Michael Patrick Walker’s debut album may be called Out of Context, but it’s definitely not out of touch, especially if you like show tunes sung by some of the stage’s soaring voices.
The Altar Boyz co-writer and co-creator has compiled lively songs from other musicals he’s written or going to write, as well as songs from his “trunk” of unused material.
Livelier tunes include “Pour Poor Me” and “More,” performed by Rachel York and Andy Mientus, respectively.
The former is from Walker’s The Distant Bells, a play that received a 29-hour-reading. The latter blends humor and heart as a young man beseeches a girl to choose him over her current mate.
Walker wrote another excellent piece for a musical based on Kinky Boots (later taken over by Cyndi Lauper) entitled “Different Kind of Man.”
Godspell’s Telly Leung and Michael Arden lament their inability to live up to their father’s expectations in a heart-wrenching, yet beautiful piece.
Noah Galvin performs “Someday,” one of the most relatable and memorable songs on the disc. It deals with the lesson he’s been taught about taking the higher road with bullies.
“Someday I’ll be bigger,” the young crooner belts with anger to his tormenters.
In “All About Me,” Anne L. Nathan also looks inside herself to figure out how to live fresh off a divorce. Walker’s lyrics are compelling and inspirational.
The CD also includes top-notch performances from New York’s finest: Cheyenne Jackson, Kelli O’Hara, Lisa Howard, Peter Friedman, Kate Wetherhead, Jim Stanek, Kerry O’Malley, Andy Karl and Natalie Venetia Belcon.
However, at a special one-night only CD release event on Nov. 7 at Birdland, Walker had a few other gifted friends take on Out of Context.
John Tartaglia, Kenita Miller, Julie Foldesi, Lauren Kennedy and Betsy Wolfe brought depth and originality to the jaunty mix before Walker closed the evening by lending his vocals to Out of Context’s final track, “I Believe.”
Out of Context is available on iTunes, Amazon, and other outlets.