Getting Married Today (song)

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Getting Married Today
by Stephen Sondheim
GenreShow tune
FormPatter song
Published1970 (1970)

"Getting Married Today" is a patter song from the musical Company (1970) with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. It is sung by the manic Amy, as the thought of marriage sends her into a panic on the day of her wedding.[1] It is often misreferred to as "Not Getting Married Today".

With 68 words sung in a total of 11 seconds, "Getting Married Today" was notable for being the most difficult musical song with the fastest verse in history, until "Guns and Ships" from the 2015 musical Hamilton eclipsed this record, with 19 words in 3 seconds.

Production[edit]

"Getting Married Today" was conceived as "Sondheim’s psychotic notion of a patter song"[2] to simulate the sensation of having a mental breakdown through verbal diarrhea and constantly changing the subject mid-sentence.

Stephen Sondheim gave a masterclass of some of his songs, including this one, at London's Guildhall School.[3]

The song features operatic interludes described by Edge Boston as "soprano intermezzos",[1] sung by a priest who comically comments on the bride's breakdown and extols the glory of marriage.

Lyrical content[edit]

In her meltdown, Amy discusses the very nature of a wedding, and how it is not relevant to a modern society:[4]

Wedding, what's a wedding? It's a prehistoric ritual where
Everybody promises fidelity forever, which is
Maybe the most horrifying word I ever heard, and which is
Followed by a honeymoon, where suddenly he'll realize he's
Saddled with a nut and wanna kill me which he should.

Covers[edit]

The song was covered in a Glee episode where Emma Pillsbury starts to second-guess marrying Will Schuester, before fleeing from the wedding.

Critical reception[edit]

It has been described as "one of Sondheim’s toughest songs".[5] Journal Sentinel said the song captures "both the crazed humor and darker undertow within this manic bride".[6] White Rhino Report wrote "Amy's frenetic rant about not being ready for marriage is a rapid-fire patter song. Set off against this insanity is the ironic counterpoint of Jenny's operatic aria about the beauty of a wedding day."[1] Commenting on Stephen Sondheim’s 'Company' With The New York Philharmonic, The AV Club wrote "it’d be hard for anyone to sing the patter-iffic 'Getting Married Today' as fast as it’s meant to be, even with months to work on it instead of the short time that Finneran had."[7] Chichester Observer said Amy is a "jittery bride-to-be" with an "epic breakdown and breakneck teeth-rattling delivery".[8]

The Guardian wrote the show "boasts the most astonishing score of any Stephen Sondheim work, and at the same time a book demonstrating an almost complete lack of commitment to coherent narrative", adding that the show has a "large dollop of irony". It continued by saying: "The result is numbers, such as 'The Little Things You Do Together' and 'Getting Married Today', that are sheer bliss to listen to, but often unexpectedly disappointing and distancing in performance."[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Reviews — Teresa Winner Blume". TeresaWinnerBlume.com. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
  2. ^ Ouzounian, Richard (2014-06-27). "Theatre 20's Company a disappointment: review". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
  3. ^ "Sondheim teaches 'Not Getting Married'". RogerBourland.com. 2008-01-04. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
  4. ^ "v2n2". The Sondheim Review. Archived from the original on 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
  5. ^ "Theatrical Review: Company by Theatre 20 at the Berkeley Street Theatre". Jeremythinksthings.wordpress.com. 2014-06-26. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
  6. ^ Fischer, Mike. "Smart staging makes good 'Company' at Theatre Unchained". Jsonline.com. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
  7. ^ Murray, Noel (2012-11-14). "Stephen Sondheim's Company With The New York Philharmonic". AVclub.com. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
  8. ^ Parnell, Sarah (2014-04-14). "REVIEW: Stephen Sondheim's Company". Chichester Observer. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
  9. ^ Gardner, Lyn (2011-12-06). "Company - review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-07-21.