Just in Time: Judy Kuhn Sings Jule Styne

COMPOSERS: Jule Styne
LABELS: Varese-Sarabande
PERFORMER: Judy Kuhn
CATALOGUE NO: VSD 5472 DDD

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There’s a fine celebration of Julius Kerwin’s musicals just issued on CD by the versatile Judy Kuhn. Better known in England than Sally Mayes, she’s still not a name that comes immediately to mind for most listeners. But as a leading lady of musicals on both sides of the Atlantic she has few peers.

Cosette in Les Miserables, Florence in Chess, and Amalia in She Loves Me are all her roles and that soaring soprano, perfectly set within each melody, has built her a reputation as a ‘can’t miss’ theatre singer. Can’t miss, that is, with the right shows. She’s been in more than her fair share of flops, which may be why she isn’t better known.

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In her first solo CD, though, she’s in all the right ones. Just in Time: Judy Kuhn Sings Jule Styne has songs from Gypsy, Funny Girl, and the aforementioned Bells are Ringing, each given the benefit of the Kuhn range and intelligence. This is a don’t-miss collection for Styne-lovers and a nice send-off for one of Broadway’s best. I heard about the next recording long before I heard it.