As with so many cultural events, the coronavirus cut the West End run of the stage version of The Prince of Egypt, but fate has found a way to (shout with me!) deliver us a cast recording of the production all the same, just in time for Passover, or Easter, or the yearly secular holiday in your (or at least my) household that is rewatching a DVD of the 1998 Dreamworks animated movie. The new cast recording, out Friday, April 3 via Ghostlight Records includes, five of the songs from the original movie, alongside ten new songs from original composer Stephen Schwartz. There can be miracles when you believe, etc.
In advance of the release of the cast recording, we’re here to offer you a listen to one of those new songs: “Footprints on the Sand,” a new act 1 solo for Moses, sung by West End star Luke Brady. “This was added into the show pretty early [in the development process], because we knew we needed an ‘I Want’ song for Moses,” Schwartz said.
In the current version of the show, the song occurs when Moses, still unaware of his actual parentage, gets advice from the Pharaoh Seti who points out that it’s not easy being the second son. “It starts off with him laughing at what his father has said, feeling that life is really easy,” Schwartz said. “But then he realizes he has a longing to do something with his life, and something that matters.”
For this version, Schwartz was also happy to incorporate new instruments into the song, including the oud, which you hear in the introduction. “My orchestrator August Eriksmoen told me there were a few strings that would sound best, so I made sure that we were on those strings in the intro,” Schwartz said. “Then, as it goes into the song, harmonically it becomes more complex, but it was fun to actually write for the oud.”
While versions of “Footprints on the Sand” have been in the various stage productions of The Prince of Egypt from the beginning, the West End cast recording will also include the music from a new, highly choreographed act two group number, “Simcha,” which “seems to get a lot of love from audiences when the show is actually on,” Schwartz said. For now, like everything else, the London production is on pause, but as Schwartz added later, “that will be a very good thing when we actually start doing performances again.”