Randy Newman's Faust

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Randy Newman's Faust
Randy Newman's Faust.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 19, 1995
March 29, 2005 (expanded edition reissue)
RecordedFebruary 10, 1993 – June 1, 1995
GenreMusical, rock opera
LabelReprise/Warner Bros. Records
Rhino/Atlantic Records (expanded edition reissue)
ProducerPeter Asher, Don Was
Randy Newman chronology
Land of Dreams
Randy Newman's Faust
Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman

Randy Newman's Faust is a 1995 musical by American musician and songwriter Randy Newman, who based the work on the classic story of Faust, borrowing elements from the version by Goethe, as well as Milton's Paradise Lost, but updating the story to the modern day, and infusing it with humorous cynicism. In this retelling, God and the Devil fight for the soul of Henry Faust, a student at the University of Notre Dame. The musical was performed at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego in September 1995, and the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in Sept 1996, as well as released as a CD as a concept album. In July 2014, a stripped-down, modernized "concert" version was staged for Encores! at New York City Center.[1]


Randy Newman's Faust first had a limited run at La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego in September 1995, which coincided with the release of a concept album version, featuring a different cast and arrangements than the stage version. The stage production, directed by Michael Greif was praised for its score, but criticized for its script and characters.[2]

The script was rewritten by David Mamet for the second production, in Chicago's Goodman Theatre. This production, featuring the same principal cast, suffered similar criticisms that its script was still not the equal of its score. It ran from September 30 to November 2, 1996.[3]

On July 1, 2014, New York City Center's Encores! staged a one-night-only performance of the show. This version was stripped down for a more minimal "concert" presentation and heavily rewritten. As on the album (but unlike earlier stage versions), Newman himself assumed the role of Lucifer, alongside a new cast that included Isiah Johnson, Tony Vincent, Laura Osnes, and Vonda Shepard.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2/5 stars[4]
Chicago Tribune2.5/4 stars[5]
Robert ChristgauA[6]
Entertainment WeeklyA[7]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[8]

In a contemporary review for Playboy, music critic Robert Christgau found the album's vivid songs and musical comedy settings ideal for Newman's "high-spirited cynicism": "Musical comedy is the perfect medium for his unique synthesis of soundtrack grandeur, blues-savvy studio rock, and general Americana."[9] He named it the fifth best album of the year.[10] However, Faust only finished 87th in the voting for the Pazz & Jop, an annual critics poll run by The Village Voice.[11] Al Weisel of Rolling Stone was critical of songs like "Little Island" and "Northern Boy", which he felt deviate from the storyline, although he called the album "the best work in years for all involved".[8]

"Life Has Been Good to Me" was performed by French Stewart as Harry Solomon on 1997's "A Nightmare on Dick Street," an episode of NBC's 3rd Rock from the Sun. "Relax, Enjoy Yourself" and "Can't Keep a Good Man Down" were performed by two different cast groups in "Ally McBeal: The Musical, Almost", the 2000 third-season finale of Ally McBeal.

CD cast[edit]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Randy Newman.

Disc One
1."Glory Train"Randy Newman, James Taylor4:44
2."Can't Keep a Good Man Down"Randy Newman2:45
3."How Great Our Lord"James Taylor2:42
4."Best Little Girl"Randy Newman2:28
5."Northern Boy"James Taylor, Randy Newman2:55
6."Bless The Children of the World"Don Henley3:50
7."Gainesville"Linda Ronstadt3:30
8."Relax, Enjoy Yourself"James Taylor, Randy Newman, Kristyn Liang-chan5:41
9."Life Has Been Good To Me"Bonnie Raitt3:28
10."Little Island"Elton John3:20
11."The Man"Don Henley, Randy Newman3:14
12."My Hero"Linda Ronstadt2:35
13."I Gotta Be Your Man"Randy Newman2:31
14."Feels Like Home"Bonnie Raitt4:26
15."Bleeding All Over the Place"Randy Newman, Bonnie Raitt4:15
16."Sandman's Coming"Linda Ronstadt2:41
17."Happy Ending"Randy Newman3:21
Disc Two (2005 expanded edition reissue only)
  1. "Pass On Over" [Demo]
  2. "How Great Our Lord" [Demo]
  3. "Each Perfect Day" [Demo]
  4. "Best Little Girl" [Demo]
  5. "It Was Beautiful" [Demo]
  6. "Northern Boy" [Demo]
  7. "Bless The Children of the World" [Demo]
  8. "Damn Fine Day" [Demo]
  9. "March Of The Protestants" [Demo]
  10. "Little Island" [Demo]
  11. "The Man" [Demo]
  12. "Love Time" [Demo]
  13. "Relax, Enjoy Yourself" [Demo]
  14. "When Love Is in the Air" [Demo]
  15. "Gainesville Florida" [Demo]
  16. "Life Has Been Good to Me" [Demo]
  17. "My Hero" [Demo]
  18. "Hard Currency" [Demo]
  19. "Sandman's Coming" [Demo]
  20. "Basin Street Blues" [Demo]



  1. ^ a b Playbill Archived August 20, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Los Angeles Times
  3. ^ Chicago Tribune
  4. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Randy Newman's Faust". AllMusic.
  5. ^ Chicago Tribune review
  6. ^ "CG: randy newman". Robert Christgau. October 31, 1995. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
  7. ^ EW review
  8. ^ a b Weisel, Al (December 14, 1995). "Randy Newman's Faust Album Review". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert (1995). "Randy Newman, Prince". Playboy (October). Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  10. ^ "Pazz & Jop 1995: Dean's List". The Village Voice. New York. February 25, 1996. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert (February 25, 1996). "Lost in the Soundscape". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved September 9, 2014.