Jump to content

Recommended Posts

His age doesn't make it any easier.

The supreme composer and lyricist in the American tradition of musical theater. Cole Porter is the nearest challenger, but although Sondheim mastered all of Porter's idioms I find nothing in Porter with the emotional charge of "Losing My Mind," "In Buddy's Eyes," "Not a Day Goes By," or even "Send in the Clowns." Edit to add “Being Alive.”

Berlin is the other contender but he seems a lifetime away. Sondheim was also (obviously) a brilliant lyricist for composers like Bernstein and Rodgers.

It's less a question of what one will play tonight as what one will sing along too until the early hours.

West Side Story or Gypsy or Company or Follies or Sweeney Todd or Sunday in the Park or Into the Woods...

Or I could watch The Last of Sheila on YouTube or dip into his books.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

We just went to see Company this week.  This rendition of "Being Alive" is wonderful, as is the entire play.  Made it harder for Ginny today when we heard the news.  She really loved the guy.  As I've mentioned (probably too often) she Stage Managed the original "Sunday in the Park with George" & has remained in touch with many Sondheim vets.   Even though he was 91, his passing was unexpected.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Steve R. said:

We just went to see Company this week.  This rendition of "Being Alive" is wonderful, as is the entire play.  Made it harder for Ginny today when we heard the news.  She really loved the guy.  As I've mentioned (probably too often) she Stage Managed the original "Sunday in the Park with George" & has remained in touch with many Sondheim vets.   Even though he was 91, his passing was unexpected.

That’s a great connection.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well that was a late night of watching music videos.

Just wanted to share some other memories:

  • A UK-based friend and I competed for years to see the most Sondheim shows in production (even if only concert performances). He had to throw in the towel when I saw the belated New York premiere of Saturday Night in 2000. I've seen everything except The Frogs and Bounce/Roadshow.
  • And then there's all those anthology productions like Side by Side with Sondheim which I saw in London or New York, and solo Sondheim shows by Patinkin and Barbara Cook.
  • And Mostly Sondheim at the Duplex.
  • In 2002 (I think) I traveled to DC for a Sondheim festival at the Kennedy Center. Sunday in the Park with George, with Melissa Errico and Raul Esparza, was one of the two most impactful theater performance of any kind I have ever seen.
  • When I first settled in New York, I had a company apartment on West 57th at nose-bleeding altitude with a view down Eighth Avenue. At the other end of the corridor, presumably with a view of Central Park, lived Sondheim while his Turtle Bay house was undergoing renovation. I never saw him. (I did of course see Goldie Hawn who lived with Kurt Russell in the penthouse).
  • I did see him a few years later bustling across Rockefeller Plaza.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Raul E. played Bobby in an interesting revival of Company around the time you saw him in “Sunday...”   Another really good rendition of “Being Alive”.  It’s on YouTube.   I’ve always appreciated Sondheim’s openness to tinker with his work & not just put out clone revivals.  Company is a great example of that, with at least 3 renditions having different approaches.  Raul’s friends in that production were all orchestra members and he played some piano, while the current lead (Katrina Lenk, who is excellent) is “Bobbie”, a single woman.  And “I’m Not Getting Married Today” is now incredibly well performed by Matt Doyle (from “Book of Mormon”), playing a guy in a gay relationship.  Rivals Madeline Khan’s.  

He’ll be missed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

(I'm trying to figure out whether or not you could say Bernstein -- another comparable in terms of impact and importance -- was "still productive" at the time of his death.  I know that several months before I had bought an advance ticket to a concert he was supposed to conduct, and my wife had said, "he'll never make it."  It turned out to be a memorial for him.)

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Steve R. said:

Raul E. played Bobby in an interesting revival of Company around the time you saw him in “Sunday...”   Another really good rendition of “Being Alive”.  It’s on YouTube.   I’ve always appreciated Sondheim’s openness to tinker with his work & not just put out clone revivals.  Company is a great example of that, with at least 3 renditions having different approaches.  Raul’s friends in that production were all orchestra members and he played some piano, while the current lead (Katrina Lenk, who is excellent) is “Bobbie”, a single woman.  And “I’m Not Getting Married Today” is now incredibly well performed by Matt Doyle (from “Book of Mormon”), playing a guy in a gay relationship.  Rivals Madeline Khan’s.  

He’ll be missed.

The Esparza version of Being Alive is gut wrenching. And the interpretation of "Not Getting Married" in the current production is fantastic (last show we saw before lockdown in '20).

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Steve R. said:

Raul E. played Bobby in an interesting revival of Company around the time you saw him in “Sunday...”   Another really good rendition of “Being Alive”.  It’s on YouTube.   I’ve always appreciated Sondheim’s openness to tinker with his work & not just put out clone revivals.  Company is a great example of that, with at least 3 renditions having different approaches.  Raul’s friends in that production were all orchestra members and he played some piano, while the current lead (Katrina Lenk, who is excellent) is “Bobbie”, a single woman.  And “I’m Not Getting Married Today” is now incredibly well performed by Matt Doyle (from “Book of Mormon”), playing a guy in a gay relationship.  Rivals Madeline Khan’s.  

He’ll be missed.

Yeah I saw that. It followed a similar production of Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone, I presume from the same direction/production team.* All the players were carrying and playing musical instruments throughout the show. Generally I felt it was an affectation that didn’t work.

In the case of Raul, his instrument in Company was the piano, so he was stuck sitting at it for most of the show. When it came to “Being Alive,” he was allowed to stand up, walk to the front of the stage, and sing to us. It was indeed wonderful, but it was the last five minutes.

*John Doyle.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

And I saw Elaine Paige and Mark Devalan in Sweeney, NYC Opera in 2004.

But the best Sweeney was a promenade production in some old location in South London (was it the Clink?) where the audience was the crowd, walking around and following the action.

And then there was A Little Night Music with Juliet Stevenson and Jeremy Irons, NYC Opera 2003.


 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...