Edward Kleban: Better

Written by Alex Mansoori


In category: Song of the Day

Published November 13, 2019

Like every other theater kid, I lived for the Tony Awards. Growing up in Seattle, it was my big window into what was happening on Broadway. I would glue myself to the TV to watch all the performances and note which cast recordings I would want to get. That habit led me to one of my favorite shows. 

In 2001, while everyone was listening to The Producers on repeat, I was falling in love with A Class Act. The semi-autobiographical show tells the life of composer and lyricist Edward Kleban, who passed away at age 48. Best known for writing the lyrics for A Chorus Line, he willed a friend a trunk of his songs from unproduced musicals and hoped that maybe she could put together an evening with them. That project turned into the musical. The show not only serves as a tribute to Kleban, but also shows a glimpse of the struggles of creating art and how the pitfalls of life can get in the way of that creation. 

Here is the Act II opener, “Better”. 

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Called “outstanding” and “hilarious” by critics, tenor Alex Mansoori has been hailed as “solid and convincing” and “smartly characterized” by The New York Times. Specializing in character tenor roles, Mr. Mansoori’s varied repertoire runs the gamut from Handel and Mozart to Bernstein and Sondheim. Some of his credits include appearances with Seattle Opera, Opera Colorado, Chicago Opera Theatre, Glimmerglass Opera, Ravinia Festival and the Tanglewood Festival. He has had a long relationship with New York Festival of Song, appearing with them since his Juilliard days, and will return in its Blitzstein / Weill double bill on November 19.


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