For those familiar with both the 1991 cast AND the 2004 revival, which is a better recording for a completel newbie? I’m tempted by the newness of the revival but i notice some familiar names in the '91 cast that sound intresting (Terrence Mann, Lee Wilkoff).
I just got the revival CD, and I’d say if you have to choose, I’d go with the original cast recording.
The revival has more material on it, including a couple of extra dialogue scenes, and an entire song - “Something Just Broke” - that wasn’t in the original at all.
The original, though, has a stronger cast. Patrick Cassidy has a better voice for the Balladeer than Neil Patrick Harris, and Victor Garber is much better suited to John Wilkes Booth than Michael Cerveris - a more relaxed, prettier sound, I think. The only actor that I like better on the revival recording is Denis O’Hare as Charles Guiteau, but even he doesn’t sing particularly well.
Just one opinion, though. Happy shopping!