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Record Performance

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On a typical Sunday at Footlight Records, you’ll see hipsters snatching up Italian lounge CDs, hip-hop artists trolling for new beats among the vinyl movie soundtracks, seniors browsing through the Broadway cast recordings, a Liza impersonator scoring Cabaret on DVD. Since the 27-year-old East Village landmark fills niches that the chains ignore, its sales haven’t been hurt much by Tower or Virgin—the latter even refers customers here for imports. Best known for its rich cache of male and female vocalists, Footlight (113 East 12th Street; 212-533-1572; footlight1@aol.com) is also one of the few stores that carry certain works by Ur-monologuist Ruth Draper and the Akira Kurosawa soundtrack-CD boxed sets, and it’s the exclusive source for Dame Edna CDs. Owner Ron Saja started collecting the recordings of his favorite film composer, Bernard Herrmann, at 12; he bought Footlight in 1993 after working there for six years. Ironically, Saja prefers dramas to musicals, but he goes to the theater constantly and loves Avenue Q. (If only Princeton, Q’s mix-tape-constructing puppet, had access to Footlight—he might have moved beyond the Billy Joel basics.)


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