Tagged as "spectacular" by The New York Times, "awesome" by NPR, and "outstanding" by The New Yorker, Nicholas Rodriguez fuses his love of theatre with the music of jazz, blues, folk and pop on his debut solo album. Drawn and expanded from his one-man show, The First Time... unleashes Rodriguez on a mix of Broadway and pop tunes that lifts familiar favorites into exciting new territory. As he slides effortlessly from smooth lows to an arresting falsetto, Rodriguez tackles songs by Stephen Sondheim (a rare male recording of the Oscar-winner "Sooner or Later"), Frank Loesser (a reinvented "I've Never Been in Love Before" that reflects Rodriguez's Mexican-American roots) and Rodgers & Hammerstein (an exultant jazz-waltz "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'," a nod to his acclaimed performance as Curly at D.C.'s Arena Stage) alongside pop hits like Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You" and Sara Bareilles' "Brave" -- then fuses the worlds of Broadway and pop with a knockout performance of Phil Collins' "You'll Be in My Heart" from Tarzan, the show in which Rodriguez made his Broadway debut. Rodriguez is perhaps best known for his breakthrough performance as Nick Chavez in ABC's One Life to Live, for which he received the GLAAD Media Award and the 2009 Visibility Award. Now, PS Classics proudly presents his debut album, a portion of the proceeds from which will go to benefit the Broadway Dreams Foundation, where Rodriguez is the artistic director.
Nicholas Rodriguez, who made his Broadway debut in Tarzan and won a GLAAD Award for his performance on "One Life to Live," will release his debut solo album "The First Time..." on the PS Classics label in June. In anticipation of the release, Playbill.com is sharing two exclusive tracks.
The album, which will be released digitally June 2 and in stores June 19, will include songs by Stephen Sondheim, Frank Loesser, and Rodgers & Hammerstein, Joni Mitchell and Sara Bareilles. Also featured will be Phil Collins' "You'll Be in My Heart" from Tarzan.
Heard here are the opening two tracks: Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin," from Oklahoma!; and Joni Mitchell's "Conversation." The album is produced by Tommy Krasker and Bart Migal, who recently co-produced Judy Kuhn's solo album, "Rodgers, Rodgers & Guettel," and features music direction and arrangements by pianist David Budway, along with Neal Caine on bass, Donald Edwards on drums and Ron Afif on guitar. Barry Ball serves as executive producer.
Krasker told Playbill.com, "We wanted to share an advance track, but felt we couldn't really convey the scope of the album with just one track – two seemed better! The thing about Nicholas is that he can embrace a broad range of styles – which is why you've got Frank Loesser sitting next to John Denver, and Stephen Sondheim sitting next to Joni Mitchell – but he embraces everything in such a deeply personal, singular style that he makes it all cohesive. It was so much fun after mixing down Judy Kuhn's rendition of 'Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'' to mix down Nicholas': so different, yet both so perfect, both so revealing about the artist, how the song affects them and how they convey that to the listener. And then 'Conversation' may be my single favorite track I've worked on this year – I keep playing it for pure pleasure."