Music Review: "On the Boulevard" Original Cast Concept Album created and produced by Ken Howard
Loosely based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, the On the Boulevard Original Cast Concept Album is the musical component for a proposed original LGBTQ-themed production by Ken Howard. Consisting of 29 songs, the album comes across as a modern version of a classic musical that covers a lot of ground: superheroes, romance, aspiration, motivation, and more.
Inspired by the Irish playwright’s social critique and commentary regarding social classes, as well as the status of women in Edwardian London being evaluated by their manner of speech, Howard drew parallels to contemporary issues for members within the LGBTQ community, and gay men in West Hollywood in particular.
“What Makes a Superhero” sounds like a classic show tune and has a positive message about going from nothing special to something much better. “When I Becomes We” is exactly what it sounds like: a hope for a romantic entanglement. While “I’ve Got You” echoes “Wig In A Box” from Hedwig and The Angry Inch. In other words, lovers of musicals will adore this album.
Like the acclaimed productions that came before — such as Godspell, La Cage Aux Folles, Wicked, Falsettos, etc. — On the Boulevard features a large and talented cast and crew, who have dedicated much time and effort to recording the show tunes for the soundtrack, produced by Howard and directed by Stuart Wood and Michael Van Bodegom-Smith.
According to the press release, Ken Howard is the great-nephew of character actress Esther Howard (1892 - 1965) and the great-grandson of music director J. William Howard II. Perhaps being born into a family with a legacy in the performing arts inspired Howard to embark on this creative journey, all the same, the effort appears to be worthwhile.
Released on March 1st, 2023, the “On The Boulevard” Concept Album was first conceived around 2015 and has been a labor of love ever since. It currently awaits the production of its first commercial theatrical staging. Until then, you can check out the album on Spotify and keep track of the production’s progress via Facebook and YouTube.
On the Boulevard: Cast
Michael D’Elia (“Eli Dillingham”)
Ryland Shelton (“Robert Riggins”)
Carol Barbee (“Christine Pickard”)
Giancarlo Garritano (“Teddy Montoya”)
Gina Torrecilla (“Concha”)
Note* Music provided for objective review by our partners.