wed 20/01/2021

Theatre Features

Sondheim at 90 Songs: 4 - 'America'

aleks Sierz

Ever since I heard the quintessential prog rock group The Nice do a psychedelic instrumental version of “America” in 1968, I have loved this song. Later on, I was better able to appreciate Sondheim’s lyrics, whose satirical sharpness and superb inventiveness make this the definitive song about migration.

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Sondheim at 90 Songs: 3 - 'Johanna' (Quartet Version)

graham Rickson

Along with many others, my first exposure to Stephen Sondheim’s art was through watching the film of Bernstein’s West Side Story as a child. The song which still floors me is the Quintet near the end of Act 1. Bernstein’s ecstatic, dynamic music is  splendid in itself, but the number’s perfection is sealed by Sondheim’s lyrics, each character distinctly voiced, the rhythms and rhymes flawless. “Sperm to worm,” still makes me grin.

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Sondheim at 90 Songs: 2 - 'Epiphany'/'A Little Priest'

David Nice

Two numbers, one hair-raising slice of music-theatre. When Sondheim's paying homage to the older, revue type of musical, you can extract a string of top hits: Follies, from which Marianka Swain chose "I'm Still Here" yesterday, could yield at least half a dozen more choices, Company almost as many.

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Sondheim at 90 Songs: 1 - 'I'm Still Here'

Marianka Swain

Surely there’s never been a more apt time for Sondheim’s great cry of defiance? “I’m Still Here” is sung by showgirl-turned-actress Carlotta in Follies (1971) – added during the Boston try-out in place of “Can That Boy Foxtrot”. Loosely inspired by Joan Crawford, it’s the ultimate anthem of showbiz survival.

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Sondheim at 90: adults will listen

Matt Wolf

Here's an irony worthy of the work of Stephen Sondheim, an artist who clearly knows a thing or two about the multiple manifestations of that word.

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First Person: Hassan Abdulrazzak on the real-life drama behind American deportation to the UK

Hassan Abdulrazzak

You are at a party having a good time when someone gives you a glass of champagne. You take one and then another and soon the party is over. You get in the car to go home and are driving along when you see a police car in the rearview mirror: how annoying! Now you are regretting that indulgent second glass but what’s done is done. The cop gives you a breathalyzer test and you are exactly at the legal limit.

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Celebrating the musicals of Jerry Herman (1931-2019)

David Nice

How is it that, in the nearly 900 pages of Sondheim's collected lyrics with extensive comments Finishing the Hat and Look, I Made a Hat, with numerous special boxes celebrating other composers and lyricists, he managed to mention Jerry Herman only once, and in passing?

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First Person: Simon Stephens - the contemplation of kindness

Simon Stephens

Light Falls is the sixth play that I have written for the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester and the fourth that its outgoing Artistic Director, Sarah Frankcom, will direct.

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First Person: Hannah Khalil on museum as metaphor in her new play for the RSC

Hannah Khalil

It all started in 2009 in the National Portrait Gallery. I’d had a meeting nearby so popped in to get a cuppa and stare at the beautiful rooftop view of London from their top-floor café, but a picture caught my eye. It was part of an exhibition of Victorian Women Explorers, a photograph of a woman with a rather severe face. The label said something like: "Gertrude Bell – Mountaineer, Explorer, Diplomat and Spy.

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First Person: Matthew Xia on why his production of 'Amsterdam' feels especially pertinent and vital now

Matthew Xia

I’m currently opening Amsterdam, my first production for Actors Touring Company since being appointed Artistic Director last year, at the Orange Tree theatre in Richmond and then in Plymouth early in 2020. And what better time to premiere a play for the Europe of the present, triggered by the Europe of the past.

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Advertising feature

★★★★★

A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway

 

Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.

 

★★★★★

This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman

 

Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.

 

Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.


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