(BILL BROWN at Fullertone Studio in Salem, Oregon)

MONDAY April 28, 2003

Pentacle's popular musical should be available on CD by the end of May



music makers

IN THE WORKS: Pentacle Theatre director Randy Bowser works with actor Kara Quello on the recording of "Metropolis" as part of fund-raiser for the theatre.

Pentacle Theatre's production of the musical "Metropolis" opened in November and closed in December, but for some of us, it can go on forever.

A CD cast recording of "Metropolis," Pentacle's first for-commercial sale, is in the works and should be available at the theatre during the May30-June 21 run of "Amadeus." It will be sold at The Book Bin's Pentacle ticket office and in the theatre's lobby.

"We had all this feedback from people who say they loved the show," said director Randy Bowser. "They were saying 'we'd really like a CD of this.'"

Bowser, incidentally, plays Salieri in the production of "Amadeus," the story of the 18th century Viennese composer Antonio Salieri and his resentment of the genius of the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

"Metropolis" already represented some firsts for the Salem theatre group, including its first production of a musical not previously seen on Broadway and its largest production, with a cast of 33 and multimedia effects.

The production is based on the 1927 Fritz Lang silent film about workers who rebel against the elite who enslave them underground, forcing them to operate the machines that keep Metropolis running.

Pentale's production sold out, even with an added performance.

In addition, Bowser collaborated with composer/co-lyricist Joseph Brooks on new material for the show, which premiered in London in 1989.

Brooks lives in New York and is considering a regional theatre production of "Metropolis."

Proceeds for the CD will be split with Pentacle Theatre, which is raising money for $1 million in capital improvements. The contract for the release still is being finalized with Brooks, although no problems are anticipated. (italics mine--RB)

A CD was made of the London production, but this will be the first CD (a double CD) of the reworked show.

But the CD should relive the show for its fans and introduce it to people who didn't attend.

The show is essentially a rock or pop opera, with little spoken dialogue and more than 20 songs, some repeated in different versions.

"You could listen to it and follow the story," Bowser said.

"People who saw the show will have a great to relive 'Metro,' and those who didn't see the show will get a very good idea of what they missed," he said.

Recording has been done at the Salem home studio of Frank Fullerton, where cast members reunited to volunteer their time laying down the vocal tracks.

The recorded usic, including Fullerton's guitar work and Bowser's electronic keyboard music, already was in place from the production.

"Everybody was more than willing to do it," Bowser said.

On a recent night, several cast members of "Metropolis" gathered for their sixth and final night of recording, showing the kind of warmth and humor that grows out of spending weeks together and sharing a dressing room.

Recording is a familiar experience for Tim Smith, who played Freeman, the leader of the elite in the "Metropolis" hierarchy.

"I lived in Nashville for three years, so I did backup singing work," he said.

It's better, because you get to redo your mistakes."

The sound is more controllable than what it can be on stage," Bowser added.

It's actually the first time I've recorded, so it's different," said Bill Brown, who played the scientist Warner.

"I think my voice is deeper when I hear it. I've never heard myself before."

As with most of the cast, this is the first time he's ever recorded.

"This is my first time recording anything," said Jeff Baer, who played the idealistic Steven, Freeman's son. "It totally sounds different when you're live.

"It's been really unique to say 'I don't like that phrase,' and say 'Let's go back and redo it.'"

For William McClenathan, who had the dual roles of Jeremiah and Groat, the recording session simply was a time to rejoin friends and revist that chemistry.

"I think any show is special when you have a collaboration of people," he said. "I miss the energy of the show."