Jake Gyllenhaal may have missed out on a chance to win a Tony Award for his performance in the recent revival of Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece musical “Sunday in the Park With George” (the producers decided to withdraw the production from Tony consideration), but he will have a chance to add a Grammy Award to his mantle for his performance. The 2017 Broadway Cast Recording of the production received a digital release on Sept. 22, just eight days before the eligibility cut-off for the 2018 Grammys.
Recorded just days after the limited engagement closed on April 23, the Warner Music Group’s recording seemed to have an interminably long gestation period, keeping fans of the production on pins and needles. The long wait appeared to be worth it, though, with the 19-track recording earning early praise online for the cast’s vocal performances, its sumptuous orchestrations and meticulous sound-mixing. In addition to Gyllenhaal, the album boasts the talents of Tony-winners Annaleigh Ashford (“You Can’t Take it With You”), Ruthie Ann Miles (“The King and I”) and Robert Sean Leonard (“The Invention of Love”), previous Tony nominees Brooks Ashmanskas (“Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me”), Phillip Boykin (“The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess”), Penny Fuller (“Applause”), as well as the rest of the production’s cast.
Gyllenhaal and Ashford, likely to be considered the only “principal soloists” on the recording, face particularly stiff competition for the Grammy. Other notable albums in contention at the upcoming ceremony include the new Broadway cast recording of “Hello, Dolly!” starring world-renowned, Tony-winning performer Bette Midler, the Billboard-charting “Dear Evan Hansen” original Broadway cast recording that captures Tony-winner Ben Platt’s praised performance, the original Broadway cast recording of “Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812” featuring four-time Grammy nominee Josh Groban, as well as the albums of Tony-nominated shows “Groundhog Day,” “Come From Away,” and “Falsettos.” The London cast recording of “Dreamgirls,” featuring Grammy nominee Amber Riley, could also earn a nomination just as the West End recording of “Kinky Boots” did last year.
Though premature to discuss a frontrunner without the official list of nominees, “Dear Evan Hansen” seems to be the recording to beat. Not only did the album break into the mainstream consciousness in a way few cast albums usually do, but the Grammys tend to shy away from awarding recordings of revivals. Since 2000, only four revivals have won in this category (“Annie Get Your Gun” , “Gypsy: A Musical Fable” , “West Side Story” , “The Color Purple” ). With the star-wattage on display on the “Hello, Dolly!” and “Sunday in the Park with George” recordings, though, voters may be tempted to buck tradition.
Other cast recordings released within the eligibility window that stand less of a chance of contending for the prize include “A Bronx Tale,” “Amélie,” “Anastasia,” “Bandstand,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn,” “In Transit,” and “War Paint.”