Lyrics and Music: Stephen Schwartz
Written by: Philip LaZebnik
The Prince of Egypt is a new musical extravaganza based on the Dreamworks animated film of the same name which was released in 1998 starring the voices of Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer and Patrick Stewart among many others.
The story is loosely based on the biblical story of Moses leading his people from slavery to the promised land although much liberty is taken in the retelling as this pits two brothers against each other in the form of Moses and Rameses.
In this original cast recording the cast boasts Luke Brady in the role of Moses. His vocals are superb and add gravitas to a convincing performance as the saviour of his people. The villain of the piece, Rameses is sung by Liam Tamne. The duet of Make it Right shows off the vocal talents of these lead characters to great effect.
Moses, lacking the courage of his convictions is urged by Jethro (Gary Wilmot) to Look Through Heavens Eyes to find his way. West End stalwart, Wilmot is on top form in this recording although the song, like many of them, is somewhat dull.
The love interest is provided by Christine Allado playing Tzipporah – who sings Never in a Million Years with Moses. This song shows the tension between the two of them at the start of the narrative but we get the impression that the two are beginning to fall for each other. With new purpose, Moses and the ensemble lead us to the end of act one promising to Take us to the Promised Land.
Act two begins with the birth of Ramses’ son, Seti II and the ensemble welcome him and wish him long life. Ramses implores Moses to Always be on his Side as he realises that history shows that he is a more complete person with him there.
No story about Moses would be complete without the plagues. In this regard, we are not disappointed with a showstopper number that achieves the horrors and punishment of the Egyptians. It is a very dramatic number with an uplifting theme throughout as Moses demands that Ramses “let my people go”.
With the death of the first borns, Ramses is not immune and loses his son. Naturally his wife Nefertari is heartbroken by this as she sings Heartless a true power ballad and sung with great passion by Tanisha Spring.
Arguably the most memorable song of the film which preceded it and present in this soundtrack When You Believe is sung by Allado and Miriam Alexia Khadme. Without doubt this is the highlight of the whole soundtrack and the two ladies do justice to the track made famous from the film by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey and that is no mean feat. This song also features one of the junior members of the cast and although only one of them sang in this recording they are all worthy of a mention as “The Young Hebrew Girl” Mia Lakha, Iman Pabani and Hannah Selk.
With words and music written by the extremely talented Stephen Schwartz of Wicked and Godspell fame, the songs are consistently banal and derivative employing lazy, cliched motifs to place the action. If this musical is meant to be Dreamworks’ answer to Disney’s The Lion King then it really does not hit the right note and should remain in the desert.
There is nothing particularly wrong with this musical and in the right setting, against a lavish set, magnificent costumes and boasting a dizzying cast and orchestra of over 60 of the hottest talent the West End has to offer, one may see it in a much more favorable light.
The Prince of Egypt Original Cast Recording is available from Ghostlight Records now