April 21, 2015 12:01 am
Updated: April 21, 2015 9:58 am

LISTEN: Josh Groban sings musical theatre classics on new album ‘Stages’

Josh Groban's new album 'Stages' is out April 28.

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TORONTO — Josh Groban’s new album Stages is a collection of some of the best songs from musical theatre — and you can listen to it here ahead of its April 28 release.

“Nothing has inspired me more in my life than the energy that is shared in a theatre when great songs and great art are on the stage,” Groban said, in a release.

“I wanted this album to pay tribute to those inspirations and memories.”

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Stages is the 34-year-old singer’s seventh studio album and was produced by Humberto Gatica and Bernie Herms in Los Angeles and at London’s famed Abbey Road — where Groban’s powerful vocals were backed by a 75-piece orchestra.

MORE: Download the James and the Giant Peach cast album for free

“There was a great freedom to go big with these songs because the world of musical theatre welcomes that,” said Groban. “It’s all about big stories, big emotions, and big vocals.”

Groban said he chose songs “that have stood the test of time” and have “incredible melody with an incredible story.”

Among the 13 tracks is “Bring Him Home” from Les Misérables, a song closely associated with Toronto-based Colm Wilkinson, who originated the Jean Valjean role on Broadway.

Josh Groban, pictured in Toronto in 2010.

John R. Kennedy / Global News

Groban also collaborated with pop star Kelly Clarkson on “All I Ask Of You” (from The Phantom of the Opera); with Broadway veteran Audra McDonald on “If I Loved You” (from Carousel), and with jazz trumpeter Chris Botti on “Old Devil Moon” (from Finian’s Rainbow).

There are also songs from Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, The Fantasticks, A Chorus Line, Chess and The Wizard of Oz.

Groban included a rendition of “Pure Imagination,” a song originally performed by Gene Wilder in the 1971 movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. (It was made into a stage musical in 2004.)

“It’s a tiny bit of a cheat because it was from a film originally,” Groban admitted, “but I really wanted to sing it.”

Singing songs from musicals comes naturally to Groban, who studied musical theatre at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and briefly at Carnegie Mellon University.

Stages is an album I’ve wanted to make,” he recalled. “I knew in my heart that, at some point, I would visit the songs I love from that world as an album.

“Having lived in New York City the last few years, seeing as much theatre as I could see, and having so many great friends in the theatre community, it became really inspiring to take this on. It was time.”

Last year, Groban was in Toronto to perform iconic love songs from Broadway musicals with other male artists at the Luminato festival.

Josh Groban performs with Canada’s Brent Carver

John R. Kennedy / Global News

Groban will be bringing Stages to the stage this fall, including a Sept. 21 concert at Toronto’s Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.

BELOW: Listen to Stages ahead of its April 28 release using the player below. (To keep this window open and continue browsing, click here.)

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