Sondheim on Sondheim
|Sondheim on Sondheim|
Broadway cast recording
|Music||Stephen Sondheim and others|
2015 San Diego
|Awards||Drama 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.
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. 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.
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." 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.
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.
The original Broadway cast featured Barbara Cook, Vanessa L. Williams, Leslie Kritzer, Erin Mackey, Tom Wopat, Norm Lewis, Euan Morton and Matthew Scott. 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.
A Cleveland, Ohio, production opened at PlayhouseSquare on May 16, 2012, and ran 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.
The Australian production of Sondheim on Sondheim, produced by theatre company Squabbalogic opened in October 2014 at Sydney's Seymour Centre. The production starred Blake Erickson, Rob Johnson, Louise Kelly, Debora Krizak, Phillip Lowe, Monique Sallé, Christy Sullivan, and Dean Vince.
The San Diego premiere of Sondheim on Sondheim, produced by Moonlight Stage Productions, was Directed and Choreographed by original developer of the original Broadway production DJ Gray and Musical Directed by Elan McMahan. It ran at the Avo Playhouse in Vista, California from February 12-March 1, 2015. The production featured actors Jason Webb, Melissa Fernandes, Eric Hellmers, Ashlee Espinosa, Charlie Gange, and Heather Lundstedt, cutting down the original cast of 8 to 6.
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.
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.
- By George (1946), performed at the George School: "I’ll Meet You at the Donut"
- Climb High (1951), while studying with Milton Babbitt: "When I Get Famous"
- Saturday Night (1954), unproduced until 1997, book by Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein: "So Many People"
- West Side Story (1957), music by Leonard Bernstein, book by Arthur Laurents
- "Something’s Coming"
- "Like Everybody Else" ‡
- Gypsy (1959), music by Jule Styne, book by Arthur Laurents: "Smile, Girls" ‡
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart
- "Invocation/Forget War" ‡
- "Love Is in the Air" ‡
- "Comedy Tonight"
- Anyone Can Whistle (1964), book by Arthur Laurents: "Anyone Can Whistle"
- Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965), music by Richard Rodgers, book by Arthur Laurents: "Do I Hear a Waltz?"
- Evening Primrose (1966), originally broadcast November 16, 1966; written by John Collier & James Goldman for the television series ABC Stage 67: "Take Me to the World"
- Company (1970), book by George Furth
- "You Could Drive a Person Crazy"
- "The Wedding Is Off" ‡
- "Multitudes of Amys" ‡
- "Happily Ever After" ‡
- "Being Alive"
- Follies (1971), book by James Goldman
- "Ah, But Underneath” (London Production, 1987)
- "Waiting for the Girls Upstairs"
- "Losing My Mind"
- "In Buddy’s Eyes"
- A Little Night Music (1973), book by Hugh Wheeler
- "My Husband the Pig" ‡
- "Every Day a Little Death"
- "Send in the Clowns"
- "A Weekend in the Country"
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979), book by Hugh Wheeler
- Merrily We Roll Along (1981), book by George Furth
- "Franklin Shepard, Inc."
- "Good Thing Going"
- "Now You Know"
- "Opening Doors"
- "Not a Day Goes By"
- "Old Friends"
- Sunday in the Park with George (1984), book by James Lapine
- "Finishing the Hat"
- Into the Woods (1987), book by James Lapine
- "Children Will Listen"
- "Ever After"
- Assassins (1990), book by John Weidman
- "Something Just Broke"
- "The Gun Song"
- Passion (1994), book by James Lapine
- "Fosca’s Entrance (I Read)"
- "Is This What You Call Love?"
- "Loving You"
- Road Show (2008), book by John Weidman, formerly titled Bounce (2003)
- "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.
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).
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."
Awards and nominations
- Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical - Barbara Cook (nominee)
- Tony Award for Best Sound Design (nominee)
- Outstanding Musical Revue (winner)
- Outstanding New Broadway Musical (nominee)
- Outstanding Set Design (Play or Musical) (nominee)
- Outstanding Lighting Design (Play or Musical) (nominee)
- Outstanding Actress in a Musical - Barbara Cook (nominee)
- Distinguished Production of a Musical (winner)
- Distinguished Performance Award:
- Barbara Cook (nominee)
- Vanessa Williams (nominee)
- Best Musical Show Album (nominee)
- "'Moving On' listing, 2000" sondheimguide.com, retrieved August 31, 2010
- "'Opening Doors' listing, 2004 sondheimguide.com, retrieved August 31, 2010
- Gans, Andrew."Sondheim's Life Explored in Opening Doors Revue Beginning Sept. 30" playbill.com, September 30, 2004
- Hetrick, Adam. "Lapine to Create iSondheim: aMusical Revue for Alliance Theatre". Playbill.com, September 12, 2008
- Gans, Andrew and Adam Hetrick. "Alliance Theatre Cancels iSondheim Revue; Brel Will Play Instead. Playbill.com, February 26, 2009
- Jones, Kenneth. "Sondheim on Sondheim Will Star Cook, Kritzer, Lewis, Morton, Scott, Williams and Wopat". Playbill.com, December 9, 2009
- Jones, Kenneth. "Sondheim on Sondheim, a New Musical Reflection of a Life in Art, Begins on Broadway" Playbill.com, March 19, 2010
- Broadway Listing. ibdb.com, retrieved March 20, 2010
- BWW News. "Erin Mackey Completes Cast of Sondheim on Sondheim. Broadwayworld.com, January 6, 2010
- "Sondheim on Sondheim to Bow in Cleveland Alongside Memphis and Addams Family", playbill.com, March 29, 2011
- "Entertainment" smh.com.au
- Neutze, Ben."Review" dailyreview.crikey.com.au, October 4, 2014
- Sondheim on Sondheim Listing moonlightstage.com, accessed February 20, 2015
- Gans, Andrew. "Diva Talk: Celebrating Sondheim with Sondheim on Sondheim Star Barbara Cook". Playbill.com, March 19, 2010
- Itzkoff, Dave. Lapine on Sondheim on Sondheim. The New York Times, October 1, 2009
- Jones, Kenneth. "The (Early) Songlist of Sondheim on Sondheim". Playbill.com, retrieved March 22, 2010.
- Jones, Kenneth. "Roundabout Offers Sound Clips From Sondheim on Sondheim". Playbill.com, retrieved March 20, 2010
- Sommer, Elyse."A CurtainUp Review:'Sondheim On Sondheim'" curtainup.com, April 17, 2010
- Jones, Kenneth. "New Song by Sondheim Surfaces on Broadway". Playbill.com, April 22, 2010
- Fick, David."REVIEW ROUNDUP: SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM" Musical Cyberspace, April 24, 2010
- Brantley, Ben. "Hymn to Himself: Something Hummable". The New York Times, April 23, 2010
- Jones, Kenneth."Now You Know": Sondheim on Sondheim, the Two-Disc Album, Gets Aug. 31 Release" playbill.com, August 31, 2010
- Gans, Andrew."Red, Memphis, Bridge, Fences and La Cage Win Drama Desk Awards" Playbill.com, May 23, 2010
- Gans, Andrew."Memphis, La Cage, Zeta-Jones, Finneran and More Are Outer Critics Circle Award Winners" Playbill.com, May 17, 2010
- Gans, Andrew."Sondheim, Red, Bridge, La Cage and Molina Win Drama League Awards" Playbill.com, May 21, 2010
- Gans, Andrew."Idiot, Fela!, Night Music, Promises and Sondheim Are Grammy-Nominated". Playbill.com, December 1, 2010