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
2012 Cleveland
2014 Australia
2015 San Diego
2018 San Jose
AwardsDrama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revue
Drama League Award for Outstanding New Broadway 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. In 2001, Moving On premiered in the U.S. at The Laguna Playhouse in California. David Kernan, repeated his roles as conceiver and director. Three Sondheim vets, Teri Ralston (Company), Ann Morrison (Merrily We Roll Along) and David Engel (Putting It Together), led the revue with Christopher Carothers and Tami Tappan also in the cast.[2]

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.[3][4]

Lapine conceived a version of the revue in 2008, titled Sondheim: a Musical 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."[5] 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.[6]

Productions[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.[7][8]

The original Broadway cast featured Barbara Cook, Vanessa L. Williams, Leslie Kritzer, Erin Mackey, Tom Wopat, Norm Lewis, Euan Morton and Matthew Scott.[7] 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.[7][9][10]

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.[11][12]

A concert was presented at the Hollywood Bowl on July 23, 2017. The production was directed by original director James Lapine's niece Sarna, who had recently staged a Broadway revival of Sunday in the Park with George, and was backed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles. The cast featured Sarah Uriarte Berry, Phillip Boykin, Lewis Cleale, Carmen Cusack, Claybourne Elder, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jonathan Groff, Ruthie Ann Miles, Solea Pfeiffer, and Vanessa Williams.[13]

A limited run was held in San Jose, California from January 18 to February 4, 2018 at 3Below Theaters. This limited run served as the inaugural production of 3Below Theaters and was produced and directed by Scott Guggenheim and Shannon Guggenheim.

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 each from 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.[8][14]

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.[15]

Musical Numbers[edit]

List of shows represented, and songs performed, in the revue:[16][17][18]

  • By George (1946), performed at the George School: "I’ll Meet You at the Donut"
  • 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" ‡
  • The Frogs (1974) A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962): "Invocation/Forget War"
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart
"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"
"Company"
  • Follies (1971), book by James Goldman
"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"
  • Passion (1994), book by James Lapine
"Fosca’s Entrance (I Read)"
"Is This What You Call Love?"
"Loving You"
"Happiness"
  • Road Show (2008), book by John Weidman, formerly titled Bounce (2003)
"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.[19]

List of shows represented, collaborators, songs performed and the actors singing the parts, in order, on the cast album:

Act I:

"My Name Is Stephen Joshua Sondheim…" (Stephen Sondheim)

"Invocation"/"Forget War" (from The Frogs/A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum) (1974/1962) ("Sondheim On Sondheim" Company)
"Love Is In The Air" (from A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum) (Barbara Cook, Leslie Kritzer, Erin Mackey & Vanessa Williams)
"Comedy Tonight" (from "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum") ("Sondheim On Sondheim" Company)
"Take Me To The World" (from Evening Primrose) (1966) (Cook)

"…Ten Years After I Was Born…" (Sondheim)

"Talent"/"When I Get Famous" (from Road Show/Climb High) (2008/1952) (Matthew Scott, Mackey)
"Something's Coming" (from West Side Story) (1957) (Leonard Bernstein/Sondheim) (Scott, Euan Morton, Kritzer, Mackey)

"…My First Professional Show…" (Sondheim)

"So Many People" (from Saturday Night) (1954) (Williams, Norm Lewis)

"…For Many Years, Hal Prince…" (Sondheim)

"You Could Drive A Person Crazy" (from Company) (1970) (Tom Wopat, Cook)
"The Wedding Is Off" (from Company) (Mackey, Williams)
"Now You Know" (from Merrily We Roll Along) (1981) (Kritzer, Mackey, Williams, Cook)

"…Hal Prince and I Did Six Shows Together…" (Sondheim)

"Franklin Shepard, Inc." (from Merrily We Roll Along) (Morton, Williams, Scott)
"Good Thing Going" (from Merrily We Roll Along) (Williams)

"…Sometimes, A Song Changes Its Shape…" (Sondheim)

"Waiting for the Girls Upstairs" (from Follies) (1971) ("Sondheim On Sondheim" Company)
"The Best Thing That Has Ever Happened" (from Road Show) (Wopat, Williams, Scott, Lewis)

"…My First Serious Relationship…" (Sondheim)

"Happiness" (from Passion) (1994) (Mackey, Scott)
"Fosca's Entrance (I Read)" (from Passion) (Cook, Lewis)
"Is This What You Call Love?" (from Passion) (Lewis)
"Loving You" (from Passion) (Cook)

Act II:

"God" * ("Sondheim On Sondheim" Company) (*new song written for revue)

"…If You Ask Me To Write A Love Song…" (Sondheim)

"Losing My Mind"/"Not A Day Goes By" (from Merrily We Roll Along) (Williams, Cook)

"…A Lot Of People Think…" (Sondheim)

"Opening Doors" (from Merrily We Roll Along) (Scott, Morton, Kritzer, Wopat, Cook, Mackey)

"…We Had Three Endings To Company…" (Sondheim)

"Multitudes of Amys" (from Company) (Scott)
"Happily Ever After" (from Company) (Wopat)
"Being Alive" (from Company) (Lewis, Morton, Scott, Wopat, Kritzer, Mackey)
"Something Just Broke" (from Assassins) (1990) (Mackey, Morton, Kritzer, Scott, Lewis)
"The Gun Song" (from Assassins) (Wopat, Scott, Morton, Kritzer)

"…Jule Styne and I realized with Gypsy…" (Sondheim)

"Smile, Girls" (from Gypsy) (1959) (Williams, Kritzer, Lewis, Morton) (Jule Styne, Sondheim)

"…I Suppose If There Is One That's Closest…" (Sondheim)

"Finishing The Hat" (from Sunday In The Park With George) (1984) (Wopat)
"Beautiful" (from Sunday In The Park With George) (Cook, Morton)

"…I Had A Lot of Trouble With My Mother…" (Sondheim)

"Children Will Listen" (from Into The Woods) (1987) (Mackey, Morton, Kritzer, Scott, Wopat, Williams)

"…To Me, Teaching Is A Sacred Profession…" (Sondheim)

"Send In The Clowns" (from A Little Night Music) (1973) (Cook)

"…I've Often Been Asked Why I Don't Write…" (Sondheim)

"Company"/"Old Friends" (from Company/Merrily We Roll Along) ("Sondheim On Sondheim" Company)
"Anyone Can Whistle" (from Anyone Can Whistle) (1964) ("Sondheim On Sondheim" Company)

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).[20]

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."[21]

Recording[edit]

The original cast recording was released on August 31, 2010.[22]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2010 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Musical Barbara Cook Nominated
Best Sound Design Dan Moses Schreier Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Revue Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding New Broadway Musical Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Barbara Cook Nominated
Outstanding Set Design Beowulf Boritt Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Ken Billington Nominated
Drama League Award Outstanding New Broadway Musical Won
Outstanding Production of a Musical Won
2011 Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Philip Chaffin & Tommy Krasker (producers) Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'Moving On' listing, 2000" sondheimguide.com, retrieved August 31, 2010
  2. ^ Ehren, Christine "Sondheim Revue Moving On Makes U.S. Debut at Laguna Playhouse Oct. 30-Dec. 2" Playbill.com, October 30, 2001
  3. ^ "'Opening Doors' listing, 2004 sondheimguide.com, retrieved August 31, 2010
  4. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Sondheim's Life Explored in 'Opening Doors' Revue Beginning Sept. 30", Playbill, September 30, 2004, accessed November 28, 2016
  5. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Lapine to Create iSondheim: aMusical Revue for Alliance Theatre", Playbill, September 12, 2008, accessed November 28, 2016
  6. ^ Gans, Andrew and Adam Hetrick. "Alliance Theatre Cancels iSondheim Revue; Brel Will Play Instead, Playbill, February 26, 2009, accessed November 28, 2016
  7. ^ a b c Jones, Kenneth. "Sondheim on Sondheim Will Star Cook, Kritzer, Lewis, Morton, Scott, Williams and Wopat" Archived 2010-03-24 at the Wayback Machine. Playbill.com, December 9, 2009
  8. ^ a b Jones, Kenneth. "Sondheim on Sondheim, a New Musical Reflection of a Life in Art, Begins on Broadway" Archived 2014-03-01 at the Wayback Machine Playbill.com, March 19, 2010
  9. ^ Broadway Listing. ibdb.com, retrieved March 20, 2010
  10. ^ BWW News. "Erin Mackey Completes Cast of Sondheim on Sondheim. Broadwayworld.com, January 6, 2010
  11. ^ "Entertainment" smh.com.au
  12. ^ Neutze, Ben."Review" dailyreview.crikey.com.au, October 4, 2014
  13. ^ Sondheim On Sondheim hollywoodbowl.com, retrieved October 17, 2017
  14. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Diva Talk: Celebrating Sondheim with Sondheim on Sondheim Star Barbara Cook" Archived 2010-03-22 at the Wayback Machine. Playbill.com, March 19, 2010
  15. ^ Itzkoff, Dave. Lapine on Sondheim on Sondheim. The New York Times, October 1, 2009
  16. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "The (Early) Songlist of Sondheim on Sondheim" Archived 2010-03-25 at the Wayback Machine. Playbill.com, retrieved March 22, 2010.
  17. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Roundabout Offers Sound Clips From Sondheim on Sondheim" Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine. Playbill.com, retrieved March 20, 2010
  18. ^ Sommer, Elyse."A CurtainUp Review:'Sondheim On Sondheim'" curtainup.com, April 17, 2010
  19. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "New Song by Sondheim Surfaces on Broadway" Archived 2010-04-25 at the Wayback Machine. Playbill.com, April 22, 2010
  20. ^ Fick, David."REVIEW ROUNDUP: SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM" Musical Cyberspace, April 24, 2010
  21. ^ Brantley, Ben. "Hymn to Himself: Something Hummable". The New York Times, April 23, 2010
  22. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Now You Know": Sondheim on Sondheim, the Two-Disc Album, Gets Aug. 31 Release" Archived 2010-09-02 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, August 31, 2010

External links[edit]