The Sleigher: Broadway’s Greatest Gifts: Carols for a Cure
What it is: The casts of Broadway shows from this year and years past doing Christmas songs, va-va-voom-style, with proceeds to benefit Broadway Cares, an organization that raises money and makes grants for AIDS-related causes.
The bike under the tree: The Sleigher is honor-bound to admit that something deep within his cellular structure rejected this CD somewhere during "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel," the two-disc set's second number from the cast of Hairspray, during which Shoshana Bean's brassy "Hey, Mistah Producah!" voice cut through the metaphorical ropes tethering his will to live to his mortal vessel. That said, despite its slightly terrifying note that it was "inspired by the Gipsy Kings," "Los Peces en el Rio" by the cast of In the Heights was enjoyable, possibly because the Sleigher's Spanish is limited, and he was intrigued by the cast of South Pacific's take on "I Saw Three Ships," which introduces math-rock to showtunes, likely an unprecedented feat, if not one he is interested in researching further.
The lump of coal: The Sleigher considered shooting himself every time the next song on this CD came up on his iTunes, so his dislikes are not definitive here. That said, he'll go for the 2006 recording of "The Hanukkah Song" by the cast of The Wedding Singer, in which soloist and American Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis attempts to wring soul out of a song in which no soul is available. Maroulis is not necessarily mistaken in this approach: One of the Sleigher's favorite Christmas records is A Partridge Family Christmas Card, in which David Cassidy tries to infuse "Jingle Bells" with the spirit of Otis Redding. Somehow that's charming, though. This is not.
Cheer factor: 10 out of 10 (if you're simply mad about Sondheim); -400 out of 10 otherwise.
LISTEN: "The Hanukkah Song"