Sondheim on Sondheim

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Sondheim on Sondheim
Sondheimonsondheim.jpg
Broadway cast recording
MusicStephen Sondheim and others
LyricsStephen Sondheim
BookJames Lapine
Productions2010 Broadway
AwardsDrama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revue
Drama League Award for Distinguished Production of a Musical
 
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Sondheim on Sondheim
Sondheimonsondheim.jpg
Broadway cast recording
MusicStephen Sondheim and others
LyricsStephen Sondheim
BookJames Lapine
Productions2010 Broadway
AwardsDrama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revue
Drama League Award for Distinguished Production of a Musical

Sondheim on Sondheim is a musical revue consisting of music and lyrics written by Stephen Sondheim for his many shows. It is conceived and directed by James Lapine. The revue had a limited run on Broadway in 2010.

Background[edit]

The revue is based on a show titled Moving On devised by David Kernan, and produced in 2000 (Kernan also conceived Side By Side By Sondheim). Moving On ran at The Bridwell Theatre, London, for 32 performances from July 19 to August 19, 2000.[1] The show featured some narration recorded by Sondheim; a CD of the show was released but did not include the Sondheim narrations. Under a new title, Opening Doors, the show had several performances in New York at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall in September and October 2004.[2][3]

Lapine conceived a version of the revue in 2008, titled iSondheim: aMusical Revue, to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of Alliance Theatre company in Atlanta, Georgia. This was structured as a multimedia revue, incorporating "original and archival commentary" from Sondheim. The revue was promoted as taking audience members "to the very heart of Sondheim's life and work."[4] The production was canceled when producers failed to raise sufficient funding to cover expensive and "extensive technical requirements for film and multi-media projection" during a major recession.[5]

Production[edit]

The Roundabout Theatre presented the revue, now titled Sondheim on Sondheim at its Broadway venue, Studio 54, in a limited engagement. Previews started March 19, 2010, with the official opening on April 22 and closing on June 27, 2010.[6][7]

The original Broadway cast featured Barbara Cook, Vanessa L. Williams, Leslie Kritzer, Erin Mackey, Tom Wopat, Norm Lewis, Euan Morton and Matthew Scott.[6] Choreography was by Dan Knechtges, Music Direction and Vocal Arrangements by David Loud, sets by Beowulf Boritt, costumes by Susan Hilferty, lights by Ken Billington, and projections by Peter Flaherty.[6][8][9]

A Cleveland, Ohio, production opened at PlayhouseSquare on May 16, 2012, and will run until July 8, 2012. The show is produced by the Great Lakes Theater Festival and directed by Victoria Bussert. The 8-member cast includes Equity performers Marie-France Arcilla, Justin Keyes, Pamela Myers, James Penca, Ciara Renee, Brian Sutherland, Destan Owens, and Emily Walton.


[10]

Concept[edit]

The musical features taped interviews with Sondheim. The songs, including well-known, less-known and cut material, are from nineteen Sondheim shows (including student shows) produced over a 62-year period, including several songs from each of West Side Story, Company, Follies, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sunday in the Park with George, Merrily We Roll Along, Passion, and Into the Woods. Songs from his school years are included.[7][11]

Lapine describes the revue as "a kind of impressionistic view of him that’s put together with pieces of archival footage and interview footage. It’s a collage of his life, in which who he is and how he got there comes in to focus." The show uses about 64 plasma screens.[12]

Songs[edit]

List of shows represented, and songs performed, in the revue:[13][14][15]

"Something’s Coming"
"Like Everybody Else" ‡
"Invocation/Forget War" ‡
"Love Is in the Air" ‡
"Comedy Tonight"
"You Could Drive a Person Crazy"
"The Wedding Is Off" ‡
"Multitudes of Amys" ‡
"Happily Ever After" ‡
"Being Alive"
"Company"
"Ah, But Underneath” (London Production, 1987)
"Waiting for the Girls Upstairs"
"Losing My Mind"
"In Buddy’s Eyes"
"My Husband the Pig" ‡
"Every Day a Little Death"
"Send in the Clowns"
"A Weekend in the Country"
"Epiphany"
"Franklin Shepard, Inc."
"Good Thing Going"
"Now You Know"
"Opening Doors"
"Not a Day Goes By"
"Old Friends"
"Finishing the Hat"
"Sunday"
"Beautiful"
"Children Will Listen"
"Ever After"
"Something Just Broke"
"The Gun Song"
"Fosca’s Entrance (I Read)"
"Is This What You Call Love?"
"Loving You"
"Happiness"
"Talent"
"The Best Thing That Ever Has Happened"

‡ Cut from the original production of the show

Sondheim wrote a new song for this revue, titled God, a "self-deprecating comic song" sung by the company to open Act 2.[16]

Response[edit]

The show met with mixed reviews. Most critics were in agreement that the video footage of Sondheim was the highlight of the show, that the technical aspects of the show were expertly handled and that some performances were good (notably Cook, Williams and the supporting cast). Negative reviewers tended to feel that the show was not as substantial as it could have been, that some material was poorly chosen or ill-matched to the performers, and that some performances were not successful (notably Wopat).[17]

Ben Brantley in The New York Times wrote that the revue is "a genial, multimedia commemorative scrapbook on the life, times and career" of Sondheim, with "a polished and likable eight-member cast."[18]

Recording[edit]

The original cast recording was released on August 31, 2010.[19]

Awards and nominations[edit]

64th Annual Tony Awards
Drama Desk Awards[20]
Outer Critics Circle Awards[21]
Drama League Awards[22]
Barbara Cook (nominee)
Vanessa Williams (nominee)
53rd Annual Grammy Awards[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'Moving On' listing, 2000" sondheimguide.com, retrieved August 31, 2010
  2. ^ "'Opening Doors' listing, 2004 sondheimguide.com, retrieved August 31, 2010
  3. ^ Gans, Andrew."Sondheim's Life Explored in Opening Doors Revue Beginning Sept. 30" playbill.com, September 30, 2004
  4. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Lapine to Create iSondheim: aMusical Revue for Alliance Theatre". Playbill.com, September 12, 2008
  5. ^ Gans, Andrew and Adam Hetrick. "Alliance Theatre Cancels iSondheim Revue; Brel Will Play Instead. Playbill.com, February 26, 2009
  6. ^ a b c Jones, Kenneth. "Sondheim on Sondheim Will Star Cook, Kritzer, Lewis, Morton, Scott, Williams and Wopat". Playbill.com, December 9, 2009
  7. ^ a b Jones, Kenneth. "Sondheim on Sondheim, a New Musical Reflection of a Life in Art, Begins on Broadway". Playbill.com, March 19, 2010
  8. ^ Broadway Listing. ibdb.com, retrieved March 20, 2010
  9. ^ BWW News. Erin Mackey Completes Cast of Sondheim on Sondheim. Broadwayworld.com, January 6, 2010
  10. ^ "Sondheim on Sondheim to Bow in Cleveland Alongside Memphis and Addams Family", playbill.com, March 29, 2011.
  11. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Diva Talk: Celebrating Sondheim with Sondheim on Sondheim Star Barbara Cook". Playbill.com, March 19, 2010
  12. ^ Itzkoff, Dave. Lapine on Sondheim on Sondheim. The New York Times, October 1, 2009
  13. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "The (Early) Songlist of Sondheim on Sondheim". Playbill.com, retrieved March 22, 2010.
  14. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Roundabout Offers Sound Clips From Sondheim on Sondheim". Playbill.com, retrieved March 20, 2010
  15. ^ Sommer, Elyse."A CurtainUp Review:'Sondheim On Sondheim'" curtainup.com, April 17, 2010
  16. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "New Song by Sondheim Surfaces on Broadway". Playbill.com, April 22, 2010
  17. ^ Fick, David."REVIEW ROUNDUP: SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM" Musical Cyberspace, April 24, 2010
  18. ^ Brantley, Ben. "Hymn to Himself: Something Hummable". The New York Times, April 23, 2010
  19. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Now You Know": Sondheim on Sondheim, the Two-Disc Album, Gets Aug. 31 Release" playbill.com, August 31, 2010
  20. ^ Gans, Andrew."Red, Memphis, Bridge, Fences and La Cage Win Drama Desk Awards" Playbill.com, May 23, 2010
  21. ^ Gans, Andrew."Memphis, La Cage, Zeta-Jones, Finneran and More Are Outer Critics Circle Award Winners" Playbill.com, May 17, 2010
  22. ^ Gans, Andrew."Sondheim, Red, Bridge, La Cage and Molina Win Drama League Awards" Playbill.com, May 21, 2010
  23. ^ Gans, Andrew."Idiot, Fela!, Night Music, Promises and Sondheim Are Grammy-Nominated". Playbill.com, December 1, 2010

External links[edit]