goes a bit AWOL.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Nothing here at all. Note that this was a test sample DVD and it is to be hoped that the final retail release will include, at the very least, a booklet detailing the performers here.


R4 vs R1

    It would appear that this is identical in content to the Region 1 release, which would make the decision slightly in favour of Region 4 owing to PAL formatting, although I have to confess that on occasions this is an overrated difference in my view.


    My Favourite Broadway - The Leading Ladies ends up being an enjoyable presentation of some wonderful singing. In general, there is not much in the way of serious complaint about the transfer, although I do wish that the sound engineering was handled somewhat more sympathetically. Fans of the Broadway musical need not hesitate to indulge in this effort, and there is much here to entice even the most casual indulger in music.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
17th February, 2001

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL